The Norwegian city of Oslo recently played host to the Service Course Oslo‘s Bikes of Oslo Showcase, featuring a plethora of custom bikes during a weekend of riding and soaking in the summer sun. We’re honored to host the report here, at the Radavist, featuring the bicycle photography of Magnus Nordstrand and the riding/lifestyle shots from Herman Ottesen. Check out the bikes along with an interview with the Service Course’s Jonas Strømberg below…
Karla and I headed to Tijuana when we heard that the local government was giving the covid vaccine to anyone who wanted it. We used a Fabio’s chest as luggage bags because although we didn’t bring our bikes, we had the idea of borrowing some to move around the city and try to fit in an overnighter, so we also brought our sleeping bags and bike touring tool kit. With the Baja Divide being so close the thought of jumping on it crossed our minds but we decided to settle for something that required fewer logistics and that could be started and finished from the place we were staying in.
I don’t consider myself an avid bikepacker. Yet, neither I think nor talk about riding my enduro bike (which I don’t have). Terminology in general has lost meaning for me in the past years in the bike world. I guess at the same time as many of us, I got overwhelmed with all the new kinds of everything, and the speed of development and diversity the market has achieved in such a short time. I tried to back off a little and find a short of safe place from where I can observe it all. And at the same time, the kind of biking I try to practice more is also quite determined by the act of observing.
I like to shoot the first frame on a roll of film no matter how carefully I load the roll I always end up getting something kinda strange and wonderful out of that first exposure – an effect yielded by the film’s interaction with light coming from two separate moments in time and space – the exposure of the film through the camera’s shutter, but also the light leaked onto the frame during the loading of the roll. One of my favorite photos ever is of my 17-year-old beagle/spaniel mix, Bucky, where he looks like he’s peeking out from behind a cascading sheet of liquid sun. The first exposure on this roll is of my friend, podcast co-host, and riding partner, Sarah rifling through overstuffed bikepacking bags outside of a country store in Damascus, Virginia about 15 miles into our 550-mile bikepacking trip through the mountains of Virginia and West Virginia. The image of her trying to squeeze a snack bar into a nonexistent empty space in the top tube bag is itself neatly constrained into the 2/3rds of the frame not devoured by light exposure obtained while the roll was being loaded.
Chumba Cycles has been supporting ultra-endurance and all-around badass athlete Alexandera Houchin for some time now, outfitting her with a variety of bikes for her endeavors. Yet with the announcement of Chumba’s in-house titanium manufacturing earlier this year, Mark and Vince, the owners of Chumba, wanted to get Alexandera on some new frames. You might recall our coverage of the Sendero Titanium from this year’s ENVE Builder Round Up. After the show, I reached out to Chumba to see if they’d share some photos of Alexandera’s new bikes, so let’s check them out below…
La Costa de Hermosillo is the name for a vast expanse of land that covers from the west of the city of Hermosillo all the way to the coast of the Gulf of California, 100 km (60 miles) away. Once part of the territory where the Comca’ac Natives thrived, nowadays it’s mainly used for agriculture; during the 19th century, the Comca’ac, most frequently called “Seri” which means “people of the sand” in Yaqui language, were persecuted and almost wiped out completely by the Mexican army and ranchers who had interest in this territory, and the few survivors of the already dispersed Comca’ac Nation were progressively displaced further and further towards the coast till they reached the land they occupy today, where water is scarce and life conditions are harsh. Rain is not often seen around here, and agriculture is only possible via drilling wells and bringing water from other parts. La Costa de Hermosillo is flat as it is possible for land to be, so making long distances by bike in this region is a matter of keeping your bars straight and moving early, because it’s usually around noon that the wind picks up.
I woke up to the sounds of a struggling motorcycle engine. When I set up my tent the previous night I’d pushed my bike up a tiny double-track offshoot road that steeply climbed to an isolated hilltop. I was perched above the primary road that already gets very little traffic and totally out of sight, but with the sound of that engine, I knew the motorcycle wasn’t simply cruising by on the road below, it was making its way up toward me.
I grew up working at a Specialized shop, and learned how to mountain bike by watching Ned Overend’s Performance Mountain Biking technique VHS. While I always appreciated the refreshing ideas of small makers, I thought it advantageous for larger brands to be able to invest more in their materials and construction. This was a time when top-end bikes were made of metal, and made domestically.
Metal Matrix (M2) composite is a prime example of this. The big S sourced a 6061 alloy infused with an aluminum oxide ceramic particulate by Alcan. Say that again, backwards now. Alcan called it Duralcan, and I am proud to display their logo on my top tube—that cool typeface!
