The West is a big, big place, and every week our staff is all over it, digging up the shops and restaurants, beaches and trails, performances and, well, phenomena that make the region so vibrant. Here’s the Best of the West this week

Raid Cycling Lead with Icon
Courtesy of RAID Cycling

Sustainability for the Sole

I wasn’t sure about these boots—the product of a collaboration between Vancouver-based Sole and outdoor apparel outfit United by Blue—when I first tried them on. I have fairly flat feet, so I thought the shoe’s much-touted supportive footbed would be wasted on me at best, if not just plain uncomfortable. And the uppers—bison fiber? That sounded possibly stinky and almost certainly hot. But I was wrong. I love these funky, vaguely elfin shoes. The cork sole is an incredibly comfortable surface to walk on, and the felt is surprisingly breathable—if I walk briskly enough, my toes feel a breeze. They weigh almost nothing, look great with jeans, and the eco-friendly materials make me feel that I am treading the earth lightly. We were lucky enough to get a preview pair here in the Sunset office. I can’t recommend these highly enough when they hit the market later this year. —Nicole Clausing, content producer


Courtesy of RAID Cycling

Tour de West 

“Cycling has its roots in Europe, so it makes sense countries like France, Spain, and Switzerland rank high on bike enthusiasts’ bucket lists. But the U.S. has just as much to offer when it comes to scenic roads and challenging climbs, says Brad Sauber, founder of new travel outfitter, RAID Cycling. A veteran of biking-focused touring companies inGamba and Rapha Travel, Sauber estimates he’s guided 10,000 customers in 40-plus countries. At RAID, he distills his best experiences, including his favorite restaurants and inns, into culturally-rich itineraries geared toward intermediate and advanced cyclists. International destinations, like Japan, are in RAID’s portfolio, but the majority of trips take place in the American West, including an 11-day, 895-mile journey from Portland to San Francisco and a climbing-focused week in Colorado. While you might not think of New Mexico as a cycling mecca, Sauber says the 8-day, 557-mile ride in the Land of Enchantment ticks all of the boxes. ‘The combination of art, food, history, and culture set against such a unique landscape makes it one of a kind,’ he says. ‘One day you’re climbing through forests of aspen and ponderosa, the next you’re navigating remote canyons and mesas.’” Five-day trips from $3,750, all-inclusive. —Jen Murphy, executive editor

More Videos From Sunset

Courtesy of Rylo

360° Adventure

“I had a recent opportunity to try out a Rylo 360° video and still camera while on a trip to Yosemite. It was a great supplement to taking stills on my DSLR while hiking around waterfalls and the sequoia grove. But my favorite part of this camera is how you can edit your 360 video in the app: Follow subjects, see a simultaneous view from the front and back, create a tiny planet, stabilize a shaky view, adjust settings like color and speed, and easily export to your phone for uploading on social media. This camera is a great gift idea for friends or family with an epic summer adventure on their calendar.” ($449, Rylo Adventure Bundle) —Zoe Gutterman, associate digital producer

Getting the Scoop

A burst of sunshine isn’t always a guarantee in foggy San Francisco, so when the days are bright, we eat ice cream. Famed Bi-Rite Creamery happens to be a hop, skip, and a jump from my home, and even though there are the perennially long lines to contend with, a warm weekend sometimes mandates putting up with delayed gratification for the best scoops in town. I’m particularly craving their returning seasonal flavors: Balsamic Strawberry (the perfect combo of tangy and sweet) and Cream Cheese Carrot Cake (for the holdout carrot cake fans, I know you’re also out there). Whether or not these flavors work well together remains to be seen, but I’m up for the challenge. And while their flagship 18th Street scoop shop is still under retrofit construction, Bi-Rite has a highly Instagrammable but also earth-friendly (check out those solar panels!) ice cream truck parked just up the block from the brick-and-mortar location. —Jessica Mordo, Deputy Digital Editor

Photography Lessons 

I’m hesitant to share this one because it’s one of the best kept secrets in the photography world—taking a class from adventure and travel photographer Chris Burkard. I dream of taking one of his small live classes in cities around the West but you can also take his online class through the website Creative Live. I’ve taken the online class. It’s terrific. He covers everything from editing photos in Lightroom to location scouting, underwater shooting to how he started in the photography business. Let’s face it, everyone is a photographer these days. Whether you’re shooting with an iPhone, Polaroid SX-70, or the latest and greatest mirrorless system you’ll benefit from the knowledge Burkard drops. —Thad Orr, garden editor

Courtesy of the Presidio

Urban Campfire Picnic

San Francisco’s Presidio Twilighta celebrated community campfire where attendees can enjoy a diverse menu of food truck options from local vendors, returns this Thursday from 5pm-9pm. Located in the heart of the Presidio at the historic Main Parade Ground, the event will feature live music, lawn games, a full bar, and communal fire pits. New this year are lantern-lit communal lawn domes where park visitors can step in from the weather to enjoy their meal and drinks. What better way to wind down on a Thursday after work with friends, family, or colleagues? —Kelsey Maloney, editorial assistant

The Wine That Has Me Ditching Provence

After years of drinking increasingly expensive, hit-and-miss Provencal rosé because that South of France summer fantasy dies hard, I made a vow to drink more California rosés. The ABVs are coming down, the wines are getting more interesting, and the labels look cooler than ever (yes I can be very shallow when it comes to the bottles I put on my table). And I’ve found a new, go-to California summer glug: Idle Chatter Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir Rosé. It’s got enough body to work as an aperitif wine (thanks neutral French oak) and enough zippy citrus and berry flavors to reset your palate in between bites of juicy grilled chicken.  —Hugh Garvey, food editor

Vintage Treasure Trove

The antiques game is strong on Main Street Las Vegas, with watering holes like super funky ReBAR doubling as vintage shops (yes, buy the stiletto-clad leg lamp lighting your cocktail—everything is for sale!). Our favorite spot, though, was Patina Decor, a treasure trove of vintage barware, mod and mid-century furniture and superb ’60s and ’70s dresses that can double as my dressing room anytime. It delights my girly heart to see so much pink in one place. —Dakota Kim, staff writer


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