The intersection of cycling with other outdoor activities is where my mind has been for the past few years. Bikefishing, bikerafting, bicycle touring, and the like all bring together cycling with outdoor recreation. A few retail environments come to mind that encourages not only cycling but these adjacent activities. Most prominently in my mid-term memory is Circles in Nagoya Japan, and recently, I found myself at Campfire Cycling in Tucson with camera in hand. While there, I documented a few of the shop employee’s personal bikes, as well as the space itself. Let’s take a look below!
Inside the Shop Space
Nestled alongside the train lines entering downtown Tucson, Campfire Cycling is inside an old pre-war depot with lots of character. These spaces can oftentimes feel cavernous, but Campfire has done an exceptional job filling the space with bikes, touring accessories, bikepacking bags, and plenty of resources to stoke the flame of bike camping.
These days, it’s a rare sight to see a shop with so many bikes on the floor. Campfire stocks Bombtrack, All-City, Jamis, Salsa, and Surly, which are just a few staple brands that make bikes specifically for bicycle touring.
They also stock a number of touring and camping accessories, along with components to get your bike dialed in for your next S24O, bike camping, tour, and bikepacking trip from Revelate, Oveja Negra, Carradice, Ortlieb, Tubus, and more.
The shelves are lined with a mix of local art, literature, small accessories, and staples like tubes, pedals, and flat fix kits.
I really appreciated the breakdown on touring and bikepacking setups, with these nifty display cases showcasing the various substrates found in the greater Tucson area and the appropriate bikes for each surface.
Want to tackle singletrack? Here’s how you can build a bikepacking bike… What about gravel and paved roads? The display models show various setups from traditional racks and panniers to hybrid setups using bikepacking bags with classic handlebar or saddle packs.
Shop Builds: Josh’s Binary Super B 27.5+ Hardtail
Built with a mix of Ortlieb, Salsa, and Revelate bags, Josh’s Binary Super B 130mm hardtail is a perfect build for touring or racing the AZT and beyond. The 27.5+ platform keeps the center of gravity low while offering better control in sandy arroyos and plenty of cushion for rough-n-rocky terrain. The 130mm Pike Ultimate fork is beefy enough to take unexpected hits and the GX 1x drivetrail is a cost-effective yet versatile drivetrain for when the climbs get steep and punchy.
This is my first time seeing a Binary in person and I can appreciate the thoughtfulness in its detailing. From chainstay yokes on the drive and non-drive side to the sliding dropouts and raw finish, it’s clear the Super B is a platform that is both plenty capable for singletrack tours or bikepacking races.
Shop Builds: Jacob’s Sette Razzo Rigid MTB
Now for something very different! When I saw this bike sitting in Campfire, I was immediately drawn to it, as Bikesdirect models aren’t usually used so extensively and with such a unique build kit. Jacob built this bike up as a tourer after acquiring it a few years back.
He swapped out the 2012 suspension fork for a Salsa alternative, kept the SRAM X9 drivetrain, a burly front rack, and a self-made framebag. The drop bars and road shifters really give this one a unique presence and the result is one of the more unique bike shop mechanic’s builds I’ve seen over the years.
While Campfire Cycling began as an e-commerce store in 2018, it opened the brick-and-mortar storefront in 2019, right before the pandemic took hold.
Campfire’s mission is to empower all Tucson cyclists and communities by making cycling more accessible and inclusive. There are many ways to facilitate such growth and Campfire believes in aiding in selecting specialty gear, sharing knowledge, and providing inspiration to enable members of the community to thrive on their next outing.
It’s of my opinion that in order for shops to compete with online sales, they have to offer more than just a few bike models for sale. They have to engage, encourage, and facilitate their communities, be hubs for locals to meet up, and share information. Campfire Cycling represents a paradigm shift I hope more shops take note of. It’s a welcomed shift in what it means to exist in a consumerist society, while still acknowledging that yes outside is still, for the most part, free.
I wanted to thank the staff that was on hand that day for letting me poke around the shop, document a few bikes, and get a sense of the general vibes. Shop Visits are a great way to document part of a vibrant cycling community and give unique shops like this a chance to reach a broader audience. If you ever find yourself in Tucson, pedal on over to Campfire to check it out!
15 E Toole Ave
Tucson, AZ 85701
Stay tuned to their website for community outings!