Category Archives: touring bike
The Maximum is Not the Optimum: Kelly and Mal in New Zealand
Kelly and Mal in New Zealand

The Maximum is Not the Optimum: Kelly and Mal in New Zealand
Words by Kelly Nowels, photos by Kelly and Mallory Nowels

“The maximum is not the optimum.” My buddy Chip likes to quote this Fabien Barel interview where the French downhill world champ waxes poetic about racing and life. Of course it’s all over my head, I mean this guy is a world champion, but it got me thinking and wanting to explore how optimum applies to bike touring.

Mal and I have been drooling at the thought of a New Zealand trip for years. With winter approaching and knowing that we weren’t getting any younger (we totally are though), we started saving our vacation days and our pennies to make it happen. (more…)

Feb 11, 2016 25 comments
Hugh’s Rivendell Atlantis Touring Bike
Hugh's Rivendell Atlantis Touring Bike

Like the lost city of Atlantis, Rivendell’s arguably most famous model carries a bit of mystique. They’re beautiful to look at but a dream to ride. So dreamy that it’s hard to figure out what makes the Atlantis so special.

Is it the wheel or tire size? Wheelbase? The tubing? What about the 1″ steerer? With the word “trail” being thrown around a lot in frame design, I’m going to default on it being the magical component in this equation. Even in the five minutes it took me to pedal this bike around the corner to photograph it, all I could think about was how wonderful it’d be to ride one in my size.

Hugh’s got a really special bike here, with a lot of really wonderful details, mostly stemming from the stem. Shellac’d bars and grips, a super upright riding position, one worn in Brooks and even a few love marks in the beautiful olive paint all show use and age. Something Grant Petersen came to call beausage

Feb 9, 2016 61 comments
Firefly for Jan Heine?

Ever wonder what a man like Jan Heine would want in a custom titanium bike? Well, this is merely speculation, but Firefly just posted a photoset of a ti bike with those 26″ Rat Trap Pass Compass tires and a titanium Tubus rack, labeled Jan Heine. So, speculate all you want, but I’m guessing this one will be in a forthcoming issue of Bicycle Quarterly. See more of this insane bike at the Firefly Flickr.

Jan 27, 2016 27 comments
Golden Saddle Rides: One Rugged and Ready Soma Wolverine Tourer
One Rugged and Ready Soma Wolverine Tourer

In Los Angeles, you can bite off more dirt than you can chew. Fortunately, if you like camping and getting dirty, most of the campgrounds here can be accessed via dirt tracks. Problem is, you need a bike that make it up those steep climbs and ideally has a generator lamp since a lot of your climbing might be done at night during the winter months.

A little while ago, a Soma Wolverine was featured here on the site, prompting another Golden Saddle Cyclery customer, Phil, to pull the trigger on his own, albeit with a few different build specs.

Phil wanted his to be rugged, specifying a no-nonsense groupset composed of SRAM X9, 11-speed bar-end shifters and a Force 22 crankset. For reliable, strong front lamp power, the Shutter Precision PV-8 Dynamo generator hub was chosen and the Luxus-U front lamp mounted to a Jandd rack. Panaracer T-Servs (even though they say for messenger use) are great all-rounder tires for dirt and sealed roads. Paired with 650b Blunt SS wheels, they’ll take a few hits while descending, even fully loaded and resist easy pinch flats. Phil’s trusty Brooks Cambium will provide ample comfort for those long hauls up into the mountains.

Bottom line: Golden Saddle Cyclery built up a rugged bicycle to Phil’s specifications, fit for any number of rides here in Los Angeles and I can’t wait to hear his stories!


Visit Golden Saddle Cyclery in Silverlake, Los Angeles and follow them on Instagram.

Jan 13, 2016 69 comments
Wild Rivers Coast Scenic Bikeway

Oregon really does have some of the most scenic cycling routes in the USA. It doesn’t matter if you’re a dedicated road or off-road cyclist, there’s something for everyone. Including the Wild Rivers Coast Scenic Bikeway…

Jan 6, 2016 Comments are OFF
Bikepacking with BMXers on Cross Bikes in the Santa Cruz Mountains – Brian Barnhart
Bikepacking with BMXers on Cross Bikes in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Bikepacking with BMXers on Cross Bikes in the Santa Cruz Mountains
Photos by Brian Barnhart, words by Brian Barnhart, Bill Arlew, and Sam Pederson

Introduction by Brian Barnhart

As much as I love bikepacking, I just don’t do it enough. Living in Santa Cruz, it is so easy to surf, BMX, hike or mountain bike, and then spend the night at home. I can’t complain about the accessibility. But when I got a group text about scheduling a long weekend of bikepacking, I was in! The group got narrowed down to two guys I had never met, but I knew we would bond over the experience.

After some planning and a few bike mods, the morning came to pedal into the mountains. The three of us got acquainted sharing singletrack and fire roads, and discussing our packing setups along the way. Billy and Sam had an exciting route planned, now it was time to put it to the test. Three days of riding and two nights of camping in Castle Rock State Park and Butano State Park respectively.

Our bikes and packs created a bond within our group, and also with folks that we talked to along the way. We shared an enthusiasm for being in the middle of nowhere, pedaling our way in and finding our way out. The recently drenched forest was alive with newts, banana slugs, and vegetation, and at night a campfire gave it warmth. We challenged our bodies and were rewarded with endless views and mysterious fog topped mountains. The descents flew by at exhilarating rates, full attention given to every bump, rock, tree, angle and edge. And the flat terrain provided a time to relax and appreciate it all.

We rode hard, and sometimes walked hard when the grade got too steep. We came out better riders and more prepared for next trip. We found that feeling we all crave when we are off our bikes. It happens when the conditions are just right, and our brains narrow our thoughts down to what is happening right now. For us it was climbing steep hills then bombing down the other side through redwoods, chalky bluffs, open meadows, and coastal roadways. Being cold and wet, then warming up as the time and miles passed. Stimulated by scenic overload, quiet of deep forest, and the scent of untouched wilderness we smiled all the way home. (more…)

Dec 28, 2015 7 comments
Whitney Ford-Terry for Adventure Cycling
pod open

As the third largest city in North America, Los Angeles has some history to explore. Whitney did just that during her time in LA, combing over the urban fabric, connecting moments of interestingness, all before planning out a mega-tour that would take her and her 20/20 Cycles Kalakala from DTLA to the Desert Research Station in the Mojave Desert. Her trek was anything but easy as the San Gabriel peaks offer steep and dusty fireroads, combined with still warm temperatures for Autumn and minimal resources.

Whitney has a great and very different read over at Adventure Cycling about her trip. I highly suggest you take the time to check it out.

Dec 10, 2015 2 comments
First Time’s a Charm at the Steamboat Ralleye
First Time’s a Charm at the Steamboat Ralleye

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…)

Nov 17, 2015 56 comments
The New Bombtrack Beyond Drop Bar Dirt Tourer

Since its inception, Bombtrack has consistently kept up with the growing popularity of the various facets of cycling. New to the line for 2016 is the Bombtrack Beyond drop bar dirt tourer. Built to accommodate a 2.1″ and running a SRAM X7 long cage derailleur, the Beyond can take you there, and back.

See more at Bombtrack.

Nov 3, 2015 Comments are OFF