Local Bike Shop Manager Shares His Favorite O.C. Trails

Ivan Mendez, manager of Specialized in Costa Mesa, shares his favorite trails and more.

What makes the Specialized location in Costa Mesa unique?
The store in Costa Mesa is our only one in Orange County. It was mainly designed as a research center. We sell and service bikes, but the main goal is to see what the needs of a rider are—not necessarily the pro, elite riders, but the weekend warriors just trying to go out with their kids. We take all of that information, and then we use that to implement what’s called Rider-First technology and design the bikes and accessories around that.

What are some of your favorite bike trails in O.C.?
The Santa Ana River Trail is probably one of the best ones. There’s also the San Diego River Trail in Irvine. Pacific Coast Highway is really nice, you just have to be a little more careful. Back Bay is a really cool one because you just do a loop; you get a nice scenic view, and there are certain areas that you can go up like Castaways, which is a bluff. As far as mountain (biking) goes, there are a lot of trails in Crystal Cove. Some of them are pretty technical so you have to have some skill involved, but there are other ones where you can just cruise around.

What tools or gear do you recommend for biking trails?
I would obviously have a helmet first, because that’s what we all need to ride a bike. A flat kit, that way in case something happens with your tires, you’re not stranded there. That includes a tube, a tire lever, a CO2 cannister, and the adaptable parts that you’re able to use a CO2 cannister with. A small pump would be a safe bet. Make sure you stay hydrated and have some nutrition.

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