Orange/San Diego/Los Angeles Counties:


Synaptic Cycles

Our favorite road cycling routes in Southern California

South from Dana Point/San Clemente hills:

South from Dana Point to Las Pulgas- flat/coastal:

Laguna Niguel/Dana Point climbs:

Newport Coast/Shady Canyon Loop:

Shady Canyon bike path

Santiago Canyon, Live Oak Canyon, Silverado Canyon:

Laguna Beach Climbs- amazing views:

San Gabriel mountain/Glendora Mountain Road to Hwy 39 to Crystal Lake:

Glendora Mountain Road (previous Tour of California route)

Mount Baldy ride:

Swami’s ride from Encinitas:

Rancho Palos Verdes ride:

Simi Valley/Thousand Oaks/Santa Monica Ride:

Some Bikes are Special

Some bikes are just special, but not for the reasons you may think. They may not be made of the latest and greatest material and they may not have the newest, best components. Sometimes, certain bikes just fit right and just ride right, and you and that bike do rides that you remember, unlike other bikes that you’ve ridden. Bikes like this join you on adventures.
IMG_0654My Davidson custom steel bike is just such a bike. It was built in 1998 with Reynolds 853/753, and originally was painted navy blue with white panels outlined in orange pinstripes with the Davidson lettering in orange. The original fork was a Look carbon fork painted to match (and that fork was noodly as hell). I’ve ridden this bike a lot. More miles than any other bike I’ve ever owned.

This bike bears the scars of being ridden. I cracked the rear stay and had to have it replaced which is why it is has a different paint job now. At that time, I replaced the fork and it was painted to match as well. This is the bike I was riding when I was car doored and I separated my shoulder and fractured part of my shoulder blade. The bike was okay, but the fork took a hit and needed to be replaced, so now it sports the bare carbon model shown. The paint bears countless scratches from times when I dropped the chain, or that time when I snapped my chain and went down really hard, or that time when my wheels came out from under me in a wet corner on a descent.

I’ve ridden this bike on more double centuries than any other I’ve owned. It’s surprisingly comfortable for rides of that distance. I’ve done countless brevets on this bike, riding through the day and into the night and into the next morning. One night on a brevet, I nearly fell asleep while riding this bike, and after a short nap (off the bike in an old schoolhouse), I remember shivering so hard from the cold I could barely keep the bike on the road. Later, we rode near a farm that had what appeared to be camels in it’s pasture. To this day, I’m not sure if that was real or the result of so many hours on the bike.

I’ve commuted on this bike and I’ve even raced it a few times. I’ve dodged turkeys and pygmy goats on this bike. I’ve been chased by cows and countless dogs on this bike. One morning I had a squirrel hit my wheel and, thankfully, bounce off. This is the bike I was riding the day before I proposed to my wife (while carrying the engagement ring because I didn’t want to leave it at the hotel). This is the bike I was riding on the morning of 9/11/2001 when I learned of the attacks. You could say this bike and I have a history together.

Sometimes, I scavenge this poor bike for parts for my other bikes, and I hang the partially assembled bike from a hook and leave it there. Sometimes for a year or more. The downside to being a cyclist is that newer bikes always come along that seem to promise this wonder ride quality. More stiff, more compliant, less weight….Then, something makes me put the Davidson back together and ride it. Every time that happens, I wonder why I stopped riding it. It rides so nicely. It fits me so well. It brings back the memories of all the other great rides we’ve done together. Well, it’s back together now, and I plan on riding it for a while. It may not always be my daily rider, but I’ll never get rid of it, either. Too many memories.

Thoughts on Hydration While Cycling….

A recent heat spell while coaching my kids soccer team got me thinking about hydration issues, and led to thoughts on hydration while cycling. As most soccer parents know, parents often “thoughtfully” bring gatorade to games and practice so their kids can stay hydrated. Most days, this is not much of a problem unless it gets hot and the kids sweat a lot more than usual during practices and games. I kept finding that my sons would get home after practices and games and would start complaining of headaches and sometimes a bit of nausea. It seemed that they were drinking plenty at practice and games, but it still wasn’t enough.

I was able to put a stop to a lot of this after putting a lot of thought into my own hydration issues while cycling. Cycling in the heat for long periods of time can deplete you over time as you sweat. Unfortunately, it’s not just water that’s lost. It’s electrolytes, as well. So, how do you deal with this?

First and foremost, you have to hydrate BEFORE you exercise. This does not mean that you should chug a gallon of water immediately before you go out and exercise. It means that you should be be drinking enough throughout the day, every day, to keep yourself adequately hydrated. Think of this as pre-hydration. Just drink enough water throughout the day and many of the issues with dehydration can be avoided.

Now, when you’re working pretty hard, you sweat. Sweat is salty. Your sweat contains the electrolytes sodium and potassium. A liter of sweat contains a whopping 800 mg of sodium (~50% of your daily intake of sodium), but less that 150-200 mg of potassium (~2.5% of your daily intake). Over the course of an hour of exercise, you can sweat a liter or more. Now, consider what happens when exercising for several hours. You’re losing a lot of water and a lot of sodium, and over time a lot of potassium.


