$600. That’s how much Jacob paid for his Team Fat Chance frame on eBay. It was in pristine condition with the original Yo Eddy! fork and a brand new paint job. Here’s when the collector would begin to scrounge up all the NOS parts to restore it to its original glory, yet all Jacob wanted was a bike he could ride Austin’s Greenbelt trails on. Even with the rebirth of a Fat Chance brand, there’s something to be said about 20-year steel frames. Especially with a legacy like Fat City.
While most of the build is straight forward, the Bullmoose bars and Velocity Cliffhanger rims, laced to Deore hubs are the standout details. Now his Onza tires are tubeless, which means he can run lower pressure and not worry about snakebikes on limestone ledges and the Deore hubs will be easily serviceable after the rain brings creek crossings.
His 1x setup was made possible by a clutch Deore derailleur and a Wolf Tooth ring, mounted to vintage Shimano cranks and braking is being taken care of by Chico’s finest, Paul Components.
For around $1,500, Jacob built up a vintage mountain bike with style and while it might not tackle a rock garden as fast as a modern full sus bike, sometimes the ride isn’t about being timed.
Cole and Jonathan at Mellow Johnny’s did a great job on the build and this bike looks so good covered in limestone dust. Shred on, buddy.
Racing and Riding the Fairdale Goodship
Words by Andre Chelliah, photos by John Watson
When Taj from Fairdale reached out to us and asked if we were interested in testing their steel road bike, the Goodship, I had a hard time containing my excitement. Fairdale, who has an office in Austin is a staple of the cycling community here. You can’t go to a downtown restaurant, East Side bar, local swimming hole, or ride through campus without spotting a Fairdale between the legs of an excited Austin dweller. The company radiates positive vibes and makes quality bicycles. (more…)
Fenders aren’t exactly my favorite bicycle accessory. Granted I live in Texas where it “never rains” or so it didn’t really until this year. We’ve had a very wet spring and summer, resulting in a lot of unexpected rain riding. So much so that I finally broke down and decided to ditch the big, plump tread of my Bruce Gordon Rock n Roads for some fenders and the biggest tire I could find that would fit…
What do you do with that old racing frame you had for over a decade after you decide racing just isn’t for you? Or those gaudy old wheels kicking around the bike shop you’ve worked at for just as long? For Peter, one of Mellow Johnny’s longest running employees, he got crafty.
Peter has had this frame since 2003, when it was fit with an actual road group. At the time, the titanium and carbon Serotta Legend was a rocket. Stiff rear triangle, compliant front end, or so they say. Whatever the marketing behind this bike was, within its design lay a beautiful possibility.
Those bolts, holding the seat stays to the dropouts can be serviced. If they can be serviced, they can be removed so Peter took the initiative to put a Gates Carbon Belt Drive system they had at Mellow’s to the test by installing the belt through that split in the stays.
There he was, with a decade-old, balleur commuter rendered in green and gold. What else could he do to this bike to put it over the top? How about a set of gold Campagnolo wheels from 2008? Voila. Personally, I think this bike is so wacky that it works and it’s been Peter’s go-to ride for years… Run what you brung.
The Driveway Race Series takes place every Thursday during the spring and summer here in Austin, TX. It’s a super chill spin from downtown, only taking a few minutes by the new Manor trail, a paved bike path that dumps you right at the gates. As part of a review for the Fairdale Goodship, Andre and I went out to the Driveway to shoot the bike, straight from the box to the 75+ field of racers.
While I don’t normally cover criteriums, I took a few minutes to document the races before editing the photos in black and white, something I rarely do as well. The resulting images are rather nice and capture the form of criterium racing.
It really is quite the scene out there at the Driveway, so if you’re ever in town, head on over to check it out on a Thursday night.
Last week our friends at Flat Track Coffee celebrated three years of business here in Austin. Wheels of all shapes and sizes showed up to ride a janky obstacle course, drink, chat and watch the shenanigans erupt well after the sun went down. Hopefully these party vibes will inspire some similar celebrations with the Fourth of July approaching… We’ll see you on Monday!
Tools of the trade:
Zeiss 35mm f2
Kodak Portra 400
It’s not a cross bike, it’s a road bike with clearances for bigger tires. Sure it uses an ENVE disc cross fork, but the bottom bracket drop, chainstay length and angles are more in line with what many would categorize as a road bike. A road bike that likes to gobble up rugged and rutted roads.
The Bruce Gordon Rock n Road tires were the starting point for Ian at Icarus Frames to build Tyler his new all-road machine. He wanted hydro disc brakes and road gearing, which he may or may not swap out in the forthcoming months for a clutch and a wider range cassette. With a burnt orange paint and subtle Icarus branding on the downtube, Tyler’s bike has a confident stance without being overly gaudy. Keep it clean with the paint and get it nice and dirty…
Truth told, I’ve been wanting a bike like this for some time now and it was a pleasure being able to document it both for Icarus Frames and Tyler.
