Category Archives: touring bike
Locked and Loaded on the Niner RLT9 Steel Cyclocross Bike
My ride: Niner RLT9 Steel with everything I need for three days of self-supported camping.

Cyclocross bikes may be designed to race for 45 minutes to an hour in various conditions, but their beauty lies in their versatility. I’ve put in a lot of time on my cross bike over the years, and only a fraction of those hours were spent racing. Instead, my bike’s been on road, trail, dirt, gravel and frontage road rides. With the right gear range, which is now as simple as a cassette or a chainring swap, a cyclocross bike could very well be the only drop bar bike you’ll need.

Companies like Niner are banking on that and while they offer a few ‘cross bikes, the RLT9 Steel is their flagship steel rig. Made from oversized Reynolds 853, with a pressfit 30 bottom bracket and a sweet carbon fork, the RLT9 Steel is being marketed to the “adventure” crowd.

What better way to test a bike’s capabilities than to pull one right from the box, strap three day’s worth of camping gear on it and chase 20 people around the mountains, roads and singletrack in central California?

That’s exactly where my relationship with the RLT9 Steel began… In the San Jose airport.

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Apr 22, 2015 32 comments
The Road to Sea Otter with the Blackburn Rangers
Scout Master Robin showing how to properly execute a skid.

These days, I’m spending a lot of time riding and lugging around my DSLR. While I’d much rather do a ride with close friends and leave the camera at home, I couldn’t pass up yet another year of the Blackburn Ranger Camp. Last year’s ride / popsicle hammock experience was too good, so when Robin from Blackburn invited me along for a second time, I accepted the invitation without hesitation, only picking up on keywords: “camping, Big Basin, Redwoods, bourbon, BB guns, beach, Sea Otter, Niner bikes.”

The logistics of my past few weeks went something like this: Giro Grinduro shoot in Sierra Nevada, home for two days, back to Cali for Eroica, ride 130 miles on a 1982 7-speed crit bike, drive immediately to San Jose, arrive at airport hotel at 1am, work for 3 hours, sleep for 3 hours, cab it to the San Jose Airport, pack up my Niner RLT9 Steel cross bike with three day’s supplies, clear CF cards, and commence the herding of cats…

WARNING! This is going to make you HATE that today is Monday. 100 images await you…

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Apr 20, 2015 28 comments
Ritchey’s New Breakaway Tourer
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I can’t think of a better bike to utilize Ritchey‘s Breakaway system than a touring bike. Especially one that can run either 700c x 40mm or 27.5 x 2.1″ wheels. These new Breakaway tourers feature an integrated head tube and will be available in the fall. The pricepoint is to be determined, but expect them to be around the same as the standard Breakaway.

Apr 19, 2015 10 comments
Sub 24 Sunset Chasing
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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.

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Apr 8, 2015 15 comments
Lighten Up
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A few people have requested photos of the lighting setup on my Geekhouse Woodville tourer. My view on lighting is pretty simple: throw a big beam where you illuminate not just your bike but the road around you. The Portland Design Works Aether Demon USB light is mounting via the included seatpost clip, but I removed the ring and just attached the clip straight to the rack mount on my bike. Most all lights come with a seatpost mount. I’ve found this method to not only be more secure than a seat stay mount, but much more successful at lighting the surface of the road, increasing visibility.

This position puts the light low and to the inside of the road, assuming cars are driving on the right of the road. If I were in Australia or UK, the light would be on the reverse. The same goes for my Edelux front lamp, which is under my Wald basket.

Apr 3, 2015 26 comments
Comes with Baggage

Blackburn has been in the industry for 40 years and in that time, a lot has changed. Here’s a brief trailer for a full-length Blackburn film that’s airing at Sea Otter. Check out the flier for that below.

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Apr 2, 2015 Comments are OFF
Legor Cicli Nuiorksiti Randonneur Transcontinental
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For Legor Cicli, building bikes for his team, the Legor Cicli Squadra Corse to ride in the Transcontinental Race was as interesting as it was challenging. A massive undertaking like the Transcontinental requires a bike that’s nimble on its feet, yet is comfortable for the long days.

