Cub House Birthday Ride

There’s something for everyone in this city, whatever your thing happens to be. For at least 30 of us, that thing happens to be riding bikes up steep mountains in the blazing California sun for hours on end.

Up until Saturday this was an activity I primarily did solo, but it turns out there are a bunch of other people who think grinding up fire roads in the Angeles National Forest is a good way to spend a Saturday too.

Bikes bikes bikes

I’ve lived just up the street from The Cub House (@itsnotabikeshop) for a while now, but it took them turning 2 years old and showing up in my instagram feed for a few weeks to finally break me out of my introverted shell and come out for a shop ride.

I rolled in just after 7:30 as they fired up the espresso machine. As other cyclists and group rides rolled past, it was easy to pick out those who would make the turn into the shop. Wide tires. Gravel bikes. Mountain bikes. An eclectic crew for sure, but hardly any full on road bikes. I chatted with some new friends, downed an espresso, and we were on our way.

Rolling out

We climbed higher and higher through La Cañada Flintridge neighborhoods and up the Angeles Crest Highway. Some of us much more slowly than others. Eventually, even I made it to the Angeles Crest Fire Station, relaxed in the shade, and refilled my water bottles.

This is where the real climbing began.

I took my place toward the back of the cruiser crew and huffed my way up another 2,000 feet of dusty fire road. The path behind us dwindled into a tightly coiled ribbon, like a strand of chocolate frosting drizzled across a mountain-shaped cupcake.

I was focused on trying to make it to the top, but Kyle Kelley (@kylebkelley) snagged some sweet pictures.

I finally reached the top and regrouped with the fast crew. The climbing behind us, all that lay ahead was a 5,000 foot descent back into the city. I let out some additional air for a cushy ride and rolled onto my first long stretch of single-track I’d ever ridden in Los Angeles.

Needless to say, I’m hooked.

We blasted down trails, cruised back down the Angeles Crest Highway, dropped into the Arroyo for more gravel and river crossings, soaked in the chilling water for a bit, and rolled back into the shop with a cold 12-pack to share.

Another great action shot by Kyle (@kylebkelley)

Heading out with the crew from Cub House was one of the most fun days of riding I’ve had in a long time. Partially due to the trails, but mostly due to the people. Everyone I met was super friendly, super passionate, and never made me feel like the slow guy in the group even though I absolutely was.

There’s something for everyone in Los Angeles. If you go looking, odds are good there are hundreds or thousands of other people already doing whatever your thing is who will welcome you with open arms.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Aaron Rickel

Climber. Cyclist. Hiker. Writer. Currently has base camp set up in Los Angeles, CA. Runs the Los Angeles Field Guide.