Our friends at Ornot are celebrating their ten-year anniversary as an independent cycling apparel and accessory brand. As part of this milestone, founder Matt Quann penned a retrospective about his experience starting an apparel brand in a San Francisco garage, tracing a path through custom frames, hurdles with domestic manufacturing, and a ride where waffles were promised but not delivered. Continue reading below for more from Matt and keep your eyes peeled for some special giveaways along with this exciting occasion!
Kyle Von Hoetzendorff connected with Ken Etzel, videographer and activist to discuss the current threat to the Sierra and Inyo basins as mining encroaches upon this delicate zone. Along with Friends of the Inyo, Ken helped out with Protect Conglomerate Mesa documentary. Read on below for how you can help and an interview with Ken.
If you weren’t already familiar with Schön Studio, you may have just seen some of their stellar work in our recent MADE bike show coverage. Tucked into a corner of a quiet neighborhood in Squamish BC, Danielle Schön has been building bikes, teaching classes, and doing a variety of other metalwork and art out of her hand-built, backyard workshop. Read on below for Pat Valade‘s shop visit and in-depth profile…
Our Radar Roundup compiles products and videos from the ‘net in an easy-to-digest format. Read on below for today’s findings…
Motivated by the renewed interest in American manufacturing following the COVID pandemic, Erik Mathy shares part one in a new series where he will document how American makers of fine bicycle parts make a single part from the very start to the finish. At each stage he will ask the person doing the work two questions and take two portraits: One of the part and one of the worker. In his own words, this is a project to “explore both the processes and the people who make some of the most interesting, purpose-driven and—in their own way beautiful—bicycle parts in the world.” Read on for his first installment with a visit to Paragon Machine Works and an in-depth look at how they are making their new SRAM Universal Derailleur Hangar dropout.
Spencer and I have been riding bikes together for 15 years. Since then, Spencer developed a career building and repairing guitars in Nashville, Tennessee. Back when we were younger, we spent a lot of time hanging around our local bike shop, Halcyon, and working on our bikes on their community stands. His bikes are deeply practical, very unique, and kind of clapped out. I’m not here to tell anyone what to do, but I wish more people built and rode bikes like Spencer. Recently I went to Nashville, and I took some time to document his bikes and ask him a few questions about his builds. Below, let’s check out what he had to say…
Last year at the 2022 Sea Otter Classic, as I was walking through a parking lot near the Expo I came across a pair of athletes with the most incredible bicycles I’d ever seen. They were rugged, heavily-built trikes with two mountain bike wheels in the front and a massive single fat mountain bike tire in the back, and an electric drivetrain was apparent on each. Both athletes were in wheelchairs. Later that weekend I’d see them, and other para-cyclists, compete in both the Downhill and Dual-Slalom events. It was the first time para-cyclists had been given their own separate classes in any Sea Otter event. I was flabbergasted and, honestly, in awe of not just the bikes but by the para-cyclists and how hard they were sending it on every single run. I came back to Sea Otter this year to talk with and document a few of these athletes.
We’re interrupting our regularly scheduled broadcasting to bring you this story from the World Tour side of our sport, because it’s just too damn inspiring not to! Erik Mathy had the fortuitous opportunity to witness this year’s Paris-Roubaix Femmes race where dark horse and EF Education-Tibco-SVB Team rider, Alison Jackson, took the top step on the podium after a five-up sprint in the velodrome. Erik shares before and after portraits and interviews with Alison and her teammates about her momentous result!
Schwalbe is the world’s first and (so far) only manufacturer that not only takes back used tires but also uses them to produce new tires. Back in 2022 at Eurobike, the German tire brand announced the “Schwalbe Recycling Program,” an initiative to collect used tires, recycle them, and manufacture new tires with recycled material. This program, which won Eurobike’s “Innovators Prize,” is underway and scaling rapidly, as Schwalbe has received an initial shipment of recycled carbon black (rCB) to begin making the first batch of recycled tires. We thought this sounded exciting, so reached out to Felix Jahn, Schwalbe’s Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, to learn more about the recycling program and where it’s headed.
This is part two of an in depth conversation between Tom Ritchey and Ryan le Garrec where Ryan seeks to identify key periods in Tom’s life alongside key people. Perhaps second only to Tom’s father, it seems that Jobst Brandt had significant influence of the young Tom. Below, Ryan shares excerpts from Tom’s side of their conversation that highlight Jobst’s character, his notorious rides, and his lasting impact. Enjoy!
“I wasn’t going back because I wanted to go dramatically faster but because I wanted to put myself in the same situations I was in three years before and be more comfortable. I knew that the only way to do that was to try to do it fast because that requires you to push yourself to a place where you are kind of on the edge of your capability. And every time I reached that limit this time, I was comfortable, in a way. I wasn’t stressed whereas every time I’d reach that point three years before I’d just crumble.”
In 2019, Lachlan Morton rode the Colorado Trail for the first time, starting in Durango and finishing three days and 22 hours later in Denver. He went back this summer, riding the trail in the opposite direction in three days and ten hours, and chopping nine hours off any other recorded time. However, after sitting down with the EF Education Easy-post athlete, it seems that speed was a byproduct of the feat, not the primary focus. Read on for a more detailed look behind the clock, from my conversation with Lachlan about how he went from surviving the CT in 2019 to establishing a new level on this iconic route this year.
