Over the years, we’ve all really strived to make the content and the characters here on the Radavist unique. It’s been a slow process, but as I’ve just spent a week sifting through the site’s archives from 2016, I can honestly say this has been our best year yet. These year-end recaps are always a joy to collate, as it allows everyone here at the site, as well as the readers to look back and relive some our favorite moments.
2016 was busy. Very busy. In fact, the archives are almost twice as long as the previous year’s, which were almost twice as long as the year’s prior, making editing the site’s content into a digestible post challenging. We’ve omitted bicycle reviews and Beautiful Bicycles for obvious reasons, leaving only ride, travel and shop visit Reportage as the meat of the gallery and storyline. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did and I’d like to thank everyone for making this site, well, rad! That includes you, the readers and the commenters. I couldn’t ask for a better community.
Before things get too sappy, read on below for the Radavist’s 2016 Year in Review.
Cari and I escaped Los Angeles during the holidays for the confines of the desert, its crisp mornings, cool days and warm sunlight. What followed was a trip that left me longing for more desert excursions, something I’m just now only able to follow up with a bicycle.
Upon returning home, the derailleur of time literally shifted into the big ring and the shutter began to fire. Ted King was in town, fresh into his retirement and wanted to spend a day riding bikes in LA, so I took him to a familiar, yet unfamiliar place. The Angeles National Forest is familiar to many of the pros who races the Tour of California in the past, but very few professional cyclists are actually able to soak in the views while race. Coincidentally, it’s where Kyle and I like to go on pushbike hikes once the winter rains turn to snow at elevation. Meanwhile, Ty was out with his buddy Jesse in Texas, seeking a much different environment and ride.
Photo by Jordan Clark Haggard
With the New Year comes the USAC Cyclocross National Championships, where Amanda and Jordan took to the course offering up an exceptional race reportage, straight from the trenches. With ‘cross being officially over in the States, Jen went up to San Francisco to spend some time with our friend Chelsea as she discussed the highs and lows of pursuing that top step on the podium.
In California, the winter months bring about the possibility to bicycle camp without suffering through 100º temperatures. For Dylan and Erik, this also offers up the perfect practice for fire road skids. While the black metal bikepacking boyz were in SF laying down dusty roosts, I packed my bags to head to Patagonia with Santa Cruz Bicycles for four full days of backcountry excursions, camping and a bit of rubber side up. Returning from a trip like that really ups the ante for more mountain bike riding. Luckily, my buddy Spencer was in town and down to shred. While all this was happening in the Northern Hemispher, Kelly and Mal were still Down Under wrapping up their epic tour of New Zealand. Jealousy was hard to overcome with this story!
Meanwhile, I finally began to work out the kinks with shooting a new digital rangefinder, just as some friends from Boston rolled into town.
Ok, I know I said no bikes, but how can you overlook NAHBS? Which brings me to my next point: work hard, recover hard. What better way to overcome 60 hours of photographing, posting, and in general living, breathing bikes in a stuffy convention center than to recover from everything in Death Valley?
Photo by Jarrod Bunk
Side note: Jarrod Bunk’s contributions this year kicked ass! Ranging from Frostbike, to Saddle Drive and the Philly Bike Expo, his galleries were sure to leave your product and people-driven desires well-sated.
Photo by Ryan Wilson
Oh yeah! I almost forgot. Ryan Wilson quit his job, we built him a bike with help from 44 Bikes and he moved to Peru. Throughout the year he kept us all entertained with his glimpses not only into the beautiful landscapes, but the unique and wonderful people of this country. Check them all out at the Ryan Wilson archives.
Photo by Brian Vernor
Meanwhile… back in Texas! Jolene, Spencer, Tyler and Jonathan took to Big Bend for a bicycle tour, biting off more than they could chew, which as we’ve seen from time to time, makes for the best stories. Speaking of, Morgan and his wife Stephanie were preparing for their Canada to California trip, with a stop at Swift Industries. While Kyle and I took off to the mountains of Georgia with Maxxis Tires. Spring time brought about a lot of riding together and now that the snow had melted in the San Gabriels, I was eager to explore my new home. This desire for exploration often lands us in unfamiliar lands, using unfamiliar modes of transportation, forming bonds and friendships that will be long-remembered. Brian Vernor’s photos from his Southern Journey best embodies this – also, don’t miss Chris McNally’s watercolors from that trip! Perhaps this is why I love partaking in the Blackburn Rangers ride year after year?
