Category Archives: Reportage
Golden Saddle Rides: With a Cherubim on Top Track Bike – Kyle Kelley
Golden Saddle Rides: With a Cherubim on Top Track Bike

Golden Saddle Rides: With a Cherubim on Top Track Bike
Photos by Kyle Kelley, words by John Watson

A gilded ride deserves a few balleur upgrades. This Cherubim track bike was picked up from Tokyo’s Sexon Super Peace, one of my favorite shops in Japan. I visited this storefront back in 2009 and regrettably, didn’t make it back on my last trip to Tokyo. At any rate, that shop is known for having an incredible stock of track bikes and coincidentally, that’s where this golden Cherubim came from.

When Jeremy, the owner brought the frame and parts over to Golden Saddle Cyclery for a pro build, everyone was drooling over not only the frame, but the parts as well, right down to the Toshi bar tape. Berthoud saddle, EAI gold cog, vintage Campagnolo hubs laced to H+Son TB14 rims make for practical, vintage-inspired build kit.

There are few bicycles that are as well balanced aesthetically as a track bike. Their simplicity makes for a pure form that is not only easy on the eyes, but a balanced and proportioned ride quality.

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

Dec 8, 2016 17 comments
An Unexpected Glimpse into Peruvian Culture – Ryan Wilson
Test rides in Anccapa

An Unexpected Glimpse into Peruvian Culture
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

EDITOR’S WARNING: This gallery contains content that may offend the lovers of fluffy animals. There are slides in the gallery which give you plenty of warning to turn back. Keep in mind, this is part of the Peruvian culture, so please maintain an open mind.

My final stretch on the Peruvian Divide Route started like much of the rest. Incredibly quiet roads lined with as much spectacular scenery and as many furry friends as one can possibly handle. Bobbing and weaving between storms (without much success), and drifting in and out of the occasional small village filled with welcoming locals.

As far as bikepacking/dirt touring routes go, I can’t really think of a more complete experience. Where the Cordillera Blanca to the north wins on pure scenery, the Divide easily wins on way-off-the-beaten-path dirt road riding (if that is your thing). This makes for easier wild camping, and even more interesting interactions with locals who simply don’t see tourists around with any kind of frequency. (more…)

Dec 7, 2016 43 comments
Parker from Angry Catfish’s Amazing All-City Log Lady – Kyle Kelley
Parker from Angry Catfish's Amazing All-City Log Lady

Parker from Angry Catfish’s Amazing All-City Log Lady
Photos by Kyle Kelley, words by Parker Roenfanz.

BEHOLD: THE LOG JAM!

It’s the Midwest; trails here often ‘require’ neither suspension nor gears. Having been born and bred in an area where the White-Tails carved much of the early singletrack, the folks at All-City created a capable ripper, with tight angles, classic lines, and a few touches of modern flair.

I had the chance to first ride the Log Lady down in Los Angeles before All-City announced it to the masses, and I fell in love with it almost immediately. Having grown up on rigid 26″ single-speeds, the LL really appealed to me.

When the frameset first showed up, I had to make a couple changes to it to make it mine. First, the color had to go; no offense to the wonderful folks over at All-City, but the Red/Black/White fade was not my jam. After that, I jammed the biggest rubbers I could between the stays: Derby’s AM rims with a 35mm internal width and Panaracer’s FBN tire, which measures out roughly 2.7. And finally, I did what any good human should do these days and put dropper on it! Just a little frame modification and the Fox Transfer post was good to go.

Obviously, this setup is a far cry from All-City’s stock build, but it should help showcase what the bike is capable of, and how well one can make it their own.
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Follow Kyle on Instagram, Angry Catfish on Instagram and Parker on Instagram.

Dec 6, 2016 37 comments
A Weekend at the Blue Derby Mountain Bike Trails in North Eastern Tasmania
My mind was blown.

The history of Derby is riddled with ups and downs. In 1874, it began as a tin mining outpost, on the East Coast of Tasmania, employing lots of Chinese immigrants who began building mines and excavating land in search of this precious mineral. Prosperity came with a booming tin industry and in the late 19th century, the population of Derby topped 3,000. That might not sound like a huge number, but keep in mind the people living in Derby were served by and worked for the tin industry.

In early April 1929, heavy rains caused the tin mine’s dam to burst. Consequently, the Cascade River flooded the town, killing a dozen or so people and wiping out most of the buildings. Eventually, the mine re-opened, but never reached the same output, forcing it to close in 1948. For almost 70 years, Derby was a sleepy town, offering no real appeal for tourists, Tasmania’s 1.3 billion dollar a year industry. Then, in 2015 the Blue Derby mountain bike park opened and suddenly, things began to change for this sleepy town. (more…)

Dec 5, 2016 23 comments
A Special Edition Team Dream Bicycling Team Cielo Base Racer – Kyle Kelley
Team Dream Bicycling Team and Cielo Base Racer

A Special Edition Team Dream Bicycling Team Cielo Base Racer
Photos by Kyle Kelley and words by John Watson

Chris King’s 40th anniversary is this year and with that, a whole queue of celebratory events, products and collaborations have taken place. From that coveted olive drab kit, to an Open House tomorrow (details pending) and even working with Team Dream Bicycling Team on a kit design, with a corresponding Cielo Base Racer frame.

Team Dream’s Sean Talkington was asked to design a kit for Chris King, using some of his signature colors and designs. Known for their brightly-colored apparel and unique use of stripes, the resulting design featured a red, white and blue paint job, with stripes that look like torn masking edges.

The accompanying kit has been in stock at both party’s web shops but this Base Racer has been kept under wraps for a bit, so enjoy! Thanks to the team at Golden Saddle for the build and look for this bike going up for auction shortly!

