Category Archives: Reportage
In Seattle, a local staple has closed its doors. Back in September of last year, Elliott Bay Bicycles, home of Davidson Cycles, shut down. Luckily the in-house brand of frames, made by hand since 1973, by Bill Davidson lives on.
Even though Davidson is a Seattle-based framebuilder, his work can be seen from coast to coast, from vintage steel to modern composite. Although Bill only currently offers road frames, he makes them in a variety of materials. As a Davidson customer, you can chose between composite, steel or titanium, all of which are done in house. While the modern bikes have their own character, there’s something about a frame from the late 80’s and early 90’s. They all have a certain finesse that’s harder to achieve these days with modern materials.
This particular frame was most likely made in the mid to late 1980’s, if the 1″ threaded steerer and internally-lugged unicrown fork is any indication. Chris scored it off eBay as he was looking for a traditionally lugged frame to kick around town on. Fit with a mix of Campagnolo 10-speed, the bike looks like a classic road from the 80’s, yet has the technology from a modern road group.
Bottom line, she’s a looker. See more in the Gallery.
Death in the Valley – Team AWOL
Words by Erik Nohlin, Garrett Chow, Dylan Buffington, Sean Estes
Photos by Erik Nohlin and Dylan Buffington
“Let’s ride into the middle of the desert on our bikes.”
It was plain and simple. This was the brief that convinced a few friends to dive into Death Valley head first. We planned the trip in three weeks, the drive took 7 hours, and all of a sudden our feet were planted on the dirt of the Inyo Mountain Range that would lead us into Death Valley. We were set for an adventure but what we found was an epic one.
On long rides, moments and memories start to blend into each other, making it hard to differentiate this mountain from the next, that turn from this bend. As part of the Team AWOL spirit, there is a responsibility to tell a story. Whether that be with photos or reports, every rider will explain the pain of a climb a little differently than the next. This is something that is taken to heart especially when riding with a group. In this report, we are including everyone’s voice as a way to adjust the method of storytelling. We find this to be essential to understand the bigger picture. Not only do we view and take in the photographs, but the style and reflections in each of their writings brings unique perspectives to understanding the truth in the story…
No 22 Bicycles grew from a longstanding framebuilding tradition in Upstate New York. By keeping production of their frames Stateside, they’re able to tweak geometries easily and even develop new models. Their latest addition to the No 22 family is the Broken Arrow disc cyclocross bike.
Developed with the help of Wilis Johnson of Deluxe Cycles, the Broken Arrow was designed to be a racing frame, but as we all know, a cross bike’s versatility is quickly realized as the season comes to a close.
Wilis raced ‘Cross Nats on this bike, as well as shredded trails while he was in town. The subtle branding and black componentry really give this bike a beautiful silhouette and I can’t think of a more appropriate bike for that Cadence x Ritchey stem. Photographing titanium outdoors can be difficult, especially on an overcast day, but these photos came out great. Those who raced Crash Nationals will recognize the bamboo tunnel…
Yes, that says “dirt droop”, rather than “dirt drop.” You see, there are magical and medicinal qualities to the fabled “LD” stem – pardon the acronym, we don’t need to spell it out for you.
Benedict, aka Poppi, aka @UltraRomance is a wild one. One that cannot be tamed by modern ideologies, or technologies for that matter. His Clockwork Bikes frame is a time capsule of the old days of yore when men would gather or hunt for their food in the woods. Even when something appears to be modern, it’s executed in a way that harkens back to the early days of klunking. Disc brakes? He slices fresh mushrooms on them and truthfully, he only uses them to stop for a tanning session. The throwback version of the narrow wide chaingrings is just a “narrow narrow” ring. An outer “bash guard” ring pressed up against an inner ring with a spare “rabbit” personal massager holding it in place. Even his “marsh mud” tubeless setup is pulled from nature. Literally…
Even with all of the letdown on Sunday morning at the 2015 Cyclocross National Championships, it was still a damn successful event up until that point. Wednesday through Saturday, races went off without a hitch and everyone was having a hell of a time riding the muddy and technical course. With adverse weather, comes adverse conditions and one group of individuals helped cope with the super sticky Texas mud moreso than your average pit crew.
The team at WD40 had a well-lubed process running just adjacent to the limestone runups. Outside of their heated tent, was a pressure-washing station, then inside their – yes, heated tent – a team of highly capable mechanics were on hand to give your bike a dry down, lube and even a quick tune up. All while you toasted your toes on their heater. Not bad huh?
Amanda Schaper is one of the women who hammered it during the Industry and Master’s races. An employee at Giro Cycling, she likes to support the local Santa Cruz framebuilding industry by racing for Caletti Cycles. Her titanium, Di2 machine is what many would consider a dream machine, yet she thrashes it, crashes it and in general, uses it to its full potential.
