Beautiful Bicycles

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Shining a Light on Road Riding: A Review of the Specialized Aethos Disc Road Bike

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Shining a Light on Road Riding: A Review of the Specialized Aethos Disc Road Bike

Road bikes. We don’t really talk about them so much over here at the Radavist – anymore. There was a time however where we’d post galleries from road adventures and still to this day, one of my favorite rides I did in California was on all pavement. Still, there have been a few defining reasons for the wane of the road bike’s popularity and it wasn’t until I accepted the offer to review the lightweight Aethos road bike that I began to mull over these reasons. A 16lb road bike is both terrifying (am I going to break this thing?!) and a joy (WOW! this is incredible) to ride but what does the state of road cycling look for me, personally, and how did this review shape my perspective of drop bars after a long hiatus from enjoying the pleasures of road riding? Read on to find out.

Inside / Out at Myth Cycles in Durango: Not Your Imagination

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Inside / Out at Myth Cycles in Durango: Not Your Imagination

Just past the Animas River and tucked into a neighborhood back alley lies a modified garage holding one of the newer secrets of Durango. There is no signage, no storefront, no Google Maps locator. Nope, your only hint at what lies behind these doors is a subtle triskelion logo on the side door. This is the headquarters for Myth Cycles, the most recent continuation of handbuilt bicycles in Durango, Colorado.

A Prova Cycles Titanium Pinion Rigid MTB

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A Prova Cycles Titanium Pinion Rigid MTB

In the lead up to the Handmade Bicycle Show Australia (more on that later), I dropped by 412 – the collective home of bicycle excellence in Fairfield, to chat with Steve (Velocraft) about the logistics of getting my bike to the show. Even though the paint was close to 2 years old, Steve was enamored enough with it for a host of reasons that it was his choice to represent his work.

Return of the Dadbike: Morgan’s Velo Orange Polyvalent

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Return of the Dadbike: Morgan’s Velo Orange Polyvalent

You ever have a bike that was super rad, but you just didn’t ride it? My Velo Orange Polyvalent was that bike for the past few years. Beautiful, capable, and yet, neglected. This past winter, during a bout of organization, I wondered about this bike that sparked joy aesthetically but didn’t really get ridden. What’s the point in keeping something around that doesn’t get used? I committed to riding it to work for a week to see if I could get at that very question – and I ended up riding it daily for the next four months.

From the Pro’s Closet: #29 Cunningham – A 1983 Tribute to Jacquie Phelan’s “Otto” Bike

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From the Pro’s Closet: #29 Cunningham – A 1983 Tribute to Jacquie Phelan’s “Otto” Bike

“Gravel bikes are just XC bikes from the 80s/90s with drop bars.” You hear that over and over again, ad infinitum on the internet. While that might be true to some degree, I think this statement does XC bikes from the 80s/90s a disservice. Back when the big companies were slow to pivot towards innovation, smaller builders were the ones tinkering in their shops, fabricating step-up cassettes, designing bikes with boost spacing, 1x drivetrains, quick-release seatpost collars, and more. It took people like Charlie Cunningham and Jacquie Phelan to really push the paradigm until it broke.

Take, for example, this tribute of Jacquie’s 1985 “Otto” Cunningham, which was built in June of 1983 for a customer in Marin and later acquired by the Pro’s Closet where it resides today…

Readers’ Rides: Tin’s Crust Bikes Canti Lightning Bolt in Central Florida

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Readers’ Rides: Tin’s Crust Bikes Canti Lightning Bolt in Central Florida

Vernacular, venomous snakes, alligators, Spanish moss, and a one-off Crust Bikes Lightning Bolt cantilever frame. That’s the theme for this week’s Readers’ Rides, sent in by Tin, the radical videographer responsible for those magical Crust Bikes videos that have graced this website over the past year. Tin finished up a trip to Florida, where he rode around the marshlands in Central Florida aboard his new-to-him Crust Bikes Lightning Bolt. Check out his dreamy photos below, along with a brief intro and a bike check breakdown by Tin, for this very special Readers’ Rides…

Inside / Out at Why Cycles and Revel Bikes: A ‘Reel’ Good Time in Carbondale, Colorado

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Inside / Out at Why Cycles and Revel Bikes: A ‘Reel’ Good Time in Carbondale, Colorado

It’s not often that I have to buy a fishing permit to do a Shop Visit but when Why Cycles and Revel Bikes offered up a good time riding and fishing in and around the Western Slope city of Carbondale, Colorado, I couldn’t resist the offer. The collision of outdoor activities is my favorite and knowing a whole weekend of mountain biking and fly fishing awaited me, I was eager to see how it would play out, all while learning about the brands the entire bike industry seemed to be talking about…

From the Pro’s Closet Museum: Norm Alvis’ 1992 Team Motorola MXL Eddy Merckx with Dura Ace 7400

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From the Pro’s Closet Museum: Norm Alvis’ 1992 Team Motorola MXL Eddy Merckx with Dura Ace 7400

Longtime readers of this website will recall our weekly “Merckx Mondays” posts that began back in 2008. Well, let me just get this out of the way and say don’t get your hopes up for its return, but I am very excited to share this Eddy Merckx with you, on a Monday, as a part of a little sub-category of vintage bikes we’ll be doing at the Radavist over the next few months.

