Sometimes you don't have to go too far from your front doorstep to find adventure. That might sound like a cheesy quote from "The Hobbit" movie, but I believe it's true. In this case, the hero of our story is the man who was once called "The Indiana Jones of Mountain Biking", trials pioneer and legend, Hans Rey. In this adventure, instead of searching for a holy grail or buried treasure, we were in search for unique and challenging terrain to take his bike. Although Hans has traveled the world and ridden his bike in locations that most of us only dream of, this day would be more of an urban adventure into a zone that is as mysterious and dangerous as any. With stories of gunfire, drugs, and even death looming over this location, we were not really sure what to expect, but we did know one thing: when it gets close to dark, we need to get out!
Things weren't always this way though. The now condemned property in the city of San Pedro, California, used to be home to a residential neighborhood that fell victim to the plans of nature. Back in 1929, a chunk of earth roughly 400 by 1,000 feet began to slide towards the coastal shore below. Many of the houses on the location were able to be saved, but with the combination of waves constantly hammering the bluff and the weak clay soil, the property was doomed to exist in its previous state. Then, in 1941 a waterline break accelerated the landslide, and the remaining houses were evacuated. What is now left behind can best be described as a urban wasteland. Huge slabs of concrete float on shelves above the ocean below. Palm trees and pieces of sidewalk riddled with graffiti, broken glass and other unmentionable objects litter the once peaceful seaside neighborhood.Warning: Even though the Sunken City is accessible, it is illegal, and anyone entering does so at their own risk.
After slipping through the gate, we made our way through the cracks and crevices, looking for possibilities. Hans was on his second day of testing the new GT Sensor 27.5" bike, and wanted to put it to the test in a different environment. Although technically a trail bike, it was more than up for the task.
It took a bit of time scouting lines here. The ground can change drastically, and lead into some nasty holes or drop-offs if you're not careful.
Hans finds a nice little drop and scrapes the top of his helmet while threading the needle.
A sight that would put a tear on any tree hugger's face. Spray painted plants are only something a true vandal would find pleasure in. And, if your going to party here, at least finish your beer for crying out loud!
Aiming for the boulder in the middle to stay on this narrow ridge. The area offers an amazing view of the Pacific Ocean, but getting to close to the edge would result in some serious consequences.
Side note: If one were to look closely, you may spot some prototype gear being worn here.
The area overlooks a major sea port which imports and exports goods from far away lands. I'm pretty sure the Ark of the Covenant is tucked away in one of those crates.
The face of a man who has taken his bike to the ends of the earth and back. Hans is truly a living legend.
Hans crushes a broken heart (painted on the ground) with his love for riding.
Riding a flowy bit of single track above the ruins.
You got to represent when you're in "The City of Angels." Hans throw'n down a gang sign for his favorite team.
King Neptune was pleased with this wheelie atop his throne, but not so much with the flat tire from all the broken glass.
On the more treacherous areas, Hans chose his smaller trials bike to ensure safety. This drop was definitely a bit scary to watch.
As the sun set, we made our way around the corner to a cliff overlooking the ocean. Not too many people would feel comfortable riding on such a narrow ridge, but Hans has the experience to give him confidence in this type of situation. He also has a parachute tucked in his backpack in case things really go wrong.
This sexy mermaid lured us into Walkers Cafe for a cold brewski after a tiring day. Luckily, we were able to escape her trance, and make our way back home. Overall, we had a great day and were glad that everything went as smooth as it did. The next adventure is just around the corner.