Reportage

Longform

Castin’ Lines: Mountain Bikefishing in Victoria, Australia

Reportage

Castin’ Lines: Mountain Bikefishing in Victoria, Australia

‘Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride’ is one of those famous quotes by John F. Kennedy, famous perhaps for the wisdom that it carries, more than for the person who said it.

All those who have recreationally ridden a bicycle should know that Kennedy was right. However, the ex-president didn’t realize (and possibly neither many of us) that something that may be compared to and even surpasses that addictive pleasure is to combine pleasures.

A bicycle is a freedom machine that allows us to carry out different activities while simultaneously enjoying the bike itself. It is up to each one of us to choose those activities that generate the greatest pleasure. For example, in my case, a good bike packing trip combined with a fly fishing session does it for me. What in this world could compare to this pleasure overdose? A new adventure was being cooked.

A Baphomet Bicycles Light Tourer: the Shreddy Rando

Reportage

A Baphomet Bicycles Light Tourer: the Shreddy Rando

My intent was to space out the three complete builds I photographed during my Shop Visit at Baphomet Bicycles, yet I received a number of requests to expedite this gallery to this morning. That’s a good sign, right? People are very interested in this bike and it’s easy to see why. Dillen from Baphomet originally called this bike his “Right-Hand Path”, with his personal hardtail being the “Left-Hand Path,” yet his Instagram followers summed it up perfectly with the catchy name “Shreddy Rando.”

So let’s look at this bike in detail, including a synopsis from Dillen.

What Butts: Getting Under the Paint with a Wake Robin Cycles Rando Bike

Reportage

What Butts: Getting Under the Paint with a Wake Robin Cycles Rando Bike

Why do some bikes get up to speed with seemingly less effort than others? Why do some bikes leave me less fatigued after long rides? My idea of the ultimate road and adventure bike is one that has all the wonderful vertical compliance that we know can be built into a bicycle as a system, but that also responds to and rewards its rider by flexing just right in the lateral axis as well.

We all know custom steel bikes have the potential to be a rider’s one and only. And that leads us to Wake Robin Cycles and the subject of this review. The Wake Robin is a low trail, rim brake randonneuring bike, custom built for Chip over at What Bars. If there’s one kind of bike that’s revered to ride smooth over long distances, rim brake rando bikes are it. But, not all custom bikes are equal, particularly those built for someone who isn’t you – so this one’s got plenty for us to talk about.

Kevin’s Bearclaw Beaux Jaxon Titanium Touring Bike

Reportage

Kevin’s Bearclaw Beaux Jaxon Titanium Touring Bike

That feller up at Bearclaw Bicycle Co is doing some really amazing things. The whole catalog is composed of some paradigm-shifting designs and a crowd favorite is the Beaux Jaxon. If you dig drop bars and chonk tires, that’s the frame for you. Throw in a titanium segmented fork and you’ve got a dream machine. Kevin Hinton is a tattoo artist here in Santa Fe. He also runs his Adventure Bikepacking Instagram account as a side project, which hosts overnighters, and tours in the area.

Originally from Los Angeles, Kevin cut his chops touring all over California, specifically in the desert, taking on the Stagecoach 400 multiple times. This particular loop goes from high pine country down through Anza Borrego and into San Diego before climbing back up to the pines. The Anza section is particularly sandy, so when Kevin built up this dream bike, he had some specific requirements and took that list to Sincere Cycles for the build…

Mewinzha

Reportage

Mewinzha

Blow up a balloon, it’s full. Shiny even. More than anything, the balloon reveals your reflection in her taught, shiny facade. You look past the balloon; the balloon reveals your likeness.

Workbench Review: Ratio’s 11-Speed Road to 12-Speed Eagle Drop Bar Conversion Kit

Reportage

Workbench Review: Ratio’s 11-Speed Road to 12-Speed Eagle Drop Bar Conversion Kit

I’ve got this bike. It’s a touring bike. So when it’s loaded down with gear, it can get quite heavy. To remedy this, I built it up with an Eagle GX rear derailleur and cassette, giving me a whopping 10-50t range (the new GX goes to 52t even). To shift this range, I used a barcon shifter from Microshift because as you are well aware, SRAM doesn’t make a cable-actuated road shifter that’s compatible with their MTB mech lineup.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with the Microshift barcon. I was and have been more than pleased with this option but then Ratio, a small startup out of the UK announced a 11-speed road to 12-speed mountain upgrade kit.

I think this is one time when we can ignore that old Eddy Merckx adage “Don’t buy upgrades, ride up grades…” Sorry Eddy, Johnnie’s bike needs this.

We posted about Ratio’s kit back in October. I ordered a kit the day the post went up but didn’t get motivated to do the install until I felt like I had a reason to. A few friends here in Santa Fe are taking on an all-road tour in April, and I wanted to get this bike dialed in before that trip, so last week, I swung by Sincere Cycles with the Dreamer and Ratio’s kit with hopes of rolling around on an 11-speed road shifter working with a 12-speed mountain…

Excerpts from Chapter Two of the Field Guide to Tanglefootism: A Look at Tanglefoot Cycles, Discord Components, and Fifth Season Canvas

Reportage

Excerpts from Chapter Two of the Field Guide to Tanglefootism: A Look at Tanglefoot Cycles, Discord Components, and Fifth Season Canvas

A few weeks ago, the umbrella company of radical bicycles and components that is Tanglefoot Cycles reached out, sharing their parts catalog. Aside from their wild bicycle designs, the Discord Peeper Stem really grabbed our attention. In that post, we hinted at this showcase, which we’re delivering today so enjoy a long cruise with Tanglefoot at the helm…