Ready for lift-off in three, two…
Ain’t camping with your buds at the Salton Sea and Slab City the best? I’ve never been but Spencer’s photos and story made me feel as if I have! In fact, camping and riding with complete strangers is always a good time, even in the Selkirk mountains!
Well, Spring has sprung and with it came about a whole slew of themed bike rides and events. This is what Topanga Creek Outpost’s Unpredict Your Wednesday is all about. The Eroica found its way to South Africa and Tyrone Bradey’s photos put us right there. Shortly after, some of the Eroica participants went on a trip into the Karoo Desert, a place with no reception and very little services. Just like Michael Armenta’s photos from a trip to California’s Lost Coast.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in beautiful photos of exotic lands, but sometimes not being there is actually a good thing. Like how Cari and I got lost in the Sequoia National Forest for 8 hours…
Meanwhile, back in LA, I caught up with my friend Brian Dunsmoor from Hatchet Hall to see how his Chef’s Cycle training was going. Before we knew it, the ATOC had landed again in Los Angeles and Kyle had a new bike to get dirty.
Photo by Gabe Tiller
One of my favorite galleries from this year was Gabe’s story from bikepacking in Oregon’s Big Country with Limberlost. Gabe’s contributions this year brought some absolutely mind-numbing good tales, with photos to back them up.
It had been years since I had been to Japan, so I was stoked when Circles and Chris King invited me to the Gourmet Century in Asuke and boy was I even more stoked to go on a week-long tour with my new found friends! Once back to LA, it was time for the Swift Campout!
Photo by Kyle Kelley
Being able to visit bike shops in other cities is something I relish in this world and something that Kyle is exceptional at documenting. That dude has been to some wonderful shops, all over the US and his Bike, Book and Hatchet shop visit was an all-time favorite. Also high on the list was Locke and his Free Cycles post! Also, getting to hang with Charlie Kelly must have been a real treat!
Photo by Morgan Taylor
Well, it was about time for touring season to kick into high gear in North America, sending Morgan and Stephanie on their way from Canada down to California, while skirting the Tour Divide route and sticking mostly to dirt. They were now Found in the Mountains. While Morgan and Stephanie made their way down south, a group of riders embarked on their DFL the Divide ride, culminating in one of the best galleries to ever grace this site! From there, Morgan and Stephanie began making their way from Montana to California.
While they were partying, I was in Sweden documenting the Sverigotempot, a mind-numbing brevet that clocked in over 2100 kilometers. The result was three galleries: One, Two, and Three. It was the most physically demanding event I’ve ever documented and I did if from a car! I can’t imagine what the racers went through. Although, as we know long distances rides can still be fun. Kevin’s gallery from the Musky 660 proved that!
Luckily, living so close to Golden Saddle Cyclery puts me at ground zero for summertime fun. Like when our friends from Sim Works came over from Japan to visit us and if LA ever gets boring, I can always pop up to Santa Barbara to see our friends at Stinner Frameworks.
Photo by Kevin Sparrow
Before everyone knew it, ‘cross was here and Kevin Sparrow found himself at the Trek CXC Cup where the pro women put on a hell of a show. There was more ‘cross coverage to come with an interview of Tobin Ortenblad by Garrett from Strawfoot, and the Rock Lobster cup.
While all this was going on, our window for riding White Mountain was gettin slim, so Eric and I hopped in the truck and made the journey. While we were finishing up our trip, Jen took on her first bikepacking excursion and wrote a heart-felt piece on the ups and downs of trying new things.
There comes a time in every cycling roamin’ nomad’s life where he meets the right one, a perfect mate for life’s many ups and downs on the bike. Ultra Romance laid down a do and don’t list for bicycle camping with you and your loved one. This precious story is not to be missed!
The year was coming to an end in Southern California, so a group of us decided to tackle three ranges in three days on road bikes. After a year of mind-blowing experiences, none of us expected something so wonderous awaited us in our own backyards. Oh yeah and then came Tasmania. Upon returning both Ty and Morgan had great photo galleries from spending time in National Parks and I shared architectural photos from my trip to London.
As I’m finishing up this post, I can’t think of a better way to ring in the New Year than to thank everyone for hanging along for this ride and for all their support. Without you, the writers, and the sponsors of this site, it wouldn’t be a possibility, so thank you.
Happy New Year and Rubber Side Up!