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I Never Thought I Could Make it This Far… Two Years of Not Drinking

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I Never Thought I Could Make it This Far… Two Years of Not Drinking

It feels like just a few months ago I was sitting at my keyboard, on the fence about opening up to a very vulnerable subject and sharing the hardest struggle of my adult life. Yet, here we are, two full years later and I’ve got updates to what was and still is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.

As cyclists, we’re used to overcoming struggles. Be it training for a race, making it up a steep climb, or clearing a rock garden, and to be honest, I don’t know if I would have been able to quit drinking if it weren’t for cycling. Yet, the very thing that taught me perseverance is also heavily laden with alcohol. It’s a double-edged sword, but one I’m fairly comfortable opening up to you about.

LACK OF FOCUS AND ORGANIZATION: BFFs, Bikes, and the Alps

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LACK OF FOCUS AND ORGANIZATION: BFFs, Bikes, and the Alps

The following trip report is also available on Amazon Kindle, for ease of bookmarking…

Day 1: Wienerwald or bust!

JEN: Good decisions can be made on a whim. That’s how I found myself on this spontaneous bike trip in Europe. It all started in Vienna, Austria. My friend Bun Daniel, also from Los Angeles, was there, visiting and working with BBUC (short for Brilli Brilliant Unicorn Club), and had offered for me to stay with him. I had plans to go to Spain 3 weeks later but the space in between was yet to be determined. That space in-between turned out to be a great adventure. My bike partner in crime and fellow California Girl, Erin Lamb, flew out from Santa Barbara to meet me. We had one mission – to satisfy our appetites for some asphalt spaghetti draped on the Alps.

Vice Looks at the Most Dangerous US Cities to Ride a Bicycle and WTF, Iowa?

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Vice Looks at the Most Dangerous US Cities to Ride a Bicycle and WTF, Iowa?

In news that no one has to be surprised at, Vice takes a look at the top 10 most dangerous cities for cycling in an interesting, yet terrifying article. As someone who calls Los Angeles home, I must say I’m not surprised, but like the article notes, cycling is the answer to helping save the environment we’re all aware of, yet we’ve got a long way to go to make streets safer…

“In 2019, more and more cities across America are encouraging their residents to commute by bicycle. Cycling, of course, is good for the environment in terms of reducing pollution from car-dominant streets, and it’s a healthier way to travel.

But cities gaining new cyclists are quickly, tragically finding that they do not have the proper infrastructure to keep them safe. Cyclist fatalities have gone up 25 percent across the U.S. since 2010, and up 10 percent in 2018 itself, while all other traffic fatalities have decreased.”

Read on at Vice.

Red Velcro, Skipping Vortices, and Heavenly Sandstone: Riding in Sedona, Arizona

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Red Velcro, Skipping Vortices, and Heavenly Sandstone: Riding in Sedona, Arizona

With cooler temps approaching, I really wanted to circle back around to our late spring trip to Sedona. Colin and I bugged out for a bit, camping just outside of town, riding bikes, 4-wheeling, and enjoying the local cuisine. While this isn’t necessarily a “Guide to Sedona” nor will it dive into history, both colonial and indigenous, it is meant to spark a desire to ride in this veritable mountain bike theme park.

We’ve Got Some Drop Bar Reviews Coming Next Week!

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We’ve Got Some Drop Bar Reviews Coming Next Week!

What better way to spend the long weekend than reviewing bikes. Next week, we’ll be dropping a handful of drop-bar reviews, starting with the Speedvagen OG Disc. After that, the Salsa Warroad and Cannondale Topstone. Which of the latter two would you like to see first?

LA River Jump with Caché

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LA River Jump with Caché

The thing about Instagram is while sometimes you end up with these great one-off shots, that have very little story behind them, they end up living on this low-res platform which most people interact with solely on a cell phone screen. Last Saturday, Kyle, Caché, and I headed down to the LA River to take a photo Caché had previously shot with his cell phone. I wanted to get a nice, high res, professional photo because Caché’s eye for urban lines have resulted in many awe-inspiring takes on what it means to ride a MTB within the Los Angeles city limits. The resulting photos made quite the splash on our Instagram but I wanted to share them here as well.

