Category Archives: Ultra Romance
2018 NAHBS: Behold the Sklar Bikes x Ultra Romance Nutmegger

Where do I even begin here? A bunch of awesome brands working together on a unique concept, featuring unique products and a lot of uniqueness. Is that even a word? Sklar and Benedict, aka Ultra Romance teamed up to build the ultimate bicycle. It’s so ultimate that I don’t even know what to call it. Is it a road bike? A touring bike? A mtb? Who knows. Right now, the consensus seems to be just “Nutmegger,” so that’s what I’ll call it. Before I go any further here, I’ll just say this bike begs for more than the brevity associated with copywriting of my NAHBS galleries and maybe one day we’ll dive in deeper, until then, I’ll give you the gist.

This is a part fillet, part tig welded steel frame in a nickel finish, with a custom stem by Hubert from Madrian Fabrication. It’s got a long wheelbase, mid-trail and a truss fork design, along with a double top tube to support the massive head tube. When you ride this thing, you’re really IN it, not on it.

The 66.6cm wide Crust bars are mated with a custom Swift Industries bag and nestled in that top tube space is an Andrew the Maker Bag. Those perty Paul and White Industries bits are custom annodized brown. There’s even a Connecticut State Coin as the top cap! It was assembled in Benedict’s mom’s kitchen and is still kinda sorta being built up as I’m writing this. Yes, the derailleur cable is long, there are no brake cable crimps and I had to stop Poppi from shallacing the tape as I was photographing it.

So what is the Nutmegger? I honestly have no idea. It’s a bicycle that embodies Benedict and that’s all it needs to be. Will Adam from Sklar make you one? Helllll nahhhhhh.

Feb 16, 2018 53 comments
420.69th annual Nutmeg Nor’easter – Ultra Romance

420.69th annual Nutmeg Nor’easter

Words by Ultra Romance, photos by Erin @erinmarie.gordon, Jon Weekes @gungywump, Jamie M @jamiemurrett, and “Big Janet”

I’ve lived in the same area of shoreline Connecticut my entire life.  My home is a garage artist’s studio that I just so happen to share with my mom’s gardening tools.  Paris, Milan, Clinton, CT.  As weather permits, I return home about 4 months out of the year; always being sure not to miss the splendor of autumn; the beauty of death as the colors fall, ushering in the grim shadows of wintär. (more…)

Dec 19, 2017 38 comments
A Recording of Ultra Romance’s Fred Talk at the Philly Bike Expo

Nicholas Karwoski recorded Benedict’s “Fred Talk” dubbed “The bicycle, a vehicular philosophy of simplification” that took place at this year’s Philly Bike Expo. Topping in at over 80 minutes, this might be a bit ambitious for you to tackle in one go, but definitely give it a listen. Thanks to Nicholas for pulling this together!

Nov 8, 2017 3 comments
The Road to L’Eroica: An Italian Honeymoon – Ultra Romance

The Road to L’Eroica: An Italian Honeymoon
Words and photos by Ultra Romance

We had been running from winter… riding from winter… actually hike-a-biking away from winter in the Swiss Alps for nearly 2 weeks now.  Snow, wind, rain, and low UV indexes had driven us out of the most verdant and bucolic panoramas I’ve ever eyeballed. Away from the abrupt mountaintops that rise from the undulating valleys like the jagged teeth of a gnashing puma eagle.  My hair was damp and lifeless, and our bodies were craving the sunlight and ACTUAL early September weather (fair and pleasant for those of you who live in the Swiss tundra).  In a split second decision, while climbing out of a cold and empty valley after hiking down a roots rock reggae slip n’ slide, we hopped a train south to Europe’s fashion capital, Milano. It just felt natural.

Ciao Italy! (more…)

Oct 25, 2017 15 comments
Bicycle Touring the Tick Jungles of New England – Ultra Romance

Bicycle Touring the Tick Jungles of New England
Words and photos by Ultra Romance

The east coast is like a frumpy ex-lover. She wears the same green maple tree moo moo every day in the summer and wears nothing but a cold distant gray gaze all winter. Her breath smells like a yawning swamp, her clammy visage infected with ticks, mosquitos, and horseflies. Yet still, she’s comfortable and familiar, drawing me back time and time again with that ruddy olde face.

The Appalachian mountains of the northeast are among the oldest mountains in the world. 480 million years olde according to Siri; 483 million if you ask Alexa. By contrast, the sensuously photogenic Rockies are a supple 55 million years young. That’s another 428 million years of HARD livin’ for that olde bag of a spinster, Mrs. Appalachian East Coast. The glacially mowed over Appalachians sit plain and internet forgotten, cloaked in a canopy of hardwoods with nothing but a flip phone for company. This all sounds great in theory, and it really is, butttt they sure don’t photograph all that well… and if you can’t get that ‘gram, then why do it, amiright????! (more…)

Jul 25, 2017 27 comments
Ultra Romance on Bedrock Sandals

“I was 28 years old. The previous 15 years of my life had been spent as a cyclist. Not the kinda cyclist you see in a bike lane at rush hour, or out dinging bells on rail trails, ha, I turned my nose up at those types. “Freds”, I’d say to myself as I looked down at my heart rate monitor while muscling my spendy spindly Italian race rocket over the next imaginary finish line.

