Category Archives: portraits
Simple, straight forward and built with no nonsense parts, this titanium cross is just one example of Lauren Trout’s frames built by hand in Austin, Texas at Saila Bikes. With so many people building with 44mm head tubes, curved stays and disc brakes, it’s nice to see one with a 1 1/8″ fork, straight as an arrow stays and canti brakes. That’s the beauty of custom thought: you get what you want.
Even with SRAM, ENVE and Chris King, you’re looking at a custom, handmade, titanium bike for under $5k as shown, which is a damn decent pricepoint for a frame that will most likely last you for decades and while others charge near that for a frameset, Lauren Trout learned how to weld and wield titanium at Seven Cycles.
Shooting builders in their workspaces is one thing, but their craftsmanship shines when you can photograph the finished product. Just look at those welds… stacking dimes.
In Seattle, a local staple has closed its doors. Back in September of last year, Elliott Bay Bicycles, home of Davidson Cycles, shut down. Luckily the in-house brand of frames, made by hand since 1973, by Bill Davidson lives on.
Even though Davidson is a Seattle-based framebuilder, his work can be seen from coast to coast, from vintage steel to modern composite. Although Bill only currently offers road frames, he makes them in a variety of materials. As a Davidson customer, you can chose between composite, steel or titanium, all of which are done in house. While the modern bikes have their own character, there’s something about a frame from the late 80’s and early 90’s. They all have a certain finesse that’s harder to achieve these days with modern materials.
This particular frame was most likely made in the mid to late 1980’s, if the 1″ threaded steerer and internally-lugged unicrown fork is any indication. Chris scored it off eBay as he was looking for a traditionally lugged frame to kick around town on. Fit with a mix of Campagnolo 10-speed, the bike looks like a classic road from the 80’s, yet has the technology from a modern road group.
Bottom line, she’s a looker. See more in the Gallery.
No 22 Bicycles grew from a longstanding framebuilding tradition in Upstate New York. By keeping production of their frames Stateside, they’re able to tweak geometries easily and even develop new models. Their latest addition to the No 22 family is the Broken Arrow disc cyclocross bike.
Developed with the help of Wilis Johnson of Deluxe Cycles, the Broken Arrow was designed to be a racing frame, but as we all know, a cross bike’s versatility is quickly realized as the season comes to a close.
Wilis raced ‘Cross Nats on this bike, as well as shredded trails while he was in town. The subtle branding and black componentry really give this bike a beautiful silhouette and I can’t think of a more appropriate bike for that Cadence x Ritchey stem. Photographing titanium outdoors can be difficult, especially on an overcast day, but these photos came out great. Those who raced Crash Nationals will recognize the bamboo tunnel…
Yes, that says “dirt droop”, rather than “dirt drop.” You see, there are magical and medicinal qualities to the fabled “LD” stem – pardon the acronym, we don’t need to spell it out for you.
Benedict, aka Poppi, aka @UltraRomance is a wild one. One that cannot be tamed by modern ideologies, or technologies for that matter. His Clockwork Bikes frame is a time capsule of the old days of yore when men would gather or hunt for their food in the woods. Even when something appears to be modern, it’s executed in a way that harkens back to the early days of klunking. Disc brakes? He slices fresh mushrooms on them and truthfully, he only uses them to stop for a tanning session. The throwback version of the narrow wide chaingrings is just a “narrow narrow” ring. An outer “bash guard” ring pressed up against an inner ring with a spare “rabbit” personal massager holding it in place. Even his “marsh mud” tubeless setup is pulled from nature. Literally…
Even with all of the letdown on Sunday morning at the 2015 Cyclocross National Championships, it was still a damn successful event up until that point. Wednesday through Saturday, races went off without a hitch and everyone was having a hell of a time riding the muddy and technical course. With adverse weather, comes adverse conditions and one group of individuals helped cope with the super sticky Texas mud moreso than your average pit crew.
The team at WD40 had a well-lubed process running just adjacent to the limestone runups. Outside of their heated tent, was a pressure-washing station, then inside their – yes, heated tent – a team of highly capable mechanics were on hand to give your bike a dry down, lube and even a quick tune up. All while you toasted your toes on their heater. Not bad huh?
