A few weeks ago Nick and I packed up our gear and flew out to California for the annual Sea Otter Classic that's held in Monterey, CA. Sea Otter is a 4 day long celebration of all things cycling and what used to be a weekend gathering of hard core cyclists has turned into a huge event with thousands of spectators, hundreds of companies showing off their latest gear and lots and lots of bike races.
We flew into San Francisco and hit the road to visit a few of the local bikes shops in the Bay Area that support Fyxation. Right after college I lived in San Francisco for 3 years and worked as a sales rep for DeWalt Power Tools in San Francisco and other parts of Northern California. I've been stuck in every type of crappy traffic jam that SF can throw at you and I knew that we only had a few hours to visit shops before we'd get snarled in traffic on our way down to Monterey.
First up we hit up Market Street Cycles which is right in the heart of the city and visited with the crew there. They have a very nice shop that stocks Fyxation bikes but also a complete offering of bikes from Jamis. The shop was super busy because when we were there it was about 75 degrees in a city that rarely sees that type of weather. San Francisco can be 50 degrees and foggy most of the summer so people were out taking advantage of the nice weather before the fog started rolling in.
After hitting up Market Street we went across the bay to visit with the guys at Manifesto Cycles over in Oakland. Manifesto is one of the first bike shops we ever started working with here at Fyxation and they've been great supporters of our brand since day one. Mackay and Sam run the shop and it's a great neighborhood bike shop with lots of personality and a great mix of bikes and gear. In addition to stocking Fyxation bikes they had a few models from Linus and Handsome Cycles on the floor.
I looked at the clock and it was 3PM which meant we were running out of time if we wanted to avoid SF rush hour and still make it down to Monterey at a decent hour. So we said goodbye to crew at Manifesto and hit the road and headed to Highway 1 for a leisurely drive down the coast. Unfortunately for us the coast was socked in with fog so we couldn't really see much of the ocean but occasionally there would be breaks in the fog for views like this.
Monterey is a small town that sits right on the Pacific Ocean and has a very cool little bay that if you can look past all the tourist crap, is actually a pretty nice place to hang out. We got lucky and found a local bar/restaurant that's right on the commercial fishing pier in town that had smokin' happy hour deals, excellent sea food and great views of the boats coming into port. One of the nights we were there we hung out and got to know some of the local fisherman that were fishing off the pier and they even let us cast a bit. One of our favorite things to do when we're not riding is fishing so this was one of the highlights of our trip. I won't even tell the story here how on my first cast I caught 4 fish (there were 4 hooks on the line) because you probably wouldn't believe me anyway. I know I wouldn't!
Sea Otter runs from Thursday to Sunday which before we made it out there seemed like a bit long for a trade show. However, when we arrived at Sea Otter we realized that this was your typical show. Sea Otter is hosted at the Laguna Seca raceway which is a road style race track that's used for cars and motorcycles so unlike a typical race Oval, there are turns, hills and all sorts of places for things to go wrong. The venue itself is perched on top of a hill with amazing views of the surrounding valleys and includes a campsite on site and 30 miles of singletrack and fire road gravel trails directly attached to the venue. Because of the unique layout of Laguna Seca it is the ideal location to host a cycling event and offers tons of unique areas to ride and test out the demo fleets from companies like Trek, Specialized and Giant. Some smaller companies like Yuba cargo bikes and Borealis fat bikes also had demo bikes on hand so over the course of 4 days you could pretty much ride anything you wanted to do at Laguna Seca.
Over the course of the weekend races and events are happening all the time. I'm not 100% sure how many events take place over the 4 days but literally at any given time there is something cool to watch. Because I was working the booth I didn't have too much time to get out and watch the different events but I was still able to catch some action and watch some dual slalom, cross country mountain bike races and even a road race.
It was amazing to just take a step back to look at the thousands of people that showed up for the event. From our vantage point at the Fyxation tent we were in the middle of the action and would sometimes just sit back and watch the crowds go by. People were just stoked to be outside riding bikes, watching races and checking out the gear. We brought a few of our bikes, a ton of pedals to sell and properly introduced our new Tannery Collection of leather bicycle accessories to the crowds at Sea Otter.
We had a blast at Sea Otter, sold a ton of stuff, drank a bunch of beer and met a lot of great people. I highly recommend Sea Otter for anybody that's into cycling because it is pretty much the coolest bike vibe I've ever felt at an event. We will definitely be back next year.