Revolution Bike Fest!

Hey you! Yes you! If you’re in Southern California on next weekend and like bikes, escape the city and head to Castaic Lake north of LA for a weekend of bikes and good times at the 2018 Revolution Bike Fest. We were there at the first one in Irvine back in 2016, and this one promises to be huge! 

 Come ride, race and hangout at Revolution Bike Fest, there’s gravel and MTB rides plus other events going on all weekend.

Come ride, race and hangout at Revolution Bike Fest, there’s gravel and MTB rides plus other events going on all weekend.

We’ll have demo Gypsys available and we’ll be taking all things adventure! Check it out here Revolution Bike Fest

Give me water!

It's hot here like it seems to be everywhere. Maybe not quite as hot as Death Valley, but still pretty hot. 

Last September on the way back from Interbike I did a little overnighter on the B'Stard, one of those sleeping bag and pad on the bars, limited gear and hope for the best kind of overnighters. In the frame bag was a burrito and a jacket. Some snacks, my camera and my phone. Simple, to the point and probably my favourite quick get-away.

B'Stard in the desert

 

The only other big bit of kit was the 1.5 liter Nalgene bottle held to the frame with a Widefoot Design Liter Cage  As you can imagine, Death Valley, well east of Death Valley, in this case, is at the best of times rather dry. So for any trip, the ability to carry water is paramount.  

We've carried the Widefoot Liter cages for a couple of years now and its one of the few things we keep in the store, its the only simple solution to carrying extra water other than putting a Camelbak or similar resevoir in your frame bag, Trev runs 2 of them on the fork legs of his Gypsy, meaning he can easily carry 2-3 liters of water without having to take up valuable frame space with extra bottles - or that aforementioned reservoir in the frame bag. 

Hot or cold, keep hydrated, put a liter cage on your bike, Oh and if you're off to the local brewery tasting room, they also fit 1 liter beer Crowlers!

 

 

Whats in a wheel?

The Gypsy, its a 29" 700c, 27.5 and a bit. do everything dirt road, monstercross, tourer machine. But I hear people saying that its go OH SO Uncool 29"er wheels, well sorry for being uncool, but you know you can stick 27.5 MTB wheels on their if you want?

 Penhale Gypsy tires

Penhale Gypsy tires

Anyhoo, thats kind of a copout statement. I designed the Gypsy around 700c/29"er wheels for a reason. There's just more of a tire choice. One one side of things, there's the 700c x 40 and up road or touring tire option, then on the same rim you can drop in a 29" x 2.2 trail tire to take you further. If you're in the middle of nowhere and need a tire, there's a lot better chance you'll find a Schwalbe Marathon in 700c/29" than you will that ultralight 650b Road Plus tire that you thought was so cool.

I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with Road Plus, in fact I kind of like it on one of my prototype frames, BUT on the Gypsy 700c/29" is just the right size of tire. 

Speaking of prototypes, I'm working on a few new designs, plus finally getting some of the Vagabonds and B'Stards into the hands of people. Yes I know they're showing as sold out, but Thats because our tiny frame factory can only make so many at a time - and we're filling back orders - So if you'd like one drop me a message and I'll get you one the list!

Name *
Name

Summer is here... Almost.

Right before I jumped on the plane to Asia, we cruised our regular Wednesday ride. A fast spin to the trail head, some rolling fireroad, then the dreaded Mustard Road climb. Sweat pouring as we crested the hill, reminding us that Southern California can be hot, but then also remembering that technically its not summer yet.

I might be a little weird, maybe even masochistic, but I actually enjoy the dry hot southern Californian summers. The mountains call with a reminder to carry extra water and ride early if you're not wanting to subject yourself to 100 degree days in the saddle.

There are people who go to sauna's to sweat out the toxins... for me, I just like to pedal.. Maybe a little slower than winter, but I pedal.

 Under the baking sun

Under the baking sun

Tools for Adventure!