A potential that was a lot easier to photograph once WD40’s crews had cleaned off all the Dillo Dirt™…
Vancouver’s Super Champion
Words and photos by Morgan Taylor
In 2007, former pro snowboarder Tyler Lepore opened up a track bike shop in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. With its wood paneling and white walls, carefully curated framesets and splashes of colorful parts, the space had a modern, almost gallery-like feel. Add in clean branding and a collection of t-shirts with hand-drawn art, and Super Champion felt more like a skate shop than a bike shop.
Chiwawan Wakk Trak Chimichanga
Photos by Jared Kerst words by Ultra Romance
Survival fires, spandex spoon trains, pee tea sipping, mutiny, abandoned bikes, lost and found, etc… Chances are every outdoorsman has experienced one or another or all. 3 years ago Lorde Gaubert brought a group of “Pomeranian city slickers” out to the Chiwawan desert to explore the seemingly endless network of mining and smuggling trails left over from the Republic of Texas days. It was meant to just be a Lycra paced long day ride. Things didn’t turn out so well. Apparently it was Garmin’s fault, or the game trail that could have been a trail, trail, or the empty water bottles with boiling temperatures and tempers….. Either way, they got wicked lost, ditched their bikes, spoon train man piled round a survival fire all night, and found their truck the next day hours before an iconic Texas blue norther elbow dropped the temps into the 30s. It was a harrowing tale, a spandex spectacle all our brüs had heard and laughed about several times. But deep inside, all of us were eager to get shreddy on the 1-trakk monarchy hidden within the 2nd largest desert in North America, and furthermore, to find out if Lorde Gaubert’s curse was merely situational. He does have a reputation, after all…
“I’m heading to the pits now, do you want me to clean it off?”
The way I look at it, a perfectly-assembled, brand new bike always looks a bit weird being shot outside of a studio. While I prefer to document bicycles outside, using mostly natural light, there’s something eerie about a pristine example of a velocipede not at least a little dusty.
At ‘Cross Nats, it wasn’t hard to find dirty bikes, but once the races were postponed, the sea of custom steel bikes dwindled to a handful, the most recognizable being Dan Timmerman’s Team Richard Sachs cross bike.
As Dan exited the course during a pre-ride, I went over and asked if I could shoot some photos of it, caked with our particularly sticky, clay-ridden, Texas mud. Once I was done shooting photos, even the pit crew shouted “we haven’t had mud like this before” over the loud pressure washers…
The fact that Dan still cleans people’s clocks on a 20lb steel bike, while they’re on 16lb race bikes is a testament to the rider’s fitness, yet, you have to consider the mojo boost from a handmade bike, right? At any rate, this one’s not to be missed…
“Even Disappointment is Bigger in Texas”
There’s a lot to be said about the events that occurred on Sunday morning here in Austin, all of which have been stomped to death elsewhere, so what I’ll say is, for a race that was almost killed off, this was one of most beautiful and challenging courses I’ve ever witnessed. That’s coming from someone who has never traveled overseas, of course, but still.
Look, Austin is a growing city, trying to keep things “weird” and maintain its small town vibe, while it’s bursting at the seams with new construction and lots of new, self-important money. Events like SxSW, ACL and Fun Fun Fun Fest have been destroying the same parks over and over again, so when people see their beautiful Zilker and its hillsides being “destroyed”, they tend to overreact. Especially when they’re not briefed as to what “cyclocross” is.
I can say, It upsets me that this is what the ‘cross world will forever remember us by, not for the ripping course and supportive local scene. We all love cross and it kills us just as much as it kills you. Anyway, onto the story…
For the past week, I’ve been figuring out how to document this event and let me tell you, it was a lot easier before the organizers changed the course up. I had spots for each lap and ideas about how to tie in the women’s and men’s races, all of which was out the window when Sunday’s race was cancelled and the course underwent major work, eliminating many of the vignettes I had planned.
Shooting ‘cross isn’t easy, but it sure is challenging and as a photographer, I learn something new each time. Having raced on Wednesday, I felt like I had a good understanding of where to go and when. Throughout the entire day on Monday, unridable mud slowly transformed into 100% hero dirt. The lines were worn in and even the most technical section – a ribbon of off-camber mud-gutter with a 10″ drop off into one of the old course’s lines – was ridable. For most anyway.
At the end of the day, I experimented, caught some moments and pulled together one of my favorite galleries to date. I hope you enjoy… and remember, Austin loves ‘cross, let’s try to forgive and forget.
There have been a lot of awesome cross bikes in town and I’ve tried my best to document them when I could, which unfortunately hasn’t been that often. This one, however was a must!
Nobuhiko Tanabe’s internet handle is NB_Log. He’s an employee at Blue Lug in Japan, races for Geekhouse and in general, is stoked out on bikes. His 2014 team Mudville cross bike has one of my favorite color combinations to ever leave the Boston framebuilder’s shop.
NB found himself in Austin for the 2015 ‘Cross Nats, going to the parties, races and events of this past week’s schedule, as well as pedaling around a few of our local trail systems.
At Wednesday’s events, I caught up with Nobuhiko to shoot some quick photos of his bike as he enjoyed the races… See more in the Gallery!