Rambler Bags, Kuba, and the Troubadour: a Bag for Banjo-Packin’

Reportage

Rambler Bags, Kuba, and the Troubadour: a Bag for Banjo-Packin’

My name’s Kuba, I make the bags at the Rambler Bags’ bag factory, and I made this weird bag called the Troubadour for banjo-packin. The Troubadour is a roll-top bag for carrying full-size instruments on a bike tour with a padded modular external harness that uses secondary load-lifter straps to raise the weight to the external dowel. The original Troubadour prototype was designed for a 4-month bike tour that included dirt and gravel from southern Pennsylvania to Chicago, riding the New Mexico Off-Road Runner from Santa Fe to Las Cruces, mountain climbs, wild descents, clay-like mud, hail, and a final jaunt from Tuscon to New Orleans.

Elliot’s Homemade Klunker

Reportage

Elliot’s Homemade Klunker

I first met Elliot a few years back while I was leading a bikepacking trip with El Grupo, a Tucson based youth cycling organization.  Since then I had seen Elliot tinkering with all manner of frankenbikes, which are a regular, at the Grupo clubhouse.  Discarded and mismatched components of yesteryear handed down from the large cycling community here.  Their low-pro pursuit fixed gear with a 24″ bmx fork caught my eye awhile ago and I knew Elliot had that special eye for janky but fun clashing of parts.

Bryan’s Doom Mash Track

Reportage

Bryan’s Doom Mash Track

Since we posted Two Wheel Drive yesterday, we thought it’d be nice to feature one of the shop employee’s personal bikes. Bryan is a mechanic and his Mash track bike is too slick, laced with Albuquerque’s own DOOM bars and some other nice details. Check out our friend Nick’s photos below with words by Bryan himself…

Being Seen. Being Heard: Ride Slow, Take Photos – 1200 Miles Of Conversations Along the Butterfield Overland Mail Route


Reportage

Being Seen. Being Heard: Ride Slow, Take Photos – 1200 Miles Of Conversations Along the Butterfield Overland Mail Route


On November 1st, 2018 I rolled out to cover 1200 miles of the old Butterfield Overland Mail Route from San Francisco to Tucson, AZ. For almost a year prior the headlines had been dominated by news of things happening along America’s southern border. Child Separations. Immigration Caravans. National Guard deployments. On social media channels the rhetoric from all sides, which had already been getting increasingly strident, ramped up to a fever pitch. Normal conversations spiraled completely out of control. I found myself caught up in it all, furious at family members, friends, and strangers alike.

People Have to Learn Bicycles: Inside / Out at Ted James Design

Reportage

People Have to Learn Bicycles: Inside / Out at Ted James Design

As though they’d joined a cult and made some kind of suicide pact, having seen none during the five hours of driving previous, perhaps thirty pheasants lay dead in the road over a quarter-mile3 stretch. What had happened on this quarter-mile stretch? Why here? It made me regret buying the rabbit, but without screeching to a halt on a frozen dual carriageway it wouldn’t have been practical to stop and collect them. Even at 70mph I could tell some were past their best and it’s rude to turn up empty-handed. I was on my way to visit Ted, so turning up with roadkill seemed to make sense. I was running late though and didn’t want to rely on road gifts so I picked up a wild rabbit wrapped in paper from our local butchers. It was a relief they had it because plan B was the pet shop.

I’d debated not going to visit Ted of Ted James Design and just compiling the stories people tell about him. The chronicles of SuperTed! The stories people tell can seem fairly fantastic, however, worryingly most of the time they’re true. I sometimes wonder how Ted is even alive? If I were more superstitious, I’d say his spirit was too big for his body and so it spends all of its time trying to get out. There’s something in his eyes like the sort of superintelligence and frustration a sheepdog has about being domesticated, as though any room that he’s in is somehow too small, so his eyes dance about searching for exits.

High Plains Byway Extended Edition: A Sandhills Odyssey

Reportage

High Plains Byway Extended Edition: A Sandhills Odyssey

This Reportage took place a year prior to the pandemic… please be considerate and avoid traveling to small towns during the pandemic.

Some trips stay with you more than others, and this trip is one of those. Nebraska isn’t often touted (read: never) as a cycling destination, but the truly unique and varied geography we encountered offered some of the most quality riding I’ve had the opportunity to experience. The state’s remoteness—a combination of the incredibly low population density and vast, often exposed, landscapes—was initially a concern but in actuality lent a heightened sense of adventure to our days. This is also still the longest tour I’ve taken and being able to fully settle into the rhythm of passing the days—sun up to sun down—on the bike for a week straight was a pretty intoxicating experience.

A ‘Send It Safely’ Rivendell Sam Hillborne

Reportage

A ‘Send It Safely’ Rivendell Sam Hillborne

Send it Safely? What’s that? Nick lives in Albuquerque, where he’s got a good group of riding buddies that enjoy taking to the local trails on their singlespeeds. When he first moved to town, he was jarred by the lack of trail etiquette, mostly by cyclists. Mountain bikers would plow downhill, hardly even yielding for hikers or other riders. For those unaware, uphill traffic always has the right of way. That’s when Nick thought of the phrase “send it safely” and started making stickers.

It was through these stickers that I first got to know Nick. Well, as well as you can know someone on the internet. Admittedly, I haven’t been to ABQ once since moving here, as we’re trying to play it safe during the pandemic, so Nick and I had never met before the afternoon I shot his Rivendell Sam Hillborne