Last Fall when planning my trip to Colorado for a beta-trip with Lizzy Scully and Steve “Doom” Fassbinder of Four Corners Guides bikepacking in the Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Park, they invited me to double down for the week and do a bike rafting trip near Kayenta, AZ on the Navajo Nation. If you are like me and have literally spent hours pouring over maps and cryptic hints trying to decipher some of Doom’s trips then the obvious answer to being invited on a bikerafting trip with Dr. Doom himself was a no-fucking-brainer. I just had to prep myself to not be too star-struck.
After reviewing the Starling Murmur Factory early last year, I placed a deposit for one myself, springing for the made in the UK front triangle, made in Taiwan rear swingarm model, in a larger size than the demo large I reviewed. Joe and I discussed the bike, I sent in the money needed and waited. A few months later, Joe alerted me that the bike was done and he shipped it to the United States. Little did I know that I wouldn’t see the bike for almost 8 months later.
Behold, a timeless diamond in the crust. The “cantibolt” is the “sign a waiver” lightest tubed-cantilever-1” threaded offering from Crust Bikes; the first name in Boastfully Poor Business Decisions Index Weekly. A riff on the Jan Mule that so famously/infamously dons just about every other page of Bicycle Quarterly; the Crust version has coincidentally received praise from its muse… the sultan of supple; the prince of planing himself… Jan Heine uuuuuuvvv Bicycle Quarterly.
Are you ready for the next paradigm shift in drop bar bikes? In news that will come with little to zero surprise, this same shift began in the mountain bike world nearly a decade ago. It took a while for people to jump on the bandwagon, but once they were on, the entire industry figured it out. Now it’s drop bar’s turn. Here we go with the titanium Knolly Cache.
On my way to crashing the beginning of SSAZ down in Bisbee I made a stop by a place I have been wanting to make an excuse to shoot for quite some time now. Now, Bisbee isn’t on the way to anywhere and you really need to make a point to end up there, I think I heard a rumor that Paul Price called it “Like a Downieville in the desert.” Bisbee is was a mining town turned that turned into an artist haven when the copper mining started to dry up. The hours at the Bisbee Bicycle Brothel are loose and you can just give Ken a call if you want him to open up for ya. Now when and if you end up in Bisbee, you probably aren’t expecting much of a bike shop, but oh would you be oh so wrong.
A few years back in 2018, I shot Bailey’s Salsa Woodsmoke, just before he took off on the Tour Divide. The bike was dialed at the time, with all the kinks worked out and he pedaled it from Canada to Mexico. Now here we are, two years later, Bailey has a shop in Santa Fe called Sincere Cycles and one of the brands he carries is Moné Bikes, based out of Silver City. As soon as he opened his shop, he ordered a custom Moné to once again take on the Tour Divide.
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…
Perhaps you remember Stefan’s coverage of last year’s Paris – Brest – Paris? That moody 35mm photo gallery that captured the event in a way so uniquely really struck me as beautiful documentation of one of the most intense endurance races. Well, this is the bike that Stefan pedaled during the event and as many of you expressed an interest in seeing better photos, we figured we’d feature it here at the site. So read on below for all the interesting tidbits, with words by Stefan…
Returning to Minneapolis from my solo bike trip in Scotland, the last thing on my mind was riding bikes. Turns out pushing your fat bike through rivers, bogs and pouring rain for three weeks makes you want to never look at a bike again. I needed a break and I had planned on recovering by a lake for the rest of the summer. That is until I received an email that my new gravel adventure bike was ready in Bloomington, Minnesota.
Last year, my partner Karla and I rode the northern half of the Baja Divide which soon, and as expected, became the hardest pedaling we had ever done, but also one of the most fulfilling experiences of our lives so when we went home we just kept on dreaming about going back for the second half of it.
As you can imagine, the Mid South was intense this year. Between the Corona Virus pandemic and the weather, the team running the race had to scramble to adjust to the ever-changing circumstances. At the last minute, our coverage team decided to pull the plug, and we didn’t get a whole lot from the weekend, but luckily Jared Harber was able to shoot Matt Acker‘s winning Stormchaser. I wish we could have also shot Hannah Finchamp and Payson McElveen’s winning bikes, but as I said, it was a chaotic event!
