Born to Run: Whitney and Her 20/20 Cycle’s Kalakala – Kyle Kelley

Born to Run: Whitney and Her 20/20 Cycle’s Kalakala
Words and photos by Kyle Kelley

She sweats it out on the back roads of an American Dream, riding through the mountains on a life saving machine. Sprung from the city on a one way line, polished wheels moving her forward most of the time. Whitney let us in, we wanna be your friend. We’ll ride till we drop, and we’ll never look back again.

The above words are from a song Bruce Springsteen never wrote, but I’m almost positive he would if he ever met Whitney Ford-Terry. She is a woman so enthralled with hitting the road that I wasn’t sure she knew any other way of life until I read her profile on Adventure Cycling. A life revolving around art galleries, alternative education, artistic research, working at non-profits, and most importantly getting lost in the woods on her bicycle. Whitney is equally comfortable working in museums like the MoMa or shooting the shit and drinking the boys under the table at whatever local bike shop she happens upon in her travels.

I became acquainted with Whitney when she reached out to me to discuss routes for a tour she was planning. She needed to get from Los Angeles to Joshua Tree for an artist residency and wanted to make the journey fun. We bounced ideas off one another for awhile and the route Whitney ultimately mapped out was hard enough to make most people call her crazy and shake their heads in disbelief. She decided to go straight up the San Gabriel Mountains, along the ridge and then over Mt Baldy to the high desert. With her route settled Whitney shipped her bike to Golden Saddle Cyclery to be built up.

Whitney’s 20/20 Cycle Kalakala is purpose built and can be configured to handle just about any bicycle tour you could imagine. Complete with DFL Stitchworks bags. This bike has never had a place to call home, Whitney has been riding it around the world for the last couple years and with that in mind I had no question about its ability to make it over the mountains I call home and to the Southern California High Desert that I love. Since photographing this bike it’s changed only ever so slightly with the addition of one more National Park badge to the fender, Joshua Tree.

WhitneySendOff copy copy

Next time we wanna go with you, Whitney we were born to run!

P.S. If you happen to meet Whitney someday, ask her what hobo tattoos and Bruce Springsteen mean to her.


Follow Kyle on Instagram and Whitney on Instagram.


  • JP Coates

    What porteur rack is she using that attaches to the canti mounts?

  • ap

    yep and looks like a wald (or similar) on top without any of the hardware. Here’s mine with Wald basket minus hardware ziptied to Nitto rack.

    • Whitney Ford-Terry

      nice cainring/light mount!

      • Erik B

        Yeah hot damn, that’s a nice solution.

  • ap

    PS – love those nat’l park badges. Such a cool detail!

    • Yeah, that’s beautiful. So much cooler than mounting them on my hiking stick.

  • Your bike is beautiful. Those Jones bars are so well-suited here. Looks awesome.

  • Ramon Olivas

    Those DFL Stitchworks Bags are super sweet! Not too flashy, they look clean!

  • Noel Smith

    Classy stuff

  • GT

    I love the hobo wrap on the Jones bar! Something to think about for my setup–a Cross Check with a Jones bar, Barlow Pass, and Wald basket! It’s a work in progress which hopefully will eventually feel as classy as Whitney’s.

    • Already looks sweeeet!

      • GT

        Thanks! Aren’t you on reddit? think I saw your Soma/Karate Monkey there before!

        • Yup! That was me! New bike coming soon, a second Soma :)

    • alexander g

      what sort of front rack is that? i’m looking for a similar rig for my macho man. thanks!
      your bike looks so good!

  • Love this build! What’s the fork offset like under that beautiful bag?

  • Drew Leigh

    So jealous of this rig!

  • Erik B

    Now that’s some fucking good writing. More articles by this dude, asap!

  • Kyle Deven

    I love this. Thanks Kyle for writing this piece up!

  • Nils-Erik Hilliard


  • Austin Priebe

    Ahhhhhh! that weld makes me cringe… On another bike I wouldn’t even comment, but everything else is so perfect and well thought out. On a custom frame built for an amazing person riding it around the world I want to see stacked pennies. Everything else is beautiful though: the photos, Whitney, everything else on the bike. Thanks for the story.

