For four years running now, the annual spring convocation of cycling, the Sea Otter Classic, has enjoyed stellar weather as it draws crowds to the Monterey Peninsula. I’ve visited the event most years since 1997, and I can’t recall such an ongoing stretch of great weather as these last few years. For each of the four days of the event temperatures reached the mid to upper 70s and the skies stretched cloudless, showing the blue of a booby’s feet.
For the first five years I went to the event, I was there strictly to race. Most years, though, I’d find a window in which to wander the expo area. Back then, my wandering would take 30 minutes. If I gave myself an hour, I could see everything—twice. By comparison, even without doing one of the gran fondos on Saturday, I still don’t feel like I saw everyone or everything I had hoped to.
This year, I decided that during those windows in which I didn’t have a dedicated mission, I’d try wander the expo with fresh eyes and see what caught my attention. I’ve been hearing about Scott Montgomery’s (yes he of Cannondale and Scott fame) latest endeavor, called Club Ride. I’ve been noticing an increasing number of riders on the road in what has traditionally been considered mountain bike apparel. My takeaway is that as many people enter cycling many of them struggle to accept the idea of wearing Lycra, but have in some cases at least come around to the idea of technical wear for increased comfort.
Giro’s “New Road” line and Club Ride’s assortment are fresh takes on what technical wear can be. I don’t see myself doing a group ride in this stuff, but I would happily wear it for running errands on my bike and when going for a ride to the park with my son. If the next CicLAvia doesn’t conflict with my schedule (Which genius thought it would be a good idea to plan it for during the LA Times Festival of Books? But I digress.) I’d wear this sort of stuff for the outing.
Challenge has long made great tires, often for other manufacturers. Recently, they began a more concerted push to market their products here in the U.S. With the burgeoning acceptance of riding dirt roads on road bikes, even when ‘cross isn’t in season (Or is ‘cross always in season now?), the 32mm-wide Grifo XS made me lust for roads unpaved. Its stablemate, the 27mm-wide Paris Roubaix, looked like it would be at home on hard pack or the local group ride.
So if you’ve ever wanted to drink beer, go for a ride, burn calories and NOT get pulled over for a DUI, the brain trust at Sierra Nevada has the perfect solution. You pedal and drink while someone else does the steering. Somehow I think you could drink beer faster than you could burn it off, even with the aid of this contraption, but being wrong has rarely been as likely to be as fun.
I’ve been following the work of the folks at Alchemy Bicycles since before I first met any of the guys at NAHBS. I’ve seen their work improve and evolve to the point that I think it’s fair to say they are doing something fresh and new in carbon fiber. The bikes I saw at Sea Otter featured unidirectional carbon fiber cut in artful shapes to give the bikes an unusually artful look. I can say I’ve never seen any work like this anywhere else.
Even when they paint the bikes the paint lines are crisp and reflect a honed aesthetic.
The work on the top tube on this bike deserves to be shot in a photo studio to capture all the beauty and detail, but even outside, I was blown away with what I saw. It’s a refreshing departure to spraying the bike one solid color or wrapping the whole thing in 3k or 12k weave. While I still need to learn a lot more about their current work, I’m coming to the conclusion that they are doing some of the most advanced work in carbon fiber, at least on the appearance side, but maybe on the construction side as well.
I’m not your typical guy in that I don’t spend Saturdays and Sundays each fall watching football while consuming 6000 calories as I sit on a couch. However, I am still some variety of guy and that means I do have a thing for tools and tool boxes. The Topeak Mobile PrepStation is a mobile work station. It includes 40 professional-grade tools that fit into water jet-cut foam forms in three trays. The bottom bucket is good for larger spare parts and any additional tools you might need, while the top tray is great for sorting any small parts you may need to keep on hand, such as quick release springs. And while this $895 rig is really meant for mechanics working event support, in it I see the genius of being able to put away all your tools and then have the whole shebang roll into a corner. I’ve witnessed many a household where the more the bike stuff got put away the happier the real head of the household was.
This Ag2r Team-Edition Focus Izalco comes in SL and Pro versions. The SL is equipped with Campy Record EPS, an FSA cockpit and Fulcrum Racing Speed 50 carbon tubulars; at $9800, it ain’t cheap, but that’s a lot of bike for the money. The Pro is equipped with Campy Chorus, an FSA/Concept cockpit and Fulcrum WH-CEX 6.5 wheels. It retails for only $3800. Honestly, there’s not another bike company that delivers as much bike for the price, though Felt comes close. I can’t figure out why I’m not seeing more of these on the road.
