Beautiful Bicycles

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Visiting Mom For Mother’s Day, But She’s 1500 km Away: A Bike Messenger Goes Touring

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Visiting Mom For Mother’s Day, But She’s 1500 km Away: A Bike Messenger Goes Touring

In March 2015 I departed from my hometown Hermosillo, in the northern state of Sonora, México, on my very first extended bike trip. After three years of slowly saving money and getting the necessary gear, I quit my English teaching job and told my family I was going to the city of Guadalajara, about 1500 km (937 miles) south, just to pretend I had a goal; the truth is I didn’t. I was going to take the highway South thinking I could either quit whenever I felt like it or ’till my funds ran out. Days before my departure, my friend Javo said he’d come along since he wanted to make sure I made it safely out of Sonora because two bikes are stronger than one on a highway without a shoulder…

Kyle’s Sklar Touring Fat Bike in 29+ Mode

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Kyle’s Sklar Touring Fat Bike in 29+ Mode

With the snow melting and the season ripe for desert ramblings, Kyle Klain took his 2016 NAHBS-built Sklar fatbike and converted it to 29+. After spending all winter with fatbike 26+ tires, the bike has undergone quite the transformation. This weekend while celebrating my 40th birthday in Southeastern Utah, I documented this stunning build in the morning sun. Check it out in detail below…

Cam’s Self-Built Mercer Road Bike

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Cam’s Self-Built Mercer Road Bike

Every steel bicycle frame begins life as a pile of tubes and frame components. This frame really started as a pair of Shimano UF, semi-vertical dropouts, lying on the Schauff table at Eroica South Africa. I bought them on a whim, after enjoying a few beers at the finish line of the 2020 event. At that moment I thought I would hang them on a keychain or hand them over to a friend, Dave Mercer of Mercer Bikes.

Erik’s Hawk SS 29er Hardtail

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Erik’s Hawk SS 29er Hardtail

With the pandemic causing severe delays and stock shortages, building up a new bike in 2020 and into 2021 is proving to be quite the ordeal. Erik is a local here in Santa Fe and a customer at Sincere Cycles. I first rode with him a few years back when we shuttled Winsor while I was visiting. At the time, he had a Santa Cruz Chameleon, which proved to be a capable ally in our mountains. Jump forward a few years and Erik was looking for a new bike. The aforementioned delays due to the pandemic had him looking at other options outside of the brands offering titanium frame models. He had his sights set on a custom titanium hardtail from Waltly in China…

Dillen from Baphomet Bicycles’ Unintended Singlespeed Gravel Bike

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Dillen from Baphomet Bicycles’ Unintended Singlespeed Gravel Bike

As someone who documents all sorts of framebuilder creations, it’s always this sort of bike that gets me every time. There’s something really wonderful about a builder’s personal bike, especially when it’s a byproduct of their own journey as a constructeur. Flashback to last month and the Baphomet Bicycles Shop Visit. I spent the day watching Dillen work, discussing his story – which if you’re just now joining us I suggest you read – and eventually, I began documenting some of the bikes had had in his shop. We saw the “Shreddy Rando” bike, which was a crowd favorite with its pristine presentation, chrome bits, and as we say “dialed” build. Now it’s time for the really good stuff. Bikes with beausage and a story will always tug at my heartstrings and this one is no different.

Patrick from the Bikes or Death Podcast and His Chumba Stella Ti Drop Bar 29er

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Patrick from the Bikes or Death Podcast and His Chumba Stella Ti Drop Bar 29er

A little while back, Patrick from Bikes or Death reached out, saying he was going to be in Santa Fe and was hoping we could sit down for a podcast interview. Naturally, I obliged, and last night we hung out at our office here in Santa Fe and talked about bikes, photography, other randomness related to this website. I won’t give too much away but I was really stoked on how it went. Doing interviews is a great way to bond with a person and afterward, I just had to shoot Patrick’s Chumba Cycles Stella Ti. While the podcast episode won’t be out for a few weeks, I wanted to feature this rad build while it was all still fresh on my mind, so enjoy!

A Downright Functional and Stylish Do-All Bike: Dax’s BTCHN’ Bikes Cruiser

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A Downright Functional and Stylish Do-All Bike: Dax’s BTCHN’ Bikes Cruiser

Last year I was visiting the BTCHN’ Bikes shop to shoot some process photos for the Sierra Explorer project and got stopped in my tracks as soon as I walked into the door by a different frame in a stand. This frame was totally unlike any design I’d seen before, and there was so much hard thought and problem-solving that went into making it a reality that I couldn’t even open that door of my brain and had to just stay on target with the bike I was actually there to shoot.

Locke and His Esker Cycles Hayduke Singlespeed 29er

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Locke and His Esker Cycles Hayduke Singlespeed 29er

George Hayduke. The fictional anti-hero created by the protector of the Western ‘wilderness’, Ed Abbey. While much of Abbey’s political pennings haven’t aged well, he still brought awareness to the American West unsurpassed by any other author of that time. Abbey’s fictional masterpiece, the Monkey Wrench Gang, is a must-read for any lover of the Four Corners and Canyon Country. In it, a ragtag group of desert rats embarks on a journey to dismantle the corporate machines threatening the cherished ecosystems found on the Colorado Plateau. The term “monkeywrenching” and even “eco-terrorist” stemmed from this book as its characters threw a literal wrench in the spokes of the all-consuming corporate machine.

Esker Cycles’ predecessor brand, Advocate Cycles, used the “Earth First” fist on their headtubes and their flagship bike was the Hayduke. When the brand became Esker, they kept the Hayduke model and its signature monkey wrench decals.

