Erik Z says... We're Getting New Bikes!

Erik Zobler is a Grammy-winning mixer/mastering/recording/live sound engineer-producer whose credits include George Duke, Miles Davis, Anita Baker, Kenny Loggins, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. Learn more about Erik and the rest of our riders on our team page.

We're getting new bikes!

But first, some history. I’ve never really been into bicycle riding. I admit that I once looked with disdain on riders in their spandex/neoprene skin-hugging suits hunched over their handlebars as they whizzed past cars stuck in gridlock. Now, I have become that rider.

I bought a bike sometime around 1986. It was a hybrid road-mountain bike that I outfitted with a child seat so that I could cruise around with my crumb cruncher on the back.

It was a Nishiki that was way overqualified to be a baby shuttle.

 
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The bike salesman thought I was nuts. (He obviously had a remarkable ability to read people.) He was probably right, but I did use it for that purpose. When my other son got old enough, we all had bikes and would occasionally go for rides. Eventually, when video games stole my children from me, I stopped riding and my bike went up on a big red hook in the garage. And there it hung, slowly deteriorating and rusting until a serious life event happened.

We live in Porter Ranch, California, which is the home to the second largest natural gas storage facility in the United States. A little over two years ago, one of the 150 wells used to inject gas under pressure into long abandoned oil wells BLEW UP! This well was only 1.2 miles from our house. The Southern California Gas Company could not stop the massive leak that eventually poured out over 100,000 tons of methane and many other noxious and cancer-causing gases and toxic particles. People (and animals) were getting sick, so SoCalGas relocated more than 7,000 families for many months. We were one of those families. But instead of just moving far enough away to get out of harm's way, we decided to get really far away and we moved to the beach in Playa Del Rey. And guess what is in Playa Del Rey? A bike path. Not just any bike path. THE Los Angeles bike path that skirts the Pacific Ocean for 22 miles from Malibu to Palos Verdes.

The Nishiki came down off the hook, and Jeri got a Giant bike for Christmas. We lived at the beach for 7 months before returning to Porter Ranch, and that’s how we got hooked on riding. We rode a lot and we would often post pictures and stats from our rides (an obsession of Jeri’s).

I have known Kevin Becka since the '80s, and naturally, we are friends on Facebook. He took notice of our rides, some of which were approaching 24 (gasp!) miles, which at the time, seemed like a lot to us. Realizing that we were becoming more “serious riders,” he asked us if we would like to participate in the David Francisco Ride For Hope and help raise money for charity. We enthusiastically said “Yes!” At the time, we didn’t realize we were agreeing to an 11-day, 500-mile ride. When we digested those numbers, we were a bit overwhelmed by the magnitude of the ride, so we asked, “are you sure you want our participation? We’re not serious riders like you (and Dave Rideau).”

Kevin replied, “Of course. You can do it!” So we agreed to do the ride, not just to help the charities, but also to take up the challenge. Accordingly, we started to kick up the length and intensity of our rides and started hitting the gym as added good measure.

Last year, on Thanksgiving day, we rode 52.5 miles. 

 
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It was a breakthrough ride for us, both physically and mentally. We had never ridden that far, and by completing a ride that equaled the “average” daily ride, we gained confidence that we could actually do the ride.

However, it also made us realize we needed better bikes. Which brings me back to the beginning of this post: We’re getting new bikes!

Specialized carbon fiber bikes. Woot!

 
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Sarah Jones