Friends and family back home in the Midwest love to razz me for living in Southern California. I get the earthquake jokes, plastic surgery jabs and my personal favorite, “How’s the land of fruit and nuts?” That one just never gets old.
I just smile and laugh along with them. I also wait for glorious days like today, when the early January temps soar into the 80s and I’m cruising Venice Beach on a bike. Back home, the temperature is hovering somewhere around the freezing point of 32 degrees Celsius. It’s the perfect time to call and have that whole “Why I live in L.A.” conversation. They just love that.
I’m also a fan of the artistic minds that like to call California home, much like the guys of Masterworks Wood and Design and their offshoot, Wood Bicycle, in San Jose. Led by Bill Holloway and Mauro Hernandez, the men of Masterworks craft gorgeous and ornate wooden bicycles, often from the wood of reclaimed and condemned trees from urban areas. They also utilize wood from the Green Sawmill in San Mateo, who specializes in “urban timber recovery”: wood that would otherwise end up in landfills, chippers or burned.
The bikes are simply beautiful, rolling works of art that are sure to turn heads wherever they’re ridden (like the “Cherry Bomb”, pictured above). Sturdy but delicate, the bikes are recommended for serious road-raging the trails. But when it comes to cruising, they don’t roll much cooler.