Gatorade doesn’t contain enough sodium to properly replace the amount of sodium you lose while from sweating during exercise.

Now, let’s take a look at the staple of sports hydration everywhere, Gatorade. In an 8 oz. serving of gatorade, in addition to water, you get 110 mg of sodium and 30 mg of potassium. You also get some sugar and some nice dye. Is this enough? According to the American College of Sports Medicine, a sports drink  should contain 125-175 mg of sodium / 8 fl. oz. and 20-48 mg of potassium / 8 fl. oz.

Gatorade gets you close, but not close enough. There’s more than enough potassium in Gatorade, but the levels of sodium are not high enough to replenish the amount of sodium that’s being lost. This is especially true when you consider that many people dilute their gatorade with water because it’s too sweet to drink while riding your bike. So, if you use gatorade for hydration, you might want to dilute it so it’s drinkable and then add some table salt to up the sodium content.


Camelbak Elixir has 140 mg of Sodium and 23.3 mg of Potassium per 8 oz. serving.


During long days on the bike, I have experimented with several electrolyte replacement methods. A few electrolyte replacement drinks that have worked quite well for me are Nuun and Camelbak Elixir. Both have enough sodium and potassium to satisfy the American College of Sports Medicine’s recommendations. As a side benefit, they also have no real caloric content, which allows me to better regulate caloric uptake while riding.


Nuun contains 172 mg of Sodium and 38.8 mg of Potassium per 8 oz. serving.

Now, everyone is different. Some people sweat less than others. Some people’s sweat contains more or less electrolytes than others, so your experiences might differ. I know several people who do just fine with diluted Gatorade without adding salt. This post is really aimed at people who are more sensitive to hydration differences and especially to those who deplete themselves of electrolytes during exercise.

So, back to my kids soccer exploits. I put my own findings to the test for them. Making them drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially the few hours leading up to their practices and games helps out a lot. I also give them a 24 oz. water bottle of Nuun to take with them and drink during these times. I also make sure they hydrate with more water for several hours afterward. When I keep them on top of their hydration, they avoid the post-game dehydration headaches and feel better during their games, as well.

As I started working on this post, I came acoss a great write up on Hydration Myths written by John Hughes. John Hughes is the former director of the UltraMarathon Cycling Association and editor of UltraCycling, and he has been certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a personal trainer and by USA Cycling as a coach. Much of what I spoke about is supported by what he wrote. You can read his article here.



Unique Laguna Beach Travel Information

This Laguna Beach travel information was compiled by Marvin Davis (@farmtotable on Twitter) and kindly provided to us for use on this blog. Please, feel free to let us know if something should be added to this listing.

We are often asked about fun things to do in the areas we serve. Sometimes, we’re even asked where is a great place to stay. For that reason, we thought it might be nice to post some ideas for people. Here, we provide some interesting Laguna Beach travel info. August is an especially great time to visit the Laguna Beach area, and it is a one-stop shop for outdoor adventures. We highly recommend this area as a base camp for your Southern California adventures!

Info Sheet – South Orange Coast Base Camp at Crystal Cove State Park near Laguna Beach, CA 92651


Crystal Cove State Park

Crystal Cove State Park ( makes a great base camp for just about any adventure (Kayak/SUP/MTB riding/Road Bike riding/Hiking/Swimming/Scuba/Surfing/Snorkeling). The South Orange Coast from Newport to Dana Point has sufficient topography to make launching & landing kayaks/SUP’s in most weather conditions a breeze. Exploring this beautiful area will reveal many small coves, hidden beaches, and beautiful vistas.

Be sure to treat yourself to the Shake Shack located along HWY-1 at least once.

If you are unfamiliar with this venue and just want to get a feel for Crystal Cove, stop by the Beachcomber Cafe ( located right on the beach. Great beach vibe with breakfast, lunch, dinner, served inside or on the deck and a separate bar outside.

While staying in one of the vintage Crystal Cove Cottages, just get yuppie grub from Trader Joes  ((949) 494-7404) at the nearby Crystal Cove Promenade (8086 E Pacific Coast Hwy 92657) shopping center or take out from local restaurants. One of our favorite takeouts is whole roasted chicken and a Caesar salad from Banderas ((949) 673-3524; ) at 3201 E Pacific Coast Hwy in Corona del Mar 92625.


Crystal Cove Cottages

Unique accommodations range from tent/RV camping at the Crystal Cove State Park’s new Moro Campground, to hiking in to an Environmental Site, to rustic beach Cottages located right on the sand. The Moro Campground tent sites are located closest to the bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and cost a whopping $50/night, but could just be one of the finest adventure base camps ever.


Environmental Sites (Hike may not be suitable with heavy gear/boats.)

