Category Archives: Reportage
A Berry Blast from the Past: 1981 Jim Merz MTB

Yesterday morning I had a date with a framebuilding legend from the American West. Like DiNucci, Strawberry, Bruce Gordon and others, Jim Merz was a key figure in promoting the production of custom frames in the ’70s and early ’80s. He was a machinist first, turned cyclist, turned builder. He was also an endurance cyclist, pedaling from Portland to Panama in 1970, logging over 8,000 miles. He also toured extensively in South Africa.

Jim brought his knowledge of loaded touring and trekking to his own operations, designing, fabricating and in a lot of ways shaping the world of touring bikes forever. So why haven’t you heard of Jim Merz? (Or perhaps you have, no assumptions here.) Well, Jim’s a unique guy and one that didn’t necessarily seek out the limelight like others in his day. That didn’t mean Jim wasn’t busy. In fact, in his ten years of solo framebuilding from 1972 through 1982, he built around 400 frames from Columbus and Reynolds tubing; he was the first US-builder certified to use Reynolds 753. (more…)

Apr 27, 2017 15 comments
Pedaling in Anger: Training Camp Camping Arizona – Ultra Romance

Pedaling in Anger: Training Camp Camping Arizona
Photos and words by Ultra Romance

What do you ride a bike for? Is it simply fitness and abs? Primordial warrior expression? JFF (just for fun)? Commuting? Too many DWI’s? Do you just merely believe that personal auto ownership should be banned, and only for commercial use? Or maybe it’s all of the above? Regardless, if you are reading this, you are likely some kind of cyclist, or merely just a fan of my creative spellings and punctuation style. So what kind are you? What does sykling mean to YOU???

As many of you who subscribe to the fan club letter my mom mails out bi-weekly may know, I’ve recently enlisted in a documentary art performance piece directed by Dan and Kyle at Yonder Journal. It’s entitled Project Y, and its purpose is to answer the question Y (why) (get it?) predominately white suburban career professionals train and compete in events that are both nonsensical and detrimental to one’s health and interpersonal relationships for no real reason other than the intrinsic reward of simply finishing. I don’t get it, or maybe I once did, but regardless, it’s a documentary MOVIE, and I wanna be a movie star, always have. The catch is, I have to race the Dirty Kanza 200. I’m a 20-40 mile a day kinda guy, so some training would be necessary, I suppose. (more…)

Apr 26, 2017 28 comments
Lucas’ Orange Camo Cannonball Stoemper SSCX

Lucas’ Orange Camo Cannonball Stoemper SSCX
Photos by Kyle Kelley and words by John Watson

Lucas works the paint gun at Stoemper and if this bike looks familiar, it’s because the predecessor to this particular frame was featured here on the site two years ago. Back then, Lucas’ SSCX was zebra striped and it demanded visual dominance by the contrast of the patterning. This round, Lucas has a new SSCX bike. One with a thru-axle front, XT hydro disc brakes, wider bars and a bright, orange camo paint job.

A month ago, Lucas was in town to soak in some sun and shred the local trails with Kyle. They took off to the upper Chilao trail network where Lucas rode everything on this bike. Now, I should mention, Chilao isn’t a walk in the park and doing it on a flat bar SSCX is quite the accomplishment.

“Lucas is like a cannonball” Kyle exclaimed when I reviewed his photos and yes, it shows.

____

Follow Kyle on Instagram, Lucas on Instagram and Stoemper on Instagram.

Apr 25, 2017 35 comments
Springtime Siestas on the Black Canyon Trail – Locke Hassett

Springtime Siestas on the Black Canyon Trail
Photos and words by Locke Hassett

A month or so ago, a friend and I decided to use a long weekend to explore the treasure that is the Black Canyon Trail (BCT). This flowing ribbon of almost all singletrack brings riders through distinct desert ecosystems bordering the eastern edge of the Bradshaw mountains between Mayer and just north of Phoenix. Being able to flow through prickly pear and ocotillo into the Sonoran desert, packed with Saguaros is an amazing experience, and to be able to do it over fantastic quality singletrack is icing on the spiny cake. We rode this trail in March, but it was still incredibly hot (90+ degrees at noon) especially for my Montana bones. We had the fortune of having plenty of water, while still having safe river crossings. To avoid the heat, we took siestas in shade near water sources and made trailside margaritas. (more…)

Apr 24, 2017 14 comments
A Lot in A Little at the Wind Wolves Preserve

You don’t need a lot of space to have a good time on a bike, especially when the scenery is this good. Last Sunday, a group of us left the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles living, for the quiet countryside outside of Bakersfield. There lies a conservancy, a private lot of land called the Wind Wolves Preserve. Open daily to the public, but not RVs (yesssss!), you can enter this beautiful landscape for free, although a donation is requested. You can even camp there. We called ahead and made a site reservation a few days in advanced before loading up our vehicles with bikes, camping equipment, and food. It took about an hour and a half to arrive and once our plot of land was claimed, we set up our tents, caught up on each other’s life events and waited out the heat of the day. (more…)

