Road Tripping SoCal and Visiting Brands
Part I: Company Stops
Words & Photos by Chili Dog
With a long, cold winter wearing away at the northern part of the Wolf Pack, things were looking pretty bleak. The Southern California crew took pity from their towels on the warm SoCal beaches and invited the bedraggled northerners down for a week in the sun. We decided there was no better way to spend the week than a road trip down to San Diego, visiting a few brands along the way before ending up at Strait Acres to stay with Kyle and Rachael Strait. Despite the pervasive car culture that has made SoCal’s traffic famous, it is a mountain bike hub with a massive number trails and brands. You just have to know where to look. And be ready to sit in some traffic to get there.
After battling the 405 freeway for an hour or so we got into the flow and before long our stomachs were rumbling, it was time for a burrito pit stop. At a random whim we pulled off the I-5 just before Carlsbad. Lucky for us, Drew has a knack for judging things at face value. The sign was all it took for us to make a hard turn into the El Molino De Oro. A quaint little Mexican restaurant and panaderia. Our guess paid off with some of the best burritos and pastries we’ve had in a long time.
After filling up, it was time to head to our first stop, Commencal’s North American headquarters. The European brand’s HQ just finished moving to Colorado, but we managed to catch them just before everything got packed up. Although the showroom was mostly empty, there were just enough bikes for us to drool over.
We weren’t the only ones drooling over the bikes either as Stephane had to take break from giving us the nickel tour to help out a young dad who came in looking for a new bike with his son. The boy’s face lit up, his smile growing to an impossible size as he held Commencal’s grom-sized Supreme Jr. in his hands. It made us remember walking into a bike shop to buy our first bike. Granted they were nowhere near as capable as today’s grom machines. We decided to let the crew continue packing for the upcoming move and mounted up for the next stop.