Category Archives: Reportage
These frames. These freaking frames. Godzilla doesn’t have a chance against Moth Attack. With a little help from Black Magic Paint, Megan Dean’s new ‘cross team’s bikes are some of the most beautiful team bikes I’ve had the pleasure of documenting. We saw a frameset at the Portland Bike and Beer Festival, but this is the first complete I’ve seen in person and I’m glad it’s Erica Schwanke‘s! She’s a super rad woman and has been enjoying racing ‘cross in the Bay Area this season on this bike.
I caught up with Erica last week in Los Angeles, prior to the UCI race in Long Beach and stole her bike for a few minutes for photos. I love seeing people’s reactions to custom bikes like this! Enjoy…
The 2015 Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships in Victoria
Words by Dylan VanWeelden, photos by Dylan VanWeelden and Ryan Richardson
The Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships (SSCXWC) was created in the vision of a giant cultural rubber band snapping in the face of the serious UCI cross racing scene. Trainers, embrocation and skinsuits are nowhere to be found at SSCXWC. The barrier height rule was tossed to the birds and replaced with barriers hosting flames intended to burn your shins. For those that have witnessed the spectacle you know of the past Tequilla Shortcuts, Foam Pit, Thunderdome, Junk Yard Jumps and endless Feats of Strength.
The ninth edition of the dumbest race known to Neanderthals just came down on the polite town of Victoria, BC. Racers follow no rules and live on their own regard, dressed to the nines and leaving sobriety at the door. The only rule is each winner must get a tattoo adorning the SSCXWC theme. This year Mical Dyck and Adam Craig took home the honors with world champion tattoos and golden speedos.
The Portland Collective brought in a dowry of joints as a sacrificial lamb to the riders in hopes to bring it back to PDX for the ten year anniversary. At the finish line racers were rewarded with doobies and the crowd burst into a cloud of smoke. Apparently everyone got so stoned they forgot what was going on and Portland won the bid. Lesson learned is bribes always work.
We sent our partners in crime out to try and stay sober enough to document the debauchery. Here’s a collection of images from eyes of Dylan VanWeelden and Ryan Richardson. Follow more shenanigans on Instagram @dylanvanweelden and @singletrack_media_works.
Leave it On the Road’s 2015 Crush the Coast Charity Ride
Words by Michael Tabtabai
Ride from the heart and anything is possible. In mid October a crew of seven riders departed Portland and headed for San Francisco on a quest to ride bikes, take photos, and raise money to fight cancer. Through the rolling hills of Oregon wine country, down the foggy coast, through the Redwoods and down the golden rollers beyond Mendocino. We were a little nervous about the weather, as this was the time of year where the wind shifts and the rains roll in. But we got lucky – just enough rain and fog to make it interesting and more than enough sun to keep spirits high. To live the life of a cyclist, that is, 100% of your days truly devoted to the sport, the preparation and the recovery, is an awesome thing. And it is even better when you get to help raise over $25k for a great cause – City of Hope. When we arrived in SF three riders continued on to Los Angeles, knocking out nearly 1400 miles in 14 days.
This was the third major Leave It On The Road ride, and we called it #crushthecoast. (more…)
Since relocating to Los Angeles, a land with endless dirt in both the fireroad and track variety, my preferences have shifted a lot in terms of what I want a bike to take on. Capabilities are often grown in the industry piecemeal, then once and a while, a bike comes along that asks a question: what if?
The Cannondale Slate is a what if bike. What if 650b or 27.5″ wheels with a 42mm tire makes more sense for “all-road” riding? What if a damn Lefty shock with just the right amount of travel can instill confidence in new riders while offering an added fun bonus to experienced athletes?
Last February, I got to take a prototype Slate out for a spin and recently, Cannondale sent me a production Slate Force CX1 build to try out. I’ve been spending the past week or so thrashin’ and crashin’ this machine. While many exceptional bikes pass through this website, both for review and for personal acquisition, I will say this is the most fun I’ve had on a bike review. (more…)
Golden Saddle Rides: A Carbon Fiber Calfee Tandem Project
Words by Thomas “Woody” Wood, photos by John Watson
An old friend and accomplice in many of past ventures into the cycling world approached me a couple of months ago about a rather “large” project he was embarking on. At the time he was getting ready for another crack at a national championship on the velodrome. His schedule had cleared up after a very successful run of coaching our women’s olympic track cycling team to two silver medals in London. With the mind a little more free to roam, and a very fast wife to be, he wanted to do a full custom Calfee tandem. Ben had already chosen Calfee for its reputation and known ability to deliver a quality product that would meet his race ready standards. The bike had to be versatile. He wanted it to be a time trial bike and a road race bike. With the intention of racing both at Masters “old man” National Championships next year.
We both started doing some research on parts for the bike. He wanted lightweight and strong. Holding to the old aphorism by Keith Bontrager “light. strong. cheap. Pick two”. We had our work cut out for us. First was the drivetrain. Gates Belt drive and Shimano Ultegra DI2 would be a solid performer. Since the bike is a standard threaded english BB with and eccentric in the captain’s chair. Finding a modern light carbon crankset was a bit of a chore. Luckily Calfee had a couple sets of FSA SLK-SL cranks left and we were set in that department.
A big bike like a tandem requires good brakes. We went with Shimano road hydraulic disk. Once I was able to source a rear 203 IS disk adapter we were good to go. Since they are running an Enve road disc fork in front most of the braking power will have to come from the rear. Hence the larger rear disc.
Next was the cockpit. They were looking for versatility with the bar setup. So they went with the 3T Zefiro LTD option, It has a removable aero extension for use both as a TT bar and a straight road bar. And since we were using DI2 you can just unplug the climbing shifter that will be glued to the extension (the photo shows zipties), making for a quick and easy change.
