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“Is this your property?” Lessons Learned from Bikepacking the Wild West Route

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“Is this your property?” Lessons Learned from Bikepacking the Wild West Route

Today is a hot one in southern Idaho, 90 degrees and rising.  My partner, Skyler, and I are stopped for snacks under the few shaded bushes along a lonely dirt road.

We hear the tell-tale signs of a lonely car and a white-haired woman drive towards us.  She slows down to approach us cautiously. Her window rolls down as the car stops and from inside we hear “There isn’t a road that goes through there.”

Silk Road Mountain Race 2019: Race Report 2

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Silk Road Mountain Race 2019: Race Report 2

A lot can happen in 48 hours. At 4 am on Tuesday morning (local time) James Mark Hayden was the first rider to reach CP2. After suffering from altitude sickness in the first stage of the race, the two-time Transcontinental Race winner has made a remarkable recovery and is currently leading the race. While the main contenders were taking a much-needed rest in the deep hours of the night, James pushed through to be the first to get his brevet card stamped.

Mark from Prova Cycles’ Ripido Prototype MTB, aka the ParTi Hardtail

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Mark from Prova Cycles’ Ripido Prototype MTB, aka the ParTi Hardtail

During the ENVE Open House framebuilder exhibit, one builder traveled further than the others: Mark from Prova Cycles in Melbourne, Australia. I’d never seen a Prova in person. Instead, I’ve had to check out his work via the lens of FYXO and the Prova Instagram. Mark learned at the Bicycle Academy in the UK and has been really putting in work on his brand. Let me tell you. It shows.

Trevor and His Cascadia Cycles Doug Fir Rigid MTB

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Trevor and His Cascadia Cycles Doug Fir Rigid MTB

Everything Trevor does seems to be dripping in story and lore as he comes from the homeland of mountain biking, Marin. He is the kind of person you just find stumbling out of the woods, shoeless, with the biggest grin on his face.  In fact, recently he finally gained the attention of the owner of Black Mountain Cycles, after years of visiting the shop, because Ted King ran into Trevor out on the trails and regaled the shop owner about his encounter with the barefoot forest nymph.

Silk Road Mountain Race 2019: Race Report 1

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Silk Road Mountain Race 2019: Race Report 1

At the dawn of Day 3 of the PEdALED Silk Road Mountain Race 2019, it’s becoming clear that the second edition of this 1705km long endurance race through Kyrgyzstan will be a close pursuit. While last year’s winner Jay Petervary was in the lead for the first 360km of the race, first time competitor Jakub Sliacan overtook him on Sunday afternoon before they arrived at CP1 within 30 minutes of each other. After only a very short break at the checkpoint, both riders continued on their way.

How to Burn Your Fingers: A Special Rossman for Paris-Brest-Paris

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How to Burn Your Fingers: A Special Rossman for Paris-Brest-Paris

Paris-Brest-Paris is a crucible, a pilgrimage, a quest. Paris-Brest-Paris is a cycling event. It runs 1200km (768 Miles) from Paris to Brest on the coast and back. Out and back. 6,000 people participate. They start in waves, pulsing towards the French Coast in a chrome-fendered murmuration of wool jerseys, Berthoud bags, and dyno lights. Racers have to finish their migration to the coast and back in 90 hours. 90 hours, on a bike – that’s little to very little sleep. That’s riding pretty much straight through.

Lael Wilcox’s 2019 Silk Road Mountain Race Specialized Fuse Bikepacking Setup

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Lael Wilcox’s 2019 Silk Road Mountain Race Specialized Fuse Bikepacking Setup

With the 2019 Silk Road Mountain Race beginning tomorrow, we thought we’d give a break-down for what Lael Wilcox will be carrying on her bike for the duration of the event. Lael is hoping to finish the 1700 kilometer course with 27,000m elevation in 7-9 days. In order to do that, she has her setup dialed. Check out the full list below for those curious as to what an ultra-endurance racer carries on their bike.