    • _okra

      “Everything else is beautiful though: the photos, Whitney, everything else on the bike.”

      ahhh whitney as an object – yay, misogyny!

  • cdoett

    What shifters are these? Been looking for those kind for my new bike and can´t fing them in Europe,… yet!

  • Mark Robinson

    This bike rocks.

    Judging by the wear pattern on her pedal surface I would be surprised if she isn’t getting foot fatigue on longer rides. I switched to a pedal with a recessed spindle (DMR V12) and it made for improved comfort and traction.

    • Whitney Ford-Terry

      actually no.

  • shankshiv

    Those pedals look good for riding with boots.
    Any one know waht they are.

  • duboisterous

    total babe. bar tape?

  • fizzle

    pretty sure this my most favorite bike i have ever seen on this website

    • Ryanisinallofus

      Me too. I’m copying the shit out of her.

  • Cooper Mittelhauser

    Is that a Tubus Tara rack? I contacted Tubus USA just a month ago to inquire about getting a silver and was told they don’t import the silver into the US. Big bummer. I want a lightweight, silver in color lowrider rack that works with a Nitto mini-rack.

    • Whitney Ford-Terry

      I bought it in the UK

    • Ben

      I’d vote for the Tubus Nova (available through Peter White Cycles or The Touring Store). Same design as the Tara, but in Stainless so it’s a better match (both visually and in terms of corrosion resistance) with the Nitto racks. Give it a polish if you want to match that Nitto shine.

  • Logan N. Everly

    I agree with the pens. Never go anywhere without a trusty pen.

    • D.J. Bolles

      pens for the win!

  • Logan N. Everly

    And, has anyone had the pleasure of trying out Compass’ tires? I’d love to get some Barlow’s, just haven’t read too many reviews for being an all-arounder. I ride gravel, some dirt and lots of pavement commuting. Any thoughts? Good puncture protection?

    • trololo

      I’m very happy with mine. No knobs so obviously you’re not going to shred gnar on them but def big and supple enough to handle a bit of dirt. I’ve had one flat in a year; keep an eye on your tire pressure, avoid rolling straight through broken glass and you’ll be fine.

    • I’ve been running them for a while now and love them. Never flatted riding in Austin or in LA during goathead season.

      • Ace Metric Cycles


        • Whitney Ford-Terry

          not this time

    • Nils-Erik Hilliard

      I’m very happy with mine as well. Rode Compass Barlow’s for the past 3000 miles here in LA and love them – commuting, pavement, rando, gravel, dirt, glass, small rocks – they roll like butter over it all (except, in my experience, goatheads are instant death.) Over that time got about 12 flats, compared with 3 flats and one torn sidewall over the previous 3000 miles on Schwalbe Marathons; from my experience, Barlow’s were slightly more flat prone but I judged worth it for ride quality. I’m putting Compass’ on again next time :)

  • Drew Mabry

    Beautiful bike

  • D.J. Bolles

    This set up makes me want to do a handlebar swap on my Raleigh immediately! I always go back to drop bars but, these Jones bars seems just right.

  • Justin Phillips

    New Mystics represent! I see that NKO sticker on her water bottle.

  • Anyone know where to get that small accessory cord that’s used to secure the bar tape? Looks awesome!

    • Whitney Ford-Terry

      I used Micro paracord instead of twine. Same method. Available at any local hardware store.

  • Ryanisinallofus

    I’m ordering the basket for my Haul’n rack. Anyone know if that’s the “medium”?

    “The MEDIUM one is 9.75″ x 14.75″ x 4.5″. AKA Wald 137 (52 grams).”

    • Whitney Ford-Terry

      its the small

  • Melvin Tendilla

    wow wow wee… i wish i had something more constructive to share– i just love riding bikes, guys. whitney, stellar pictures; what an afventure!

  • D.A. Joseph

    What happened to the pictures on this post?