Amanda Schaper is one of the women who hammered it during the Industry and Master’s races. An employee at Giro Cycling, she likes to support the local Santa Cruz framebuilding industry by racing for Caletti Cycles. Her titanium, Di2 machine is what many would consider a dream machine, yet she thrashes it, crashes it and in general, uses it to its full potential.
A potential that was a lot easier to photograph once WD40’s crews had cleaned off all the Dillo Dirt™…
It was last Thursday morning, I believe, when Daniel and Emiliano from Manual for Speed hollered hard at me via SMS about doing a Human Athlete Visual Showcase (HAVS) with Team Clif Bar at our house. Bear in mind, there were about 8 people sleeping at my house during Nats, so it was a mess but who can say no to such adorable photographers?
Saturday morning rolled around and promptly at 11am, MFS and Team Clif Bar entered the house, made us all get into skinsuits and began to do their thing. The resulting photos and a short Q&A is now over at Manual for Speed, so go check it out!
You remember that Ritchey commercial Brian Vernor made a while back? Well, he just posted up some photos from that shoot on his Making Blog. Head over to check them out. Such great portraits.
“Even Disappointment is Bigger in Texas”
There’s a lot to be said about the events that occurred on Sunday morning here in Austin, all of which have been stomped to death elsewhere, so what I’ll say is, for a race that was almost killed off, this was one of most beautiful and challenging courses I’ve ever witnessed. That’s coming from someone who has never traveled overseas, of course, but still.
Look, Austin is a growing city, trying to keep things “weird” and maintain its small town vibe, while it’s bursting at the seams with new construction and lots of new, self-important money. Events like SxSW, ACL and Fun Fun Fun Fest have been destroying the same parks over and over again, so when people see their beautiful Zilker and its hillsides being “destroyed”, they tend to overreact. Especially when they’re not briefed as to what “cyclocross” is.
I can say, It upsets me that this is what the ‘cross world will forever remember us by, not for the ripping course and supportive local scene. We all love cross and it kills us just as much as it kills you. Anyway, onto the story…
For the past week, I’ve been figuring out how to document this event and let me tell you, it was a lot easier before the organizers changed the course up. I had spots for each lap and ideas about how to tie in the women’s and men’s races, all of which was out the window when Sunday’s race was cancelled and the course underwent major work, eliminating many of the vignettes I had planned.
Shooting ‘cross isn’t easy, but it sure is challenging and as a photographer, I learn something new each time. Having raced on Wednesday, I felt like I had a good understanding of where to go and when. Throughout the entire day on Monday, unridable mud slowly transformed into 100% hero dirt. The lines were worn in and even the most technical section – a ribbon of off-camber mud-gutter with a 10″ drop off into one of the old course’s lines – was ridable. For most anyway.
At the end of the day, I experimented, caught some moments and pulled together one of my favorite galleries to date. I hope you enjoy… and remember, Austin loves ‘cross, let’s try to forgive and forget.
There have been a lot of awesome cross bikes in town and I’ve tried my best to document them when I could, which unfortunately hasn’t been that often. This one, however was a must!
Nobuhiko Tanabe’s internet handle is NB_Log. He’s an employee at Blue Lug in Japan, races for Geekhouse and in general, is stoked out on bikes. His 2014 team Mudville cross bike has one of my favorite color combinations to ever leave the Boston framebuilder’s shop.
NB found himself in Austin for the 2015 ‘Cross Nats, going to the parties, races and events of this past week’s schedule, as well as pedaling around a few of our local trail systems.
At Wednesday’s events, I caught up with Nobuhiko to shoot some quick photos of his bike as he enjoyed the races… See more in the Gallery!
When you look out at the field of SSCX bikes at an event like ‘Cross Nats, you’ll see a lot of overseas production frames, but chances are, you’ll notice and remember the Rock Lobsters. All slightly different than the other.
My favorite part about these bikes is how Paul’s default color of choice is selected by so many, yet when you see one in brown, or in this case, purple, it pops. Ryan’s bike was my favorite bike in the singlespeed race and not just because of its color.
For instance, you don’t see a lot of Gates belt drives on custom singlespeed bikes, or at least, I don’t and to be honest, I didn’t even notice at first. There are a lot of details in this bike that are simple additions, but it adds to the overall delivery.
Saying a bike is your favorite from an event like ‘Cross Nats carries a certain weight, but you’ll see why in the Gallery.