Am I the only one here that cringes every time I hear the word gravel? It’s been a common word in my world for a few years now, and believe me, I hear the word a lot… but I just can’t embrace it. The word gravel still brings to mind all-day slogs across flat/windblown prairies on the type of surface that’s devoid of traction yet still slowly and steadily saps your spirit. In other words: somehow, somewhere it firmly lodged in my brain that “gravel” is the antithesis of “fun.”
“Expect the Unexpected”
The MGR is a 650 km gravel route, 4 stages, about 8000 meters of elevation,
some like to call it a disguised mountain bike race with a bit of gravel,
some will argue that this is the spirit of gravel, a limitless exploration of where the bike can take you.
This bicycle named Lil Romeo was chosen for my first attempt at the Tour Divide based on trust built over the years of adventuring together. A Reynolds 853 steel Crust Romanceür that I’ve ridden for 4 years in 4 different United Nations recognized countries. The custom frame bag that held food, 3 liters of water, and often a can of nitro coffee has the Tibetan national flag that is not recognized by the United Nations. I love this flag almost as much as I love this bike. Not for the sake of Nationalism, but for the sake of Beauty. Lots of parts on this bike were selected for beauty, practicality, and nostalgia.
Continuing our sporadic coverage of a few vintage gems uncovered at the Pro’s Closet during a recent visit is this rare J.P. Weigle Ice Cycle. Due to the nature of this creation, I reached out to Peter Weigle himself to see if he could fill the readers of the Radavist in on this stunning bike. Check out Peter’s story below accompanied by a plethora of photos…
“You just dance up those climbs. It’s amazing to watch.”
These are some of the only words we’ve exchanged, despite riding together for the past ten hours. It’s a few more hours before I learn that his name is Dave. That’s ultra-endurance. Sometimes you talk and sometimes you don’t, but it’s still great to have company riding through the night. I later find out that Dave is in his 50s and from Wisconsin. He must outweigh me by a good 50-80lbs and most of it is muscle. He’s a powerhouse on the flats and I’m light up the climbs. He groans and says “shit” a lot, but when the lady at the gas station asks if we’re having fun, he says, “we’re having the time of our lives.” And we really are. It’s hot and humid and hard as hell, but there’s so much beauty out there. Beauty in the sunset and the sunrise and the warm night— the cows and the fields, the open expanses.
Coconino Cycles is a builder based in Flagstaff, Arizona. Steve Garro specializes in off-road oriented bikes like this Cruiser he made for Chris Reichel, who works for Why Cycles and Revel Bikes. When I was in Carbondale, Colorado last month, I managed to sneak away with this bike for proper documentation so check out more below.
I have been internet friends with Irlanda for so long that I don’t even remember how we started communicating. What I do remember is that she told me she had the dream of making bicycle bags and accessories but at the moment, sewing fancy dresses are what paid her bills. Settled in the México-USA border city of Tijuana, she has been dressing brides and quinceañeras for over twenty years and it was around fourteen years ago that she started riding a bike to get around. As she took part in organizing group rides, she sewed hip bags and gave them away as an incentive to attract more people to ride, and that’s how sewing bike bags became a hobby. Along those two decades, she started growing tired of the high fashion world while at the same time she made more bicycle accessories, but still, the money flowed mainly from the people who came to her from either side of the border to get their dresses made.
Playing host to road trippers this year is a stark contrast to our efforts to stay local and ride with small, familiar groups last year. New Mexico took Covid-19 seriously and as new citizens to this state, both Cari and I took these precautions seriously. Now with the vaccination efforts building across the country (get vaccinated!) we’re happy to open our doors to friends as they travel across the American West. Just last week alone, I hosted two stellar rides with some familiar faces, so check them out below…
I was born in Anchorage, Alaska, as was my mother. My grandfather was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, as was his father.
Alaska became a state in 1959. It’s a complicated and very beautiful place. It’s home.
In 2017, I rode all of the major roads in the state— about 4,500 miles, a mix of gravel and pavement. By land, Alaska is huge— twice the size of Texas. The road system is very limited, many places are isolated. I wanted to ride my bike to connect as much as I could. I set out in a series of trips— riding for a week or two at a time and hitching back to town to work at The Bicycle Shop to fund the next leg. For the most part, I rode alone. It was a lot of freedom and I had the time of my life.
Reflecting on my rides later, I wanted to go back to share my experience. Both with Rue, the love of my life, and with the public through photos and videos. This is something I have thought about since the fall of 2017.