Cervelo has just introduced a new P3. While I haven’t seen wind tunnel specs or anything like that, I’m told this bike is both UCI-legal and faster. The UCI-bit I could give a moth’s wings about, but faster, well that always makes my mouth water. Apparently, some Cervelo purists complained about the new seat tube shape, but from an industrial design standpoint, I think this bike is really gorgeous. That said, I can observe that the hydraulic brakes spec’d on that bike aren’t easy to work on. The version shown here with Dura-Ace mechanical and Mavic Cosmic Elites goes for $5400 and is already shipping.
I have this belief that when I have to pay to do an event, that’s my time. And if I’m on my time, I’m not obligated to do anything other than ride. It has happened that on a few occasions I have chosen to write about the experience afterward, but because I paid to be there, I wasn’t obligated. It doesn’t change what I might write, but it does affect the urgency I feel about getting a piece up, post haste. This year, the Sea Otter organizers declined to grant me an entry for either gran fondo, so I took the opportunity to do a reconnaissance ride of the cross country course with Brian Vaughn and Yuri Hauswald of GU. We pulled over at a couple of points for them to give riders tips less on how often to fuel than where they could fuel, given the challenge of the course. I’ve heard a lot of bright people talk about how to fuel for races and hard rides and these two guys offered fantastic strategic thinking on how to stay on the gas even while staying fueled. Given the way I’ve been riding, this was a good deal more fun than trying to drill it for hours. And I definitely learned a trick or two.
Of course, strategic thinking about how to be a good athlete got short-circuited every time this thing came by in the expo. If there was more fun being had by adults than this, it Ninja’d by me in sunlight bright enough to burn my scalp through hair. I did encounter some great skin-care products, but I didn’t see a conditioner with an SPF factor. Someone needs to get on that before next year.
“The time has come,” the Roadie said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes—and clips—and single-tracks—
Of baby heads—and springs—
And why the trail sucks every watt—
And whether your freehub sings.”
—With all due apologies to the wonderful Lewis Carroll.
Other than last week’s post about the new 29er from BMC, it’s been a long time since I was last paid to write about the sport of mountain biking. It’s not that I wasn’t into mountain bikes or riding off road. Prior to moving to California and joining the staff of Bicycle Guide I spent half my time riding off road. But because BG was a road publication and freelancing was verboten, I didn’t do any writing about mountain bikes while there. Later, I sold my beloved Merlin mountain bike as I did everything possible to generate capital for my magazine Asphalt. After a while, it’s been so long since you’ve written about something it’s hard to convince an editor you’re the right guy.
I realized something recently. That hostility that used to exist between mountain bikers and roadies (and vice versa) has either died down or just never made much sense to most of you. It’s been apparent from our Friday Group Rides that many of you still own and ride mountain bikes. Heck, for a few of you, you’re mountain bikes are your favorite bikes. It seems if we were to include a bit of mountain content here and there the chance of a full-scale readership exodus is unlikely (though I could find myself deleting this post Saturday if we get four hits between now and dinner Friday).
So I sold some bikes on Ebay and picked up a Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper FSR 29er which was being turned over as part of a demo fleet.
My first ride on the bike was Saturday’s off-road gran fondo at the Sea Otter Classic. My form isn’t what you (or anyone) would call stellar, so rather than race—or do the full-distance road gran fondo—I thought it would be advisable that I sign up for the two-hour guided tour, so-to-speak. I spend a lot of time talking about how a new bike can make the sport fresh again, how even a really perfect piece of gear can brighten an ordinary ride. Riding that Stumpy over the fire roads and singletrack of Laguna Seca and Fort Ord was pretty close to taking up a whole new sport—and not sucking at it. And that’s the thing: the combination of 29-inch wheels, full suspension and 130mm of travel front and rear (as opposed to the 80mm travel of my old Rock Show Judy) allowed me to sail through stuff that would have given me a good deal of trouble on my old bike. Like I said, a whole new sport.
