Thanksgiving Ride

Thanksgiving Ride

WORDS BY NYLSEN ESCAJEDA // PHOTOS BY ELI PEDRAZA

You can smell the turkey roasting in the crisp morning air, or was it just sweaty lyrica?

Every thanksgiving, some Southern California cyclists decide to earn their feast by doing the hardest bike ride in Southern California: the grueling adventure into Crystal Lake above Azusa. This year however, two rad dudes, Luis Escajeda and Al Fitz decided to stir up the "sufferfest" by showing and doing the ride on track bikes. The comfort and ease of shifting gears is stripped away and it just becomes a show of pure muscle and the ugliest pain face known to man. To add the zaz in pizzazz, these rad dudes show up twinning it in God and Famous' "Doomsday" kit. The dynamic duo sported the black and white pattern with style as they flew up the mountain and back down again. The trip down nearly became a doomsday as none of the bikes had normal brakes and the riders relied on their own leg muscle to crank and slide their way down. Soon after reaching the top, the camera car overheated and suddenly every cyclist became a car enthusiast, but how many of them did it take to find the lid to a container? Apparently six (I think they should stick to bikes). Another inherit danger was the camera car, and more specifically, Eli. His mannerisms always lead him into some precarious situation he doesn't need to be in but always finds an excuse on why he should. One example was him hanging out the sunroof of the camera car; and even though the shots were crispy, this was incredibly dangerous. Still, Eli is Eli, especially after saying "nothing says a hard days work like having thousands of dollars in cameras hanging out of a sun roof and the back of the car."

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Bone Machine 2016

Bone Machine 2016

PHOTOS BY ELI PEDRAZA

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Chasing Fires in Downtown LA

Chasing Fires in Downtown LA

WORDS & PHOTOS BY ELI PEDRAZA

I had just flew in from Portland and went to go grab ramen with my friend Ashlyn, expecting a very casual day. While we ate she mentioned that a friend of hers who is also a photographer, was in downtown and wanted to meet up to scout rooftops. Always open to adventure, we were all about it. We all met up and started hitting rooftops all over downtown, however when we were atop a structure in the fashion district, something caught my eye. I saw dark, thick smoke in the distance, and almost instantly we knew it was a fire, so we immediately packed up and bolted over to the general area, and what we found was, well I'll let the photos do the talking...

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The Road to Portland

The Road to Portland

PHOTOS BY ELI PEDRAZA

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Caught in The Middle

Caught in The Middle

WORDS BY NYLSEN ESCAJEDA // PHOTOS BY ELI PEDRAZA

Clouds became a common motif for our trip. We were on a chase for the break of dawn, and driving East, we slowly delayed the looming sunlight. But to our wonder the clouds above masked the impending sunlight and freckled our drive there. Where we were struck in awe was on the long climb into the mountains. Below us the valleys were blanketed by a gloomy layer of clouds, and above us the bright orange morning sun radiated much more powerfully than down below. Ironically the 40 degree winds left us shivering and gasping for the warmth of the car. The same winds carried light clouds like a Calvary of troops parading over the mountain caps which seemed to get greener and greener the further we went into the mountains. Our curiosity led Eli's front wheel drive hatchback into a precarious situation; the small roads which led to further expansions of greenery were difficult to traverse and eventually led to a brazen defeat and a u turn back down the dirt road. Upon arriving the small town of Idlywild was as alive as the vast boreal forest it was nested in. Flocks of motorbikers dined at local restaurants, the commotion conveyed us into a local eatery which was tiny but bustling with clientele. Soon after we did brief strolls through trails off the side of the road and every horizontal glance was a panorama of the cities below. The drive down the mountain was no different than the drive up, clouds still plotted cities below giving a view to ponder. We promised each other that the next time we were to come, there must be snow, but for now it was too much fun.

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24 Hours to Barcelona

24 Hours to Barcelona

WORDS & PHOTOS BY ELI PEDRAZA

After packing a little too late I bolted to LAX, loaded with my cameras, bike, and luggage. Stoked, I grabbed my passport and got ready for my flight to head to Barcelona.

