Old Ridge Road Permanent
Los Angeles to Bakersfield (nearly)
Time: 6:15AM Distance: 10km
Time: 12:49AM Distance: 118km
Old Ridge Road
Time: 5:23PM Distance: 159km
The Ranch House
Time: 8:02PM Distance: 201km
This is not part of the ride. Don't do this. We didn't make it.
Don't forget: Find the Book. Do the Ride. Get the patch.
Words by Moi Medina. Photographs by Daniel Wakefield Pasley and Emiliano Granado.
MUCH HAS BEEN WRITTEN ABOUT HOW LOS ANGELES RANGES, like the Santa Monica Mountains, socio-politically delineate the LA Basin and the San Fernando Valley.
In a broader scale this geographical delineation extends beyond the Los Angeles megalopolis north towards the San Joaquin Valley, and its southernmost agribusiness node, Bakersfield1. These two seemingly disparate cities, one a cultural producer, the other a soft goods manufacturer, have for years been symbiotically intertwined. Be it by a producer-client relationship, in terms of food/cultural consumption, or shared water resources via the California Aqueduct. Ironically these two cities are bifurcated by the San Andreas Fault no less, a tectonic Prometheus/Golem that has scarred a series of mountains collectively known as the Traverse Ranges.
Early attempts at providing a navigable road through this country struggled but eventually resulted in the construction of the Ridge Route; a road that at the time connected the small ranch communities north of Los Angeles, to Fort Tejon and later Bakersfield.
Time and technology however has found the route abandoned as Interstate 5 relegated the Ridge Route to a historical fetish, a reverberation of a romanticized past that truly existed only as much as it was imagined. On what remains of the Ridge Route the initiated can hear echoes manifesting themselves in the visual, sonic, and transcendent senses. The faint hum of the Interstate 5 sirens one up Serpentine Road only to be met by man’s hubris, Swede’s Cut2. Cycling through I try not to forget that in its final years roads such as this embraced John Steinbeck’s Tom Joad and countless other real or imagined travelers searching for something that their point of departure did not afford.
In Los Angeles a truism for cycling is that given enough time and distance one will chance upon a golf course and an affluent home. Ride even longer and farther, however, and one will stumble upon history.
This is your Official Cue Sheet and Brovet Card. Print the instructions and ride the ride using the turn-by-turn instructions therein. Complete the Brovet Card provided and send it to Yonder Journal to receive your Official Brovet Patch. More details inside.
Inspired by Randonnuering as well as our love of maps, cue-sheets, history, colloquial nuance and regional vernacular3, Brovet is a Guide Book to American Permanents (Predetermined routes and rides—each permanent has been chosen for its intrinsic character, historical relevance and ride qualities.) about self-reliance4 to the point of absurdity, cycling from A-to-B5 and corn-dogging6. The completion of a Brovet results in a route-specific patch.
- "Bakersfield was founded by Colonel Thomas Baker in 1869. It was located near (part of it "in") one of the forks of the Kern River in reclaimed swampland. At one time called Kern Island, the city became known as Bakersfield after Colonel Baker's residence and field, which was used as a stop over for travelers (called Baker’s Field). Located on the Los Angeles to Stockton Road, its close proximity to mountain passes to the west, south, and east would later make the city into a transportation hub. Bakersfield was originally incorporated in 1873." [↩]
- The largest cut on the Old Ridge Route, Swede's Cut is a 110 ft. excavation into a hillside creating a narrow rockfall-prone notch, completed in 1915. [↩]
- The Poler Napsack: For cold-weather detours, pitstops, corn-dogging, après-anything-and-everything leisure, and in place of wool blanket. [↩]
- The Highlight Yellow Giro Aeon: A Hi-Vis Yellow and Rando-correct helmet that transcends the post-600k consumption of chocolate milk, and the lamination of meticulous lists and instructions. [↩]
- The Raleigh International: a reliable and capable steel bicycle for long distances and myriad road surfaces. [↩]
- Corn-Dogging (v.) mid-2000s, Appalachian-American, coined by Cole Maness. Figurative – the act of wasting (valuable) resources such as riding time, daylight, money, comfort zone(s), etc., in the pursuit of curious and/or seemingly pointless, regionally specific endeavors, e.g. swimming in a swimming hole, sitting on a decommissioned Sherman Tank cum War War II Monument such that the barrel appears to be your overly-large penis, listening to a taxidermist play the banjo and harmonica in a barn in West Virginia, throwing rocks at road signs for target practice and sport and possibly money, stopping at the Pendleton Round-Up (a rodeo in Pendleton, Oregon) in the middle of a 150-mile ride to eat/share the worlds largest corn dog. [↩]