"I told him that I will only move to Topanga Canyon if I can still ride my bike to work,” Kelton Wright recalls telling her man, Ben Foster. “But you have to pick me up from work."
Ben agreed. He had moved to Topanga in 2014 from Brooklyn. When he asked Kelton to move in they’d been dating six months. The two love cycling, and though the downhill ride to Kelton’s job at Headspace is a lovely 13-miler, the ride home is an uphill slog of smog and testy motorists. So Ben drives to Santa Monica to pick her up at the end of the day.
Some mornings Kelton takes the “dirt way,” a 20 mile ride through the Santa Monica Mountains, which empties in Mandeville Canyon. From there, it’s a straight shot through Brentwood to her office in Santa Monica. “It's really magical, especially on a misty morning,” she says. “If you're catching the sunrise at the right time, it can be really spectacular.”
Ben is a professional cyclist. He has ridden in 45 races in the past year, and at age 37 he’s hoping to do as many as 90 a year.
“I'm basically a journeyman racer right now,” he says. “I've been trying to work my way up into a professional team.” He currently races for a regional team as a guest rider. “If another team has a spot at a different pro race, I'll just hop on their team for that race.”
As of now he doesn’t make much money doing this, so Kelton supports him. She says, “we both have dreams that don't make any money, so I support him now because his dream has a physical expiration date, and then he’ll support my pursuits later.”
Kelton is an aspiring novelist, and she has already written a collection of essays, Anonymous Asked: Life Lessons from the Internet's Big Sister. She has also written city cycling guides for Rapha, and is currently completing her first work of fiction, which you can learn more about in her newsletter.
The couple met through a fellow cyclist. “A mutual friend of ours invited us to go on a ride with him to get donuts,” says Kelton. “It was love at first sight for me, but Ben was not interested in me at all.”
According to Ben: “I had a rule that I didn't date within the bike scene. I was not even considering someone who rides a bike.”
Ben may have had his blinders on, but Tinder did not. They were matched. They started talking. And eventually, as Kelton says, “I won him over.”
They have been together three and a half years and love living in Topanga in what may seem like a ramshackle cabin. However, their support for one another fills the rustic home with an earnest charm. Not to mention, they love living so close to the surrounding trails.
“We also have beautiful views of the mountains,” says Ben. “There are tons of windows, we have a little deck; it's just a real classic California cabin in that way.”
Photography by William Callan.