Now, I’m not a religious person, but I did grow up in a Christian church, so I am well aware of the characters, entities, and symbolism that exists in the Bible. Using the word “Antichrist” in the title of this review will ruffle some feathers, but hear me out. If we look at the phrase metaphorically, the Antichrist is opposition to the status quo, said to appear before the end of the world. Now, reading the reactions to this bike online, many would have you believe it is the harbinger of doom for the gravel world and ya know what? If that is the case, burn it down because the Chamois Hagar is exactly what the gravel world needs…
The idea for a WTF Bikexplorers Gravel Program sprouted in 2019 as I spun back into the gravel race scene. I saw the same deficit in diversity that bike-touring had (and still has) when five friends and I decided to organize the first WTF Bikexplorers Summit in 2018. Despite gravel racing as a rapidly growing sport within cycling, it is still very grassroots. It is not controlled by the UCI – yet – or any other sanctioning bodies and therefore it has the opportunity to mold and change to be the way we want it to be.
Wow! What a year it’s been. In the past twelve months, we’ve shot roughly 300 bikes. From gravel races, to NAHBS, the Philly Bike Expo and our normal travels, we really captured some unique builds and we’ve got a good handle on the bikes the readers of the Radavist enjoy checking out based on some key metrics.
Every year we try to do our best to sort through twelve months of archives to narrow down to this list. The first filter is the comment count, which we start at 50 comments. Then comes page views, with the minimum number being 20,000 views. Finally, we look at the social media chatter; including Instagram comments and how many times was the post shared across various platforms.
What we end up with is a list that is filled with a plethora of interesting, versatile, and quirky bikes. The only editorial decision I myself made was to omit reviews of stock bikes. So no Santa Cruz Stigmata or Cannondale Topstone this round!
Check out the full Top Ten Beautiful Bicycles of 2019 below, in no particular order…
Santa Cruz has no shortage of bike shops. This sleepy little beach town might be known for its surfing and pesky vampires, but the road and mountain riding is exceptional. With a myriad of dirt and paved roads snaking their way through coastal redwoods, and dusty, steep mountain bike trails, any cyclist can spend days upon days exploring the terrain. Spokesman Bicycles is one of the powerhouse shops in Santa Cruz and just recently opened up what they’re calling Outpost on the West Side of town, right next to their friends Sawyer and Co, a surfing lifestyle shop.
With the long weekend approaching here in the United States, many coastal Californians will head inland and upland to seek the cooler temperatures found along the Tahoe basin, via US Highway 395. This zone has always been curious to me when traveling to or from various races or other events. Having ridden plenty of singletrack in the area, I’m always down to try something new, especially when it has a bit of story behind it. Last year, after our Highway 50 MTB trip and before Grinduro, I linked up with my friend Brooke and her friend Kate to ride the Sierra Canyon Trail, just outside of Genoa, Nevada.
Dropping In: Medicare for All, Adventuring, and You
Words by Kyle von Hoetzendorff
If you’re alive then at some point you’ve had a health issue; hangnails to broken bones, common colds to genetic disorders. Being alive means being at the mercy of injury and sickness, precarity is part of the human experience. The degree to which each one of us has to address health in a very large part comes down to luck; genetic, location, etc. It would be one thing we choose to live in a padded room with platinum-level HEPA filters and a well-curated mix of cultural sensory input to prevent the self-inflicted harm that would surely stalk anyone forced to live in a padded cell their entire life. But then that’s the point, most of us don’t want to live in hypo-precarity.
SNews reports that the Thule Group has acquired Tepui, our go-to rooftop tent setup. We love the brand and many of its employees are cyclists, who spend their weekends supporting such events as Grinduro and Lost and Found. We’re stoked for Tepui and we’re hoping that the brand doesn’t dissolve entirely into the Thule brand. Hopefully what this does mean is better distribution and more product availability. We’d love some new colors, too!
At Grinduro, Chico-based Paul Component Engineering displayed their new flat mount Klampers. Expect more details to come, but I had to share these with y’all seeing as how many have expressed an interest in seeing Klampers updating to this popular disc brake interface. EDIT: Check them out now at Paul!
If you look for information on Blue Collar Bikes on the internet, ya won’t find much. Robert Ives likes it that way. He builds bikes, enough to pay his mortgage, and lives a fine life in Sacramento, where he’s been building Blue Collars since 1998. Robert came from Ventana before branching out on his own, where he builds steel bikes, made to take a beating, with the flashiest thing on them being that fancy head badge. I look forward to the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship events because I know someone will have a Blue Collar.
This trip, it was Darren, a good friend of Robert and Paul from Paul Components. Darren began building this frame in Robert’s shop one day and left it incomplete. As he got busy with life, little did he know, Robert was slowly completing this frame. At last year’s Grinduro, Robert handed it over to Darren, who’s been riding it ever since.
After we took on the Classic Downhill shuttle, I grabbed this bike, a Nigel XL, to shoot it behind the Downieville Hardware store. Ya don’t get more Blue Collar than that! If you’d like to read more about Robert Ives’ career and life for that matter, head to Dirt Rag, for a damn interesting read! Check out Blue Collar on Facebook too.
