Category Archives: Reportage
Chris Kvale Minneapolis Studio Visit
Photos and words by Jarrod Bunk
Chris Kvale is a humble perfectionist, every stroke of his file and pass of his torch honed the last forty years. When I walked into Kvale’s studio, I couldn’t hold my focus, everywhere I looked there was something that snapped my attention away from what I was gazing at moments prior.
Chameleons don’t actually change color to “blend” into their surroundings. Contrarily, their colors are used to mark territory, attract mates and display moods, often resulting in these unique lizards “standing out” more than blending in. The Santa Cruz Bicycles Chameleon adheres to this logic, standing out from many of the other production hardtails on the market but before we get ahead of ourselves here, and lizard anecdotes aside, when I first saw the newly-designed Chameleon last year it checked a lot of boxes and left me with a few questions.
Sure, Santa Cruz is saying the chameleon is a master of adaptation, which metaphorically makes a lot of sense. This bike can really do a lot, but isn’t that the nature of hardtails in general? For me, my thoughts on the Chameleon stem from its legacy, its updated design and most importantly, to a lot of people, the cost. (more…)
At the end of each year comes a state of reflection over here at the Radavist. One where I look back at all the imagery created over the previous twelve months and begin to compile a visual catalog of this site’s many narratives. From Peru to Pennsylvania, the autodidact raconteurs who contribute to the Radavist do a damn fine job at documenting their lives, experiences and the people who make this tight community come alive.
This year, I attempted and failed at the year in review post multiple times. For some reason, the linear narrative felt too contrived, too forced. The content, or photographs rather, wanted to live on their own to tell their own tales and come alive once again. In the internet era, moments are often lost to the ephemeral experience of web publishing, which is why I find galleries like this so important to not only this website in particular but our community as a whole.
Please enjoy these photos, these vignettes into each photographer’s life experiences. Bear no mind to the captions, since altering those would in turn, alter their original Reportage. Instead use them to jump-start your mind, perhaps driving you to search back through the archives.
Thanks to the many authors who make this website what it is, continue to share the stoke and thank you, the readers, for coming back!
Sawyer’s Dirt Drop Miyata Sportrunner
Photos and words by Morgan Taylor
Bicycles need not be complicated. They need not be expensive. Yet it sure is nice when they have character. Sawyer’s Miyata is a simple reminder that a Craigslist find and a few easy mods can revive the joy of having a rad bike on a shoestring. (more…)
Once Upon a Time in the Bolivian West
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson
After spending a year riding the constantly undulating roads in the Cordilleras of Perú and Bolivia, it was time to switch it up just a bit and head out for the altiplano of Bolivia’s volcano-laden western region. This is the area where most cycle tourists head when passing through Bolivia and it’s also the place where the country really earns its reputation of vast open spaces with an endless array of sandy/corrugated roads, and other-worldly landscapes. (more…)
International Kook Exchange Program: Full Power, No Shower
Words by Jorja Creighton, photos by Jorja Creighton and Mar-Del
It was Independence Day, July 4th. In the trailer park town of Eagle Point in Oregon four of us took refuge and slept on the steps of the local church – intimidated by the general hoo-ha of the patriotic celebrations. On the concrete under the watchful eye of JC while fireworks exploded and smoke settled. My first Independence Day. (more…)
The neon hub of the American West is Las Vegas. An oasis for many, plopped just outside the California / Nevada border, in an otherwise inhospitable zone if it weren’t for the constant intravenous drip of water and tourism capital.
As Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi outlined in their manifesto, Learning from Las Vegas, the “ugly and ordinary architecture, or the decorated shed,” epitomizes man’s ruin. My interpretation of this architectural masterpiece is man’s inability to create anything that competes visually with the natural world, just beyond the boundaries of this neon wasteland. This is not a cynical view of development, or architecture in general, rather a point of departure for this particular trip.
“The human argument for setting aside vast stretches of the American desert as parks and preserves and wilderness and plain open space always includes the importance of unspoiled vistas. As the only real difference between Las Vegas and Death Valley is that we made a strategic decision to fill one with casino hotels and insurance company headquarters and neighborhoods while leaving the other more or less intact for the mutual benefit of humanity and the plants and creatures and ecosystems in such a mostly wild place.” Ken Layne, Desert Oracle, #016.
Death Valley prides itself on being the Hottest, Driest, and Lowest National Park. It, along with the deserts of Africa and the Middle East, is one of the hottest places on Earth, with temperatures exceeding 120ºF frequently during the summer months. In fact, the highest temperature ever recorded was 134ºF (56.7ºC) on July 10, 1913, at Furnace Creek. As its name implies, Death Valley is indeed made up of a series of basins, bordered by mountain ranges, of varying geologic characteristics. From the striped strata of the Last Chance Range, to the colorful, mineral-rich Funeral Mountains and the alien-like, almost science fiction-native, Amargosa Range. (more…)
Putting together a parts bin bike doesn’t usually include an NJS frame. When his roommate parted out a complete NJS Samson track bike, Lucas acquired the frameset for $50. Aside from a few small dents in the top tube, the frame was in great condition, so he assembled it with all of his spare parts. Since then, it’s been his go-to around town and lock-up-bike. I couldn’t help myself when he rolled up to Golden Saddle Cyclery on it yesterday, just hours before hopping on a plane back to Portland…
We’ve still got our year-in-review post coming up, but for now, let’s take a break and check out Matt’s Advocate Cycles Hayduke Titan 27.5+ hardtail.
Before we jump into this build let’s look at Advocate Cycles. As their name implies, “Advocate Cycles is a bike company that exists solely to create innovative bicycles and delivers 100% of profits from the company back to cycling advocacy efforts.” That means, as per the IRS’ laws, they’re allowed to donate 50% of their profits to non-profit organizations each year. They then take that remaining 50%, pay required taxes on that amount, and use the remaining money to run their own advocacy programs during the following calendar year. All-in-all, the result is a bike company that’s the main goal is to help organizations like People for Bikes.
Matt was looking for a new hardtail. One that would offer ample tire clearance, a snappy rear end, and a rowdy fork. On top of riding, Matt uses this bike for bikepacking as well. He’s a trail builder with the Mount Wilson Bicycling Association, so carrying a trailer was a must too. However, first and foremost, Matt wanted a bike that would eat up our chunky, rocky and sandy trails with no hesitation.For portage, he pinged Yanco Customs, our local bag maker to outfit his rig with Multicam and Cordura bags, designed to fit Matt’s specific needs. The resulting product is impressive and in the future, I’ll get some shots of it loaded down with camping supplies and toting the trail working tools used by MWBA.
If you’d like your own Advocate, head to their site and check out their frameset and complete bike offerings.
For many, a New Year means time for reflection, and time for prospectives. For cyclists, this often includes planning out a build for a planned ride or perhaps updating your favorite bike with new gear. Perhaps that’s the motivation for many of you to visit this site. For us at the Radavist, we look at all the data from the past year’s content and begin to understand more what you, the readers, love to see here on the site.
Every bicycle on this list should come as no surprise. It was one of the most difficult selections in the history of this site, as almost all of these Beautiful Bicycles delivered similar metrics. We pulled these from the archives based on traffic, social media chatter and commentary. They’re displayed in no particular order. Omitted are bicycle reviews and completely bone stock production models – like the Jim Merz Sequoia and All-City Cosmic Stallion.
Thrown in, making it a baker’s dozen, is our top 2017 NAHBS pick as well. Without further adieu, here’ the Lucky 13 Beautiful Bicycles of 2017! (more…)