So a couple of weeks ago on Bikepacking.com the question was asked of five people in the bikepacking community, whats in your tool kit. Some of the items were standard, some a little eclectic. But all serve a purpose. 

Right after the story was published, a few others posted their kits on Instagram laying bare their keep them rolling down the road kits and I (of course) jumped in with mine.

Considering I'm a tool nerd, bordering on being a tool hoarder, I consider my personal adventure tool kit to be sufficient to get me back on the trail, without being too heavy. I can get myself back from almost anywhere and maybe survive an apocalypse. On a daily tour basis I use the chain lube, the pump and the Leatherman. The Opinel knife serves duty in the "kitchen" and also for occasional maintenance/repair. For the most part its a get me home kit, with a bias towards fixing tires, as usually thats the first thing to let you down or cause a problem. 

 My tool kit for adventure!

My tool kit for adventure!

So I know what you're asking, whats in the bag?

Opinel #4 mostly for cheese, but sometimes repair
Leatherman Original small - proably the most used tool in the kit
Crank Brothers multi tool
Park Tool mini chain tool
Park Tool multi spoke wrench
Blackburn Mountain pump with Gorilla tape
Finish Line wet chain lube and rag
Spare tire sealant, currently latex but I'll go Finish Line when I replace my tires
Altoids tire repair kit, patches, glue, Superglue, needle/thread for big tire cuts, tire plugs.
Planet BIke Co2 Inflator and 2 16g cartridges
Spare nuts, bolts, chain links, chain connector, disc brake pads, valves.
Spare cable
Spare derailleur hanger

Lastly one of my favorite pieces of kit is my Fiber Fix spoke repair kit. If you've ever broken a spoke you know how much of a pain it can be, Sure you can carry a spare spoke or 2, but then what if you friend breaks spoke, will it fit? What if its behind the freewheel/cassette, do you carry the tools for that? The cool thing about the FIber Fix kit is that it doesn't require you to remove the cassette, or even the wheel. and it fits pretty much any size wheel. While its a repair that good enough to get you to the next town with a bike shop, I once rode over 350 miles with on installed! We carry them in the store and they're cheap (light) insurance.

 Fiber Fix spoke repair kit

Fiber Fix spoke repair kit

So what do you carry on tour? What would you like to se in the Penhale store? Leave us a comment 

Cheers
Andy

Friday Roundup

Friday Roundup

This week was tiring, a little stressful, but exciting all at once. Tiring because we had a lot of work to catch up on after being away at the Sea Otter Classic last week. A little stressful with a few mix ups with our freight forwarders routing of our latest shipment, but exciting, because we received out delivery of the latest batch of frames!

Ride For Rwanda

It's that time of the year again where we all realize that we've not done enough training to ride the 50 Mile Ride for Rwanda and settle on the shorter 25 miler, but whatever your fitness level - if you're in Southern California on April 28th come along for some good times and help raise money for both Team Africa Rising who's mission is to unify African countries through the sport of cycling and Qhubeka who help mobilizie people in Africa through the Power of Bicycles.

We'll be cruising the trails we regularly test Penhale bikes on and you may see a new prototype on the ride if you're really lucky

Come along, have some fun, ride bikes - OH and we're donating a Gypsy frame to the raffle! 

DirtRag Magazine review of the Gypsy frame

Well it took a little while, but we finally have had the Gypsy frame tested in DirtRag magazine. If you're not a subscriber, you should be, its been the one constant print magazine I've kept receiving for over 25 years because they have some awesome stories and an unabashed, honest bike review process. - Check them out here, pick up a copy and see what they think of my favorite bike (its good!) 

Backstreet Brewery Adventure Ride in Anaheim!

We like rides, we like fun rides we like adventurous fun rides and we're working with Backstreet Brewery on a monthly adventure ride. While I know its late, but this Saturday(December 2nd) we're heading out for the first or the rides.

