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Video: Coastal Cruising Through California

Jul 10, 2023 at 9:57
by elliot WR  

Words: Ripton

There are two Californias. The first lives in our imagination; it’s not so safe, not so manicured. The second is reality. Over the years, we’ve drawn inspiration from that first California, its aesthetic and spirit. Our imagination of the wild West Coast and its intersection with the Ripton ethos was obvious.

Earlier this year, we flew to San Diego hoping to witness a glimmer of that mythical version of this place. We thought that our persistence could unearth the California we wanted to experience in the flesh.


When we got to Del Mar, we realized that this mythical California only exists in fragments today, at the fringes — rural or raw, unrefined or primitive. The Steinbeck California? Once Upon a Time in Hollywood? Racing down Repack with hippies? It might be out there, that soul, that salty, sandy magic that pulled people across the country for centuries, that brought Levi Strauss trudging by foot from the unfinished Panama Canal toward the Pacific Coast, searching for the land of opportunity.

We needed to seek out that California though. It wasn’t waiting at the airport for us. And for starters, we needed a car to get on the road.


Our first Craigslist call on Sunday morning was to a construction worker in Jamul. He lived across from a nature preserve and a casino, where border patrol roamed a few miles from Mexico. Esteban would find and revive old Civics and other Hondas, lying abandoned behind job sites, buy them for a few hundred bucks and then bring them back to life, a side hustle.

We were there to see his 1986 Honda Accord, a coupe with flip-up headlights, which he’d put about $2,500 bucks into, fixing it up with new brakes, suspension, and more. We fired it up, and smoke poured from the engine. We got a few bucks off the asking price and went for it.

The next morning, we headed down to the San Diego docks to a shop. In the rain, pools of grey water and grit circled around the chicken and fish guts that were left out for the dogs. A colorful group of welders cut off part of the bumper and welded a giant F150 2” hitch onto the back of the car, so that our North Shore rack could be mounted appropriately.

At last, it was time! Time for something, for adventure, for blasting north through the clouds and fog and the rain.


An early monsoon gave way to three beautiful California days in Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz. We hung out at Super Cuca’s Taco Shop with the Boom Boom Bikes crew. We took time to shuttle laps on the loamiest trails we could find. We filmed this masterpiece above, but not the whole time. We took time to relax, ride, and digest the world as jortbags, as a growing new brand, that more and more people had heard of.

Like the new kid in school, everyone was curious and fascinated by the paradoxical nature of Ripton and performance denim as a category. It felt like daring to be different was even more of a rare commodity in the constant development of suburban California. Performance denim reminds us of that daily. The gravity of sameness, the march of newness and affluence are powerful forces.


Fighting the trends of development, gentrification, and the suburban explosion of e-bikes, our 1986 Accord stood out on the road that much more aggressively. We remembered lots of beaters on California roads only a few years ago, but now they are harder and harder to find.

Coastal Cruisin’ served to remind us — and maybe remind you — that there are universal parts of being human: the love of adventure, the wild, unknown, and unrefined, that are essential to our lived experience.

Californians originally had to be the most adventurous dreamers, unsatisfied until they got all the way to the coast. That’s the genesis of the elusive aesthetic and lifestyle we’ve been searching to find. Based on what we saw on this trip, it seems like some of them still dream.


Author Info:
Ripton avatar

Member since Jan 18, 2021
3 articles

  • 35 6
 I’m a HUGE fan of Same Dale - dude absolutely rips, and seems like a genuinely cool dude, but this whole “performance riding denim” push is embarrassing to watch… We already subscribe to this ultra-elitist fancy toy hobby, and to imagine buying pre-made cutoffs made specifically for riding is just… nah. I don’t need extra help looking like a complete f*cking nerd riding around on my mountain bike
  • 4 1
 Tbh my ripton Jean shorts are extremely soft, stretchy, comfortable. They’re my go to short for anything that’s not cross country pedal focused. Also another recommendation for their insulated overalls. Me and all my dad friends wear the overalls when skiing with our 3-4 year olds, the heavy denim really makes sense for casual skiing and a lot of gear hauling (accidentally got a cut in my gortex bibs from carrying kid, his skis, my skis, etc back to the car at the end of a good day). I know this reads like an advertisement but I have no affiliation and just really like their product for the right application.
  • 2 0
 @Kevindhansen: Thanks Kevin! The hater nerds often work for other competitive brands, a false partiality, the have been so many critiques since we invented or reimagined this category and it's not for everyone, but we think we can be better than lycra or plastic clothes as well as better than fast fashion with horrible quality which is a pretty massive void in riding and in life.
  • 3 0
 Nutters nuts, I'm sure you look like a complete fucking nerd fairy while trying super hard, nice work!
  • 3 0
 nutter buts is a special kinda Californian.
  • 1 0
 @TomSelleckOfficial: I’m a Burt Reynolds’s kind of guy so your opinion means dog doodoo to me.
  • 17 2
 That mythical California most certainly does still exist… the Central Coast.