Riding Utah’s Thunder Mountain: a Trail with Residual Harmony on Santa Cruz Reserve 37 29er Wheels

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Riding Utah’s Thunder Mountain: a Trail with Residual Harmony on Santa Cruz Reserve 37 29er Wheels

If a trail is made by humans, versus game or erosion, does it carry along with it historical remnants of the trail builder’s psyche? Humans use tools to create trails and these tools are guided by feats of strength, both physical and mental. What happens when strength is combined with emotion? Are those emotional remnants carried along the path, forever altering the harmony of its intentional meanderment? Trails are all about control. Direction. Intention. Is there a marking of metaphysical energy within them?

The End of the Andean Road

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The End of the Andean Road

When I started this trip through South America almost 3 years ago I had no idea what to expect. My bicycle “touring” experience could all be summed up in a tumultuous three week trip to Perú where I spent half of the time with my head hovering over a toilet while suffering from typhoid and a quick one week trip through Norway that resulted in an emergency room visit with frostbite on my toes that still affects me today. I was working on roughly a 5% success rate. Would I quit my “stable job” of almost ten years only to head off into the Andes all by myself and realize that this just wasn’t my thing? Come crawling back a few weeks later, asking for a do-over? I honestly had no idea and these were extremely realistic possibilities in my mind. All I knew was that I’d regret it if I didn’t try.

The Beautiful Bicycles of the ENVE Open House Part 02: Sklar, Falconer, Sarto, Sage, Argonaut, Moots, Retrotec, Legor, Bastion

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The Beautiful Bicycles of the ENVE Open House Part 02: Sklar, Falconer, Sarto, Sage, Argonaut, Moots, Retrotec, Legor, Bastion

ENVE has been supporting frame builders, both in the US and internationally for years now and has developed a symbiotic relationship with these artisans, who choose to put their forks, bars, and wheels on customer’s build kit lists. With this catalog of talent at their fingertips, they decided to have an Open House to celebrate not only their factory and offices in Ogden, Utah but the frame builders who choose ENVE to build out their complete bikes.

Continuing yesterday’s coverage are Beautiful Bicycles from Sklar, Falconer, Sarto, Sage, Argonaut, Moots, Retrotec, Legor, Bastion.

The Beautiful Bicycles of the ENVE Open House Part 01: Prova, Holland, Alchemy, Salt Air, Mosaic, Pursuit, English, Speedvagen, Bingham, Allied

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The Beautiful Bicycles of the ENVE Open House Part 01: Prova, Holland, Alchemy, Salt Air, Mosaic, Pursuit, English, Speedvagen, Bingham, Allied

ENVE has been supporting frame builders, both in the US and internationally for years now and has developed a symbiotic relationship with these artisans, who choose to put their forks, bars, and wheels on customer’s build kit lists. With this catalog of talent at their fingertips, they decided to have an Open House to celebrate not only their factory and offices in Ogden, Utah but the frame builders who choose ENVE to build out their complete bikes.

Over the next two mornings, we’ll look at a list of 20 frame builders’ bikes, in galleries filled with so many Beautiful Bicycles it’ll leave your mouth watering. Up first is Prova, Holland, Alchemy, Salt Air, Mosaic, Pursuit, English, Speedvagen, Bingham, and Allied.

Al Morris’ Occult of Cyclocamping Rivendell Sam Hillborne

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Al Morris’ Occult of Cyclocamping Rivendell Sam Hillborne

I’ve always jokingly called Rivendell Bicycles a Luddite cult of rim brakes lead by the charismatic Grant Peterson wielding his fistful of seatpost and wool undies. All kidding aside, I’d be honored to own a Rivendell, they are amazing and beautiful bikes made by great people, but as the first mechanic I worked under told me oh-so-many years ago, “Grant doesn’t sell his bikes to hipsters” as a response to my ogling of one of their bikes. So, I guess I’m outta luck. Anywho, when I pinged Al about his Sam Hillborne for some stories or insight into the build the first thing he said was, “The purple, white and black motif was inspired by the Heavens Gate cult of California when they left earth for the UFO behind the Hale-Bopp comet. That’s where the colorway came from.” Whelp there ya have it folks, a “bicycle cult” frame built around the color scheme of an actual cult, my low-hanging-fruit-esoteric-bike-nerd joke had come full circle.