This is the Nuiorksiti model in the randonneuring version. The tubing is Columbus Life with a 1 1/4″ fork steerer, fillet-brazed to the fork legs and internal cable routing for the Supernova front hub. As part of an experiment, Legor coated part of the frame with copper, so it would oxidize over the 3000km trek. The frame bags were made by hand by Pinza’t and other support for his team was supplied by Satan’s Coffee CornerRight Side CoffeePedaled, Enve, Brooks and Columbus.

Check out more photos below.

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Mar 31, 2015 16 comments
Ahearne Cycles 27.5 Dirt Tourer
Ahearne Dirt Tourer

Joseph Ahearne‘s bikes, like Curtis Inglis’ bikes, have always piqued my interest. There’s something honest, yet artistic about his designs. He’s not afraid to use a 1″ threaded steerer, curvalicious racks, or yes, a kickstand (Hey, made my job easier!)

This Ahearne Cycles 27.5 dirt tourer is currently parked in Velo Cult and it’s a glimpse into the future for what’s to come from the two brands. Velo Cult loves this bike so much, that they’re going to work with Joseph to develop a 26+ and a 27.5 dirt tourer production version. It’ll have many of the same features, but be a bit simplified to bring the pricepoint down.

When a bike like this happens to be your size, you take it for a long ride around the block to photograph it… As stated, this particular model (which fits like a 58cm) is for sale at Velo Cult and a new production version is on the way. Holler at the guys if you’re interested in purchasing either.

Mar 30, 2015 21 comments
Niner: RLT 9 Steel All-Road Bike
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Niner has really nailed this one. With the success of their RLT, they’ve just issued a steel version, marketed towards bike packing, camping and light touring. While it’s not a full blown touring bike, you can strap a few bags to it, as well as a rear rack and take off into the wilderness.

With a geometry dialed in for gravel, cross racing, all-road conditions and even some singletrack shredding, the RLT 9 steel presents itself as a new platform for those who want to get the most out of their bike.

Made from Reynolds 853, with thru-axles, fender / rack mounts and PF BB30, the RLT 9 Steel utilizes modern tech with the feel of steel. Am I excited about these bikes? Yep. We’ll be riding them in the forthcoming weeks…

Available as a complete with multiple build kits, or a frameset in two color combinations. Check out more photos below and see pricing and sizing information at Niner.

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Mar 30, 2015 32 comments
Doug’s Custom Brooklyn Machine Works Touring Bike
Doug's Custom Brooklyn Machine Works Touring Bike

190 days. That’s over 6 months. For Doug D, that’s how long he’s been living in and on this bike: a custom Brooklyn Machine Works tourer. This frame is in fact the only custom bike the Brooklyn framebuilders have made over the years. Sure, there have been numerous prototypes and one-offs, but Doug’s touring bike is the only completely custom ride they’ve made.

For good reason. A touring bike like this weighs around 100 lbs and carries everything Doug needs to tour all over the east coast and northeast during the harsh winter months. It has specific engineering requirements and plenty of custom details.

It features custom-designed and laser cut dropouts, as well as an integrated cable sheath at the seat tube cluster. Doug specifically requested BMW’s signature double plate fork, with aero blades, specifically drawn to hold the weight of panniers. Then, to top it off, the decals are the first ever die-cut vinyl logos the brand has done.

All in all, it’s a rather straight forward build. Pieced together with whatever spare parts Doug had on him at the time. Take for instance the Dura Ace cranks and Ultegra front derailler. Yet the 48h Phil Wood touring wheels, Paul Touring Cantis, Brooks saddle, hand made front panniers and Arkel bar bag are very much touring specific.

So what’s Doug been doing for 6 months? He’s been visiting various factories and facilities where companies still make goods in the USA. Everything from Easton hockey sticks, to boot makers, military equipment, stand up paddle boards and yes, even bicycle frame builders.

I caught up with Doug briefly in Austin yesterday, shot his bike, took him to my favorite bar and heard stories about stealth camping, staying sane and most importantly, warm during the winter months. He has tons of film and digital photos, which he hopes to put into a book at some point.

Follow Doug on Instagram for more stories and photos. If you see this man on the road, say hello!

Mar 25, 2015 54 comments