It may be that this is the nation’s only off-road gran fondo. I can’t say that for certain, but I’ve done a fair amount of checking. And while it may seem that calling an off-road fun ride a gran fondo is silly, I suspect that the term “gran fondo” did a lot to bring in riders who wanted a chance to ride the fire roads and trails in the area without having to enter a race—or get in the way of one. There didn’t seem to be that many riders at the start, but the finish sheet indicates there were more than 300 riders who completed the event, a bit less than half the size of the road event.
The course was essentially the cross country course with an extra, four-mile loop added on. Late in the cross country when riders begin the long climb back toward Laguna Seca, the gran fondo turns off to take an even steeper climb then tosses in a brief descent before rejoining the race course. All in all, the course had four sustained climbs to give you 3000 feet of climbing in just 20 miles. The longest single flat on the entire course came as you exited the one sag stop on the ride. It was 200 meters, tops.
Now to give you some idea of just how steep some of this terrain is, I won’t bother telling you about which climbs I flamed out on and had to walk because I couldn’t maintain either my direction or traction (there weren’t many, but there were a few). I think this will tell you more: Near the start there is a gravel descent that hits 13 percent. It’s pretty smooth and bends slightly to the right. My Garmin tells me I did 42 mph there. Strava thinks I only did 40.4, but what the hell. That’s got to be 10 mph faster than I’ve ever gone on a mountain bike (off road) before.
Did I mention I wasn’t nervous?
Normally, when I write up my experience at a gran fondo I like to give the arc of the day in broad strokes. The road gran fondo there is flat for a long way, then has a few steep rollers, then a long false flat climb that eventually turns into a real climb to Cahoon Summit followed by a descent into Carmel Valley where none of the drivers are interested in making room for cyclists, then a steep climb up Laureles Grade before the descent back to Hwy 68 and the climb back into Laguna Seca. Honestly, my memory of the off road gran fondo is just a blur of up and down and twisty. Not that I mind. The views were ever changing and the other riders present were really nice, even when they were passing my broken self.
In talking with other riders I heard a single complaint, one that was echoed by some of the riders of the road gran fondo. How can riders who did two different events on the same day have the same complaint you ask? Easy. They were forced to choose either the road or off-road gran fondo. They couldn’t do both, which would have been possible if, for instance, the road event was Saturday and the off-road event was held on Sunday. I heard from plenty of riders that they would have done both. Until someone complained, the thought hadn’t even occurred to me. I gotta admit, I’d have tried to carve out time enough to at least do the medio fondo (which is what they call the medium-length, 100km or so option in Italy). No Virginia, they aren’t all “gran” fondos.
So why bother paying an entry to a non-competitive off-road ride? Easy. It’s a chance to ride somewhere you don’t know at all and not have to worry about maps or even route slips. You can ride as hard or as easy as you want and you’ll have company for it. And then there are the touches like the fresh strawberries at the rest stop; there was other food there, but I had so many strawberries, I honestly don’t recall what else, besides some granola, was available. You know that won’t be sitting out on the trail waiting for you to show up.
I’m really hoping that next year they split the gran fondo to separate days so that I can do both, provided my fitness returns.
In telling members of my family that I was headed to Monterey for a week—without my wife or son—there were, inevitably, questions about just what my justification was. How important could a bike event that wasn’t the Tour de France be? My response helped make fresh an event I’ve been going to for something like 15 years.
I told family and non-cycling friends that the Sea Otter Classic has more different types of racing in one place than any other event I’ve ever attended—nay, any event I’ve ever heard of. Early on, it was a mountain bike event. Then it added a couple of road events. Today, it’s much, much more. It’s easier to define what it doesn’t have than all that it does; other than cyclocross (which would be kinda silly in spring), all that’s missing is BMX (no track) and track (they did try running some events in San Jose a few years back, but that seemed to be a bridge too far). What really helped round out the festival, making it more non-racer friendly was the addition of two gran fondos, one on-road, the other off-road.
The real glue holding the event together seems less the racing than the expo. The Sea Otter was made in the mold of the season opener of the 1990s, the Cactus Cup and the old NORBA Nationals in Big Bear and Mammouth Mountain. Those events drew spectators in a way other races failed to achieve thanks in no small part to the expo areas they hosted. Today, Sea Otter is something of a spring Outdoor Demo. Companies like SRAM use it as an opportunity to launch products so they can achieve attention for products that either weren’t ready or might have gotten lost in the shuffle of Eurobike or Interbike. Sea Otter’s expo is so large that what you could easily get through in an afternoon 14 years ago can now require a methodical approach spanning three days.
