Tucson’s Hidden Treasures and Transplants: Moon Dust Apparel and Cycle Monkey

In a strip mall on the north side of Tucson, a small business space houses Moon Dust Apparel (formerly Handlebar Mustache) and Cycle Monkey. One of these you have heard of if you like sweet socks, the other if you are an internally geared hub nerd. Today we highlight these two neighboring businesses you may not have known are now down in Tucson.

Wade and Megan met while working for Handlebar Mustache and when the previous owner decided to close shop they opted to purchase the company instead. After living under the old name for a few years and slowly revamping the designs to fit their personal tastes they decided to rename the company Moon Dust Apparel. Since neither of them has a handlebar mustache, much to the chagrin of people with handlebar mustaches, they changed the name. The new name is inspired by the Gypsum dust from the mountain bike trails near Eagle, Colorado where they lived before relocating to Tucson in 2021.

You may recognize Megan from her frame building under the name Moth Attack, who has been featured multiple times here on the site. Moon Dust makes its own custom designs and prints them on shirts, bandanas, sweatshirts, etc., in-house while contracting others to make socks and other products they aren’t able to make themselves. They recently did a few exciting collaborations with Bummerland and local Tucson artist, Monique of Revolta Art. The Bummerland collaboration yielded a revamp of their previous La Sock line inspired by everyone’s favorite bubbly water. Choose Shred or Chill, or mix appropriately. Monique’s designs center around your choice of desert animal—coyote or jackrabbit—paired with the themes of getting lost or wild.

Cycle Monkey is currently housed behind the screen printing area. Wade began working sales for the company formerly located in The Bay area and realized the workflow could be made easier if the business was moved down to Tucson where he could have a more hands-on approach. If you are an internally geared hub aficionado you may have encountered Cycle Monkey before as they are one of the few distributors of Rohloff and other popular internally geared hubs. Specializing in all manner of dynamo lighting and internally geared hubs, Cycle Monkey has grown to be one of the best places to have such niche bikes and wheels built. If you want a cool and extensive list of their builds you can check the backlog of their blog here.

When I dropped by they were rolling out a Soma Wolverine equipped with a Rohloff belt drive, and the frame is uniquely designed to handle the removable part in the seat stay. With a classy compliment of dynamo lighting and leather contact points, this is sure to be someone’s dream forever bike.

Wade also rolled out their classic Bilenky cargo bike, with amazing hand-painted details. I’ve only encountered a few Bilenky’s in my days and I’m always delighted by them. The first one I ever saw in my early cycling days belonged to Russ Roca when he was still based in Long Beach and ran a photography business using a Bilenky as his vehicle to transport gear and himself to shoots. With an eccentric BB, custom-painted fenders, dynamo lighting, and of course, a Rohloff Speedhub the bike is a perfect showcase of the business.

Moon Dust is always looking for new screenprinting projects for so if you need socks, shirts, sweaters, coozies, or whatever you can dream up holler at them. Likewise, if you need an exotic European internally geared bike or specialty dynamo lighting setup make sure to check out Cycle Monkey; they probably have what you need. You can rest assured that these two very lovely folks are on the other side of things and you’d be hard-pressed to find people more knowledgeable and experienced in the bike world.