Category Archives: Reportage
Vacation. Holiday. 3-day weekends. From Memorial Day until Labor Day, the road is wide open and the sun is putting in overtime. Taking advantage of those days is key to sucking the last drop from life and its possibilities.
Last summer, I bought a 4 banger Tacoma pickup in Portland and it kickstarted a whole series of road trips. Most of which centered around cycling-related themes or events but it was the interstitial spaces and moments that I remember vividly. Sunsets, sunrises, rain, fog, wind. All of these had a specific scent and sensation. Most of which were captured visually throughout those long summer months.
I carried my Mamiya 7ii with me on every trip, loaded with Portra 400 220 film. It wasn’t until recently that I finally sat and dug through it all, compiling a Gallery of these moments and vignettes. They’re mostly in the correct order, beginning in Portland and traveling down south.
A lot of these spots are well-known, others not so much but they all serve one purpose: to inspire you to travel to the West Coast and see what you’re missing. Pardon the succinct nature of this intro, but there’s not much to say. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
One of my favorite trails in Los Angeles recently became the backdrop to a photoshoot for a brand that I’m very excited about. Ringtail is a new company, started by Sean Talkington from Team Dream and Kyle Kelley from Golden Saddle Cyclery. Their intent is to make great fitting, practical cycling apparel and accessories in the USA. As of now, everything is made in the Los Angeles area, which is an added plus for the dudes, seeing as though they like being a part in the production process.
Slack and low, with bigger tire clearances this time. That’s the main difference between this bike and its predecessor. As noted in the previous bike’s gallery, the first version of this bike wasn’t what I wanted. Luckily, Seth Rosko is a good friend of mine and a very capable frame builder. He’s also human and humans make mistakes. What makes a human a great human and a great framebuilder is their ability to rectify those mistakes.
We had a miscommunication, and there was a fabrication error that resulted in a frame with clearance for 2.0 29’r tire in the rear. It’s something that happens from time to time. Framebuilders make mistakes. Chainring clearances, missing or incorrect cable stops, off-square rear triangles. You’re getting a functional piece of art and art has character. Right? Maybe not so much. It needs to function, above all.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move onto what I’m calling my “Agave Slapper” hardtail. This version clears a 2.4 Ardent on the rear, has a 69º head tube angle, a mid-range BB drop and an option for a 2x or 3x front ring. It’s easy to get it low through corners and in Texas, that means the occasional run in with the blue agave plant, where its color was inspired.
All-City’s Junk Yard Dog, or JYD for short, is a do-all, hobo trail cuttin’, curb jibbin, bar or delivery bike, built with burliness in mind. I’ve seen various permutations of this bike floating around in my travels. Some people build it up as a delivery bike with a porteur rack, others a drop-bar monster cross like in Kyle’s case.
Kyle‘s had this frameset for a while now and the potential build always centered around the Salsa Woodchipper 2 bar. Those bars, paired with White Industries, Paul Mini Motos and Bruce Gordon Rock n Road tires results in one mean, yet fun around town bike.
On my last day in Los Angeles, I went on a ride with Kyle (who modeled the new All-City Big Gulp Kit) as we left from our favorite pre-ride spot, Intelli Coffee on Sunset and made our way through bum trails and city overlooks.
Check out photos of the quick jaunt as well as the JYD bike-check in the Gallery!
Fluoro and functionality. That’s what caught my eye when I first saw Justin‘s Serotta T Max mountain bike. That and the big ol’ Columbus Max OR sticker (I have a crush on that tubeset). Justin took what many would consider an obsolete 26″ frame, added mustache bars to it, a rack with a Wald basket and flat pedals, resuscitating it back to daily use. Of course it still shreds dirt, but it also shreds to and from work. Now we gotta find you a front derailleur dude.
Bum tracks, fire roads, singletrack beware, this Serotta T Max is looking for lunch!
