Category Archives: Reportage
Romantic Bicycle Touring: A Primer – Ultra Romance
Romantic Bicycle Touring: A Primer

Romantic Bicycle Touring: A Primer
Words and photos by Ultra Romance

You can witness all the beauty there is to see in this fine world: Yanni live at the Acropolis, the Venice beach boardwalk, or simply the Sistine Chapel, for example.

While encountering these wonders alone is undoubtedly inspiring and majestic, these enchanting destinations and undulating waves of road in between are enhanced roughly 70-80% of the time when the experience is shared. Add in the romantic element, and that analytic bumps up to roughly 86%, yet fluctuates down to 20% at times. That’s still pretty good!

With the popularity of bicycle touring on the rise in recent years, and justifiably so, the amount of “I’d rather be doing that” inspirational social media content has increased exponentially. It doesn’t take a masters degree in internet browsing to stumble across countless photos of glossy eyed 86% happy couples posing for duck face selfies with their laden touring rigs amidst a backdrop of the romantic unknown.

I must admit, I have gazed at these photos before, incurring wide eyed dreams of one day waking up in the dirt beside a real, tangible lover. Instead I continued to keep company with the likes of my ol’ faithful laminated 8×10 of Matthew McConaughey, propped up next to my inflatable pillow at night. Even still, I continued to tell myself “Bené, you’re tall, strikingly handsome, muscular, your hair is #1, and you have two amazing Instagram accounts… don’t get greedy, you can’t have it all!” And so I was settled into my ways. Just me and my McCaughey laminate, rubbing woolen elbows with the world and it’s mysteries. (more…)

Oct 25, 2016 9 comments
Campbell’s Rock Lobster Cross Bike
Campbell's Rock Lobster Cross Bike

At the Rock Lobster Cup Strikes Back, there were so many flashy Rock Lobster ‘cross bikes rolling around the bumpy course but I wanted to shoot one in particular as an homage to everything Paul is doing with the team. Campbell Steers took a very impressive win home on Saturday, beating the highly competitive women’s field on her trusty Rock Lobster. In a world where disc brakes and 1x drivetrains dominate the field, Campbell’s on a v-brake bike with a 2x Ultegra drivetrain with Easton wheels and Dugast 33 tubulars.

It’s not the kit that makes this bike so interesting to me. Sure, the WTB test saddle is a nice touch, but this bike has some history. Campbell bought it from a Santa Cruz local. A woman who raced a bit, but ended up selling the frame after a few years. At that point, Campbell was just getting into racing, so she jumped on the deal. The fact that it was a Rock Lobster had to have been some strange premonition of the cycling gods. After a few impressive wins, Paul Sadoff asked Campbell to join the crustacean crushers, aka the Rock Lobster CX Team.

Every time Campbell asks Paul to build her a new frame, he scoffs and says “That one’s fine! Just keep racing…” As for Campbell, check out her artwork at Buda Burrito!

Oct 24, 2016 6 comments
The Rock Lobster Cup Strikes Back
Climbing up!

Usually the sequel doesn’t stack up to the original, yet the consensus I gathered at the Rock Lobster Cup II was that this year’s event was way harder and way more fun. Or maybe just way harder. Having only raced the sequel, I can’t say for sure, but having not raced ‘cross for two years, It was all I could have asked for and more. (more…)

Oct 23, 2016 13 comments
Golden Saddle Rides: Cinelli Mash After-Work Basket Bike
Golden Saddle Rides: Cinelli Mash After-Work Basket Bike

Is it still a work bike, if you don’t spend your work days riding it around delivering packages? What about riding to the bar? Or errands? Or even hitting some singletrack after work and finishing off a beer. Even a 32oz. The latest Golden Saddle Rides is a Mash Cinelli Work frame that has been powder coated clear red and built with around-town functionality in mind. Here in Los Angeles, even around town means you can ride some dirt on the way. Wide Answer bars, and Continental TravelContact tires should have given that away. While these framesets come with cantilever bosses, this build is set up brakeless with a fixed drivetrain. The front bosses were utlized however, to mount a Nitto rack, which holds a Wald basket and one of those nifty Monkey Wrench Cycles bags.

The Arundel Looney Bins are great and make for interesting prop placement in this photoshoot…


If you want a custom build like this and live in Los Angeles, hit up Golden Saddle Cyclery.

Oct 20, 2016 37 comments
Tobin Ortenblad is a Cyclocross Privateer – Garrett Kautz
Tobin Ortenblad is a Cyclocross Privateer - Photo by Brett Rothmeyer

Tobin Ortenblad is a Cyclocross Privateer
Words by Garrett Kautz and photos by Brett Rothmeyer

Tobin Ortenblad isn’t your typical 22-year-old, nor does he fit the mold of most professional bicycle racers. Sure, he has a coach and a training plan, but that’s where the path begins to blur. Tobin was born and raised in Santa Cruz, California and spent most of his formative years riding BMX bikes, building jumps and eating burritos. Fast forward a decade and he’s fresh off winning the Under 23 Cyclocross National Championship in Asheville. This year, racing in the Elite category, his results have proven that the off-season wasn’t squandered at the beach. He’s finished consistently in the top ten (or top five) at UCI C1 races and a top thirty at both World Cups. Most impressive is that he’s currently doing all this, without a pro contract. We wanted to catch up with the privateer and see what he’s been up to since his big win in January. (more…)

Oct 19, 2016 14 comments
Todd’s Black Cat Bicycles Carbon and Steel Road Has 8 Lives Left
Todd's Black Cat Bicycles Carbon and Steel Road Has 8 Lives Left

A few years ago, Todd from Black Cat Bicycles was on a road ride with a friend of his when they were both struck by a car, exceeding the speed limit on the narrow, remote road they were on. It was a terrifying experience as Todd fought to save his friend’s life, while working through his own sustained injuries. At the end of the ordeal, both of them survived, yet with some serious injuries. Luckily no one died and both cyclists can still ride. Ok, something died: Todd’s love for road cycling. Ok, maybe “died” is a bit extreme, but after an experience like that, I can’t say I’d be stoked to kit up and hit the road again. (more…)

Oct 18, 2016 16 comments
Inside / Out at Black Cat Bicycles
The shop.

