Category Archives: Reportage
You Could Be Bowling
Words and photos by Spencer Dillon
The trip from Salt Lake to Moab isn’t particularly onerous. Just a few hours rolling through coal country, a glimpse of Green River, and the amiable descent into canyon country. But sandstone seems a stronger attractant than US 191 can handle.
On a Thursday afternoon, two lanes of brake-tapping traffic crawl south on 191 for miles towards Arches, well beyond even the boundary of Moab proper. 191 connects Moab with I-70, and, despite its designation as a state route, boasts better pavement than much of Salt Lake. It is the sort of perfect road that only tourists can create, widening out into two lanes just as the going gets scenic so that gawkers may slow down to adequately gawp. It is new and immaculate because the tourist dollars it transports pay those maintenance costs and more. On most days, it is 31 miles of bottleneck – the carotid artery for family minivans, overlanders and $7000-mountain-bike-on-the-roof people coming from all points north, east and west. Everyone wants to go see Delicate Arch and ride the Whole Enchilada. (more…)
LA Tourist Race 1: Hope Y’all Come Back Now?
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley
The LA Tourist Race Series is a triptych of grassroots, self-supported mixed terrain rides/races in Los Angels using some of LA’s most iconic bike routes. Each race is pieced together using multiple rides throughout Los Angeles and the surrounding mountains that many Angelenos would never imagine doing on the same day. While there is a route provided for participants, in these races someone replicates the world’s wackiest ultramarathon, the Barkley Marathon! In the Barkley Marathon, if you complete 60 miles of the entire 100-mile course it’s called the “Fun Run”, this is what most people are able to do before the full retreat. There are checkpoints where books have been left, as racers arrive they rip their race number out of the book and are on their way to the next checkpoint. And if you were wondering, only even or odd numbers are given out for each particular race. The books are just random ones found at thrift stores, so it would be very difficult to cheat. There is no right or wrong way to complete this race, if you know of a six-mile hike-a-bike that cuts off 15 miles, take it! The Barkley Marathons are extremely challenging, they usually require bushwacking and many other obstacles not usually associated with a running race. So the LA Tourist Race series has translated many of these ideas to modern day gravel or adventure racing. (more…)
Hubert d’Autremont from Madrean Fabrication is building bikes that he wants to ride. From a chubby road bike, to a bikepacking rig, and even a bird as strange as this. The Tucson Special is a single speed or fixed gear with 50mm of tire clearance and more relaxed geometry, tuned for hitting cutty singletrack around town and jumping curbs. Put a rack and basket on it, flat bars or drops, clipless or platforms. The beauty of the platform is its inherent versatility.
This particular model is built with PAUL hubs, a front Klamper, White Industries Cranks, Bruce Gordon Rock ‘n’ Road tires, an Eriksen seatpost, custom painted stem, titanium townie bars, and a Brooks saddle. With paint done in-house, Hubert is working on dialing in the production process for his bikes and moving towards a production sizing operation. While there is no launch date for a Madrean, he’s getting there.
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Over the past few years, there’s been an awakening of sorts within my scope of reporting and documenting cycling: when I travel to cover an event, or set out to ride in even a familiar landscape, I like to know the geopolitical, geographical, and geological history of the land in which I’ll be pedaling across, over and through. As much as this awareness contributes to a better understanding of the land we all recreate on, it’s also a way to pay respects to the prior inhabitants of these fragile landscapes.
