Category Archives: Reportage
Morgan’s Death Spray Stinner Frameworks Stainless Road
Morgan's Death Spray Stinner Frameworks Stainless Road

It has been scientifically proven that if you add a Death Spray Custom fork to any bike, it’s destined to get even more attention, even when it comes to a slick bike like this. Morgan’s Stinner Frameworks is brushed stainless, kitted with Jones wheels, PAUL Skewers, Chris King, Dura Ace and ENVE. A completely tricked out road bike by all accounts, yet he wanted to do something to spice up a completely mono-tone build so he contacted David at Death Spray Custom to do something special.

Visibility doesn’t have to end with your apparel, as evident by this 80’s geometric-inspired fluorescent disruptive pattern coated fork.

Suddenly this bike went from being a 10 to an 11! Nicely done fellas and great meeting you, Morgan!

May 26, 2016 21 comments
Getting Dirty with Kyle’s Campy Athena Mr. Pink Chubby Road on Dirt Mulholland
Keep on skidding with the free wheel...

You’d be surprised how big of a tire you can squeeze into some of the older road bikes. My Merckx fits a plumb 28mm tire with ease and those Campagnolo NR mid-reach brakes can wrap their arms around, reaching the braking surface. Now what happened between the 1980’s and modern bike design is up to anyone to debate. Clearances got tighter, more aero, stiffer and a mentality that a smaller tire is faster took over the pro peloton. Like it always has, the trickle down effect hit store shelves and consumers did what they do best: consume. I know this is a bleak picture of tire clearance on road bikes, but it’s mostly unexaggerated. Mostly…

It seems that now with the whole “adventure / gravel grind / blah blah” trend, companies are designing bikes that fit big tires with the aid of disc brakes. Now we’ve got “all road, road plus” and various other terms to describe these machines, designed for riding off-road.

But what about the classic steel race bikes from back “in the day?”

Enter the All-City Mr. Pink. We’ve reviewed one before here on the site and while I stuck with a moderate 28mm tire, I could clearly see this bike was made for more rubber. With a caveat though. Putting bigger tires on the Mr. Pink means you’ve gotta go for a mid-reach brake, like the Paul Racer, or in this case, the Velo Orange Grand Cru long reach brakes. With those, you can fit a 30mm tire, with ease, making this one capable chubby road bike. (more…)

May 25, 2016 45 comments
Nathan’s Rock Lobster All Road
Nathan's Rock Lobster All Road

Big tires, disc brakes and thru-axles. Those parts of the equation are pretty standard issue these days when it comes to production bikes. Yet when you want something different. Something special and something with, I dunno, steez, sometimes you just gotta go custom. In the world of ‘cross and off-road bikes, there are many options out there, especially in California yet Nathan contacted Paul Sadoff of Rock Lobster to build him his new bike.

Why? Well, Rock Lobsters have a certain appeal, or legacy if you will and having feasted his eyes for years upon Paul’s handywork, when he finally had enough money for a deposit, Nathan could only think of one man for the job…

Granted he didn’t request a standard issue racing machine. He wanted something a little more unique. Again, steez. Fluro yellow, magenta and big. This bike pops after the sun goes down and screams down dirt roads with ease but style isn’t everything. Paul had to design a rigid steel fork with disc mounts and a thru-axle, something he doesn’t do a whole lot of.

Great custom bikes fit not only the rider themself, but their personality and riding style. When you meet Nathan, there’s no doubt that this bike is in fact a chip off the old block.

May 24, 2016 33 comments
It’s Jocey Gaudi’s Breadwinner Komorebi 木漏れ日 Bikepacking Rig!
It's Jocey Gaudi's Breadwinner Komorebi 木漏れ日 Bikepacking Rig!

Komorebi (木漏れ日) is a Japanese word that roughly translates to “sunlight shining through the leaves of trees.”

Jocelyn, aka “Jocey” Gaudi found herself in Los Angeles this past weekend to lead the latest ladies-only Golden Saddle Sunday Social on bikepacking. Over the years, Jocelyn has undertaken extensive bikepacking trips and has learned a lot about not only the ins and outs of backcountry exploration, but how to lead groups of women, of various experience levels along the way. Her leadership skills landed her on the Komorebi Bicycling Team, a group of women who explore the wilderness by bike, organize trips and inspire others to venture into the woods.

The team is sponsored by Breadwinner Cycles, Portland Design Works, Phil Wood & Co., Velocity USA, and White Industries. This group of ladies ride the Breadwinner Komorebi rigid mountain bikes, specifically designed with off-road touring in mind. I’ve always loved the look of this bike and it was great seeing Jocelyn’s all dirty from recent expeditions.