Apr 20, 2017 33 comments
David’s Ritchey Logic with Ultegra

The Ritchey Logic is one of the cleanest-looking steel road framesets on the market, ATMO. With classic lines, and standard tubing profiles, it has all the looks of a vintage road bike with the performance of modern steel, all with a carbon fork. I’ve seen many fine examples of these affordable frames built up over the years, but David‘s is one of my favorites. Built with Ultegra and Ritchey Super Logic Zeta wheels, David’s kept it lightweight and nimble, perfect for the crushing road climbs this cycling sadist enjoys on the regular.

“The top is just around this bend…”

I’ve heard it many times. David’s enthusiasm for road exploration brought all of us on the Clouds to Cactus ride last year and at the recent Team Dream shoot in the Eastern Sierra, his love for stupid hard routes had him already pining for more exploration. Without a doubt, this bike will bring David places and most importantly, back home in one piece.

Apr 19, 2017 24 comments
Jay’s Gunnar Cycles Dirty Road Bike

Gunnar Cycles has had some pretty tricked-out bikes featured here on the Radavist over the years, but Jay’s bike holds a special place in my heart. First, you need an introduction to Jay. He’s worked at Topanga Creek Outpost for a few years now, and in his spare time spends hours upon hours exploring the neighboring State and National Parks as part of the Unpredict Your Wednesday outings. Jay is a lover of nature and the magic herb our Mother produces here in California. He’s a smiling soul with love and stoke always present.

Jay’s bike has that special something that stops people in their tracks and requires further visual inquiry. In a world of disc-brake dominated bikes, Jay’s is a Paul Cantilever-equipped machine, with clearance for a 40mm tire and a relaxed road geometry. If it had provisions for racks, it could even pass for a lightweight tourer. That hasn’t stopped him from strapping bikepacking bags on it in the past, however.

This bike looks like a carton of American Spirits, or an old hotel sign in the southwest. It oozes Americana without being overly ostentatious. Like Jay, this bike is best observed and engaged with when you’ve got the time. Jay is moving up to the Bay Area and we’re all gonna miss him down here in Sunny So-Cal. That means it’ll be time to fender up this bad boy, right, Jay?

Apr 18, 2017 60 comments
Team Dream in Owens Valley

Team Dream’s new Spring collection is going live on their new website today at 12 PST. To coincided with this launch, I figured I’d share our photoshoot images here on the site!

Home to the Owens River, bounded by the Inyo Mountains on the east, the Coso Range on the southeast, Sierra Nevada on the west and Chalfant Valley on the north, Owens Valley is one of the most geologically diverse areas in California, in my opinion anyway. It’s a veritable playground for the outdoors with Mount Whitney, the highest point in the lower 48 States, attracting hikers from all over the world. If you’re not into climbing a 14,505′ mountain, the Owens river is great for fishing and there are numerous other activities found surrounding the towns of Lone Pine, Big Pine and Independence, California. (more…)

Apr 17, 2017 21 comments
Coffee Outside and a Hidden Dirt Ride – Morgan Taylor

Photos and words by Morgan Taylor.

I unclipped the far side of Stephanie’s Sugarloaf to get coffee going and something I knew was eventually bound to happen, finally happened. After 15 weeks of #coffeeoutsideyvr, an object of actual (and sentimental) value fell off the pier: Stephanie’s double wall titanium camp mug, that had dangled carefree for 4,000 km of touring last summer and lots more since, was now floating in Burrard Inlet.

That was how our Good Friday began: with Tom stripping down and sending it into the cold, cold ocean to retrieve Stephanie’s prized possession. What we’ve come to know in the past three-and-a-half months of getting together to make coffee every Friday, is that there are a lot of rad people out there you haven’t yet met – people who might one day jump in a frigid body of water on your behalf. (more…)

Apr 16, 2017 22 comments
Second Time Around: 74 Allez Road – Erik Nohlin

Second Time Around: 74 Allez Road
Photos and words by Erik Nohlin

In 2014, Specialized and Mark DiNucci released 74 numbered framesets as a celebration of its heritage of Specialized’s 40th anniversary. Each of these frames were auctioned to benefit the World Bicycle Relief. The red throwback frameset came with a custom designed kit including wool jersey, saddle, bar tape, bottle cages, bottles and a flask with the level of detail a company can only afford for something like its 40th anniversary. Mark DiNucci was rewarded Best Lugs and Best in Show at Nahbs for the work on this project. Nothing was saved to make this into a state of the art steel bike. Bryant Bainbridge, the other mastermind behind the 40th anniversary Allez, has described the project as “a black hole of cost” where both the tube set and lugs were designed and engineered from scratch. (more…)

Apr 12, 2017 32 comments