Sometimes we don’t understand our reasons for doing something until we’ve fully emerged. That was my lesson learned from waffling around the start and finish lines of The Big Lonely with a camera and disconcerted heart. What is this big and lonely thing that I speak of? Described in one word by the riders themselves: it’s “relentless”, “jarring”, “cold”, “delightful” – “resilience.” It’s “incomplete” and it’s “grueling”. It’s “epic”, “stoke” and “go.” For one rider it was “mom.” Most commonly though, it was described as “community” and I found this to be a curious notion. The dichotomous idea that a 350-mile self-supported ultra-endurance bikepacking race called The Big Lonely cultivated the word “community” more than any other is sort of like a metaphor for life and all the funny ways our experiences are everything at once.
A strange sensation grips the mind when a long drive begins in the darkness of predawn. The city remains still, holding onto its final few hours of sleep, and the highway remains virtually empty. There is a promise in the loneliness of the opening hours of long highway travel. Exits flutter by in the darkness; distant lights of tractor-trailers and roadside oasis’ are the only possible signs of life beyond the confines of my car. The falling snow has narrowed my concentration to the reflecting lines on the asphalt as I navigate south and west on my way to Fayetteville, Arkansas, for this year’s Cyclocross World Championships.
My roommate, Austin, and I are discussing Ryan Van Duzer’s YouTube channel over coffee when there’s a knock at the front door. It’s my dad and my sister Paulina—they just made it back from dropping off her Subaru in Hatch, NM. I’ve been trying to get Austin into bike touring but he’s racing enduro today, leaving the rest of us Burnsides to rush out of here and join in on the Dangerbird. For the uninitiated, the Dangerbird is a desert celebration that takes place on the Monumental Loop, a 245-mile figure-eight track that tags all the desert peaks surrounding Las Cruces, New Mexico. The event draws in bikers and ultrarunners from all over, with the figure eight starting and ending in the city’s downtown square.
Following a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic, Rapha Prestige returned last year with twelve event locations around the world. Dillon Osleger designed and hosted one of the events in the Los Padres National Forest outside of Santa Barbara, CA. Accompanied by imagery from Jordan Clark Haggard, Dillon describes the Prestige ride along his untraditional route that became an expression of a special place, of its varying ecosystems, unique culture, and epic vistas.
Jarrod Bunk referred to Guy Stone as a “bike superhero” following his time photographing Guy’s “New Trix” singlespeed mountain bike at the 2021 Philly Bike Expo. A tax accountant by day and framebuilder by night (and afternoon, early morning, lunch brakes, etc), Guy fabricates his own handmade lugs (sometimes handmade bottom brackets as well) and free-brazes frames without the use of a traditional fixture or jig. He also isn’t opposed to eschewing industry trends to achieve the perfect fit for his riders, allowing form to follow function. Below, we take a detailed look at Guy’s personal New Trix singlespeed, along with insights into his design process.
Act One: We Can’t Stop Here, This is Nats Country!
In which our anti-hero-TeamLifeLOL-genderwhatever sets the stage with cold takes on Chicago-lite.
What a December it was for The Cyclocross in Chicago. I’ve seen a few different versions of this: rain and sleet off Lake Michigan for Montrose; 60 degrees (and a hot tub at both!), bitter cold and wind at Afterglow; and for USAC CX Nationals in Wheaton, IL, there was a complete fall-to-winter seasonal transition.
As I sit here looking through the rolls of film shot at this year’s Cyclocross Nationals in Chicago, IL, the feeling is bittersweet. Traditionally, Nationals marks the end of the domestic racing season, but as I wandered through the parking lot catching up with old friends, it felt more like the beginning of something. After two years of canceled events, postponements, and isolation, gathering in Chicago for this year’s race almost felt ‘normal.’
For 2021 the Bicycle Film Festival returns once again in a virtual capacity. You can support the filmmakers who have showcased their work with the BFF by buying virtual tickets for online streaming of 40 new films now through January 9th. The BFF has four programs this year:
- Program 1 – Urban Bike shorts These films capture the spirit of street, youth, fixed gear, bmx, and messenger cultures from the passionate cyclists in cities around the world.
- Program 2 – Cinematic shorts A story driven and diverse curation of filmmaking styles: narrative, documentaries, musical, animation, and more. Oscar nominated and award-winning shorts share equal billing with emerging new talent.
- Program 3 – Cycle for Change shorts These stories celebrate the change makers, the advocates, and the activists who are pushing the bike movement forward in their communities and redefining what it means to ride a bike.
- Program 4 – Adventure shorts For lovers of gravel, mountain biking, bikepacking, and ultra-endurance cycling, this program will take you on a journey around the world.
See more at the Bicycle Film Festival.