This interest in the background and history of a place was a large motivation for me to take part in the Ruta del Jefe: a race through the San Rafael Valley, and Santa Rita Mountains, coordinated by Sarah Swallow. Last weekend, the race went down, and up for that matter, all around the San Rafael Valley, but the weekend had much more on the agenda than just riding bikes: it was a lesson for us all in how to sustainably use the land and how we could offer up our recreation as a resource. (more…)
Bikepacking Bags Made in Arizona at Rogue Panda
Photos and words by Locke Hassett
A small, unassuming garage accessed from a residential alley in Flagstaff houses one of the world’s best bikepacking bag makers: Rogue Panda Designs. The folks here pride themselves on thoughtful design, innovation, and blending function and form seamlessly. I visited RP on my way back from Utah to get a prototype bolt-on frame bag, chat with the makers, and snap some photos of the shop. (more…)
Squid World Tour: China V2.0, Way Outside of Beijing
Photos by Angel Perez and words by Emily Kachorek
We kicked off the cyclocross portion of Squid World Tour early again this year in August. After a successful weekend of UCI racing Down Under in Melbourne’s winter cyclocross conditions, we made our way up (way up) to Beijing, China for the 6th Edition of the always hot and muggy Qiansen Trophy Cup. In the past the majority of the races have been held in the outer rings of the capital city. This edition, however, the events would be held at all new venues outside (way outside) Beijing. The Squad was excited for all new courses, new roads, and a whole new Chinese adventure. (more…)
There were a lot of practical and well thought out bikes at this year’s Super Stoke Weekend and if time had allowed – short days and long ride agendas always make it hard – I would have shot them all. My methodology was to try to capture some of the themes present in the stable of steeds. With Gideon’s bike, I was able to shoot a 333 Fab. One of four present at the ride. With Spencer’s bike, it was about a similar approach to frame design but from an overseas production perspective. Black Mountain Cycles is a shop in Point Reyes Station, California. Mike Valey who owns the shop designs bikes for the brand after he spent years designing bikes for other companies in the industry. He and Sean from Soulcraft worked on this frame, dubbed the MCD, or Monster Cross Disc, with specially-designed dropouts for the thru-axles. While this bike is a departure from the traditional monster cross ideologies (700x45mm ish wheels with wide dirt drops,) it gets the point across and thrives off the ambiguity of mainstream monster cross definitions. (more…)
A little while back, All-City reached out to me to shoot their new Cosmic Stallion, with one request, it does not look like Los Angeles in the backdrop. Being a geological nerd, I have a list of weird zones surrounding LA’s sprawling megacity footprint that I’ve either found or have known about since moving there in 2015, one of which being Vasquez Rocks, a popular backdrop for Hollywood SciFi movies… (more…)
I was amazed at the number of 333 Fab bikes rolling at this year’s Super Stoke Weekend. One of which was this limited edition, Kyler Martz-designed, Now You’re Finished-painted, AirLandSea all-road/light tourer, piloted by Gideon Tsang from Austin. Morgan Taylor reviewed one for the site last year. Max from 333 Fab designed these bikes as a “Cascadian Rambler,” meant to take on all day or multi-day dirt road rides throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
These bikes are made in a limited production run, with various sizing to ensure the rider can get their custom fit dialed in. You can choose from one of seven sizes, with the ability to fit riders ranging from 5’ – 6’5”. The sizing doesn’t stop at the geometry alone, Each individual size has its own specific tubeset with engineered tube diameters to ensure a proper ride quality. How they build up the frames is up to them! I particularly took to Gideon’s build spec, as it’d be close to how I’d build one of these up myself. (more…)
What started as a weekend getaway on Super Bowl weekend with friends has evolved into something much more than that. Originally, our “Super Bro” weekend – please take that tongue in cheek – was just a bunch of friends camping and riding. The next year, it grew, more ladies attended, the weather kinda sucked but what can you do? It’s Texas in February. Once I left Austin, the event spread to our friends in Seattle at Swift Industries and the name was changed to the more inclusive, less inside jokey, Super Stoke weekend. What’s the point in joking with a name if you have to explain it each time?
The event continued, mostly in Texas, with a field trip to Seattle one April, before landing in Tucson this year. Now, it was a hard sell to get me to drive to Austin to ride in the rain, but I’d gladly drive to Tucson to ride in the majestic Sky Islands and the San Rafael Valley. (more…)