Todd Ingermansen has been working in the cycling industry for a long time. Too long if you ask him. Since the age of 13 he’s had a presence in bike shops. What began as sweeping the shop floors eventually culminated into being a mechanic, riding bikes and living bikes. Yet, Todd wanted something more. Running parallel to his bike shop jobs was his art school education, where he realized his 2D and 3-dimension eye for details. In his early 20’s he chased his love of singlespeed MTB riding and racing to Oakland, California where cycling completely enveloped his life.

Back then, there weren’t any US manufacturers of singlespeed MTB frames. Or at least none that piqued Todd’s interest, so he began building his own. A few friends helped him out, some frames worked, some didn’t, yet every frame taught Todd something. Eventually he moved back down the California coast, to San Luis Obispo and began fillet brazing. He had built a dozen or so frames before landing a job with Rick Hunter of Hunter Cycles. Under Rick’s torch, Todd began to realize the importance of actually making a bicycle frame, something that stands true even today.

For the past 14 years, Todd’s been building a brand, and a modus operandi to how he believes bicycles should be made. Black Cat Bicycles are unique, arguably unlike anything else I’ve witnessed in my years of documenting framebuilders. Much like his mentor, Rick Hunter, Todd doesn’t just weld a mail order kit of parts together and paint it. He engineers his own dropouts, builds stems, machines metal into whatever he pleases, carves his own lugs and bends his tubing in very unique shapes. For instance, how do you make chainstays that are bent, yet have an ever-so-slight arc to them? (more…)

Oct 17, 2016 27 comments
Sunrise to Sunset at the 2016 Trans Cascadia – Dylan VanWeelden
Sunrise to Sunset at the 2016 Trans Cascadia - Dylan VanWeelden

Sunrise to Sunset at the 2016 Trans Cascadia
Photos and words by Dylan VanWeelden

The second Trans Cascadia race welcomed 100 primed racers to a blind format enduro race spanning 4 days in the rugged lands of cascadia. It kicked off with a meeting point in the Mackenzie River area where everyone was loaded onto buses with a bag, tent and bike in tow with no idea where they were going. The Trans Cascadia crew worked all season to open long time silent trails to keep even the locals on their toes. Each day hosted a full day of riding unknown trails while the night brought secluded parties only the racers will know.

If you’re looking for a wild experience next year, make sure to sign up when the 2017 registration opens because it tends to sell out in hours. Head to Trans Cascadia!


Follow Trans Cascadia on Instagram and Dylan on Instagram.

Oct 14, 2016 6 comments
Garrett’s Falconer x Hunter Cycles Chubby Road Bike
Garrett's Falconer x Hunter Cycles Chubby Road Bike

Road bikes. They’re still a lot of fun, especially when you can fit a chubby tire like the Rivendell Ruffy Tuffy in them. Garrett from Strawfoot wanted a new road bike when his daughter Olive was born, thinking it’d be a fun and easy way to get in a ride between daddy duties. A while back, he bought a fork from Rick Hunter and contacted Cameron from Falconer to build a road frame around the fork, resulting in one of the slickest and most subtle road bikes I’ve seen. Painted in creamsicle Orange – or Molteni orange if you prefer sausages to ice cream snacks – this beaut was built with Sram Force 22, DT Swiss to H+Son Archetype wheels and Sim Works parts.

Living in the hills of Santa Cruz means easy access to beautiful road riding. It’s easy to drop everything and hit the road for an hour. Unfortunately, all this bike really ended up seeing was the rollers. Garrett didn’t have a lot of time to actually ride the thing when Olive was born, so while she was napping, he’d hop on the rollers and sweat it out for an hour or two.

As a small business owner however, sometimes projects need to be sold to make way for other, more important purchases. Strawfoot is in constant need of materials, machines and extra revenue, so Garrett is selling this beaut for $3,000 shipped anywhere in the continental USA. As is. Complete. The size is 55cm top tube and 54 seat tube. Center to center. Just to sweeten the pot, if you purchase this bike, I’ll throw in a Radavist Sage Jersey… just mention this post in your email. Holler at Garrett for more information. SOLD!

Oct 13, 2016 20 comments
Adam Sklar’s Single Speed ‘Cross Bike
Adam's Sklar Single Speed 'Cross Bike

Last year at Grinduro, Adam Sklar took to the mountains outside Quincy on a singlespeed ‘cross bike. While most of the climbing was achievable, the notorious China Grade took a toll on Adam’s legs as he pretty much hiked the entire climb. You’d think he would have learned his lesson, yet up until the day prior to the event, he was considering taking to the course once again on a singlespeed. Luckily for Adam, and his legs, he rode his geared ‘cross bike, but I couldn’t let this beauty go undocumented.

The swoopy curves, in-house shaped top tube and ombré fade of this elegant machine blew my mind, as I’m sure it’ll blow yours too. Sklar, baby, this is one stunning machine!

Oct 12, 2016 33 comments