This bike was just about the only thing Jared shot from the weekend and while we didn’t really get a lot of other coverage, we have a few things that we’ll be sharing shortly. I really wanted to share not only Jared’s amazing photos but Matt’s thoughtful insight into his build, which he rolled into 8th position, so read on below.
Long-time readers will recall this bike from 2015. That photoshoot was a lot of fun and while we lost a bulk of the gallery images when our server failed, a few photos survived, including a drive side shot and the Brüt Rosé spray photo, which still to this day is tooooo hawt.
Recently, we got back on an old trail that we used to ride, especially during lunch breaks. We used this trail to train in view of a multi-day bikepacking trip. Over the years, wind and snow have broken and even uprooted many trees, resulting in an unpassable section of singletrack that crosses the coniferous forest. So we decided to clear the passages obstructed by the trees. That’s when we noticed that on some of these trees there were bird nests. From time to time, the characteristic noise of the woodpecker at work could be heard in the distance. At that precise moment, the idea was born to “recycle” some sections of these conifers and create birdhouses with them, letting the rest of the logs follow its natural cycle as humus.
Ventura is one of the last remaining quaint little beach towns in Southern California that is known for its surf. I know I’ve said this about Santa Barbara before, but compared to Ventura, the city just north has seasonal waves at best due to the Islands that block South tropical swells from barreling into its beaches. Plus, some go as far as saying that the Santa Barbara county line was, in a way, gerrymandered to include Rincon, the only break that really puts it on the radar. This is a tangent, but who cares, right? I know this is the Radavist, and we’re typically mountain people. Hang in there. The mountains are coming. Ventura has its unique point break right off the California St exit and next to the fairgrounds where I’d go to watch the Van’s Warped Tour as a kid in the 90’s. This point break is known as C-Street. I would argue rivals Rincon at certain swell angles, with its many take-off points that lead into a long, smooth yet punctuated ride requiring you to navigate sectioning walls through a sea of people and of the literal sea, making your way down the beach.
Arrowhead 135 is a race that evokes superlatives: coldest, most extreme, most brutal. Routine sub-zero conditions encountered on the 135 miles of Northern Minnesota snowmobile trails tests riders like few other races in North America. The stories surrounding Arrowhead tend to center male-dominated, human-versus-nature narratives and the gear that riders carry to overcome the challenge. When my friend Amanda Harvey registered for the race, I approached her about a project that offered a new angle on Arrowhead.
“I never felt I belonged. I never belonged in my whole life, even as a little kid. I was just different and so I never really found my place till I moved to Nashville…” -Dolly Parton.
From the very first moment you step into Halcyon Bike Shop, you will feel at home. Although it’s not so much like being at a parent’s house. It is more like being at your favorite dive (that arty one on the edge of town), sitting in the booth you always sit. You know the one! It’s in the back corner next to the largest window in the joint with a couple of slashes in the red vinyl backrest. It’s a place where you immediately let your guard down and talk to whoever sits across from you for hours.
The seed was planted last summer during a weekend visit to Cameron Falconer’s compound in Quincy to ride singletrack in Plumas National Forest, one of my favorite local playgrounds. I already had a 5-year-old Falconer hardtail that I loved and rode everywhere, and there was nothing wrong with it.
Well, there actually was something wrong with my bike on that Saturday (a component failure), so I borrowed one of Cameron’s personal steel hardtails to ride on Sunday. Luckily for me we ride roughly the same size bike. Cameron has experimented with quite a few geometries over the years since he made my last bike, and the loaner I was on happened to be one of his latest designs. We were riding big chunky rough stuff in the Lakes Basin area and I was bouncing through big rock gardens more comfortably than with my old bike, feeling a lot more stable, and by the end of the ride I was like, “BUILD ME ONE LIKE THIS.
It has been a little more than 2 weeks since the start of The Atlas Mountain Race.
The proverbial dust has begun to settle and my friend Stefan Haehnel’s 35mm exposures have been developed.