Head over to the Chapman Cycles Flickr for more!
So, you’re really into bikepacking, that “new” thing, huh?
100 years ago, today, Edward ‘Ryko’ Reichenback rode 3,000km from Adelaide, Australia to Darwin. The trip took him 28 days and in that time, he battled the elements, got carried by Aboriginal tribesmen by stick – literally, hogtied upside down – and trekked across swamps. I feel like a jackass for whining about a windy, rainy night in my posh-ass tent.
The Rivendell Ramboullet, a multi-purpose road bike with long reach calipers and clearance for up to a 38c tire. It’s a super practical light tourer and everyday ride, made even more practical with S&S couplers.
Gideon’s got an eye for bicycle builds. This Campagnolo-equipped machine has all the right components, in the right places. Even the TA cranks look great with the pewter paint job. The Rambouillet was always one of my favorite Rivendell models but it’s unfortunately no longer available. Although the Roadeo is a pretty close match.
Earlier this week, he swung by the new office here in Austin and I shot some photos as he downed a Topo Chico (he is usually downing all my bourbon)…
The work Brian is producing at Chapman Cycles is exceptional. Not that his work at Circle A was lacking in any regard, but going out on his own allowed Brian to really pursue his vision of what cycling truly means to him.
When I look at David Wilcox’s road frame, I see Chapman Cycle’s future, even though this bike was built years before Brian began building for his new venture. Geometrically speaking, this is a road bike with a traditional geometry, but functionally, it’s much more.
Rack, fender mounts and clearances for up to a 33.3 slick, this bike is a “long ride” road. It was built for the Oregon Manifest, specifically for David Wilcox, or as he’s known in the Northeast, “the Wilcox“.
Much like Chapman Cycles, David has gone off on a journey of his own. He just happens to be towing the new and improved Rapha Mobile Cycle Club, Tillie along with him. On his new path, he’ll be meeting up with countless group rides where, more often than not, watts and carbon are the nomenclature, not steel and plump tires.
Eventually, someone notices the brazed Circle A Cycles on the downtube, the large tires and mid-reach calipers. Or maybe they notice the spokes that were brazed onto the chainstays for chain slap protection and around the internal routing exit-port for a little added “pop”.
At that moment, David becomes the “hero” of the ride and all other technology present becomes obsolete… Well, almost.
Last weekend, I planned a route, dissected from our Super Bro Weekend ride. Four of us showed up and after five miles, my knee decided it wasn’t ready for the big day, so I bailed, only to return later in the day to shoot David’s bike amidst the rolling hills of the Austin area.
Yamaguchi’s framebuilding school has turned out some incredible talent over the years. While many enroll with hopes of becoming the next hot thing, some go to just learn the art. Chris Chou, a guy who probably has the most bikes featured on the Radavist, ever, went to Yamaguchi a few years ago to build a light tourer.
Like all Yamaguchi school frames, this bike was made from True Temper tubing and brazed by Chris over the course of a few weeks. When he was finished, he sent it off to Fresh Frame for paint.
Because Chris had never built a bicycle before, the original stem developed a stress riser, so Chris had his then housemate Ian at Icarus make him a stem. From there, the Nitto bars and Campagnolo 10 speed group add a considerable amount of class to what many would consider a utilitarian bicycle. PAUL e’rything, a Crane Bell, Mellow Johnny’s stem cap, my old Pentabike bar end and there’s a lil #JahBlessed going on with the Salsa Rasta Skewers and Ride Jah Bike button.
SON’s Edelux system and a Supernova E3 rear, lights the way and an Ostrich saddle bag holds the daily commuting needs. Cole rode this bike during the Yonder Journal (dis)Enchanted Rock Brovet and slashed a tire pretty badly on a river crossing, so Chris threw a Conti on, leaving the tires mis-matched, which I would add to the character of this bike.
I really love photographing bicycles like this.
If you ever need motivation to just get out on your bike and do something really meaningful, just watch this video. ACA documented one man’s journey along the Great Divide and it’s got me aching to get back out into the wilderness.
On the subject of the Great Divide, Nat Cobb, a 63-year old advocate of growing the wild wolf population is raising money for Wild Earth Guardians to ride the Great Divide. See more at WildEarth Gaurdians.
When Erik and I committed to riding the Oregon Outback, we didn’t want to absolutely kill ourselves, but we wanted it to be tough. On paper, 360 miles is totally doable in three days without crushing your spirit. Hell, I think we could have done it in two and we still would have been ok but that’s not the point.
I had a responsibility. One that I take seriously and that’s documenting this trip. Granted, most of the time, I didn’t want to stop to shoot a photo, or hop off my bike, I just wanted to keep going…
The second day of any big ride is usually the toughest. Your body just assumes it’s going to be on the defensive for an unknown amount of time and begins to push back. Usually, that is. For Erik and I, we awoke in the Silver Lake Community Park f-u-c-k-i-n-g freezing. The weather said it would drop to 45 degrees as the low, so he and I brought hammocks and 40 degree bags in the interest of space and weight.
At 4am, my phone said it was 28 degrees. A cold front had moved in.
I was shivering uncontrollably, had I known it was going to be that cold, I would have brought a sleeping pad and a tarp, both of which I’ve used to alleviate the loss of body heat that happens in hammocks at such low temperatures. But alas, you reap what you sew. We would be cold on this trip.
All our field guide said about mile 120-240 was that we’d be crossing altitude desert and would be without water for up to 80 miles. I brought an Arundel Looney Bin to hold a 48oz Nalgene, which, after making breakfast, I filled up. Along with my two large Purist bottles. We had to get moving. Fast… It was 6:30am.
Continue reading in the Gallery captions.
Dissecting my Oregon Outback photos has taken two full days and rather than dumping everything into one huge gallery, I thought I’d break it up a bit into something that everyone can discuss separately: bikes.
People obsess over setups for rides like this. From frame material, to geometry and wheel size, I saw everything.
Erik and I were on stock, straight out of the box, AWOL Comps. Erik painted his to look all crazy. Mine was just black. I had bikepacking bags and my Swift Ozette rando bag, Erik used panniers and the new AWOL rack. Most people used Porcelain Rocket or Revelate bags on their flat bar MTB.
Personally, I felt like a drop bar bicycle offered more riding options and were inherently faster than a rigid or a hardtail MTB. That said, most of the field were on MTB rigs of some sort. There was one fatbike, a few 29+ but for the most part, the rigid 29r ‘adventure’ bike platform ruled all.
A lot of these bikes were built specifically for the Outback, which is insane!
As I began sorting through all of my photos, I realized that my favorite thing about this ride was getting to know complete strangers. Watching their struggles unfold and seeing how they coped with the incredible feat that was upon us.
These Bikes and Faces of the Oregon Outback will forever remain engrained in my riding psyche. The rest of the story will unfold shortly. Until then, enjoy this Gallery.
One day, I’d love to convince my father to do this with me. Except he’d do the fishing and I’d just get drunk and sunbathe in the river. Great vibes in this one, Russ!