Did I mention, it’s fun as hell?
Perhaps nothing has done more to cement in my mind the idea that the Sea Otter is one of the best events in cycling, an event that can draw anyone with even the slightest interest in things two-wheeled than the photo that leads this post. Last year I wrote a feature for peloton magazine about the New England bike industry and one of the most significant figures within it was mountain bike pioneer Chris Chance. I spent two months trying to find Chance. No dice. Then, as I’m talking to John Neugent of Neuvation Cycling fame, Chance walks up and says hi. I had no idea that John had helped Chris get his job at Witcomb Cycles working with Richard Sachs and Peter Weigle.
File this under “you can’t make this up”: Chance lives in mountain bike heaven these days. He’s in Marin County. And I’ve got his business card.
This year my role was a good bit different than in years past. While I still played journalist to some degree, checking out new products, much of my job was in support of our two ad guys, Roger Wotton and recent addition Nick Ramey. Nick has joined us to help land advertising for Charles Pelkey’s Live Update Guy. Rather than paying Charles a flat contributor fee the way most freelancers are treated, we’re treating him like the star that he is: we’ll be paying him a percentage of the ad revenue. Why do I mention this? Well, the companies that have expressed interest in advertising on LUG are interested precisely because it’s Charles. We hope you’ll think kindly of those companies once we are able to sign a contract or two.
The closest thing to a failing the event has is that sometimes the racing seems like a sideshow, or worse, a distraction when compared to the expo. It can be jarring to walk by the many tents set up and see some racer straddling a bike, clearly still out of breath from a recently finished event. But the image above really speaks to my love of the event. It’s a chance to bump into cycling (not just industry) friends. And Rapha, by the way, took the opportunity to use Sea Otter to introduce a few new products. I wore the brand new bib shorts and will soon try their new base layers. They also have a new series of casual shirts (it’s kind of insulting to call them T-shirts) that speak to the company’s love of the history of the sport. You’ll hear more about those very soon.
Then there’s the stuff you never expected to see, like this creation from Paul Sadoff, or the stunning Ibis Maximus. Sadoff rescued some S&S couplers from a damaged bike and then used a bunch of other scraps and orphaned parts to build up this bike for little other than his labor.
Unfortunately, I missed some friends and a few companies that were showing stuff I was really interested in because I had to skedaddle (only time you’ll hear that verb on this blog, I promise) for home and a book signing (no pictures, thank heaven) on Saturday afternoon. I’ll be honest, the LA Times Festival of Books was the only thing that could get me to leave Sea Otter early.
And this year was the first year I rode off-road at Laguna Seca … ever. What the hell is the world coming to? Stay tuned, I’ll tell you more.
Just days before heading to the Monterey Peninsula for my annual pilgrimage to the world’s most unpredictable weather, I had a conversation with a friend about gran fondos. He, like many, was under the impression that a gran fondo was just a fancy pants name for a century. Why calling a century a century was no longer good enough was the only question on his mind.
He had a point, really. I’d rather engage a conversation of why to use the term “sportif” instead of “gran fondo” but just what distinguishes a gran fondo or sportif from a century isn’t as clear to riders as it ought to be, and blame there rests on event organizers. I’ll come back to why later.
This was the first time I would ride an organized event as part of the Sea Otter since I last raced the event as a masters rider in 2001. That year, on the opening descent out of Laguna Seca, the same descent that opened this year’s gran fondo, we were single file and I had wound out my 53×12 going 50 mph—and it’s not a particularly steep downhill. The leisurely start to this gran fondo was a good bit more my speed. We had several hundred riders for the 93-mile gran fondo, not the several thousand the weekend before at the Colnago Gran Fondo and with no VIPs to turn up the heat early, we relaxed behind the Nissan Leaf lead vehicle.
The single most important thing I can say about the gran fondo is that it boasts one of the prettiest gran fondo courses I’ve ridden. It is a perfect statement of central California riding. The opening 40 miles were countertop flat and as we rode over the chip and seal farm roads I enjoyed flashbacks to the spring road races I’d do in the San Joaquin Valley. It was all the beauty with only 1/3 the suffering.