For Caché, he looks at the MTB as a tool for exploration within and on the outskirts of this sprawling mega-metropolis. In the newest print-edition of Bike Mag, Caché gets a full spread of his riding and art as a mural painter with graffiti roots in LA’s scene.

Give him a follow on Instagram and check out some more randoms from our morning in the LA River drainage network. The last shot is my favorite. Which is yours?

The Great Equalizer

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The Great Equalizer

After watching today’s Leave it on the Road post, it reminded me of a piece I read last year, on Science Daily. Coincidentally, I just posted something similar on my personal Instagram account that really resonated with my followers.

If I don’t do something physical, something that causes my heart to race, my legs to ache, then it’s so easy to slump into depressive thoughts. I wonder what the world would be like if more people exercised daily and spent time in the outdoors. It’s the great equalizer…

Telling people to “get outside” is one thing, but emphasizing the importance of exercising and experiencing connectivity to the natural world is one of my main goals with the Radavist. Sure, we post a lot of gear and bike galleries, but the overarching modus operandi revolves around using that gear to further enjoy yourself while recreating in areas that allow for introspective growth.

Midwest Dirt Legion is Building a Better Bike Community

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Midwest Dirt Legion is Building a Better Bike Community

This past July I was lucky to attend a downhill day with the rad humans who put on the Midwest Dirt Legion. I had heard tales of their group from my partner and friends, so I was very stoked to finally meet them and see what they were up to.  Time after time I hear from non cis male people that they feel there is a lack of places they feel comfortable riding and learning in the mountain bike world, which makes the work that Steph and Ash are doing that much more important. I caught up with them for a spin around the local bandit jumps and got a testimonial from their biggest fan, Chelli. If you are looking for amazing people to ride with in the midwest, check out the Midwest Dirt Legion!  -Spencer

Midwest Dirt Legion is here to build a better mountain bike community for marginalized genders.  Based in Minneapolis, the group was founded in February 2018 by Steph Aich (she/her) and Ash Murray  (they/them) . Our focus is on bringing passionate people and organizations in the Twin Cities together to increase ridership for transgender, gender non-binary, and cis women riders.

Outside Online: Pat Cummins is a UFC Fighter that Rides a Rigid MTB

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Outside Online: Pat Cummins is a UFC Fighter that Rides a Rigid MTB

This was such a fun assignment! I met Pat Cummins earlier this year. He’s a UFC fighter with a heart of gold and a personality of an artist, moreso than a battle-hardened, Rock ’em Sock ’em Robot. He loves riding bikes, listening to music, and talking about his plans in life, post-fighting. Pat’s the kind of guy who would rather give you a hug than beat on you in a ring for an hour. So why does he fight in the UFC?

Well, he was a wrestler in college and was looking for a way to make some extra money. Years later, he’s still in the mix, but with a new perspective on life. Oh and he rides a rigid Niner

Head to Outside Magazine to read this whole piece!

A Few From Last Sunday’s Los Angeles Explorers Club 1980s Movie Ride

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A Few From Last Sunday’s Los Angeles Explorers Club 1980s Movie Ride

Last Sunday, the Los Angeles Explorers Club convened in San Marino a the Cub House for a “historic” ride through the surrounding neighborhoods of South Pasadena and Pasadena, stopping at famous homes featured in Hollywood movies from the ’80s. Included in the list were houses used in Teen Wolf, Back to the Future, Pretty in Pink, Terminator, Halloween (technically 1978), Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, and more.

Aimee Gilchrist, the LA Explorers Club founder, dressed up as Doctor Emmett Brown from Back to the Future, as she guided a rather large group of cyclists through picturesque, tree-lined streets, on a 14-mile jaunt around town. Afterward, a dance-off competition ensued, all while BBQ eats and beverages were sold.

If you like informative and very relaxed rides like this, be sure to follow the Los Angeles Explorers Club on Instagram!

Are You Going to Be at the Downieville Classic?… with a Hardtail?

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Are You Going to Be at the Downieville Classic?… with a Hardtail?

That’s right. It can be done and it’s a lot of fun. We’re heading to the Downieville Classic this weekend and while I’ll be out on the course shooting photos of the race, I’d love to feature a gallery of all the hardtails that are being ridden at the Classic. Each year, it’s the bike I bring with me and I am always amazed at how many people are there racing on their steel hardtails as well. So, if you’re at the Classic, make sure you flag me down with your bike because this should be a great gallery!

