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Lower the Heavens: Attempting to Summit White Mountain

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Lower the Heavens: Attempting to Summit White Mountain

We had set aside that Autumn weekend months earlier, just after having briefly met at a bike race called Lost and Found in late Spring. Matt was planning an extended bike commute through my town and asked to camp in my backyard. I told him sure, I have a fire pit, so it can really be like camping, but I’m going to barnacle onto that trip because it sounds fun. This trip took on many different names, with the goal to write some mockingly weird shit about it, and this one stuck: Tour of the Barnacle: The Chronicles of Holding On. The Barnacle Tour fell through, and a story that will not be told passed between then and this, but hell, we decided to stick to doing some exotic bike trip that weekend.

Ponied Up with Salsa Cycles’ Rustler 150mm Trail MTB

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Ponied Up with Salsa Cycles’ Rustler 150mm Trail MTB

Alrighty, y’all today we are talking about the Rustler from Salsa Cycles, their new “ultimate trail bike” with 130mm of split pivot rear travel and a 150mm Rock Shox Pike taking care of business out front. Now that’s about enough for numbers for awhile, I ain’t no nerd talking about leverage ratios at an Interbike booth ok? We’re gonna talk about feelings today; how was your ride yesterday? How are you doing today, like actually? Go ahead, tell me what’s good below.

Bikepacking Navajoland with Dzil Ta’ah Adventures

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Bikepacking Navajoland with Dzil Ta’ah Adventures

“See that rock formation over there, and the other skinnier one in the distance?” Jon Yazzie says, “they represent the story and fate of Big Snake and Owl Maiden.  Big Snake came from what is called Sugar Loaf near Mexican Hat, Utah slithering its way down, and eventually ending up coiled around Agathla Peak or (what Kit Carson called) “El Capitan.” The Owl promised to look over Big Snake until he came back to life again.  Owl is frozen in sandstone looking right at big snake on Agathla Peak.” Having passed through Kayenta countless times, driving from the southwest US to Moab, or further into Colorado, these prominent volcanic plugs and sandstone towers rising iconically out of a sea of sandy fields and sandstone mesas have always caught my eye. As we rested there just a few miles into the ride, legs slung overloaded bikes attempting to absorb everything Jon was telling us about the surrounding landscape, I knew this was going to be a special weekend.

Golden Saddle Rides: Kyle’s Flat Bar Nature Boy A.C.E. SSCX

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Golden Saddle Rides: Kyle’s Flat Bar Nature Boy A.C.E. SSCX

The Nature Boy first launched in 2010 as a singlespeed ‘cross machine. Its popularity grew quickly due to it being All-City’s first off-road bike. This was pre-Macho King, pre-Spacehorse, and way before the Electric Queen. Back then, in 2010, All-City was primarily in the game of making urban bikes.

This year marked a big change for the Nature Boy, launching the A.C.E. model with a few updates.

Philly Bike Expo: 44 Bikes Titanium Marauder Touring Bike

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Philly Bike Expo: 44 Bikes Titanium Marauder Touring Bike

The Marauder from 44 Bikes is one hell of a versatile bike, available in steel and titanium, it blurs the line between shreddy MTB and bikepacking bike, sub out to a suspension fork and rip your local trails, or ride it rigid and pack on a few extra pounds of fun.  Kris actually made all of the bags in-house, including the panniers, frame bag, and the stem sacks.  It’s pretty rad to see a frame builder tackle some sewing in addition to wielding a torch. Running a Lupine Lights Pika in lieu of a dynamo allows Kris to run the same wheelset in shred mode as a full touring mode. He even made the rack and fork in house.

Kris built the bike with a mix of Shimano XTR 9100 and XT 8100 brakes, Industry Nine Wheels, a Fox Transfer dropper post and a Wolf Tooth Remote. This bikepacking bike swears to shred, that for sure!

Sometimes You Meet the People and the Animals: Racing the Spirit World 100

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Sometimes You Meet the People and the Animals: Racing the Spirit World 100

Riding through a landscape gives you a deeper appreciation for that place. It’s sensory. You breathe the air and you feel the sun and the wind and the weather. You muscle over the hills and your tires surf through the sand and over the rocks. You learn why roads exist and where they lead and who lives among them and what grows there. Sometimes you meet the people and the animals. Sometimes you share the space with fellow travelers and sometimes you ride alone. The farther you pedal, the more your mind becomes part of that space– the space between your body and your bike and the earth. Your mind is in the sky and the tall golden grass. When your body and mind relinquish control over expectations and judgments and find connection to your surroundings, you enter the spirit world, a place of truth and acceptance.

Deserted, Dusted, and Dolomite: A Central Death Valley Bicycle Tour

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Deserted, Dusted, and Dolomite: A Central Death Valley Bicycle Tour

The cold. Oh, the cold. Never before had I experienced 10º temperatures at night and 70º during the day. There I lay, in chrysalis, asleep in my bivy thinking to myself, “this is miserable.” That was two years ago, at the foot of the second tallest sand dunes in North America, nestled between the Last Chance and Amargosa Mountains in Death Valley National Park. Needless to say, it took a while for me to want to tour this unforgiving place again. There’s something transformative about touring in the Mojave Desert. The dryness, the elevation, the sand, the silt, the wind, the washboard roads; insurmountable obstacles really bring out the truest human condition, that Lovecraftian urge to get out and test one’s limits. Push it a little bit further and come out the other side. Had I known that this love for the deserted, the dusted, and that grandiose dolomite was merely biding its time as I shivered uncontrollably in my bivy sack two years ago, I might not have been so absolute in my cynicism. It was time for emergence.