After the second rest stop (our first actual stop) the course began to undulate, taking in the area’s rolling hills. Driving the group were Andrew and Alex from Bicycling and VeloNews, respectively. They enjoyed the fitness of two guys who race weekend in and out. Clif Bar’s founder Gary Erickson had been riding with our group but made the briefest of appearances at the rest stop. I think he took on water and nothing else before rolling out. I could see tubes of Shot Bloks with the ends snipped off protruding from his jersey pockets.
By the time we caught back up to Gary, the group had been whittled down to fewer than a dozen riders. The hills here were brief, usually 50 meters or so, but often with pitches as steep as seven or eight percent. The winter and spring rains meant the fields and hillsides were all painted vivid pastoral green. Gary looked over his shoulder, saw us, soft pedaled for a few seconds until we caught him on the hill and then he stood up to accelerate into the group. I’ve heard that he was a strong rider, but I hadn’t expected that he would ride as judiciously as a racer. Moments later, we caught two other riders who had been with him and that’s when something broke loose. It may have been hell.
I was at the back, having just completed a pull before we hit the hill and after Gary joined us the resident Bicycling gear editor applied a bit of pressure. Guys started to blow and I found myself locked in traffic like Tom Boonen on the Haaghoek, watching Fabian Cancellara ride away. After working through the traffic I put my head down and drilled it for the next 5k or so. So long as Andrew or Alex weren’t on the front, I’d make up time on the sextet, but as soon as one of them went to the front, the gap would grow. Watching the group yo-yo from 100 meters to 50 meters and back again was, um, well, it wasn’t my favorite.
Just as I was ready to wave the white flag a group of five riders caught me coming off one of the rollers but once the group came to within 30 or 40 meters, guys started trying to jump across on their own. Really? No one made it. I sat up. Then I made the right turn onto Carmel Valley Road and crossed the speed trap.
That seemed as good a time as any to start recovering. I was 10 miles, give or take, from the course’s high point, Cahoon Summit, but with the exception of the final three miles of the climb, the headwind was more difficult than the grade. The road was secluded, the rolling countryside dotted with trees and few structures. And in a stroke of cosmic justice, just as I started to feel good, the road turned up for the final three miles of climbing to Cahoon Summit; it was here that the road felt like a true climb. Less than 500 meters from the top riders were treated to a sweeping view of the Carmel Valley.
The descent off the mountain was pretty relaxing with one short and steep exception. I spent most of the next 20 miles chatting with the ride director of the Gran Fondo Colnago Philadelphia, Brian Ignatin, who comments here under the ID Touriste-Routier, the name given to the privateers who were allowed to enter the Tour de France during its early days. He’s an insightful guy I don’t spend nearly enough time with and he, like me, struggles with some neck issues as a result of years of racing, so we had lots to talk about.
In general, the course was so devoid of stop lights and stop signs due to its rural nature that two of the only occasions I put a foot down were for rest stops. So when we rolled into the village of Carmel Valley and cars began to buzz our single-file paceline, the earlier hours of peace shattered like a dropped lightbulb. We were so eager to get out of the crush of traffic that we skipped the final rest stop. Not my first choice.
As the group broke up on the 6k climb up Laureles Grade the wide shoulder gave us plenty of insulation from the traffic. But it was here that I finally regretted bringing only a 23, even with the aid of a compact. The course contained yet another surprise though. The descent of Laureles Grade drops riders off right at the main entrance to Laguna Seca, making for an as-advertised 93-mile route. We were, instead, routed in via York Road but to get to South Boundary road we were forced to dismount and walk around a chain-link fence on a narrow patch of dirt because someone didn’t open a gate for us. Had there been 3000 riders, that would have turned into a goat parade as the strip of dirt was strictly a single-file affair.
Once onto the road into Laguna Seca we joined with riders finishing the medio fondo route and an incessant stream of cars and trucks entering and exiting the venue. Why we were on that road defies explanation and the drivers were no more accommodating there than in Carmel Valley and my need to pass the slower medio fondo riders put me further into the road than I relished. At one point, the crush of vehicles waiting to park forced me onto the gravel shoulder. Couldn’t organizers close one road for an hour or two to let us live through the experience? The final turns were confusing—in part due to cones meant to direct traffic, not us—and lacked enough volunteers to make our return to the finish line as clear as possible, or even advisable.