My attire was a zebra print lycra leotard, my legs had been shorn before I’d even hit puberty. I was quite comfortable with being uncomfortable while pursuing my passion for bicycles and my petty amateur victories aboard them. So what happened?”

Read more from Benedict at Bedrock Sandals!

May 2, 2017 29 comments
Pedaling in Anger: Training Camp Camping Arizona – Ultra Romance

Pedaling in Anger: Training Camp Camping Arizona
Photos and words by Ultra Romance

What do you ride a bike for? Is it simply fitness and abs? Primordial warrior expression? JFF (just for fun)? Commuting? Too many DWI’s? Do you just merely believe that personal auto ownership should be banned, and only for commercial use? Or maybe it’s all of the above? Regardless, if you are reading this, you are likely some kind of cyclist, or merely just a fan of my creative spellings and punctuation style. So what kind are you? What does sykling mean to YOU???

As many of you who subscribe to the fan club letter my mom mails out bi-weekly may know, I’ve recently enlisted in a documentary art performance piece directed by Dan and Kyle at Yonder Journal. It’s entitled Project Y, and its purpose is to answer the question Y (why) (get it?) predominately white suburban career professionals train and compete in events that are both nonsensical and detrimental to one’s health and interpersonal relationships for no real reason other than the intrinsic reward of simply finishing. I don’t get it, or maybe I once did, but regardless, it’s a documentary MOVIE, and I wanna be a movie star, always have. The catch is, I have to race the Dirty Kanza 200. I’m a 20-40 mile a day kinda guy, so some training would be necessary, I suppose. (more…)

Apr 26, 2017 31 comments
Benedict’s 2020 S-Works Fuse Ultra Baja Buggie

It’s the debate for the new millennia: carbon or steel for a mountain bike. But what about both? Sure, others have ventured into putting rigid carbon forks on a steel hardtail before, but you don’t catch sight of the reverse too often. Since signing with Specialized to produce his latest hair metal band’s new album on minidisc, Poppi acquired an S-Works Fuse 6Fattie to take on the Baja Divide route. While this was by far the lightest bike he’s ever owned, Bene decided early on that the Öhlins fork wouldn’t cut it for the desert rampage that awaited. As hard as it was to part ways with such a sweet bit of suspension technology, Poppi knew it’d be an issue hauling the amount of water needed for the Divide on a squishy fork with no braze-ons.

Not knowing what to do, he sent psychedelic waves through the internet, where they were received at Sklar Bikes‘ HQ in Montana. From there, Adam and Bene began chatting about a rigid steel fork for what would ultimately become one Romantical Baja Buggie.

With braze-ons for days, US currency as the fork ends and a thrü axle, Popi would be able to haul his extra stuff and still have the compliance offered by steel on washboard roads. The King Cage Many Things Cage and Andrew the Maker bags provided the extra cargo capacity needed. Even though many on the Divide ran into problems with their racks and cargo cages breaking, Bene found the extra time to reinforce his the best he could on the trail with pipe clamps and zip ties. Whatever works for his S-Works! These bags, in combination with his downtube storage solution, Swift Industries Fabio’s Chest front and rear bags on Crust Bikes Leather 66.6cm drop bars, Benedict was able to stuff as many bags of Baja cookies and chips into his bikes’ every crevice.

Now for the biggest bit of technological advancement: His friction shifting SRAM Eagle 12-speed drivetrain. By grinding down the lip on his barcon, he was able to flawlessly shift through all screamin’ twelve gears, making this one of the most unique rigid mountain bike tourers I’ve ever photographed.

So what’s next for Poppi? Well, Nam and he are about to embark on a journey through the Los Padres mountains up to San Francisco for some Rice A Roni before heading back down south to begin his secret training for the Dirty Kanza. If you’re on the road and you see Poppi and Nam pedaling their rigs, be sure to offer up some chocolate – the darker the better – and a high five.

Jan 25, 2017 74 comments
Benedict’s Silver and Gold Crust Bikes Romanceur Touring Bike

“The ROMANCEÜR is a swashbuckling tender heart of a fantasy warrior, who not only seduces its rider, but acts as a psychedelic aphrodisiac on the psyche. Together you become thee Romanceür, a sacred, lustful partnership rendering all riding surfaces swooned out and speechless, pining for an intimate evening including a tray of rosé Jell-O shots.” – Ultra Romance from his Crust Bikes Diary

Recently, Los Angeles was invaded by some of cycling’s biggest celebrities and no, not Wiggo, Sagan, Vos, or Bryceland. The cyclists that found themselves hanging out at Golden Saddle Cyclery are from a different walk, er, roll of life all-together. These nomadic raconteurs favor dirt to pavement and fully-loaded bikes to ultralight carbon. Not to mention, they’re always on the hunt for the latest cycling expedition, which brings me to Los Angeles… (more…)

Jan 3, 2017 62 comments