Thursday, June 25th
10am rollout from Mellow Johnny’s
Roadie or Dirty ride options.
Hey Austin! We know the weather has been a bummer as of late and that means the trails have been unofficially off-limits. Well, it looks like this week will be a bit drier and hopefully Thursday we’ll have somewhat sunny skies.
The Radavist and Mellow Johnny’s have your #GetSickDay plans covered with two ride options: a Mellow’s roadie ride or the Radavist’s dirty ride.
The dirty will be arguably more, uh, interesting as we take you on a cutty, go nutty trail ride to some interesting, off-the-beaten-path routes. Expect lots of potential hiking, swimming, boozin’ and yes, shredding.
Cyclocross or mountain bikes are a necessity here.
Due to the nature of the trails, we’ll be navigating a lot of overgrown territory, so I’d err on the side of shorts and a t-shirt, rather than your favorite new kit. Unless you feel like ripping through lycra on a tree branch. It’ll be a chill pace, but we’ll be packing in some miles (around 50), so plan and dress accordingly. The bigger tire you can fit into your cross bike the better. Mountain bikes will be a bit overkill on this ride.
Bring two inner tubes, a pump and any tools you’d need. We ain’t fixing your flats for ya!
As I’m pedaling away from Mellow Johnny’s on Ben’s bike to photograph it, I couldn’t help but try to think of some clever way to describe it or at least the back-story. These days, custom paint is divided into a few categories with the most prominent being either high-concept or merely aesthetic. Truthfully, I’m not sure where this one sits on that spectrum.
When I look at this orange, yellow and black steed, it reminds me of some menagerie. It was painted by Dustin at Violet Crown Finishing in Austin, Texas. Close my eyes. Open them. I see a koi fish. Or a tiger. Moreseo, a koi though. Perhaps it’s the sparkles? Tigers don’t have sparkles. Was that Dustin’s inspiration? Who knows. Ben, the owner (a mechanic at MJ’s) has a lot of traditional Japanese tattoos.
When you ride a bike like the Specialized Crux, it’s hard to stand out from the other fish on the field. They’re literally a dime a dozen. Affordable, performance-minded, lightweight and they look great, right out of the box. Sometimes though, you want something a little more flashy, without springing for a custom frame.
The frame was a cheap pickup, actually a trade. The Giant wheels came from a friend, for free. The rest of the parts were scrapped from a free bin, save for the Pro cockpit and post. I don’t want to tell you how much money Ben has invested in this frame, because it’ll make you mad. That and his friend Dustin wanted to really paint a bike.
You don’t need to go custom to have the custom experience. Painters are just as talented as builders and they have the ability to transform even a bike like the Specialized Crux into something that will truly stand out from the other fish in the school.
Case in point… wow.
Benedict from For the Love of Mud recently was in Austin for an extended period of time with work. While here, he shot video of a few local female BMX rippers and just released a short teaser for the project. I can’t wait to see the full cut!
The allure of the eBay score is strong, especially after so many Landsharks have been recently featured here on the site. Such temptation was too great for Andre. After looking on eBay for a few months, he finally scored this Road Shark with Shimano 600 for $400. It came as shown, minus some dry-rotted tires and no saddle, which were easily replaced. It’s in ok overall condition, just don’t look too closely at the bar tape!
The future of this bike is uncertain. There’s been talk of long-reach calipers, 650b conversion with porteur bars, or a modern 10-speed group, and my vote goes to keeping it as-is, just overhaul the damn thing a bit. For now, Slawta’s crazy personal touches shine regardless as to how much patina is present. My favorite detail is the chomping shark mouth on the internal cable routing exit…
Hey Austin, Texas, you (we) have a lot of great framebuilders in town. Many of which can build you a completely custom bicycle for less that what you’d pay for a made-by-machines carbon high end frame. Understandably, it’s difficult to commit to a high-dollar item, but Mellow Johnny’s has put together a meet and great happy hour on June 12th in order to lower that barrier for entry.
Head over to Mellow Johnny’s for more information and you can trust that these builders are more than capable at delivering a product you’ll want to always ride.
Drew from Engin Cycles is a wizard of custom mountain bike framebuilding. Over the years, he has built some of the most dialed titanium bikes I’ve seen. It doesn’t matter if it’s a rowdy hardtail with 140mm of travel up front, or a snappy, steep XC race machine to tear the field apart, what Engin offers to their customers is custom, performance machinery.
So where does a 29+ rigid mountain frame come into play? It’s not exactly performance, but it does offer up a unique problem solving opportunity. One that Drew couldn’t pass up.
Tyler’s bike utilizes Paragon’s 29+ yoke to ensure chainring and tire clearances. The rigid steel fork is painted with cerakote, as are the frame accents and Tyler chose a mix of X9 cranks, XX1 rear mech and XTR brakes, with a Stan Hugo up front and a Blunt SS on the rear. The Groovy bars really just add the icing on the cake for me.
Fatter tires at a low pressure are perfect for Austin’s Greenbelt trails, which offer a rocky, rooty and sometimes slick environment. Tyler’s been vibing with this bike all spring and is sold!
See more for yourself in the Gallery.
Sometimes, you just need to leave the laptop closed for a weekend, keep the “real camera” in its storage case and just ride. For me, especially this time of year, that rarely happens. There’s hardly ever a weekend where I’m not on the road, or preparing for a trip, or dumping and archiving photos, but it just so happened that everything aligned just right this weekend.
Ty came into town to hang out before heading out on a bikepacking trip outside of Austin. We spent two full days doing nothing but riding mountain bikes (for Ty, that means massive gaps on the ride home), swimming, eating good food and just hanging out. It coincided with my birthday weekend, which was a plus, so there was a party with a lot of my close friends.
All of these things falling in line with each other were super rare and yeah, I still can’t leave home without even a pocket camera (usually an iPhone works pretty ok), so check out a few more photos, with brief captions below.
Back during cross nats, the guys from SRAM were in Austin, filming a video spot for their new GX mountain group. I pointed them to a bunch of my favorite trails to ride, with the caveat that it’s all pretty unnavigable. They took off, scouring the Barton Creek Greenbelt, Pace Bend and other trails for a ripping good time and here’s the final product. Locals will recognize a lot in here (like the top of Quarry) and it’s rad to see my favorite spots gets shredded.
Morgan, let’s go skid leaves, baby…
Also, as a bonus, read on below for some words by Morgan Meredith and photos by Adrin Marcoux from the trip.
Lauren and I have done plenty of camping and she’s done her share of cycling around town, but we’ve never gone on a bicycle camping trip together. Yesterday morning, I was surprised to hear her ask if I wanted to get in some tent time before I headed out on the road again on Friday.
So last night, I packed up some bags, a tent, my trusty Lodge cast iron skillet and food for two meals. We headed out to the closest state park in the area: McKinney Falls. The route there is pretty easy, even loaded down with a bunch of gourmet food, wine, a hatchet and a skillet. I took it slow and coached Lauren through the climbs, we stopped for photos and tried our best to ignore the impatient rush-hour traffic zipping past. The weather looked nice, with bright blue sunny skies. It didn’t rain this go-round, but it was still quite enjoyable…
I didn’t think this mandated a whole gallery, so check out a scrolling story below.