Thanks to Jonathan from Mellow Johnny’s for the build!
Austin has a certain gravity. It attracts cyclists of all wheel types and for Matt, he wasn’t drawn here for the road cycling, or mountain biking. Matt began his experience with the bicycle on a BMX. He’s from Australia and Austin has always been the mecca for BMXing in the US. His friends here range from pros to companies like T-1, where he stays while in town.
It wasn’t until a surf trip in Mexico a while back where he finally got a bicycle. If you’d call it that. A clapped-out rig took him for hundreds of miles to visit a friend before he finally realized what he wanted in a bike. Later, a custom Bilenky allowed him to tow his surfboard on trips and the touring hook was set.
Fast forward a few years and Matt wanted to do something on his own. Since he’s not a framebuilder, he met up with a friend who’s dad was. They began talking about cycling and what it meant to Matt before drafting up a CAD drawing and getting a few prototypes made overseas. Crust Bikes was born. Sort of. Still incubating, this company right now spreads the stoke over Instagram, where Matt shares his travels and sells small items like patches, bottles and trucker caps.
Matt hopes to be building frames here in the States, under the welder of an experienced builder up in the North East. His first model would be this Evasion touring bike. Built for 26+ (Knard 3″), 650b or 700c wheels, the Evasion has the clearance and the confidence for everything from a sub 24 hour camping trip to full on excursion style riding.
I caught up with Matt last week and shot some photos of this unique rig. Built with a Rohloff, it’s virtually maintenance free. The Swift Industries bags, Brooks Saddle and other companents tell a tale through their patina. One that you too can follow along at @AFewSketchyMoments and @Crustbikes on Instagram
Summer Solstice on the Swift Campout with Beat the Clock in Austin
Words by Gideon Tsang, photos by Gideon Tsang and Spencer Brown
On the morning of the Summer Solstice, Beat the Clock hosted a Swift Campout in honor of the longest day of the year. We awoke to the familiar cloud cover that has come with Texas’ rainiest year on record. Swampy barely beats the scorching summer sun but beggars can’t be choosers, eh?
13 of us rolled out from Sa-Ten Coffee and Eats onto the desolate roads of central Texas towards Bastrop State Park. The protagonist of the route is Old Sayers, a 10 mile gravel road filled with rolling hills and handsome oak trees. It always feels like we’re riding into a Terrence Malick film. If the storybook setting weren’t enough, we pulled over for a nature break at a tree swing. We swung with giggles and ‘Grams.
As we arrived in Bastrop early in the afternoon, the rain gods welcomed us by opening the heavens. The remainder of the evening was spent fashioning coyote scarves, camp coffee and of course, whiskey. If all days could be spent bike camping with friends, make them days longer!
Follow Gideon on Instagram and follow Spencer on Instagram.
Last week, Mellow Johnny’s had the great pleasure of hosting a frame builder’s happy hour that showcased the work of five local bicycle artisans. With so many talented frame builders in the immediate Austin area, it only makes sense to get them out of their work sheds and together for a party. Icarus, Chumba, Kirklee, Paramour, and Saila all descended upon the shop for a night where they could showcase their work and talk to established fans as well as potential clients.
The energy was rambunctious. Halfway through the night, I found myself surrounded by over 100 people who were enjoying beer, friends, and the company of some beautiful bicycles. The amount of “oh’s” and “ah’s” were uncountable. From someone marveling over the beautiful weld work of Lauren from Saila to an in-depth conversation about carbon frame repair with KirkLee, there was something for all tastes. The amount of support and admiration that was had for these humble local builders was a testament to the tight-knit and passionate community that is evident in Austin’s cycling community.
For myself, the highlight of the night was hanging out with the fellas of Chumba Cycles. After talking with them about their home base right down the road from Pace Bend State Park and witnessing their love of beer, it was clear these guys loved to shred and loved to have a good time. The coolest bike they brought was a fully loaded 29+ rig called the Ursa 29+. Able to fit a 3.0 inch tire, the Ursa is clearly a bike that has the potential to handle just about any terrain you could throw at it. Three bottle cages and the ability to run a Singlespeed, 1x, or 2x set up leads to extreme versatility and the option for fully loaded camping or an afternoon shred session at your favorite local trails. The Ursa they brought was outfitted with their Zulu series bags for handlebar, stem, seat, and frame. Vince from Chumba shared with me his story about taking the bike to Ecuador for a 7-day bikepacking trip from Cotapaxi to Chimborazo and all I could think about for the rest of the night was the plan for my next bikepacking trip!
All in all, the event was a huge success. Good times were had, there was much “nerding out” on bikes, and many Topo Chicos and beers were consumed. If you have a local frame builder in your town and you’re looking for your next bike, it’s so important to see what they have to offer. Check out a few more photos below and see the full gallery at Mellow Johnny’s.