Its the ride for those of you who are - 

1. Free on Saturday for a ride
2. Like beer
3. like to have a magical mystery gravelly adventure ride of about 20ish miles
4. Like good beer
5. Want some Penhale and Backstreet swag

Correct bike for the occasion is whatever you feel like riding. MTB, Cross, Road, you name it, nothing on the route is technical and it’s going to be at a conversational pace. First beer $1, plus most of their other awesome beers at only $5. In the future we'll be bringing along some demo bikes. So if you're interested, come along, its Close to Angels Stadium in Anaheim Ca -  We'll meet at the brewery 9:30am, roll at 10am with beers and good times to follow.

Cheers
Andy

 Map Link - https://goo.gl/maps/6uAdjoP7XMs

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Last of the summer wine

Autumn appeared yesterday, the gray and dreary clouds rolled in with a little moisture in the air. The difference here in southern California versus a lot of the rest of the planet, is that autumn is an elderly lady who can be a little grumpy and stubborn, not wanting to get out from under her grey marine layer until lunch. However once she gets out of bed, out comes the sun and she says "lets break out the that last bottle of the good wine and sit in the sun" 

 Gypsy in the clouds

Gypsy in the clouds

This lower temps means its the start of desert season and some plans for new adventures. If you're planning the same, maybe check out on of our favorite websites Semi-Rad and their 10 basic rules for adventure Brendan has some good rules to keep you safe, keep you moving and keeping your adventure friendships.

We're running low on Gypsy frames, but we still have some small, medium and large frames in stock. In the coming weeks we'll have more in stock, plus more B'Stard and Vagabond frames in stock! The other exciting thing is that we'll have Roadrunner bikepacking bags in stock soon - keep checking out Facebook and Instagram for details when they're in stock!

Don't forget we've got litercages and also Overland Coffee Co pour over packets in stock, use the code SUMMERCAMP2017 for free shipping on any order!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woof Woof!

So it was a great month at Penhale, mostly because our good friends at Underdog Rescue raised a good amount of money at their Barks, Bikes and Brews benefit, that was held at Laguna Beach Beer Company in Rancho Santa Margarita in Orange County Ca. 

Local rider Sean won the Gypsy frame that we had donated to the raffle and we can't wait to see how he builds it. He's been waiting for a chance to get his hands on one and judging by the numbers of raffle tickets in the bag for the frame, he beat out a good number of other people!

 Sean, winner of the Underdog Rescue raffle.

Sean, winner of the Underdog Rescue raffle.

Speaking of which, customer rides are a cool thing to see. I love to see how people build their frames, Martin put together a pretty solid adventure build on the frame he picked up earlier in the year, super simple and versatile. I hope you agree!

 Martin's Gypsy Adventure Gypsy.

Martin's Gypsy Adventure Gypsy.

Its going to be a busy month, we have more Gypsy framesets coming in, plus a limited number of Vagabond and B'Stard frames coming in a few weeks, plus some more accessories on the site for sale - in addition to the Overland Coffee Co, pour over packets and the Widefoot Designs Litercages 

Don't forget to check us out on Instagram and Facebook and like, follow and say hi - and keep you to date with happenings here.

Cheers
Andy

 

Underdog to the Rescue - Bikes, Barks and Brews!

Its no secret that at Penhale we love dogs, and what could be better than mixing saving shelter dogs with bikes and beers! This weekend Underdog Rescue  are hosting their Barks, Bikes and Brews benefit at Laguna Beach Beer Company in Rancho Santa Margarita in Orange County Ca. to raise money to rescue shelter dogs. Ride starts at 10am for those adventurous types, along local trails then back to the brewery for the benefit! There are plenty of cool raffle prizes along with a Gypsy frameset! Click on the link or the pictures or the links to get info on thise Saturday's event. Come along, ride your bike, drink a beer or 2, win some prizes and support Underdog's great cause!

Java, Java, Java...

Its no secret that I like coffee and it's no secret that I like really good coffee for breakfast in camp. The issue has always been that good coffee meant dragging along a ton off gear - that was until our friends at Overland Coffee introduced us to their prototype Pour Over Packets. 