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Bike Races are Fun Until the Cops Show Up

Bike Races are Fun Until the Cops Show Up

WORDS BY NYLSEN ESCAJEDA // PHOTOS BY ELI PEDRAZA

In the niche sport of cycling lives and thrives an even smaller niche; Fixed Gear racing. You've probably heard it before; single speed bikes with no brakes and whether you like it or not in large cities around the world the trend blooms and in LA the movement is as alive as the city itself. Just how alive? 100+ men and women come from all around Southern California to race on a course with makeshift organization and traffic. On the 20th of August local team Mobbin held their Twilight Temple Crit, a 45 minute lap race around the beautiful BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Temple in Chino Hills. The Women's category, although with a small field, fought hard to stand on the podium. The sun began to set and the men's field began to line-up, I was one of the racers.Roughly 75 of Los Angeles' best racers lined up to battle it out in the dynamic and uncertain course and race. Although deathly nervous of a catastrophic crash I was still very stoked. With the blaring sound of a megaphone being our signal we took off; everybody went from 0 to 30 Miles Per Hour in less than 5 seconds and orchestrated the funneling of everybody through the first turn like a school a fish. Every turn played out in such a manner, even later in the race the barrage of flashes from photographers perched on corners where cyclist would zip inches away from their shoulders and lenses at 30 plus miles per hour. On the longer stretches of roads racers would shout, throw elbows, and rub wheels as we fought for the best positions. Some would speed ahead from the pack and others would follow. The scene is on the fringe of disaster but also harmonious in motion as racers shift and accordion in the huddle of racers which are inches apart in high speeds. When a car became an immediate threat the choir of adrenaline and testosterone filled racers would shout "CAR UP!" and the field would swing accordingly. After a while the sport attrition would rattle the weaker field off the back like the tail on a comet and leave everyone else in the center gasping for air. Three laps to go and police lights loomed in the distance but the race continued with everybody having their eyes on the prize. The pace increased and so did the adrenaline as the cruiser posted up on the finish line with one lap to go. The police officer only scared a few away and left the brazen majority with a further desire to finish in front, and with that came the final sprint. First, Second, Third and then on zipped by the angry officer and her cruiser. The dust settled and the organizers debated what the outcome of the race would become, continue elsewhere or wrap of the podium? In the end the podium was moved to the local In N Out. At the end of the night the race was in good fun and the community of racers bonded again over burgers My favorite part about this "niche" of cycling is that its unlike others, on the course its a display of power and vigor and off the course everybody associates with each other with a lively and friendly attitude. That is whats stoke is.

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“Get ready, we’re going to Joshua Tree”

“Get ready, we’re going to Joshua Tree”

WORDS BY NYLSEN ESCAJEDA // PHOTOS BY ELI PEDRAZA

The news came on our feed: "Meteor Shower Happening August 11-13." "Rare Shower Will be Seen Aug. 11-13." Right away we planned a little impromptu voyage. With Eli's car packed with rad Poler Stuff, energy drinks, and of course the mandatory slingshot we took off.

Our destination; Joshua Tree National Park, a beautiful mountainous desert 4 hours out of LA with nearly astral and asymmetric rock formations which tower over the vast landscape. What turned the rowdy car ride with friends into a silent daze of wonder was the light show put on by the stars and Milky Way as we glided past the looming rocks outside of the campsite. After loading up our backpacks with our essentials we made a short trek to out site, to our surprise it wasn't a flat patch of dirt with a table,but rather a rock. The rock kicked traditional camping aside; the rock had nooks and crannies to rest in, it also had a flat area for our equipment and inclined curves which gave the perfect angle to gaze the stars the best way possible while relaxing.

Shooting stars were in no scarcity as all across the night sky one would appear ever so often, like looking closely into grass for insects, they would appear. With the perfect weather and snakes nowhere near our mats and sleeping bags we had total stoke for the abode of the night. After getting settled we began our midnight exploration of the nearby rock formations which seemed like shadow castles which flickered with every movement of our flashlights. We hopped, climbed, ran, rested, contemplated jumps, until we found a nice spot.

Eli took things one step beyond and shot breathtaking pictures from the peaks of these formations. Using the exposure from our flashlights and some tampering of the settings he manged to catch amazing photographs. Shooting stars would zip above our heads as we climbed and he shot making the experience that more memorable. After all was said and done we went back to the rock spot and rested, only to spend the remaining hours of the night talking, sharing stories, banter, simply having a good time.

After some failed attempts to sleep we all decided to stay up and watch the sunrise. The stars were slowly being tucked by the blended horizon of the approaching morning sky. Light shined through and above the city-like array of rock formations which we laid by. We dawned with our flashlights in hand, we climbed to rock formation to catch the sun peeping its head over the far-away mountains. It was one hell of an adventure.

Much thanks to Poler for the rad gear! Camp Vibes!

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