Philly Bike Expo: Chapman Cycles

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Philly Bike Expo: Chapman Cycles

Brian from Chapman Cycles brought two bikes to the Philly Bike Expo this year with 99% matching parts and paint save for a saddle, this is the smaller of the two. A mixte with a monumental amount of flair, all the way down to the Campagnolo shifter turned chain-keeper and the double Rene Herse crank turned single with a bash.  The build is a mix of Campagnolo Veloce setup 1×10 with a wide range SRAM cassette, SON dynamo hub that powers both a front lamp and a tail-light the tail wiring run internally to the saddle, a handmade rack designed around the bike. Paul Touring Cantis provide the stopping power.

Erik’s Peacock Nüke AWOL 650b is a Death Valley Tourer

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Erik’s Peacock Nüke AWOL 650b is a Death Valley Tourer

Behold. A steel bicycle that lasts a lifetime and pushes through the trends, accepting new builds and uses with ease, with finesse, and most importantly, with style. Do you remember Erik’s Di2 Alfine 11 Peacock Nuke AWOL? That photoset was fire back in 2014 when we originally posted it. While propped up on a hillside in Bernal Heights, an incredibly scenic neighborhood in the US’ most scenic city, Erik and I lamented how this whole “adventure” stuff was going to take off, big time. The AWOL was the first bike Erik designed for Specialized, which is raced the Transcontinental Race on and little did he know that just five years later, the brand would put a bullet in this peacock project.

Philly Bike Expo 2019: Bilenky

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Philly Bike Expo 2019: Bilenky

Part of the job of a framebuilder is to address their client’s concerns and for shorter riders, having a bike that rides like it should can be a challenge. At the Philly Bike Expo this year, Bilenky took hold of one such challenge, managing to build a bike with ample standover while not sacrificing geometry or, most importantly, the ride quality.

Philly Bike Expo 2019: Crust Bikes Lava Crackle Romanceür

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Philly Bike Expo 2019: Crust Bikes Lava Crackle Romanceür

Philly Bike Expo isn’t just about high-end custom, builds, it’s also home to some pretty fine production steel bikes as well, albeit this one is made by Crust bikes out of a Reynolds 831 Tubeset.  It has some special parts, special paint, and some one-off parts that haven’t existed ’til this moment.  Matt built this romantic Romanceür with a Campagnolo shifter setup friction 11speed that make it through the whole 11speed SRAM X-Dome cassette. The only René Herse cranks set-up with a Made in Maine narrow-wide ring by Derrick Girard and it even has an old Shimano Sharkfin, a new 0deg Nitto X Crust stem, and a set of carbon clinchers.  This steel bike is real…light even loaded. If you’re in the market for a new Crust hit them up, you may even be able to beg for that ring, but probably not.

Reflections on the Border: Bikepacking the Wild West Route Part 02

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Reflections on the Border: Bikepacking the Wild West Route Part 02

The grass grows steadily, towering over us until we can no longer see the San Pedro Trail. My partner and I hadn’t seen anyone else that day and it was peacefully quiet. We can only hear the bees buzzing, ignoring our presence among the thicket of yellow flowers growing wildly across the trail. It was still early in the afternoon and we already had an eventful morning – dodging thorny bushes cutting both our arms and legs, navigating muddy streams covered with overgrown grass, surprising a few jackrabbits from their homes, and getting startled by two rattlesnakes lying across the gravel path.

Philly Bike Expo 2019: Untitled Cycles

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Philly Bike Expo 2019: Untitled Cycles

For the tenth anniversary of the Philadelphia Bike Expo, PBE introduced a diversity and inclusivity scholarship to support women, trans, POC frame builders who have been underrepresented at bike shows and the industry at large. SRAM is stepping up to sponsor the PBE Inclusivity Scholarship inaugural class consists of Moth Attack, Pedalino Bikes, Schon Studio, and Untitled Cycles.

Philly Bike Expo 2019: Moth Attack

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Philly Bike Expo 2019: Moth Attack

For the tenth anniversary of the Philadelphia Bike Expo, PBE introduced a diversity and inclusivity scholarship to support women, trans, POC frame builders who have been underrepresented at bike shows and the industry at large. SRAM is stepping up to sponsor the PBE Inclusivity Scholarship inaugural class consists of Moth Attack, Pedalino Bikes, Schon Studio, and Untitled Cycles.

Philly Bike Expo 2019: Pedalino Bikes

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Philly Bike Expo 2019: Pedalino Bikes

For the tenth anniversary of the Philadelphia Bike Expo, PBE introduced a diversity and inclusivity scholarship to support women, trans, and POC frame builders who have been underrepresented at bike shows and the industry at large. SRAM is stepping up to sponsor the PBE Inclusivity Scholarship whose inaugural class consists of Moth Attack, Pedalino Bikes, Schon Studio, and Untitled Cycles.