My brew kit used to consist of stove, pot, cup, grinder, silicone pour over, filters, oh and not forgetting a bag of beans. After we got the new pour over packets that all changed.  

Overland Coffee Pourover

We worked with Overland to test the packets and we've been super happy. Fresh ground coffee, sealed in a nitro flushed pouch ready for your next adventure. Tear off the top, anchor over your mug, then pour your hot water for a great cup of coffee. 

Brewing up adventure

Head over to the shop to check out the five packs of one of my favorite coffees, ready for the trail!

That time of year again, its the Ride for Rwanda!

Seems like it was only a few months ago when I posted about the Ride for Rwanda, Its an awesome event here in Southern California, that raises money for the Rwanda Project supporting both Team Africa Rising, unifying Africa through cycling and also World Bicycle Relief getting bikes into Rwanda helping people gain freedom through 2 wheel transportation.

We'll be there again, riding our home trails with our friends and supporting a great cause. Plus if you come along for the raffle we donated a Gypsy frame to the cause!

Come along and you'll get the choice to ride 10, 25 or 50 miles, all on the trails that we test our bikes on, here in Orange County. Head over to 50mr.com and Even if you don't ride, buy some raffle tickets, come drink a beer in the beer garden and enjoy the party! Mark your calendars for April 29th, we'll be there stop buy our booth and say hi, grab some stickers and maybe a t-shirt!

Quit your job, go ride bikes.

I looked at the calendar the other day, well actually it was a Linkedin message to say that someone sent me a message congratulating me on my work anniversary. By work anniversary it was a congratulations on leaving the corporate bike world and joining the independent (can't guarantee your next paycheck bike world) 

I worked for most of my life in the USA (since 1998) in the corporate bike world, from engineering, to retail sales, to product manager, and while there were great times, there were also bad ones as well. When I "left" my last job there was an immense feeling of weight lifted from me, no 8-5, no one constantly looking over my shoulders, no office door that needed to be shut so I could think, a feeling of freedom. 

 

It took me a couple of years to decide that the Penhale Bicycle Co should come to be, building bikes the way I thought they needed to be, sold the way that I thought they needed to be sold and selling to like-minded people. 

Now I get the time to ride (for the most part) I travel less for work and more for pleasure. I still work my ass off, but its for my benefit - and for you dear readers - rather than for the benefit of managers and bosses who often look more at the bottom line rather than what's good for everyone. 

As workers we should demand more free time, more time away from our computers and phones, often its expected that we answer messages on our phones in the wee hours, spend evenings half watching crap on TV while we respond to emails on our phones. There's a movement in Europe to make it illegal for employers to have employees work after hours at home, in France employees have the right to not answer their messages after hours - i.e. the right to disconnect  While there are lots of other issues surrounding the legislation, being able to shut off and enjoy life is important, after all do we work to live? or live to work. Unfortunately for many it's the latter.

So take a look at what you do, if you're unhappy with it - make a change, maybe even take a note out of Dirty from DrunkCyclist.com's book and tell your boss to go F' themselves - in the nicest possible way.

For me, I'm heading to Baja on Monday, in the Jeep with the bike and some like minded friends, why? because my boss is cool like that, and I'm not exactly missing work Bob

Andy

 

 

Spring has sprung!

It's been a busy month here, trying to get everything in place for what we hope to be a great 2017 full of bikes and new adventures. We have Gypsy frames in stock, plus there are t-shirts and the ever so awesome LiterCages in the store and ready to ship - use the code adventures2017 for free shipping on anything in stock! 

If you follow Bikepacker magazine, you may have seen the first look that Will Scheel posted on the Gypsy test bike that we sent them - check out Will's story on the bike here! 

You should also give him a follow in Instagram, at Will_On_2_Wheels Oh and you should also give our brand ambassador Trev a follow at BikePackingTrev and while you're there we've got our own Instagram PenhaleBicycleCo

The rains seem to finally have subsided, flowers are blooming here in Southern California, time to start getting more longer rides in, hopefully inspiring people to get out the door and explore. 