Though I only stopped twice, my experience with the food was terrific. I enjoyed some bite-sized panini of smoked salmon and cheese, plus some real gourmet cookies. While the chocolate tangerine was really good, my favorite was the molasses ginger. There was plenty of water, some soda—Shasta?—and Heed. The soda would have benefitted from ice, though. As happens with so many organized events, the energy drinks, whether Cytomax, Gatorade or Heed, were mixed rather weakly. You couldn’t count on the Heed for adequate calorie replacement.
Signage throughout the route was terrific; a route sheet was unnecessary, as it should be. I can only recall two intersections that really would have benefitted from police control. That’s really impressive route design in my book. Next year, I hope the organizers will spring for some police assistance. Additionally, it seems that the residents of Carmel Valley might have benefitted from greater notification of our presence. Had thousands of riders been passing through the village, rather than the dozen or so I was with, I think things might have been significantly more hostile. A police presence would definitely be necessary.
So why isn’t a gran fondo a century? The mass start and course control are the defining characteristics. The Sea Otter Gran Fondo got the mass start right and as I mentioned the course didn’t require much stopping, but controlled intersections give riders a very different experience. They’re meant to make cycling a big celebration, and in that regard I think the Sea Otter Classic already had that part right.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the ride was the post-event meal. Free food? Just point me to it. I was so hungry I went straight to the tent holding the feast and sat on a picnic table in my chamois.
All in all, it was a terrific event and with a few minor changes—course control, more marketing, ice, a smaller number plate and no ridiculous dismounts—could make this event a real jewel among California gran fondos.
There once was a time when if you weren’t racing at Sea Otter, you were busy watching other people race. Those days aren’t entirely gone, but I was busy enough in the expo area that I was, at best, only marginally aware that bike racing was going on. Weirder still was the weekend’s climate, and I’m not talking psychology.
Warm temps? Check.
Little wind? Check.
In twelve years of attending the Sea Otter, it was the best weather I’ve ever experienced in Monterey. I didn’t think Monterey could be this nice in April. It was as surprising as a 70-degree day in January in Boston. As if.
There were plenty of bike industry VIPs around, from the ubiquitous Gary Fisher to Specialized CEO Mike Sinyard, above.
The expo is colossal fun. Clif and other energy food producers can keep you snack happy, at least until you go get a burrito or some barbecue. I paid $6 for the finest, handmade, limeade of my entire life. I’ve spent less on a glass of wine and been less satisfied, too.
The kids flocked to the Sea Otter with such magnetism that parents and non-parents alike howled with laughter. From races to slides and a bouncer, the kids had plenty to do (read: wear them out). I don’t think I’ve been to a more family-friendly bike event. I wished the wife and little guy were with me.
I love checking out the mechanics’ setups and have discussed with some of them just how they set up their cases to promote quick and effective work. We also discussed case weight. The ten and 12-inch cases can be heavy. Super-heavy, in fact.
The autographs are a cool touch. I should have thought of that years ago.
Brad Harper of Harper Sports has made the transition from making inline skate boots to also offering cycling shoes. Why care? They are custom unlike anything else I’ve seen. He takes a mold of the rider’s foot. Yes, $1200 is a lot for a pair of shoes, but no other shoe is made with such precision.
Assos’ Northwest sales manager, Larry Kohn, gets his feet immortalized. He said the experience of having his feet molded reminded him of a pair of Asolo boots that were customized for his wide feet years ago. Lead time on the shoes is supposed to be less than six weeks. To learn more about Harper Sports you’ll need to call: (714) 376-3630.
Cyclists with charitable foundations are as common as Orange County residents with reality shows. The number of different do-gooder foundations is dizzying and connecting with them in a meaningful way can be difficult. The Bahati Foundation is a little different, and as a result, pretty easy to understand to me. Rahsaan Bahati wasn’t an angel when he was growing up in South Central LA. He, as they say, got into some trouble. Fortunately for him, his teammates, and a few sponsors over the years, he got introduced to cycling. The two-time US Pro Champion is now giving back to other kids with his background, hoping that his fondation can steer them away from gangs and other trouble and into cycling.
Cannondale is auctioning off this bike to benefit the Bahati Foundation. The graffiti-inspired artwork makes the bike both eye-catching and culturally relevant, which is a fancy way of saying on-target. With enough support, the foundation will reach out to kids beyond just Los Angeles. For now, Bahati seems to have his hands full. After all, the way his team picked up riders set adrift by Rock “Here to Stay” Racing and other programs, he could be said to rescue not one population, but two.