Two Articles on Local Bikes Shops Worth Sharing

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Two Articles on Local Bikes Shops Worth Sharing

Rick Vosper has been covering the IBD and LBS marketplace for Bicycle Retailer through a series of in-depth articles. His most recent piece had a lot of compelling information, with many pointers I too believe are some of the keys to the equation of success in an arguable struggling time for the local bike shop. Here is one excerpt and here’s a link to the full article:

“The second was, “The core of the brand’s success is the experience the consumer has with the retailer.” This is an important point because, while it’s regarded as a gold standard in other consumer product industries, it’s almost unheard of in the specialty retail channel bike business. Suppliers make the units and splash out marketing cash, but actually closing the sale is left to the retailer. And retailers are rewarded according to share of units on the shop floor and number of units sold, not according to the customer’s experience purchasing that brand.”

Which ties in wonderfully with Gloria Liu‘s piece from a month or so ago on Bicycling Magazine’s website.

Both articles are great reads and if you have the time, I suggest you check them out!

As for the above photo, it’s from our forthcoming Shop Visit to Broken Spoke in Santa Fe. It is not tied directly to either article.

Salsa Terminates Jay Petervary’s Contract

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Salsa Terminates Jay Petervary’s Contract

In response to this year’s Tour Divide controversy, Salsa just announced they have terminated Jay Petervary’s contract:

“Dear Adventure Community,

Some of you may be aware of the public debate of rules surrounding this year’s Tour Divide. While we appreciate a healthy discussion, we were disappointed by the behavior of Salsa Cycles sponsored athlete Jay Petervary. As a result, we have made the difficult decision to end our sponsorship agreement with Jay.

We would like to make clear that our decision was not based on the Tour Divide rules, nor the interpretation of those rules. During the conflict that surrounded this year’s Tour Divide, Jay’s conduct simply did not align with our brand values of empathy, community, and positivity.

Over the years, Jay has been an important partner for Salsa Cycles in supporting and growing Adventure By Bike. We wish him the best in his next adventure.

Sincerely,

Salsa Cycles”

Please, if you are going to comment on this, keep it civil.

Site Updates Are Rolling Out!

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Site Updates Are Rolling Out!

Some of you may have noticed that our galleries are now updated with arrow navigation. In the past few weeks, we’ve been tweaking various UX details, including centering the masthead and swapping out the red color for a twilight gold but most of the work has been going on behind the scenes.

Up next we’ve got thumbnails for the galleries, linkable image numbers, author credit footers, and other tidbits. Now, with the larger galleries, we’re still working out the bugs as the images tend to bunch up a bit. We’ll tackle all the bugs as they pop up, so feel free to point them out in this post.

Thanks again for your patience! This has been an arduous process for Grant Blakeman to undertake. :-)

REI Will Once Again Stock Giro, Bell, and Blackburn After Vista Outdoors Sells Controversial Firearm Companies

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REI Will Once Again Stock Giro, Bell, and Blackburn After Vista Outdoors Sells Controversial Firearm Companies

After last year’s cycling brand boycott following the Parkland shooting, REI dropped Giro, Bell, and Blackburn from their stores. Following an announcement that VISTA Outdoors has sold their controversial firearm companies, Savage Arms and Stevens firearms, makers of assault-style weapons, REI just announced they will be carrying the cycling brands once again:

“Today, we notified our merchants that we will resume orders with Giro, Bell, CamelBak, Blackburn and Camp Chef on the news that their parent company, Vista Outdoor, has secured a buyer for Savage Arms. REI orders of Vista-owned brands have been on hold since March 2018. At that time, Vista Outdoor chose not to engage in the national conversation about common-sense gun safety solutions that followed the tragic mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

REI does not sell guns or ammunition, and does not oppose hunting or the Second Amendment, but we believe companies that profit directly from the sale of guns have a civic responsibility to engage in the national discussion about gun safety, as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Walmart and others have done. We understand and respect that our members and employees enjoy life outside in many ways—including hunting.”

Salsa Revisits Hell Biking

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Salsa Revisits Hell Biking

Perhaps you remember this story from Salsa? I do! It all began with an inscription: “LIVE TO RIDE. RIDE TO DIE. MOUNTAIN BIKES FROM HELL!” Head to Salsa to immerse in this three-part photo epic.