Not all of California is SoCal and the Bay Area.
  • 6 4
 Going from SB to SC they whizzed through a huge chunk of classic California. Likewise by stopping at the Bay Area (north-south, SF is only halfway up the state). North if that is pretty classic California all the way up.

Ya just picked really bad places to search for “classic California”
  • 4 0
 Agreed, and the Sierras.
  • 1 0
 They totally missed Bakersfield, Modesto, Weed. You don't know California until you have been to these places.
  • 21 7
 Railing against gentrification...I can't think of anything more hipster than "performance jorts"
  • 8 1
 we know the burbs can be hard on ur soul.
  • 14 1
 Love the opening paragraph. The media and the hate-hype would have you believe we live in a wasteland. Loved the video, cheers!
  • 9 0
 I thought things had moved on to corduroy, for its cooling and super aero air channeling?
  • 5 0
 another great option!
  • 2 0
 The channels of the courdurey obviously increase the amount of surface area available for cooling and transpiration, it's all very high tech.
  • 6 0
 The video reminded me of the 'don't know any better' fun I had skiing in jeans and an old leather jacket cause that's all I had. But actually I got a pair of their shorts(not the cut-offs) and I love riding in them. Are they cool? Maybe to some people. But for me comfortable and getting out in the trees on a bike with the dogs is cool.
  • 6 1
 Some of us are old enough to remember that people only wore denim for bike riding because there really weren't other choices outside of lycra. Denim is horrible for riding in, cotton absorbs moisture and the rubbing will chafe the crap out of you after a while. Now get off my lawn so I can go back to yelling at clouds.
  • 1 0
  • 13 4
 Full kook shit
  • 1 1
 yep beat it!
  • 6 1
 So much style from Mr. Dale.
  • 8 3
 Thanks for reading Pinkbike on Saturday morning folks. #lifeisjort
  • 4 0
 Canadian tuxedo is an interesting kit choice to shred with. Nice one eh!
  • 5 1
 Did an AI write that first paragraph?
  • 3 0
 DENIM! The only fabric faster than a condor.
  • 2 0
 Am I late to the hater party? Did Pinkbike really post this on a Saturday, good god...
  • 3 0
 Please tell me you didn't skip Laguna?
  • 2 1
 So crowded
  • 1 1
 @Dogl0rd: all about am or pm shifts/hitn the goods that hikers wont.
But ya it is technically our off season now..kinda opposite to rest of mtb world. But still for outta town summer mtb ca travellers there Laguna with locals/weekday evenings primo.
  • 1 0
 @jrocksdh: during the day it's like Times Square
  • 4 0
 Loam in Santa Barbara?!?
  • 3 1
 Pretty ballsy rallying that shitbox on the bluffs... Woof
  • 3 1
 That felt like 4 minutes of b-roll peppered with SC footy.
  • 2 0
 Which bike rack brand is it?
  • 1 0
 North Shore racks
  • 1 0
 It's hard to be an adventurous dreamer when a tiny house cost a million dollars. Were are all working here!
  • 1 0
 No SLO trails, no SB trails, all I’m seeing here is Santa Cruz.
  • 1 0
 Jean machine nope
  • 1 0
 very interesting stuff.
  • 1 3
 Uhhhh- if I get a jean jacket and a car that costs less than my bike does that come with a beautiful blonde woman?
  • 4 0
 Nope but if someone pays you to do that in their gear you might.
  • 2 0
 No but you'd be pretty fuckin' cool!

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