Link to site:

Reservations by ReserveAmerica:

Moro Campground

Link to site:

Reservations by ReserveAmerica:


Link to site:

Reservations by ReserveAmerica:

Prices range from ~$40/night for a secure dorm room to ~$200/night for a complete house. Reservations are available 7 months in advance but cancellations often come up, especially the week before.

I like the beach cottages 16, 19A, 32, & 37 because of the short portage to launch. My wife’s favorite is 33 located along the bluff. The dorm units do not work for couples. Cottage 2 has some restaurant noise. ADA units 1, 18 , 38D require handicap placard. The only unit I cannot recommend is 19B as it is located below 19A and can be painfully bad with noisy kids living right above you, jumping off the beds, running across the floor, etc.

Other Accomodations:

The Carriage House in Laguna Beach is a relatively affordable private accommodation with kitchen.

Another great base camp option is the cottages at nearby Newport Dunes RV Park.

The 1 bedroom w/lofts and Beachfront 1 bedroom w/lofts are very nice. Pricey during the summer, but the off season rates have been running ~$150/night for a nicely furnished cottage. Launch from beach a stones throw from cottage for a peaceful flat water meander of the Newport Back Bay, or head on out through the channel to see what adventures await. Located along some good road bike routes and there are a few nice little MTB routes and hiking trails nearby, including the Back Bay Loop ( that you can access directly from the RV Park.

Laguna Beach Weather

Use the following link to check out what to expect from the weather during your stay:

Laguna Beach Events

Local events include Pageant of the Masters (A unique must see experience where the art comes to you life size (, Festival of the Arts, Sawdust Festival, Art Museum, Live music (Ever heard Sachmo Covers? That sound exactly like Louise Armstrong?) in a multitude of indoor and outdoor venues, great little shops, museums, art galleries, with free trolley service around town and to the beach. Check out the Laguna Beach Calendar of Events for more options for your stay.

Laguna Beach Calendar of Events:

Outdoor Activities:

MTB Riding: There is some great year round (closed after winter rains) MTB riding in Crystal Cove State Park and you could always hook up the with the RADS and Brian Lopes if you are looking for a more extreme Pro level adventure.


MTB in Laguna Beach

No known pump tracks or DJ/Freeride sites, but I’m sure they’re there somewhere.

MTB Trails:


Check out the MTB Video:

Note the ridge line trails are completely devoid of Poison Oak.



MTB Rentals (Stumpys, Mojos, Blurs, Oh My!):


Road Riding:

Nice road bike rides North/South along HWY-1 and as far East as you want.

Road Bike Rentals:

Don’t have your road bike with you but still want to go out and enjoy cycling the South Orange Coast? Contact Joe (949) 374-6079 at Synaptic Cycles for a great rental price on a super smooth Calfee or Cervelo delivered right to your door!


Kayaking/Stand Up Paddleboarding:

Newport Bay also makes a good launch site.

Dana Harbor is a very nice launch site.

Kayak/SUP Rentals:

Kayak/SUP Rentals from Southwind Rental Base (949) 261-0200


SCUBA is a great option with much sea life and interesting topography and artifacts, include including an old anchor and a WWII vintage F4 Corsair ( located just offshore from Crystal Cove.


Surf Report (949) 494-6573

Watch for submerged rocks.

Day Trips:

Avalon on Catalina Island makes an excellent day trip from the ferry terminals in nearby Newport Beach (Catalina Flyer or Dana Harbor (Catalina Express Tip: Catalina Express currently has a promo for free round trip travel on your birthday.


How to get around:

Train Service: Regular AMTRAK Train service aboard the Pacific Surfliner is available from nearby Irvine, San Juan Capistrano, or limited service from San Clemente.

Call (800) USA-RAIL for reservations and monitor for latest updates.


OCTA #1 municipal bus travels HWY-1 from Long Beach to Dana Point (and occasionally San Clemente) with stops near Crystal Cove State Park.




Yelp Reviews

Synaptic Cycles
Based on 38 Reviews
Kristin Lewis P.
Kristin Lewis P.
2020-09-17 15:33:32
Great experience at Synaptic! I needed a tube replaced on my "purchased for the pandemic cheap and cheery" bike and Shawn took care of it in under 10... read more
Anthony S.
Anthony S.
2020-09-16 10:05:21
If you don't have a way to get your bike to a shop Synaptic is the way to go. Pick up and delivery is such a convenience. I highly recommend them. read more
Nails By Stephanie R.
Nails By Stephanie R.
2020-08-15 20:50:41
We had company in town during Covid and wanted to check out Electric bikes. Shaun was amazing to work with, he has several different types of bikes to rent... read more
Brian V.
Brian V.
2020-08-06 18:34:45
Was difficult To find a bike shop during Covid Called Shawn and he took my bike ... He also takes the time to explain things to you. and yet they deserve... read more
Jessica K.
Jessica K.
2020-05-20 21:19:33
Quarantine restlessness got the best of me but I couldn't find a bike in stores so I ordered one online. It arrived mostly assembled but I quickly realized... read more
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