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Follow Kyle on Instagram, Team Dream on Instagram and Chris King on Instagram.

Dec 2, 2016 28 comments
Exploring Northern Tasmania by Bike: Climbing Jacob’s Ladder in the Ben Lomond National Park
Exploring Eastern Tasmania by Bike: Climbing Jacob's Ladder in the Ben Lomond National Forest

An entire gallery of just a single climb? Why not. When I first saw photos of Jacob’s Ladder, many years ago, it solidified my desire to ride bikes in Tasmania. There’s something about a series of switchbacks or hairpins cascading their way down a mountain pass that is not only incredibly photogenic but a very satisfying feeling to tackle on the bike. With each corner resulting in a feeling of accomplishment, the climb always feels a bit shorter.

The Ben Lomond National Park attracts all kinds of tourists, but I’d argue cyclists might appreciate the final approach a bit more than any motorists… Enjoy! No matter which way you ride it, Jacob’s Ladder is an out and back.

Many, many, many thanks to Tourism Northern Tasmania for funding this jaunt, Scott for being a model and Rob for providing the shuttle from Derby to Ben Lomond. Also, thank whatever kept me from falling 100′ to my death while I was scaling up the rock faces to find a new vista…

Dec 1, 2016 7 comments
Jesse’s Curve Cycling GMX Drop Bar Rigid 29’r
Jesse's Curve Cycling GMX Drop Bar 29'r

As an integral part of Curve Cycling, Jesse Carlsson has taken on various endurance races on their titanium machines, including Trans America and the Australian self-supported Race to the Rock. The latter called for something a bit more rugged than his TransAm Curve Cycling Belgie setup. While climbing wasn’t much of an issue in Race to the Rock, deteriorated roads, potential flash rainstorms and endless miles of washboarded roads meant he needed a bit more rubber under his bike. Luckily, Curve had just the rig for this race… The GMX is a rigid 29’r with drop bars and a proprietary suspension-corrected fork. You can see how Jesse set his up for Race to the Rock at Curve’s blog.

In its current form, the bike has been stripped of the many accessories and components needed for a multi-day, self-supported endurance race. Jesse loaned it to our troupe for the week, where it landed under Scott, my riding mate here in Tassie. It suited our needs just fine, as equipped. Well, perhaps minus that massive front chainring. Scott found himself hurting on many of our climbs as they teetered past 18%!

Some of my favorite details on the GMX include the yoke and the seat tube cluster. Others interested might also be turned on by the pricing: $2,999 for a frame or $3,790 for the frame and Curve carbon fork, in various sizes. I’m not sure how the USD conversion alters the pricing, but it’s worth the query if you’re keen on this design. Personally, I can say that I’m intrigued!

Nov 29, 2016 33 comments
Riding and Relaxin’ at the Bay of Fires Bush Retreat
Jimi through the tea trees, with a view of the Tasman sea.

After a cold and wet previous 48 hours, we were keen to seek the sun in one of Eastern Tasmania’s most beautiful landscapes: the Bay of Fires. While many believe the Bay of Fires is named after the bright red lichen that grows on the rocks surrounding the blue waters of the Tasman sea, it was in fact named in 1773 by Captain Tobias Furneaux, who upon anchoring off the coast of Tasmania, saw the fires of Aboriginal people on the beaches. Out of all the landscapes we have visited thus far on our journey, this region was by far the most beautiful. To boot, we had a wonderful place to lay our heads after a day of riding and exploring the land’s many backcountry fire roads and tracks.

The Bay of Fires Bush Retreat was recently opened by Tom and Anna, a couple who have spent the past few years working in the hospitality and restaurant industry in Eastern Tas. Tom had worked for a local dinner spot for years before making a name for himself and his cooking. Through utilizing his connections and a with the help of a few contractors, he was able to slowly build out this exceptional piece of property, while subsidizing his endeavors through catering private events in the area. His vision was simple: offer a bush camp-inspired getaway with all the luxuries of a resort but with a rustic edge.

Alongside local contractors, Tom spent a few years shaping this retreat into exactly what he envisioned to be the perfect weekend getaway spot with a beauty only rivaled by the majestic coastline, only a few kilometers away. (more…)

Nov 28, 2016 12 comments
Exploring Eastern Tasmania by Bike: Freycinet Penninsula and Bay of Fires
Bazza!

Things don’t always go as planned. I awoke after our Central Highlands ride with what I can only describe as the worst allergies I’ve ever experienced. Or as the locals say, “pissa hay feva’ mate!” Turns out, a rather wet winter, followed by a series of storms brought on a serious amount of allergen-related illness this summer in Australia, so I didn’t feel so bad, at least not socially anyway. Still, I had a bloody job to do. We had an agenda and I was sticking to it. For the most part anyway. After all, I’ve been wanting to travel to Tassie for years to ride bikes and I was finally here… (more…)

Nov 27, 2016 11 comments
My Bush Blasted 44 Bikes Ute Rigid MTB Tourer
My Bush Blasted 44 Bikes Ute Rigid MTB Tourer

Custom bikes are often the result of a person’s opinions formed by their lifelong experiences. Oftentimes, a custom bicycle does its best to address many problems or functions, resulting in a Swiss Army Knife of vehicles, aka jack of all trades, master of none. Personally, I’ve always tried to work with a builder to design a bike specific to one job, rather than fit in a slew of other functions. Over the years, I’ve relied on scalpels, versus cluttered, do-it-all devices to take on whatever kind of riding I’m interested in and while I’ve got a few mountain bikes, none of them were ideal for the kind of bikepacking or off-road touring I enjoy. (more…)

Nov 23, 2016 73 comments