All year long, gravel races and events seem to pop up in towns across the US. With its approachability, it’s no surprise that “gravel” has become so popular with cyclists in disciplines spanning the continuum between mountain and road riding. IMO, the most successful of these races are the ones that embrace and exemplify the values and character of the communities in which they are based. Having lived in Fort Collins, CO for nearly fifteen years, the FoCo Fondo is a special one for me, as it shows off some of Northern Colorado’s incredible mixed surface riding with multiple expertly-curated routes while also fostering an inclusive and comfortable environment for a diverse group of riders.
The Philly Bike Expo brings together folks from all over the country each year, many of whom have transformed the event into a gathering of some of the finest frame builders in the world. I’ve made a lot of friends over the years attending the show and documenting these awesome builders. While at the show in Philly, I often approach it with a mission in the back of my mind to bring good friends back to Johnstown, PA where I live. It’s a place that desperately needs more cycling culture.
A couple of years ago I did just that and, with fingers crossed, I sprung this question on Megan Dean of Moth Attack: “This bike is unreal, it’s truly a work of art, have you ever thought about teaching a frame-building class?” I think Megan said something like “Funny you should say that… I actually have been.” I responded by telling her that I have a friend in town with a special spot we could use called Center For Metal Arts. It’s filled with light, a fire, and the glow of forged metals most days of the week. Not familiar with CMA? No problem, read on.
Fail 11 is the latest installment in Ryan Le Garrec’s multimedia “Fail” series. Check out the related articles below for more of Ryan’s work.
Heading Southwest is a new bikepacking race in Portugal. It crosses the country with a set route of 1000 km and 15,000 meters of elevation gain. The route was designed to show the diversity of the country far from the clichés of coastal tourism and bigger towns. It showcases the country in a way only a local long-distance cyclist could provide. I have toured this beautiful place I call home for a while now, never have I had so much fun (and pain yeah) on the roads of this country. Massive thanks to David Cruz at finisterra.cc
A few weekends ago I found myself at Eurobike in its new Frankfurt übervenue. Eurobike has always been huge, but this year I was made acutely aware of the distances involved by the cab driver who dropped me off at the wrong entrance, and then charged an additional nine Euros for the 10-minute cab ride to the correct entrance. I bumped into another journalist who showed me her step count for the day, which prompted me to check mine, showing that I’d walked almost 60km or 40 miles of Shimano blue carpets over the space of two days. Shocking!
Introducing MADE – www.made.bike – an industry and consumer bike event with a mission to bring framebuilders, media and makers together to elevate and inspire. The show will be located in Portland, Ore., with the debut in September 2023. MADE is supported by industry sponsors and ECHOS Communications, a PR and marketing agency specializing in supporting cycling and active lifestyle clients. The show will feature events at Chris King, Speedvagen and Breadwinner Cycles, and the outdoor format creates opportunities for consumer demos and industry rides. Registration for MADE will open this September with confirmations already in place from Moots, The Pro’s Closet Museum, Bicycling Magazine, Paul Component Engineering, Mosaic, Bike Flights, Schon Studio, Speedvagen, Stinner, Abbey Bike Tools, Chris King, Argonaut Cycles, Breadwinner Cycles, WZRD Bikes, Retrotec, Btchn Bikes, Falconer Cycles, Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship, Tomii Cycle, Frontier Bikes, Bender Bikes, BikeFlights, Monē Bikes and more.
The route is just under 1,000km tracing the Westfjords of Iceland, the most remote area of a sparsely inhabited country in the Arctic. The challenge is to finish the mixed gravel and pavement route in 4 stages. The weather can be harsh. The wind can be fierce. But that’s what makes this place. It’s stunning and it’s brutal. Treeless mountains rise out of the sea. There’s very little development. Beyond a flawless road system, humans have left little impression. It’s a wild place and we get to ride our bikes through it.
“It’s the best” must be one of the most common, purely subjective statements made so regularly with enthusiastic conviction. We do it all the time, but it’s ludicrous. You have to define a word like “best” in your own terms. It’s a value statement. Saying something is the best only tells you a little bit about the thing in question, but a lot about the person saying it and what they value. What’s the best gear ratio for a single-speed 29er? What’s the best tire choice for a course that’s littered with mud pits, rooty singletrack, and rock gardens, but is also interspersed with long, hot, 15 miles stretches of pavement? Do you like to mash or spin? Are you a confident bike handler and want to make the long road stretches easier? Are you strong-legged and get annoyed at spinning out on the flats?