The Odyssey of the VOG (Valley of the Giants) is a 350-mile bikepacking event that takes riders through the rural farmland of the Willamette Valley, the rugged and vast Oregon coastal range, and the unrelenting gravel climbs found in the Willamette and Tillamook National Forests. The event name pays respect to the Valley of the Giants forest preserve, 51 acres of old-growth forest that are home to some of the largest Douglas Firs and Western Hemlocks on the Oregon coast range. Many of these towering giants have existed for over 400 years, and have grown to heights of 200 feet or more. While the route does not go through the hiking trails of the forest preserve, riders are still embraced by the dense trees and lush overgrowth that the remote forest provides. The Odyssey of the VOG route consists of bold landscapes, remote forest roads, and unrelenting climbs, all of which invigorate and challenge those who choose to ride it. The grand depart for the 2022 event takes place on May 28, 2022, at 7:00 am PST. Registration is now open here!
Photos by @snowymountainphotography
Grounded Nebraska, a gravel race set in the backdrop of a day-long festival, is coming next year on Saturday, June 25, 2022, in Roca, Nebraska. Presented as a gravel festival, it embraces the community culture of gravel racing. But, the event is made to be enjoyable for non-riders and riders alike with amusement park-like attractions, live music, clinics, local food, and on-site camping.
2020 and 2021 brought about many canceled events, of which our beloved Lost & Found gravel race in Portola, California. The Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship just announced that Lost & Found is returning for 2022:
“Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship has announced that the Lost and Found Gravel Festival will return in 2022, in partnership with long-time cycling production team, Breakaway Promotions. Lost and Found will run on June 4th, 2022, and the proposed routes will feature a 101 mile route with 8,100 feet of elevation gain. Shorter 39 mile and 61-mile routes are also available.
The City of Portola contacted SBTS and encouraged the event taking place following a tough 2021. The festival provided an economic boost to the region each year it was held, and the town was ready to get the race going again. In the summer and fall of 2021, the Dixie Fire burned much of the Lost Sierra and created dangerous air quality for months. It was the largest single wildfire in state history. Lost and Found looks to rise from these ashes and create a positive financial impact on the community of Portola in 2022.”
Registration opens in March, so stay tuned and keep an eye peeled on Lost and Found for more updates as events warrant.
On the weekend of October 20, 2021, something came to pass that hadn’t for what seemed like forever: the Red Bull Bay Climb in San Francisco, CA. Done in heats, the Bay Climb is a straight line sprint up Potrero Hill with pitches of up to 21%. Racers have to complete no less than 4 trips up the hill, as fast as they can, for a chance to win.
Yep. You heard that right. Singlespeed Arizona is returning in 2022 to Cave Creek, AZ February 4-6th. You can lurk on the SSAZ Facebook page for future updates as events warrant. We’ll see ya there!
If you’re in the greater Los Angeles area this weekend, head on over to the Cub House in San Marino. Our friends at Team Dream are having a sneak peek at their winter launch jerseys and other goodies, along with other festivities, and it looks like it’ll be a hoot!
Here’s the schedule of the weekend’s events:
Cub House opens early at 9:00 am on Saturday
-Pre-Order Jerseys in person
-See the new ‘Nopalitos Hecho en Mexico’ pop up shop by Prickley Pals
-Geaux Party working the grill starting at 12:00
-Toy Drive! Bring a new/unwrapped toy or sports equipment for Spark of Love toy drive!
-Danny’s 8 mile lazy Basket ride leaves promptly 9am. Be prepared to snack!
-Sean T’s gravel 40-mile dog loop. Leaves promptly at 9am. With 4,500 ft of climbing, be prepared to sweat!
Philly local, Drew Guldalian of Engin Cycles, is renowned for his titanium bicycle fabrication (recall his beautiful Gilded Ti Hardtail from the 2019 Philly Bike Expo) and machining precision componentry like CNC stems and seat collars. Drew also produces various framebuilding tools like the Engin Wheel Tool and the Process Frame Fixture. Jarrod Bunk connected with Drew at this year’s Philly Bike Expo to photograph the frame fixture Drew had on display at the show. Continue reading below for Drew’s take on how nearly one-hundred years of combined framebuilding expertise culminated in the development of the Process Frame Fixture, along with Jarrod’s always-detailed imagery.
Into the Lion’s Den was a criterium race event held in Sacramento, CA this past October over Halloween weekend. It represented L39ion of Los Angeles‘ vision for the future of crit racing in America. Four members of the Bay Area creative collective, Photo Pace, were there to document the event. Read on below for Christopher Stricklen’s experiential reportage accompanied by immersive photography from Rj Agcamaran, Emily Cheng, and Kyle Thornhill.
Unlike the bike expos and builder showcases we are fortunate to document on this site, such as the recent Philly Bike Expo and Bespoked UK, the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival is not typically the event to attend if you’re interested in encountering custom frames or ogling otherwise unique bike builds on display. Instead, group rides, production bike demos, and other community-building shenanigans are the focus.
This year, however, there was much ogling to be done. Thomson featured two bikes from builders they often partner with – Oddity Cycles and MONē Bikes – in addition to a couple of their own Hooches available to demo; Why Cycles had a booth connected their sister brand, Revel Bikes, offering demos in addition to showcasing two head-turning builds; Celilo Cycles had a collection of their handmade wooden bikes on display; and Atherton Cycles sent a custom 3D printed enduro bike with a friend from the UK to show off at the event.
Continue reading below for an in-depth look at these marvelous machines and be sure to scroll all the way through to the last one — it’s a trip!