Cheers

Andy

Sometimes you're the hammer sometimes you're the nail.

 Erm... thats a deep hole.

Erm... thats a deep hole.

Sometimes you're the hammer sometimes you're the nail, or so the saying goes. Today I rode a short 30 miles, but my legs feel like it was 100. Part of the problem was my choice of route, head to the beach then back through one of the wilderness parks home.

The first part was pretty easy, pedal, tail wind, head down knock out the first 10 tarmac miles. Bounce off the side to the bike trail, hit some secret access stuff, only to realize that the recent storms had washed out a good 100 yards. Plan B, ok lets make a right turn to Albuquerque.

Past the stables, past the idiots letting their animals run free, 2 horses, countless dogs, all on a paved bike trail. Galloping horses with no riders freak me out a little. Into the back of San Juan Capistrano and avoid the Sunday looky-looers by jumping into the dirt.

Pedal behind the school to my favorite little river crossing. There I found a couple trying to drag their e-bikes across the foot deep water, breach cruiser type e-bikes at that. Problem is they were taking up the trail, so good samaritan me offers to help. Mr Napoleon complex was shaking in the water with barely a front wheel in, I marched in grabbed the bike to screams of "don't get the motor wet!!!" Don't worry mes amis, as I hoisted it out of the water. Back on my bike to no thanks, thats a goodnight from me and a goodnight from him.

I had high hopes of low water in the Arroyo and to a certain extent I was right. No Andy, there isn't any water in those 3 foot deep channels carved across the trail. just slop, mud, slippy rock land mines, but hey my feet were already wet. 

Into one puddle, splat, guess I'll not be drinking from that water bottle... Squelch, I hope my shoe follows my foot. Fling, mmmm straight in my mouth. I guess I've had my USDA recommended mineral intake today, hope the giardia hasn't had time to thumb a ride.

It was at this point I was reflecting on my choice to go this way, on my Gypsy with my favorite slick tires, at least they didn't pick up too much mud. 2 miles of slid slide and push, rather than hike a bike, my back wasn't happy, quads burning, calves were toight like a toiger. As soon as I had the option I said F'it and headed to higher ground.

3 1/2 hours, 30 miles, a bike to clean and some trails I'll not be riding for a while, all in all a good Sunday ride.

Builds, Bikes and Bits

Gypsy

The other day I was working on some nuts and bolts stuff, looking out the window and pondering a ride in the torrential rain. I was asked on an email about why I set up my Gypsy the way I do, dirt tires? drop bars? Triple chainring? It was like the whole world was going to implode with the wrongness. 

So what was so wrong? I like triple cranksets, I'm not a small guy and I like to ride long distances on varying terrain, that means a front derailleur... apparently the most hated of bicycle mechanisms. But I have a soft spot for this poor maligned piece of componentry and it means I have gears, for every eventuality, well that assumes I have the strength to pedal up the climb in my 22 - 32 gear. 

Oh wait, 9 speed? really? Yup, its simple and reliable. Shifted by bar end shifter? What is this 1988? Beauty is if I damage anything anywhere in the world I can flip the shifter to friction and replace the parts with anything I can buy locally. I have a soft spot for Shimano TY-20... Yay for $15 derailleurs. But I run 9 spd Shimano XT derailleurs along with my Truvativ Stylo OCT crank, I love, 22-32-44 is a nice number along with an XT 11-32 cassette, not forgetting the rusty and cheap Shimano pedals that I can't kill... there' jinxed them

My bars are a nice comfy prototype bar that I'm playing with, yes they're flared offroad drops, oh and they're 25.4mm clamp diameter just to scare people away, again I'm a big guy and I've not bent them yet. They offer a comfort that 31.8mm bars don't, but don't worry I'll offer them in both sizes for those who care. 