So what am I really saying when I write that the MountainCat 100 is the best bike race in America?
Open and inclusive environments mean places where people feel safe to explore new things as the fullest version of themselves – Kristin Motley and Laura King of the Rooted Vermont Women’s Gravel Clinic are on track to change the intimidation factor many may feel entering a sport that prior to recent years was dominated by men.
It’s been over a decade since I’d been to Emporia to help establish Unbound Gravel’s Crew For Hire program. The world is a great deal different now. Having spoken at length with Kristi Mohn about things like generational change I was curious to see what, if any, of those changes had taken place in not just Emporia but also in the Unbound Gravel event itself. There was also the tragic passing of Moriah Wilson, the induction of the first class of the Gravel Hall of Fame, and a variety of other things going on that really made this year’s Unbound Gravel more significant than most.
Every day that I spent in Emporia had its own moments that showed me something new and unexpected. There were signs of the massive changes the cycling community, industry, and Emporia itself are going through. I witnessed grief, loss, love, and more. Throughout everything, there was one common theme: People who were doing the best they could.
The weather was the hot goss around Emporia during the week of UNBOUND Gravel 2022. “Will it rain?” “How hot will it be?” “What tires are you running?” “Oh look, the forecast changed!”
There’s more than 4,000 miles of graded dirt roads in Plumas National Forest connecting a dozen quaint and remote mountain communities across Plumas and Lassen County, California. The landscapes are stunning, from majestic mountain meadows bursting with wildflowers to craggy granite peaks and glacially carved mountain lakes. Hidden cabins and remnants of the Gold Rush can be found everywhere along the way. The only thing you don’t see much of in the backcountry of Plumas County is people, which is why this region is quickly becoming known as The Gravel Capital of the West.
6:27 a.m., Friday the 13th, 2022. Twenty-four grown-ass adults are walking around in circles ringing bells and there is a dude wearing a Scream mask counting down the minutes until a bike ride begins. What the F%#k is going on?
Rainbow-colored, grinning unicorns jump up and down, cheer, and offer you homemade chocolate chip cookies as you pedal past. Are you delirious? Dreaming? Bonking? No, you’ve likely reached an aid station at Rasputitsa Dirt — New England’s most community-based, grassroots, and visible gravel race and creative bike event of late.
This year brought about the return of the Handmade Bicycle Show Australia and we had our mate Andy White from FYXO on the ground documenting some of Australia’s finest handmade bikes. Part 01 of our coverage showcases the opening night of the 2022 Handmade Bicycle Show Australia so check out Andy’s wonderful photos below!
This year’s edition of Grinduro California had been delayed twice. Once in 2020 because of increasing COVID infection rates, and again last year due to the Northern California fire conditions. After this many-year delay, Giro’s Grinduro event emerged into a new, and very different, world.
It should not have been a grand revelation to anyone in the cycling world when hosts of the Girls Gone Gravel podcast announced that there would be an eponymously named Girls Gone Graveling Festival in the cycling mecca of Bentonville, Arkansas this past April. Kathryn Taylor and Aimee Ross organized and led the three-day gravel cycling event which was intended for novice and seasoned gravel cycling enthusiasts. The event promoters stressed from the beginning “it’s not a race.”
Los Angeles is home to one of the most diverse and eclectic cycling communities in the world. People from all walks of life have found that the bicycle is by far the best way to traverse this sprawling urban mass, nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the San Gabriel mountains. Catering to this community are a number of bike shops, but one of our favs is The Cub House, which over the years has played host to a number of fun events, most notably the bike and car shows! To up the ante this year, Sean, Carla, Danny, and the team at The Cub House hosted the LA Invitational, a Euro spin on the weekend which included big rides on Saturday and the bike and car show on Sunday. John and Josh made it out to the City of Angels to document the people, bikes, rides, and more, so check out a chubby gallery and some words from John below!
The Southeastern Appalachians are filled with a lot of my favorite things. It’s considered the salamander capital of the world. There are more than 160 native tree species (there are only 50 in the state of Colorado), but above all else, my favorite thing in these hills are my friends. Over the winter a few of us came together and reflected on last year. What could we do to help grow our casual cycling community? We figured that these hills have a lot going for them, but there wasn’t a good swap meet, and that’s a problem worth solving.