805 Presents: A Letter To Aptos, the story of Ryan “R-Dog” Howard. R-Dog was born and raised in the small beach town of Aptos, California – home to some of the best mountain biking on offer and the grounds of the iconic Post Office. But his passion was never really in racing as a kid.
For Ryan, it was all about riding with style and poise. His all-for-fun mentality that he brings to every ride and his wide grom-like smile are inspiring others to hit the trails. Watch as we uncover how a small beach town and an empty dirt lot shaped Ryan into the person and the rider that he is. Bikes have taken him all over the world, but he always comes back home to the mountains of Aptos with a smile on his face.
Deep in the forests surrounding Aptos are some of the best trails you can find. The mossy forest floor muffles out all distractions, and all you can hear is the sound of a freewheel descending through the redwoods. The riders coming out of this area are afforded a surreal daily riding experience. There seems to be a reason it is a breeding ground for professionals. Endless trail networks connect the forests together. On any given day, you can catch R-Dog heading up the fire road into the next mythical trail.
Another aspect of Aptos that put it on the map for mountain biking is the iconic Post Office jumps. What was seemingly a vacant dirt lot in the heart of downtown Aptos became the Mecca for the bike scene. Endless stories and sessions came out of these jumps – and Ryan was there from beginning to end. When it was finally time for development to take over the lot, it was a devastating blow for the bike community. “It felt like I lost a friend,” Ryan said. “We knew it was the end.” Even after it’s final sessions, Ryan has a tremendous reflection and appreciation on what this place gave him and what it gave the mountain bike world.
The story of Ryan Howard is one that is innocent in a sense – full of pure passion for two wheels and having fun with friends. The thing that brings him the most joy has lead to a career gracing trails and jumps all over the world. Ryan is full of gratitude for what bikes have given him the ability to do. But although he’s ridden all over, he always comes home to the sleepy beach town of Aptos, California.