Adam Sklar has been building bikes for five years now. Among his first customers was Sam, a good friend from high school. Sam had Adam build him a single speed 29er, but Sklar #4 has since been through many iterations over the years. Recently, Sam was feeling like his original Sklar, while abundant with character and nostalgia, was ready to give way to a new Sklar. Adam’s style has certainly developed over his time building bikes, and Sam wanted to honor his friend’s success by commissioning another frame. (more…)
Words and photos by Morgan Taylor.
Bikes instead of flights. That was the idea. Stephanie and I have been scheming on this plan for quite a while – about nine months to be exact. You see, we got married back in October, and wanted to go on an extended trip to celebrate. Over the winter we threw ideas around about what kinds of bikes we could ride on our honeymoon trip, and then keep running as fun all-rounders when we were back home.
We landed on the Soma Wolverine, a bike that in its few short years has developed a bit of a cult following. What surprised me, however, is that not many people had built these bikes with 27.5 wheels. There were so few people out there doing it that I wondered whether it would work out. I calculated wheel diameters, I stuffed various wheels into Wolverine frames on trips to the city, and I eventually decided that 27.5 with a larger volume tire was our ticket. More on the bikes in a later piece, though.
As the months moved along, a plan came together to ride straight from home in southeast BC, over the two mountain chains to the Rockies, and loosely follow the Continental Divide with national parks in our sights. Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton were within striking distance. At some point we’d head west, likely to northern California to see Yosemite and the Sierras on the way to Los Angeles. None of this was set in stone, though; we simply wanted to follow our noses and local recommendations on a mixed surface adventure through the western US. (more…)
Yesterday while on a ride, Erik hit a trash dumpster with his face in a freak accident. One minute we were all riding to explore the mountains and the next, a cacophony erupted and Erik was flying through the air before landing on his face. By the time Dylan and I made it to him, he was bleeding from his head and having seizures. I immediately called 911 and made sure he was breathing. After a few minutes, the ambulance and fire truck showed up, rushing Erik to the ER for scans.
A few hours later and he was good to go with a few stitches, a mild concussion and a sore back. All this happened just a few days before he and I are leaving for the Length of Sweden brevet, the Sverigetempot, a 1400 mile brevet from Northern to Southern Sweden. It made for an interesting start to the weekend and served as a sobering reminder that we’re all pretty fragile while on our bikes. Many thanks to the local South Pasadena emergency response teams for being so rad and be safe out there!
Words and photos by Morgan Taylor
Carrying stuff on bikes can be complicated – especially when you’re a notorious over-packer who likes to have a DSLR on hand. The Wolverine is my first ground-up drop bar build in a while, and I wanted to ensure that both transporting and accessing my camera would be well thought out.
Since we got married last October, Stephanie and I have been putting the pieces together to take off on a multi-month trip beginning in July. Wanting to produce galleries and stories on the road means having a bike-camping friendly way to carry my camera gear. I decided on a Swift Ozette rando bag – and the Hinterland Collection made with X-Pac VX21 had classic rando utility with a technical, modern twist.
I got talking with Martina at Swift over email, and ended up heading down to Seattle to visit their studio and pick up my bag in person. While Martina does get out on a lot of adventures herself, she also loves to live vicariously through others. Finding out that Stephanie and I were headed in the direction of the Great Divide route and planning on sticking to dirt as much as possible, she recommended finding a robust decaleur solution for my Ozette. (more…)
Here comes the weekend again… make like Morgan and Denver and give someone a high five!
For those of us who are taken by steel frames and appreciate their ride feel and longevity, the idea of a “lifetime” bike is a familiar one. In practice, however, the idea that a bike could last a lifetime is often just that – an idea – and for some reason or another bikes don’t always stay with us as long as we’d initially envisioned. Not so with Karen’s Merckx.
Karen bought her Eddy Merckx brand new when she was living in Edmonton, AB, in the ’80s. It was originally equipped with a mix of Dura-Ace AX and Campy Record, 6-speed downtube of course. She rode it for a number of years before hanging up the road bike in favor of mountain bikes in the mid ’90s.
Now based in Kelowna, BC, Karen and her husband Chris run a full service repair shop for vintage and modern European cars, with a focus on the details that those machines deserve. Chris took this attention to detail to Meshkat at The Lions Cyclery in the form of a restoration project, and Karen was inspired to dust off the Merckx.
To retain the bike’s classic aesthetic, a silver Campagnolo Veloce group was installed from front to back. The tan sidewall Strada LGGs look perfect on the polished Weinmann rims. The stem, bar, and headset are all that’s left of the original build; with its bombproof new groupset, Karen’s Merckx is ready for its next 30 years.
You might recognize this one… When Nils got hit by a car, totaling his Chumba, he had to convert his Cycle Fab Surly LHT Cargo machine back to a 700c touring bike for every day rides. Now, it’s his ride for Aids Life Cycle.
Before heading out of town, he swung by to say hello and pick up some last minute provisions. I took his bike out for two photos (you’ll have to excuse the printer, it happened to be on the sidewalk and worked as a perfect prop for this fully-loaded bike.) My two favorite details are Nils’ self-made frame bag and how he mounted the Porcelain Rocket Mr. Fusion directly to his rack mounts, rather than the seatpost. Nicely done!
Follow Nils on his trip at @FrankWithoutBeans!
… and I’ll be telling you all about it next week. It’d been a while since I’ve ridden steel on the road. Man, what a great feeling.
Yesterday, we drove up to the Bandito campground in the Angeles National Forest with Salsa Cycles, Topanga Creek Outpost and Golden Saddle Cyclery for a quick camping trip and mountain bike ride(s). It was a short overnighter but that didn’t keep David, one of the mechanics at GSC from bringing his vintage Campagnolo banner he uses as a sun shade for his van… Meanwhile, I took the scenic route home.
… when the Amgen Tour of California comes through town. Thanks to everyone that came out to the GSC / TDT / RAD ride up the 2 this morning and thanks to Amgen for bringing this race through some of the most scenic roads in California! Expect a full write-up soon!