Growing up in a small South African town in the late 80s and early 90s meant David Mercer was largely shielded from the travesties of the apartheid era. But in 1994, in a coincidental coming-of-age historical convergence, the status quo was cracked open, not just for Mercer but for the whole country. The same year he turned 16, South Africa officially ended apartheid as the country held its first democratic elections. At this point, Mercer was well enmeshed in his love affair with bikes, having grown up a young BMX ripper but becoming fully infatuated with mountain biking as a teen. Many youthful afternoons spent pouring over bicycle magazines like MB UK and Mountain Bike Action led him to develop a fast fascination with steel-wielding magicians like Dave Yates and Chas Roberts and were responsible for his own framebuilding aspirations. However, the end of apartheid brought a wave of foreign frames as longtime sanctions were finally lifted. This swift influx quickly decimated the local steel bicycle manufacturing industry and a deflated Mercer went on to become a veterinarian. The dream of bikes was always there, simmering in the background, but it would be nearly a decade-and-a-half before he’d pick up a torch himself.
Tom Ritchey is not what you would call an open book. Rather, he’s a whole library; a labyrinth with many alleys, chockfull of stories, where everything splits and branches like the best network of singletrack, and there are no cul de sacs. Every door leads you to another room. Every answer opens up another question. There are no shortcuts.
The following is just a casual conversation. In it, you might not find all the details of the next frame that he is working on but you may find a better understanding into what it took for Tom Ritchey to become Tom Ritchey.
“I have a public self and I have a personal self. I could answer that question on a public side and tell you I just love riding my bike and being by myself and all (…) That would be an authentic answer but it’s not the whole answer of course. So I’ll give you the personal one too.” – Tom Ritchey
Over the years, we’ve done a lot with Argonaut Cycles, from documenting its first shop location to photographing its race team at the Rouge Roubaix and shooting bikes at various showcases. The brand has come a long way in that time and today, after three years of design, testing, and research, they are releasing the GR3, a next-gen custom carbon gravel bike.
While in Bend, OR, recently, Josh caught up with the Argonaut Cycles team for a tour of their facilities and sat down for an interview with founder and designer Ben Farver. The conversation covers the brand’s fully custom in-house carbon frame and component production methods and more. Below, find Argonaut’s GR3 introduction, Josh’s interview with Ben, and an extensive photo gallery detailing the Argonaut fabrication process!
From its crowd-funded origins in 2011,The Bicycle Academy (TBA) has arguably become the most influential framebuilding school in Europe. With names like Ted James, Robin Mather, Paul Burford, and Tony Corke of Torke Cycling, gracing the past and present roster of instructors, it’s no wonder that TBA has seen over 1,000 framebuilder graduates leave its halls.
TBA’s current space is a large, purpose-built warehouse with a semi-open plan on a labyrinth-like industrial estate just outside of the town center in Frome, England. Even with its spacious design, every corner is jammed full of amazing bits of work, every surface adorned with tools or momentos and every wall covered in paraphernalia that induces positive vibes. It’s a fortress for community building and the halls themselves seem built to foster forward-thinking, where shared mantras include, ”what good will I do this day” “make the new” and my personal favorite “flux is thicker than water”.
Many of the faces are TBA come and go—that’s, of course, the nature of a school—and the fluid shifting keeps the place brimming with energy and dynamism. But a few figures have become cornerstones of the institution. Below, let’s dive into some of the conversations I recently had with a few TBA long-haulers.
About one year ago, Ana Orenz had a crash going downhill during the first night of the Trans Pyrénées. Her accident ended in nerve damage, spinal injury, and facial reconstruction. But Ana never backs down.
Continue reading below for Ryan le Garrec’s multimedia profile of endurance cyclist Ana Orenz…
TransRockies has become an institution in the stage racing world: they have been around since the beginning. In late August, the inaugural Gravel Royale was their first foray into the world of gravel racing. The edition of the truly off-tarmac event makes sense, as the main critique of TransRockies in years past has been riders complaining about too many gravel roads. Sounds like they’ve just been honing the course for a real gravel throw down! After the four stages, Rob Britton of Victoria, BA and Rach McBride of Vancouver, BC took the top step in the Elite Men’s and Women’s categories, respectively. What follows is Barry Wicks‘ rider journal from each of the four days which gives a stream of consciousness account, followed by his interviews with other competitors. Each interview maintained the same format and consisted of just three questions designed to skip the small talk: What is your favorite color? What are you reading right now? What is the meaning of life? Enjoy the ride!
The dawn has barely broken and early rays of summer sunshine splatter golden light across the yard while Meg Fisher throws a ball for her pup Pax. She knows she’ll be leaving him for a good chunk of the day while she gets out for a training ride and wants to make sure he gets some of his puppy energy out before she goes. Her laughter echoes under the trees and her stoke is palpable. With the great state of Montana as a backyard, the number of trails and gravel roads at Meg’s disposal are enough to make anyone want to pack up and move west.