What better time to go to Southern California for a month than late November? It's right around the time that other parts of the country start getting frigid, but in So Cal the sun is still out and you can ride your bike around in a T-shirt... just a T-shirt. I believe the term is "Porky Piggin' it". It sounded great to us, so when we got a chance to team up with Orange 20 to build a Chrome Pop-Up Hub in their gallery space we jumped on it. We assembled a small crew, loaded up our good ol' Chrome van, faced the ocean, turned left, and hit the road headed for Los Angeles, doing burn outs along the way.
Look at those guys using their try hard muscles and getting it done! Except that one on the left... who knows what's going on there. Anyway, in three days this crew of three took a small, empty gallery and built a temporary Chrome Pop-Up hub lovingly called Chrome 20. Once we were all settled in we did what anyone in their right mind would do... we threw a party.
First, we invited the neighbors and asked LA photographer, Van Styles to come help us break the space in and let loose with the locals. He asked his friends Sagan Lockhart and Jefroe to show some of their work at our opening party for Chrome 20 with him, adding to our Streets of Chrome collection. The three of them each had a different and unique perspective on the same city. It was a good show. We had... you know what? How about you just watch the 00:44 second video?
Right? Pretty sweet, huh? Alright for those of you that don't have the updated flash on your computer, we won't leave you hangin'. Here's some pictures:
New Belgium kept the beer flowing like wine all night long and TOLA's boy, Alvin, threw an out and back race called the #foorace. Hern, of State Bicycle Co. took the win and got to party the rest of the night in his sweet new Coveted Jersey. Meanwhile, inside Orange 20, our host two doors down was thumping away with DJ Mikey Wally on the 1s an2s. They were not only celebrating the opening of the shop, but also throwing a going away party for one of the guys, Iggy, who was leaving to start his own messenger company.
The night came to close but Chrome 20 was now open for business. Well, it was once we cleaned up after the party, of course. No one wants to shop on a mountain of empty beer cans.
Wait... where are you going? That's not it. We were there for a month. You think we just had a party, opened up the doors, and it was just business as usual? No, sit back down we have plenty more fun times ahead. First off we installed a map of LA, and put a call out the people to people to show us their city. Locals hashtagged their favorite city spots with #Wrenched_LA, we printed their photos at the Chrome Pop-Up, and added them to our map, so folks saw different photos from their fellow Los Angelenos every time they came in. Art by you, for you. Speaking of Wrenched, our pal Andy Ellis, the man who curated our Wrenched London magazine, stopped in and said hello... but it was more like 'ello. You know, because he's British.
It wasn't all pleasantries at the Chrome Pop-Up, oh no. We experienced the heart pumping thrill ride of an on foot pursuit. One of the local business owners noticed some guy stealing our stuff, ran after him, tackled the dude, and arm barred his throat until the cops came and arrested him. *DISCLAIMER* No one from Chrome Industries tackled ANYONE, but seriously... don't steal bro.
The next set of events we had in store for us was a fixed gear cross and fixed gear crit at Historic China Town Park appropriately named Fixiecrossie. SoCal Cross was throwing a cyclocross race and after they were all done, they allowed the unsanctioned brakeless fixed gear race go down on their course. A lot of the riders had never ridden their track bike on a cross course before, so they were all over the place. Many were riding their road tires and peeling out, but having a blast doing it. The Crit started after and the field split almost immediately and the GSS team used teamwork to make the dream work, taking the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd spot. Neu York, of Leader/GSS took 1st in the crit and in the cross race, Hern from State Bicycle Co. placed 1st and earning himself yet another Coveted Jersey.
The following weekend was the uphill sprints at Elysian Park. Orange 20's Edson, and Sean Martin from Take Over LA threw a Chrome 20 Uphill Sprint race. Once again there was a GSS presence, and the young buck Anthony Z crushed it, along with other people's hopes of winning the Coveted Jersey when he won.
With the holidays approaching there were folks coming in looking for that perfect Chrome gift and we got to hang out with a lot of rad people, including TJ, the owner of Orange 20 and his crew. With the spirit of giving in their hearts, they threw a toy drive alleycat called Raise to Race. Your race entry fee was a toy with at least a $5 sticker price. Sean Martin crushed everyone by A LOT and TJ... well, let's just say TJ was racing dudes half his age and mid race a burrito sounded mighty nice, so he did that instead. After that, the people split up and some of us went on the Wrenched Ride, the closing ride of our stay. We rode around LA to take it all in. No one was racing, just riding, having a good time, and seeing the sights.
We spent so much time riding and having a ball that it was hard to believe a month had already passed by and it was time for us to leave. We dismantled the shop in a day, said our teary goodbyes, and hit the ol' dusty trail. We made some long time friends in LA, so look for us at future races. You know we can't stay away!