Last week, I traveled to Boulder to see the Pro’s Closet‘s new facilities and their forthcoming bicycle museum. After years of being stored in boxes, over three hundred bikes are being unpacked, built, and displayed at their new facility just outside of Boulder. I spent two days there learning all about their operations and browsing their extensive bicycle collection, while sneaking off to document a few I thought the readers of the Radavist would enjoy, so let’s jump right in…

David Ross’ Gunnar Hyper-X

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David Ross’ Gunnar Hyper-X

Texas isn’t the flat, dusty desert that many believe it is. Well, some areas are exactly that, but there’s massive diversity here. Deep in the Heart of Texas, sandwiched between the Spring Breaker beaches and the deserted desert montañas, sits the Texas Hill Country. Austin perches itself right at the verge of the boundary between the stinging hills to the west and rolling farmland to the east. You’re darn tootin’, it’s one helluva place to be a cyclist. This motley of landscapes calls for a capable bike – fast, light, sturdy, comfy, and most importantly, right at home on all terrains. Enter David RossGunnar Hyper-X

My Other Bike is in the Arroyo: Adam Sklar’s Cerakote Titanium Gravel Bike

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My Other Bike is in the Arroyo: Adam Sklar’s Cerakote Titanium Gravel Bike

In New Mexico, there’s this iconic bumper sticker that says “my other car is in the arroyo” and for some reason, it’s all I could think about while shooting Adam Sklar’s latest build for himself. Maybe it’s the cerakote color he chose for it, which kind of looks like rusty, raw steel. Or it could be that it was so windy when I shot this bike, that I had to seek refuge in an arroyo because the bike wouldn’t stay put on my prop stick.

At any rate, this bike has so many great details, in a very subtle, sleeper package. It’s not every day you see a completely painted titanium bike with a steel fork! Check out more below…

Jon Yazzie from Dzil Ta’ah Adventures and His Ti Vassago Optimus 29+ SS Bikepacking Rig

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Jon Yazzie from Dzil Ta’ah Adventures and His Ti Vassago Optimus 29+ SS Bikepacking Rig

We rolled back into Kayenta from an overnighter with Jon Yazzie from Dzil Ta’ah Adventures and I reminded him that I wanted to shoot his bike. “Yeah! Leave the bags on it. As is…” I said to him. Jon took a few moments to tidy up the straps and make sure the bags were tight and neat before handing it off to me. He loves this bike and so I took it as an honor to photograph it. For me, there’s nothing better than riding with the person whose bike you’re documenting. It feels less transactional and more personal. You get to see how they treat their ride. Are they crashers or thrashers? In doing so, there’s a real connection that’s established. For Jon and I, we’ve spent a few years communicating over email when projects arise. Josh has done an exceptional job documenting Dzil Ta’ah Adventures’ trips in Arizona in the past and this trip was the first time I met Jon in person. It felt like a no-brainer to shoot his titanium Vassago Optimus 29+ tourer, so check it out in detail below.

Wild Card Bicycles: A Designer’s Dream Build and a Brand Overview

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Wild Card Bicycles: A Designer’s Dream Build and a Brand Overview

With the pandemic halting all bicycle shows like NAHBS and various Open House events, we’ve been scouring the ‘net for framebuilders to feature here on the website. Sort of like keeping the NAHBS spirit alive if you will. Today, we’re thrilled to host a showcase Reportage from Jay Sandefur, a framebuilder hailing from Alabama, and owner of Wild Card Bicycles, with exceptional photos and video provided by Jordan Mahy of Mahy Visual, and words by Jay, so let’s drop in…

Ally’s Hoefer Cycles Custom 29er Hardtail Bikepacking Rig

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Ally’s Hoefer Cycles Custom 29er Hardtail Bikepacking Rig

This one is gonna be a simple write-up. Ally had a really amazing looking custom bike from a builder, Hoefer Cycles, I had never come across before.  I asked Ally about the story behind the bike and she just responded, “I told him I wanted a sweet bikepacking rig that I could ride anywhere.” I reached out to Donald, the man behind Hoefer Cycles, and he corroborated the story and adding that “It’s really fun when someone comes to me with a request as open-ended as hers was and trusts me to deliver.” While handcrafting a detailed and intentional build such as this is nothing simple, the joy it produces is.  Just look at that smile, Donald still remembered seeing Ally’s huge smile as she came back from the first test ride.  After Ally had trouble finding something that truly fit, it seemed Donald had hit the bullseye.

A Rusty Ridge Supply and Rodeo Labs Flaat Rod Singlespeed Gravel Bike

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A Rusty Ridge Supply and Rodeo Labs Flaat Rod Singlespeed Gravel Bike

There is often a delicate dance when multiple creative minds collaborate on a project. Let’s take a look at the world of music for an example. The combination of two or more tyrannical artists can often be lackluster if not outright disastrous. Think of all the countless “supergroups” that have fallen decidedly shy of expectations; out of respect for the bands and the fans, we can each conjure up our own lists. There are occasions, however, when minds meld in harmonious magic. There’s a push and pull where something is born amongst the friction that otherwise was improbable. Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy come to mind immediately; the brief brilliance of Uncle Tupelo a friendship rooted in creation with a dash of competition, each vying for center stage. Of course, that same recipe would result in the demise of the band. Even as both would achieve tremendous success in their following projects, it’s arguable if it was better music.