Locke reviewed a Hayduke a few years ago. You can read that review in our archives but when he swung through Santa Fe on a recent jaunt, I linked up with him and shot his own personal singlespeed 29er build. Read on for more…

New Skids on the Block: a Moné and State Bicycle Co Klunker Mashup

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New Skids on the Block: a Moné and State Bicycle Co Klunker Mashup

With $12,000 e-MTBs on the market, we asked ourselves, “what is the minimum you need in a bike to have fun?”… This is a wild ride, presented by Cjell Moné’s writing and Joshua Weinberg’s vision. Enjoy!

Swipe, BMX video, swipe, oh, nice curved top tube, super-sharp photo of a gorgeous frame sitting on OSB, @sklarbikes. Swipe, snowboard video, swipe, oh, (pulls phone away and back in toward the eye), brain knots and unknots, those seat stays are hard to comprehend @oddity_cycles.

Swipe, surf video, swipe…AD for an OG Klunker from State. Swipe, swipe, swipe, backswipe backswipe backswipe….$399?! Shut up. The lines on that thing aren’t half bad. Swipe, swipe… Backswipe backswipe… I can’t stop looking at this affordable klunker from State. It comes with Kenda chunky 27.5 x 2.2 tires, a 1 1/8 threadless fork, and pretty decent lines. Not a huge fan of the chrome riser bars, but hey those Vans grips…hmm hmmm. $399?!

A Hope Cyclery Build: David’s Rivendell (c)Hillborne

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A Hope Cyclery Build: David’s Rivendell (c)Hillborne

Somewhere along David‘s journey in 2019, where he spent weeks riding from New York through Pennsylvania and moving across the country from LA to Johnstown, something clicked and it was time to look for something a bit lighter to replace his long-loved Rocky Moutain Sherpa. That bike had seen a lot of miles over the years and the weight, well let’s just say it’s stout.

A Baphomet Bicycles Light Tourer: the Shreddy Rando

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A Baphomet Bicycles Light Tourer: the Shreddy Rando

My intent was to space out the three complete builds I photographed during my Shop Visit at Baphomet Bicycles, yet I received a number of requests to expedite this gallery to this morning. That’s a good sign, right? People are very interested in this bike and it’s easy to see why. Dillen from Baphomet originally called this bike his “Right-Hand Path”, with his personal hardtail being the “Left-Hand Path,” yet his Instagram followers summed it up perfectly with the catchy name “Shreddy Rando.”

So let’s look at this bike in detail, including a synopsis from Dillen.

What Butts: Getting Under the Paint with a Wake Robin Cycles Rando Bike

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What Butts: Getting Under the Paint with a Wake Robin Cycles Rando Bike

Why do some bikes get up to speed with seemingly less effort than others? Why do some bikes leave me less fatigued after long rides? My idea of the ultimate road and adventure bike is one that has all the wonderful vertical compliance that we know can be built into a bicycle as a system, but that also responds to and rewards its rider by flexing just right in the lateral axis as well.

We all know custom steel bikes have the potential to be a rider’s one and only. And that leads us to Wake Robin Cycles and the subject of this review. The Wake Robin is a low trail, rim brake randonneuring bike, custom built for Chip over at What Bars. If there’s one kind of bike that’s revered to ride smooth over long distances, rim brake rando bikes are it. But, not all custom bikes are equal, particularly those built for someone who isn’t you – so this one’s got plenty for us to talk about.

Kevin’s Bearclaw Beaux Jaxon Titanium Touring Bike

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Kevin’s Bearclaw Beaux Jaxon Titanium Touring Bike

That feller up at Bearclaw Bicycle Co is doing some really amazing things. The whole catalog is composed of some paradigm-shifting designs and a crowd favorite is the Beaux Jaxon. If you dig drop bars and chonk tires, that’s the frame for you. Throw in a titanium segmented fork and you’ve got a dream machine. Kevin Hinton is a tattoo artist here in Santa Fe. He also runs his Adventure Bikepacking Instagram account as a side project, which hosts overnighters, and tours in the area.

Originally from Los Angeles, Kevin cut his chops touring all over California, specifically in the desert, taking on the Stagecoach 400 multiple times. This particular loop goes from high pine country down through Anza Borrego and into San Diego before climbing back up to the pines. The Anza section is particularly sandy, so when Kevin built up this dream bike, he had some specific requirements and took that list to Sincere Cycles for the build…

Rambler Bags, Kuba, and the Troubadour: a Bag for Banjo-Packin’

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Rambler Bags, Kuba, and the Troubadour: a Bag for Banjo-Packin’

My name’s Kuba, I make the bags at the Rambler Bags’ bag factory, and I made this weird bag called the Troubadour for banjo-packin. The Troubadour is a roll-top bag for carrying full-size instruments on a bike tour with a padded modular external harness that uses secondary load-lifter straps to raise the weight to the external dowel. The original Troubadour prototype was designed for a 4-month bike tour that included dirt and gravel from southern Pennsylvania to Chicago, riding the New Mexico Off-Road Runner from Santa Fe to Las Cruces, mountain climbs, wild descents, clay-like mud, hail, and a final jaunt from Tuscon to New Orleans.

Elliot’s Homemade Klunker

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Elliot’s Homemade Klunker

I first met Elliot a few years back while I was leading a bikepacking trip with El Grupo, a Tucson based youth cycling organization.  Since then I had seen Elliot tinkering with all manner of frankenbikes, which are a regular, at the Grupo clubhouse.  Discarded and mismatched components of yesteryear handed down from the large cycling community here.  Their low-pro pursuit fixed gear with a 24″ bmx fork caught my eye awhile ago and I knew Elliot had that special eye for janky but fun clashing of parts.