Saddle, WTB Pure V of course, it even has titanium rails, nice and fancy. 2 layers of bar tape on the bars for a little extra comfort. Slowing my fat arse down are some TRP Hylex hydraulic drop bar brakes. My arse needs all the help it can get.

Oh wheels, I do like my Novatec Flow trails, a nice 29'er wheels, so unfashionable for your mountain bike but perfect for your Gypsy, you know you want one!  They're a little wider than some, tubeless, solid hubs and you can service them in the middle of nowhere... How do I know? Things got weird and crunchy in the desert, 10 minutes later they were pulled apart on the side of the trail and I didn't lose anything. On those wheels I'll either run my favorite fat Resist Nomad slicks, these tires are awesome. No puncture protection - its overrated and usually doesn't work. They're freakin fast and light, 700c x 45 tire thats 500g? We'll be selling them soon. But then I like things dirty, so most of the time I have some tubeless 29 x 2.0 WTB Nine Lines, I've for a ton of miles on my current set, can you say semi slick? 

I am partial to my personal Gypsy frame, its got a ton of miles on it... its a bit rusty, probably because there's no paint or even clear coat on it, Don't worry the production frames have a cool nickel plated finish that'll put up with pretty much anything you can dish out. Its got a generation 1 Gypsy fork on it, just because I can. Its the bike I jump on when I roll to the grocery store - you can fill a Revelate frame bag with a lot of donuts and beer in there if I put on the full bag, its a party! There's always at least 2 bottle cages on it, plus the Widefoot Design Liter cage that we sell here - 1 liter growler of beer? Yes please. Sometimes its a Livelong Brewery growler, sometimes its one from Cismontane Brewing 

That's the machine, nothing fancy, but if you ever jump on one you'll understand why Trev, myself and numerous customers love to ride it. If you feel like you want to join in the adventures head here and type in adventures2017 for free shipping within the continental US, not just on in stock frames but t-shirts and parts as well. 

Oh and if you buy a frame and have some great adventures let us know and we'll feature it either on the blog, or the adventures page and of course the other usual social media suspects.

Cheers

Andy

 

 

Dirty Side of SART

Today I planned to ride the SART (Santa Ana River Trail) well at least the first 27 miles from Huntingdon Beach to the top of Yorba Linda. The SART in Orange County Ca, is a trial built alongside a man made concrete drainage channel, over a 100m wide in places. It was build to diver flood waters from the mountains out to sea, instead of filling the flood plain that Orange County is built on. That in turn gives a nice 50ish mile ride, with the option of riding a lot of gravel if you pick the opposite side to the main paved trail.

Well that idea quickly vaporized at the first blockage, only 3 miles from the beach. Not from debris from the recent storms, or construction (they're in the middle of dragging out tons of silt from the concrete flood channel - if you like watching Cat D9 bulldozers run in a meter of water, you know where to go! The issue came from the homeless encampment that was sprawled across the trail. I'm not going to blame the homeless for changing my ride plans, but it does seem like the encampments along the drainage channel have exploded in size sine I last  rode it, not long after a Facebook acquaintance Dennis Ordaway wrote about the issues here   

I've no idea what the solution is as people in hard places need to live somewhere. The OC Register reported about the locking of the gates along the bike path last August to stop people camping out, and in October they reported on the new shelter in Santa Ana Oh and if you have a little time you can read the County's 10 year plan for ending homelessness in the OC here - but the thing is there seem to be more people sleeping rough, I felt guilty for feeling put out that I couldn't ride a small section of trail. As someone who considers them self an adventurer and a traveller I can choose to sleep outside, I can choose to worry about wether I will be able to stay warm and dry tonight. But in the end I can come home to my wife and my dog, take a hot shower, eat a nice meal and sleep in a warm dry bed.

I need to put my thinking cap on and see if there's something we can do, if you have some ideas please comment, but in the meantime lets give a thought to those who are sleeping rough tonight not by choice.

Cheers

Andy