Hans’ & Lopes’ Biking Jamboree

October 2002

A couple of weeks ago I got back from the latest “Hans Rey Adventure Team” mini adventure with my friend and current Biker X World Champ Brian Lopes.

We left Laguna Beach in Brian’ sweet Sportsmobile (a $ 80K van with every luxury you can think of) to head to Lake Tahoe in Northern California.

Our goal was to ride the world famous Rubicon Trail on our GT’s and to explore some other hot riding spots in the area.

We were joined by photographer Scott Markewitz ([email protected]) and by Film and Videographer Steve Olpin ([email protected]). The Rubicon crosses the Sierra Mountain Range and is known to be one of the most famous and difficult Jeep (4×4) trail in the world. The trail became famous during the California “Goldrush” some 150 years ago. Since then it has turned into a “must do trail” for Jeepers from around the world. You won’t believe how technical this trail is. Big boulders litter the trail and granite slabs, it’s hard to walk, it’s really difficult to bike, but it’s almost impossible to imagine an automobile riding through and over this kind of terrain. Just to give you an idea, some section are so rough that the Jeeps can only cover 2 miles per day.

Our plan was to ride the most notorious part of this trail on our bikes. Although we weren’t the first to take our bikes on the Rubicon, we definitely rode more of this rocky and dusty trail than anyone every has.

Toshi from Bell helmets and David Steiner, dropped us of at the Staging Area near Lake Tahoe, and were waiting for us in Brian’s van at the end of our ride at Loon Lake.

The ride was only 25 miles long, but it took us all day. The trail is poorly marked; most guide books recommend to just follow the Jeep tracks and oil patches on the trail. They don’t really mention the numerous forks and alternate routes. It was a nice day but it was very try and dusty.

We had decided to take our i-drive suspension XC bikes, it turned out to be a good decision. We found many nice spots along the way to play with our bikes on giant granite slabs, technical sections, water- and log-crossings and a fun natural wallride. We challenged each other all day on the uphill sections of who could go further up the hill on the technical parts.

We got lost, separated and run almost out of daylight; but in the end it turned out to be a perfect day. Lopes told me that this was the longest time he had ever ridden his bike for in one single day. This guy is so talented on a bike, once again he lived up to his reputation of being possibly the best “all around cyclist” in the world. The famous “Sluice Boxes” along the way proved to be hardcore trials sections, I still can’t believe that Jeeps work their ways through there.

The following days we explored Donner Pass, Lake Tahoe and we also found a killer freeriding spot with many drop off’s. Lopes did a sick step-down road gap jump, followed by a pretty big tabletop. NoCal rules.

(all photos are copyright by Scott Markewitz)