John’s Falconer Chubby Road

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John’s Falconer Chubby Road

A few towns over from Downieville, California, where John works at Yuba Expeditions during the summer months, is Quincy, California where Cameron Falconer‘s workshop is. John and Cam knew each other back when they both lived in the Bay Area and since relocating to what is called the “Lost Sierra,” John really wanted a road bike that could handle the area’s veritable Sierra chunk.

Leave it All on the Trail and Go Baroque: the 2019 Downieville Classic

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Leave it All on the Trail and Go Baroque: the 2019 Downieville Classic

[WARNING – please read with enunciations of the Queen’s English spoken with a harsh American accent leached with dry monotone and finished with a slight southern drawl.]

[NOTE – All persons are mixed and mashed conglomerations of friends masked by pseudonyms as to respect their identities.]

[FICTION –It actually may be close enough to nonfiction. Every tale is drenched with truth, maybe not all the truths belong to me, I might not even be the eyes telling this tale.]

With another eight to nine-hour drive ahead of me, this time solo because the polluting toots of my automobile fill me with joy—just kidding, hell, felt like an asshole—I had to figure out a way to fuck with my perception of time in order to maintain some level of sanity. Although being a fellow cyclist, y’all get that the bar is set real low when it comes to sanity. So, to risk sounding like a surface-wannabe-cultured-erudite, I tried hooking myself onto classical music with this grandiose nisus of increasing my attention span. Hear me out: not only would being able to melt into a forty-five-minute score enable me to complete long intervals with ease but enduring an entire classical score would help me get through the long drives to get to the long and arduous races those said and absolutely supposed intervals would prepare one for. Leave it all on the trail and go baroque.

Curtis’ Gold Rush Retrotec Funduro 29er

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Curtis’ Gold Rush Retrotec Funduro 29er

Downieville is a sleepy little town in the Lost Sierra. It was first known as “the Forks” due to its geographical location at the confluence of the Yuba and Downie rivers. Like many towns in the area, Downieville was founded in 1849 during the Gold Rush. Later, it was named after the town’s founder, Major William Downie. As you might imagine, this place has a sordid history during the lawless heyday of gold mining, including being the location for the only hanging of a woman in California history. Josefa Segovia was a pregnant Californio resident of the town and was lynched by an angry mob, accusing her of killing a miner in July 1851.

Nearby, in the Sierra Buttes, the largest gold nugget in California history was found in 1869. It weighed a whopping 109.2 pounds. Gold has always been on the lips of those who flocked to Downieville. Still, to this day, don’t be surprised to see active mining claims and people panning for gold at the confluence of the Yuba and Downie rivers.

Since 1995, the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship has thrown a special little event in this town. The Downieville Classic features an XC race on Saturday and a Downhill on Sunday. The terrain is rocky, steep, and silty, making for a tough day on the bike no matter what you’re riding. While they’re by no means rare, seeing people riding and racing hardtails always causes a stir. So this year, I set out to photograph some of these bikes, including Curtis Inglis from Retrotec‘s own Funduro, a shining, gold nugget of a bike.

The Big Marsh Bike Convergence

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The Big Marsh Bike Convergence

At the top of the hill where the jump lines begin at Big Marsh, I slung back over my pink Nova, joining the crowd of jump regulars ready to hit the medium and small lines and the first arrivals of the Convergence. The only sport I give my all to is spectating, and I’m great with a,“There he goes!” 

The Salted, Green, Grassy Hills: a Bicycle Tour Into the Marin Headlands

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The Salted, Green, Grassy Hills: a Bicycle Tour Into the Marin Headlands

Long before July’s sweltering heat, we were enjoying the pleasant month of March. I had been sitting on my porch sipping coffee when my friend Todd texted me, “I’m going to email you about the thing, so look out.” We’ve collaborated on many wild ideas, and Todd’s been a good friend for over a decade. I usually perk up when he reaches out about “things” because he’s a great adventure planner, so I kept a close eye on the inbox.  Lucky for me, it was an email saying that all the plans were coming together for an idea we had been tossing around for quite a while; a multi-day bike camping trip to uncover the inspiration for the Coal x Swift collaboration project with artist and illustrator, Chris McNally in the Marin Headlands of California.