The most essential component in a custom bicycle is the fit. It’s difficult to have an in-person fit experience these days with customers ordering from across the country or around the globe. Because of this, builders will chose to rely on either previous bicycle’s geometries or body charts. While it is possible to hit the nail on the head with these metrics, having the proper fit can be difficult without letting a builder witness how your body relates to the bicycle and vice versa. Hence the Speedvagen Fit Tour. Bringing the builder to the customer.
For Speedvagen and Sacha White, the owner of the Vanilla Workshop, fit is paramount for frame design and execution. In short: a bicycle should fit like a tailored suit. Every millimeter counts. Sacha’s fit philosophy is obsessive, thorough and merits a total fit experience. One that coincidentally, has been mobile for the past few weeks as it took to the road in California.
Taking on the #FlowShiv
Photos and words by Chris Riekert
Here in the hallowed halls of the big red ‘S’; you know, the Death Star of the cycling world… you might be surprised to see there are some real people roaming around. Real people that are, first and foremost, big fans of bikes.
People like my buddy John Friedrich, the only man I know who would happily talk about the different weights of DOT brake fluid and what they offer to the rider, literally, until you’d choose water boarding over continuing the conversation… Or like our mechanic Patrick “Tree” Miller who seems like someone delivered to earth in one of those rescue pods shot through space as the planet Krypton went through nuclear collapse. Patrick is the NICEST most willing to help person I’ve ever met… and yes, he is a bicycle mechanic! How about that?
In Los Angeles, if you don’t have a cross bike, you’re fuckin’ up. Seriously. There are so many dirt roads and tracks to explore, all within the city limits that you’ll quickly realize your road bike or mountain bike’s limitations.
For Yanco, he wanted a frame from a California pedigree. He had put a deposit down with Hunter Cycles a while back, way before the second year of Mudfoot Stinners popped up. So when his spot in the Hunter queue finally came up, he contacted Geoff McFetridge and Aaron about setting him up with a Mudfoot-painted ENVE fork for his Hunter.
At first, no one was sure how it’d look, but after Rick posted a photo of the grey frame with blue logos, we all knew it’d look incredible. Matched with mango Chris King, some Paul skewers and a little sumpin’ sumpin’ locked into the downtube bottle bosses, this bike has some real style…
Then it fell over and I felt horrible! Sorry Yanco! Hopefully it’s not the last time this bike goes #RubberSideUp…
It might snow, there might be rain, the temperature is dropping tonight.
Still wanna ride? Of course. While the whole adoration of the inevitable clusterfuck or yard-shitting makes for interesting stories, sometimes just appreciating the spectacle that is mother nature’s mood swings merits documentation, regardless of how ethereal tales told on the internet tend to be.
Four hours. We had four hours to ride before the day’s responsibilities would set in for us. Kyle from Golden Saddle and Brian from Brian Vernor Making Blog (heh) wanted to ride Strawberry Peak in the Angeles National Forest. I’ve never been, but was promised picturesque San Gabriel shredding. While Strawberry Peak is strictly XC riding, there are plenty of places for unbalanced placement potentially resulting in catastrophe or consequence. I.e. exposure and lots of rocks.
It’s not everyday that you see a cyclocross bike with Campagnolo Chorus 11 speed. I suppose it’s not too common to see a Geoff McFetridge-designed bike either, unless you’re in Los Angeles, which is Mudfoot territory.
Jason, like a lot of us, likes to use his cyclocross bike for road rides, dirt rides, trail rides and even a bit of ‘cross racing. These days, he’s got road wheels on his bike for heading into the hills and mountains surrounding LA. Yesterday, he took a leisurely spin up Griffith Park en route to getting a bite to eat.
I’ve seen countless Stinner Frameworks x Mudfoot bikes, but his was set up differently than others. Things I like about this bike: the white housing, GSC Steal Your Shop stem cap, the Prologo saddle, juxtaposed by the white bar tape. Things I don’t like about this bike: that it’s not dirty enough! Get out and ride that damn thing more Jason…