Look closely and you’ll see a prototype Phil Wood headset and those beautiful Phil Wood disc hubs, Ti Cycles Double S titanium bars, along with the PDW Bindle Rack

Many thanks to Jocelyn for venturing down the coast to sunny Los Angeles and helping grow the love of the sport with women everywhere.

May 23, 2016 13 comments
We Welcomed the Tour of California to Town with a Mountaintop Party
Peloton

When Sean from Team Dream found out what the route was for this year’s Tour of California stop in LA, he began scheming about how we could welcome the race with a KOM party… The thing about partying on top of a mountain is it takes a bit of planning. Sure, you could pull a grill, a cooler and food up a 5,500′ climb in a Bob Trailer but you’d end up being too pooped to party at the end of it. This left Sean with a decent plan: he’d shuttle his VW van, dubbed “the Brick” up to the top of Upper Big T at HWY 2, filled with all the necessary goods to throw down one hell of a hangout on the course. We’d wait for the peloton, grill hot dogs, drink beer and when the race came through, erupt with unrivaled support for the racers. Sounds like a good time, right?

As I was herding people from Golden Saddle, Sean was shuttling his van up to the KOM, barely arriving back to South Pasadena in time to begin the group ride. We went up Highway 2, one of the most scenic road rides in California. All 40 of us. With bikepacking bags loaded with food, water and camera equipment, I took off with the group on my rigid 29’r and sneakers. Believe me, doing a “road ride” on a loaded down MTB isn’t all that fun, but I was stoked to see Adam doing the same… and yeah, it made for some playful jibs along the way.

Check out the story in the Gallery!

May 20, 2016 11 comments
Brian Dunsmoor of Hatchet Hall is Riding for Chefs Cycle
Brian's Cinelli Work Bike

As cyclists, very few of us make a living riding bikes. In fact, I’d say probably 3% of the readers of this site fall within that category. This is all merely speculation of course, but I will say with great certainty that almost all of you have a job of some sort that you spend time performing. Sure, we all find time to squeeze in bike rides when we can, but unfortunately we spend a great deal of our lives working.

So when you have the opportunity to mix business and pleasure, you probably take it. That’s where Brian Dunsmoor of Culver City’s Hatchet Hall comes into the story. Brian is the head chef of the ‘Hall and a dedicated cyclist. He’s been training for the past few months for a benefit ride called Chefs Cycle, a P2P fundraiser working to raise awareness and funds for No Kid Hungry. Brian, along with other chefs are riding from Carmel to Santa Barbara in an attempt to help put a stop to child hunger. (more…)

May 19, 2016 37 comments
Massan’s Low – a San Francisco Giant! – Kyle Kelley
Massan's Low - a San Francisco Giant!

Massan’s Low – a San Francisco Giant!
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley

Massan has been around since the beginning of all this track bike shit. His fluid riding, effortlessly controlled hill bombs and huge Sugino Zen chainrings made his name a staple on bike forums and in bike shops long ago and his timeless style have earned him a lasting place in the bike industry as a whole. Unlike many of the early track bike videos, which are easily dated by old fixie tricks or bunny hops, Massan’s videos are only dated by the bike he is on. From the era of his blacked out Bianchi Pista Concept (remember the HUF bike?) to his time with Leader, his videos have always highlighted his effortless style and amazing bike control.

To say that Massan just rides is an understatement though. He never looks like he’s smashing, but he is. He never looks like he’s flying, but trust me, he is. Like many of the skateboarding greats, people have said Massan is boring to watch because he makes this shit look too damn easy. There’s never been a hill he wouldn’t drop or a gap he wouldn’t shoot. Massan’s calm/cool demeanor translates well to the bike, making him one of the most graceful cyclists on a track bike.

Years ago I was visiting San Francisco and made plans to hangout with Massan. Usually we spend our time talking about cassette tapes, hip-hop and b&w photography, but on that day I needed to swing by Andrew Low’s place to say hi and asked Massan if he wanted to come along. Andrew makes exactly the kind of bicycles that Massan likes to ride – oversized aluminum tubes, aggressive geometry and fast as hell! And it doesn’t hurt that they’re made in the city that he came from. The rest, as they say, is history. Andrew and Massan have been working together since that day and this bike is their latest collaboration.

Massan’s new Low is the SS Crit, the first production track bike designed specifically for the track bike criteriums happening these days. The first thing that comes to mind when I see this bike is the San Francisco Giants! I’m not sure if that was Massan’s intention, but what better way to show San Francisco pride than to paint your bike Giant’s orange. This build has Massan written all over it with the massive Sugino Zen chainring, Thomson post and stem, Vittoria rubber, Phil Woods and of course some HED Belgium Blacks!