Team Scrapin’s Rock Lobster Relationship Accelerator
Words by Amanda Schaper, photos by John Watson
Some people might call tandems divorcycles, but I like to call them relationship accelerators. Wherever your relationship is headed, a tandem bicycle will get you there faster.
The Lost and Found Bike Ride is always one of my favorite weekends of the year. The camping, the riding, the lake, the people, the beer…it all just makes for one heck of a good time. But this year was extra special. My fiancé Scott and I toed the line for the 100-mile gravel race on our amazing Rock Lobster tandem in the first of the Triple Crown events. We’re planning to race the full Lost Sierra Triple Crown on the tandem as our form of premarital counseling. What could go wrong, right? There was some competition in the tandem category at Lost and Found, with two other teams giving us a run for our money. After about 6.5 hours of racing and getting both wheels off the ground more than once, we crossed the line in victory! It wasn’t easy, but it was a heck of a lot of fun. Our relationship and the bike survived 100 miles of gravel grinding, and now we start prepping for the gnarly technical trails of the Downieville Classic.
“The Forest Service deals with resources and we need to convince them that recreation is another resource.” This quote, from Lost and Found founder Chris McGovern really resonated with me the entirety of my stay in the Lost Sierra. Is recreation a resource? Can it be? Should it be? Over the years, the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship has been fighting the good fight, working alongside the US Forest Service, a subsidiary of the Department of Agriculture, who deals with our nation’s resources, from wood to minerals and even water. The federal government monitors how each state manages its resources.
This year, I’ll be covering the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship’s Triple Crown events: Lost & Found, Grinduro, and the Downieville Classic. My intent with this is to grow the Stweardship’s presence, help them raise money and spread the stoke for the Lost Sierra. Jumping on board with this project is just the icing on the dirt cake!
“Custom frame makers Sklar, Stinner, Mosaic, and McGovern have teamed up with world-class component makers ENVE, Chris King, SRAM and WTB to create four unique and beautiful custom bicycles that will be raffled after the gun goes off for the Lost and Found Gravel race. All proceeds will benefit the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship.
Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship is a non-profit organization that builds and maintains multi-use trails in the Sierra Buttes, Tahoe, Plumas and Lassen national forests. Their mission is building sustainable recreation-based communities through stewardship, job creation and hosting world-class events. SBTS has donated an estimated 72,000 hours of volunteer labor, maintained over 800 miles of shared use trails and created nearly 80 miles of new trails since 2003.
The bikes will be exhibited at the Lost and Found gravel race and the raffle will be live, with $20 tickets, from June 2nd through June 15th, hosted by The Pro’s Closet. All donations and raffle ticket purchases are tax deductible.”
Check out more details on these bikes and how to buy a raffle ticket below!
Over the next two weekends, we’ll be hitting two events: the Chris King Swarm in Bend and the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship’s Lost & Found. Both events have a strong community tie-in for the type of riding we pursue over here, as well as a strong support from various brands and personalities. We hit the road tomorrow and from that point forward, you can expect coverage from Central Oregon and the Lost Sierra. See you on the road and if you’re going to these events, be sure to stop and say hello!
While our first introduction to Breadwinner’s G-Road bike here on the Radavist showed the frame built up as a dirt-shredder, the latest builds from the Portland-based frame building outfit have these bikes built up as all-day endurance road or randonneuring bikes. Even though I live in a dry and arid environment, I’ve always loved the way a fendered 650b or 27.5 bike looks. Breadwinner is able to build these bikes to custom spec, including provisions for racks, fenders, generator lamps, or just stripped down and ready to get dirty off-road rigs, all with a sick Igleheart segmented fork. Head to Breadwinner Cycles to see more information.
I last saw this kick-ass woman at the first Grinduro. That’s over three years ago and in that time, she’s continued to crush races with what always seems to be such finesse. Hell, even at the start of this year’s Land Run 100, I hooped and hollered at her in the first few miles, to which she returned a smile and pedaled off into the dusty abyss.
Dani‘s endeavors in the cycling industry are proudly supported by Tenspeed Hero and Firefly. This year, she’s upping the ante by starting a team of all-female dirt road racers. These ladies are looking to travel to events like Land Run 100 and others, in search of competition and glory. The team is dubbed Bitch ‘n’ Grit, and is sponsored by BitchStix, a company that makes lip balms and sunblock, while donating all net proceeds to organizations that raise awareness for domestic abuse and sexual assault prevention programs.
This is the bike Dani will pedal as she joins her teammates in races. It’s Firefly number three for her, hence the SHRED SL3D and is the bike that’s dedicated to dirt road racing. I could go on for a bit longer about the bike, its integrated seat post, and her perspective, but I’d rather send you to her blog to read all about it.
Oh, and she got third place in the women’s category on this bike… Dani, we’ll see you again soon – sooner than three years! – and good luck this season!
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