Seatposts are FSA K-Force Light with internal battery holders.
For wheels we wanted durable. We have had a lot of success with the H+SON Archetype rims laced to DT Swiss 240s. The bike is thru axle and 142mm in the rear. A simple way to stiffen up the bike just a little.
All said and done this tandem is one hell of a machine. I took a couple of laps around the block on it and I must say it was one snappy bike. Out of the saddle accelerations were controlled and rather fun!
Cheers to the fun projects!
Follow Woody on Instagram and visit Golden Saddle Cyclery in Silverlake, Los Angeles.
First Time’s a Charm at the Steamboat Ralleye
Photos by Ian Hylands and Kyle Kelley words by Kyle Kelley
A few months ago James Scriven from Niner Bikes reached out and asked me to go on a bike ride with him. I agreed as soon as he asked and only afterwards began to understand what I had signed up for. As the details trickled in I found out that I wouldn’t be riding my own bike, but instead would be on a Special Edition Niner RLT. The bike would be auctioned off after the ride to benefit the International Mountain Bike Association. I wouldn’t even be using my own gear. The bike would be equipped with Blackburn bags, Big Agnes was providing the camping gear and Kitsbow even made a special pair of custom jean shorts for me to wear. Side note: my signature model can be expected to appear sometime in the year 2020. (more…)
The Travelin’ Man’s Firefly!
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley
Yo! What time the plane leaving?
I met Nick at LA River Camp Coffee a few months back. He was traveling through California on a true cyclist’s holiday, riding anything and everything that the state had to offer. While in LA Nick was staying at another cyclist’s Airbnb, which is how he heard about River Camp Coffee. I have never used Airbnb personally, but if I do, this sounds like the way to go. Nick had access to a local’s endless knowledge of events, rides and the best local bike shop to have a beer! Long story short, Nick knows what he’s doing when it comes to travel and I don’t just mean in the way of booking accommodations. He applied his knowledge to building his ultimate travel bike, too.
Nick’s base was a stainless steel Firefly road bike with S&S Couplers. He chose stainless steel because of the coating that naturally forms when the chromium in the steel mingles with the oxygen in the atmosphere. The passive film protects the stainless from rust and corrosion without the necessity for paint. A smart choice in my book because traveling with a painted bike almost always ends poorly. Nick also chose to use as many Ti and alloy parts as possible because of their ability to take a beating and hide scratches from afar. Even though this bike was purpose built, in no way did Nick skimp on any of the components. From the cult classic Campy gruppo to the skewers used with the White Industries wheelset, this bike is dialed.
Any travel bike is going to get beaten up, but Nick has planned ahead and I imagine his bike will look almost exactly same when we meet again. I’m just hoping it’s not in Los Angeles. I’d prefer for it to be at Shifter Bikes, where this bike was built, while I’m on my own holiday staying at a cyclist’s Airbnb in Melbourne!
Follow Kyle on Instagram.
This bike should need no introduction to the readers of this site. It’s All-City’s flagship road model, made from Columbus Zona tubing and available this year in a classic throwback magenta and pink paint job. The Mr. Pink is one of the best steel road bikes on the market. It’s affordable and capable with the only limitations being those which you set yourself.
So what drew me to review this beaut? For the first time since this bike’s launch, I felt drawn to it in more than just an aesthetic attraction. All-City as a brand has hit the point now where they’re improving on their current catalog piecemeal, rather than focusing on launching entirely new models. At least that’s my observation and the Mr. Pink got some much-needed upgrades. (more…)
GSC’s first Sunday Social Event: Saddle Workshop for Women
Words by Jen Abercrombie and photos by Crystal Haggard
I was having a cup of coffee with Kyle Kelley when he suggested I host a series of women’s events at Golden Saddle Cyclery. He wanted women to take over the shop for a night, no men allowed. I could do whatever I wanted, but it should be as much of a party as it was about products. With that in mind, I christened it “Sunday Social”, to be held on Sunday nights after the shop is closed. GSC is more than just my local bike shop. It feels like a clubhouse for me. Since it first opened I’ve spent a lot of hours there tipping back beers, talking bikes, and dishing dirt. I wanted other women to feel as welcome there as I did. (more…)
A bicycle can often times be a time capsule for an individual’s journey. Be it a tale told through road grime, dust, dents or a augmented addition like a cargo retrofit.
Nils has had this Surly Long Haul Trucker for over a year and a half. In that time it’s gone through various permutations with the documented version being the most current, obviously. A LHT is already a pretty versatile bicycle, yet Nils wanted the ability to carry more weight, lower and honestly, just wanted to try something new. The retrofit was done by the same talent that makes the Haulin Colin racks. It’s actually a pretty simple process. You supply your axle to crown and head tube angle to Colin and he fabs up a steerer extension, a downtube brace and a rack. A few weeks pass and viola. Cargo bike.
I have to say, this is one of the first bikes I’ve shot in a while that has whole-hearted character, not purchased style. The little brackets he bent by hand to hang his rear light off the Brooks saddle bag hoops and his hand-painted accents on the frame completely tie in with Nils’ character. The dude is tall, with a commanding beard, yet his energy fills the room through his smile and laughter.
During the day, Nils fills his hours as a part time middle school teacher and a part time ceramic artist. On the weekend, he’s out riding in the Angeles National Forest, or just kicking around town on this magnificent bicycle. I’ve met a lot of people through Golden Saddle Cyclery, but for some reason, Nils really resonated with me. Check out more photos in the Gallery and follow along with Nils’ rides at his Instagram.