In the past few issues of our magazine, we’ve taken our readers to some international destinations, with profiles of both Noto, Japan and the Titan Tropic MTB race through Cuba. For this issue, we’re looking at our own backyard, specifically Santiago Mountain, the focal point for many SoCal riders. The locally known ‘Saddle Back’ mountain is an iconic reference point for Orange County, but more, it serves as an example of the ‘wild’ in your own backyard – often overlooked, but beckoning your exploration.

The Main Divide Road acts as the main corridor through this area, a fire road that stretches more than 20 miles across this segment of Cleveland National Forest. With 9 points of entry from all directions of Orange and Riverside counties, there are options to provide a range of adventure, from a mellow roll to awaken the wilderness lover in all of us, to a harrowing and technical journey to the top. Our route profile on page 14 will get you started.

So far as the bike recommendations for this original SoCal amusement park, we bring you the Marin Nail Trail 6, a fantastic value for the roadie looking to get into MTB. It has all the goods – hydro disc brakes, 1x drivetrain, front suspension, dropper post, internal cabling – and only a mild weight penalty that brings this ride to under $1200. We also profile the Specialized Turbo Levo, an eMTB that turns the steepest grades into mellow sightseeing rides in the outdoors. The fire roads of the Santiago Mountain area are an obvious destination to ride an eMTB and the sheer number of miles will keep even the most active explorer occupied for a long time.

Big thanks to Rock N’ Road in Orange County for their help in providing gear for this issue. They have locations throughout Orange County with regular shop rides for both road and MTB and are sure to have a fresh copy of the latest print edition of our magazine.

Lastly, whether your traveling into SoCal, or journeying away, be sure to check out this our resident touring specialist, Rob Templin, discussing three bikes specifically built for airline travel. Ride safe out there and tag us in photos of your travels – we’d love to see where you go!

Until next time, see you on the route.

Chris Reynolds

Editorial Director & Publisher