Massan..I salute you!

____

Follow Kyle on Instagram and Massan on Instagram.

May 18, 2016 15 comments
A Pushwacker’s Guide to Peppermint Falls in the Sequoia National Forest
... like a rollercoaster!

There’s an old saying: “wherever your relationship is going, it’ll get there faster on a _____ ride.” Whether it’s a bicycle tour, mountain bike, group, or tandem ride, new relationships often encounter stress that can either solidify or deteriorate your bond. Acknowledging this, I planned out Cari’s first bikepacking, or rather bicycle camping trip together with a certain degree of trepidation. Knowing Cari’s background of extensive backpacking, I planned out a quick, but somewhat difficult ride for us to undertake in the Sequoia National Forest.

Let me backpedal a bit here and give you a brief synopsis of Cari’s background. In her 20 years of backpacking, she’s undertaken a series of difficult multi-day trips throughout the Western United States. She’s hiked Whitney, Half Dome, Rae Lakes, Lost Coast and various other undertakings that are far from beginner. When she and I first started dating, she had a commuter bike but other than riding around Los Angeles, she had very little experience, especially on dirt. I explained the premise behind bicycle camping, touring and bikepacking, with the differences in each outlined. “You basically carry everything you need on your bike, rather than your back, and you can cover more ground on various terrain…” She seemed to gravitate towards bikepacking since the idea of dealing with cars isn’t all that appealing to a backcountry explorer. I agreed and began planning.

Initially, I had one ride planned in the Eastern Sierras but this time of year meant it could still be snowing at 10,000′, so I began looking a little further south before landing in the Sequoias – one of my favorite parts of California. (more…)

May 17, 2016 32 comments
No Reception in Northern California – Michael Armenta and Brian Larson
No Reception in Northern California

No Reception in Northern California
Photos by Michael Armenta, words by Brian Larson

There’s never a perfect time to escape. Chores, obligations, monetary deficits, or priorities—it seems the doldrums of the day to day too often take hold with gripping force. We can’t always hop on plane to the backcountry of the Chilcotins or ride ribbons of trails through the Alps; sometimes planning a trip can seem more complicated than landing a rover on Mars.

And in some instances even more so.

But on the rare occasion a trip can manifest itself without a formalized plan or strategy. The right players show up with the right gear and seem to have a rare abundance of time to spare. It’s like watching ripples forming from the wind blasting a sand dune. From a seemingly chaotic environment comes a perfectly organized pattern: from entropy emerges order. We’re not going to pretend to understand it, but that is what happened with this trip. A few emails were sent to a handful of folks and almost magically we were standing speechless in awe of Northern California coastal viewshed. No itinerary, no schedule, no obligations, and no reception. (more…)

May 16, 2016 29 comments
Brooklyn Red Hook Crit No. 9 – Chris Lee
20160509_RedHookCrit_Brooklyn_TheRadavist-18

Brooklyn Red Hook Crit No. 9
Photos and words by Chris Lee

The clouds hung very grey and ominous that morning. No surprise since it rained for most of the day prior. Nevertheless, as soon as the announcement was made that qualifying rounds would begin, the sun broke through the clouds and the ninth iteration of the Red Hook Crit was on.

With every year, there seems to be an inevitable metamorphosis. Admittedly, RHC is not the birthday celebration race that it once was. Nowadays, banners of corporate sponsors don the barricades, along with newly acquired bicycle sponsor, Specialized. But the allure and the romance of RHC still remains and the level of competition becoming elevated with every stop. This year brought pro, elite and working class athletes from 48 countries, hungry to represent their team and country on the podium. This was especially true in the women’s field who, in many ways, were the most eager to bring the spotlight to their efforts, which indeed shined brightly.

While this year’s Crit was not without it’s fair share of controversy and bloodshed, a fiercely competitive male and female peloton chose their champions. In the end, Ainara Elbusto, an Italian representing Conor WRC, fought through crashes and sprinted for the win in the women’s race while Colin Strickland, an American representing Allez Allez-Specialized, broke away for a solo win after a devastating crash in the men’s field involving a stalled moto.

Although it’s not certain what the next metamorphosis will look like for the Red Hook Crit. What is certain is that anyone can still earn the top spot on the podium, pro or amateur, which makes this race’s allure even stronger every year.

____

Follow Chris on Instagram and at his website.

May 16, 2016 4 comments