Love Will Tear Us Apart is a reference most will get right off the bat. It is one of Mattia from Legor Cicli‘s and Franka from MAAD‘s favorite songs and one that they’ll sing to each other. Mattia has the habit of naming his bikes after songs, most of which are of the post-punk variety, full of emotion and vibrancy. This ideology spills over from the music onto and into Legor Cicli’s bikes.
On Sunday, May 19th, I attended the National Interscholastic Cycling Association’s California State Championship mountain bike races in Tehachapi, California. I’m no stranger to a bike race but this was my first time seeing the for high school kids-only mountain bike races, a phenomenon I’ve been aware of since the mid-2000s. The weekend was an illuminating moment, where I was reminded of the joy of racing mountain bikes, and where I witnessed hundreds of kids fiercely battling each other during competition and alternately giving themselves in support of their teammates as well as other competitors. Sunday was full of tears, hugs, smiles, frustration, and joy.
Throughout the Spring I was unfortunate in that I had to miss all of the El Grupo Bikepacking overnight trips except our final one, the big end of season trip. Colin had devised a modified Craters and Cinder Cones loop so that we could do a half loop as an overnighter. Now, most of our trips are totally self-supported, but as Colin was still recovering from his Achilles injury, he planned to drive the van and meetup to camp with us. Nonetheless, the kids still carried all of their gear, but we were lucky to have a little water and snack angel along the way.
Last week, we looked at the new Juliana Quincy, through the eyes and words of Amy Jurries and today, I’ll be taking you through the new Stigmata, as someone who rallied and loved the last model. How does it compare? Read on below.
The Santa Cruz Stigmata was truly one of the first disc all-road bikes that opened my eyes to not only what an off-road bike could be, but what it should be. I loved it so much that it influenced the geometry of my Firefly, yet that initial Stigmata review was over four years ago. A lot has changed in that time and the Stiggy was long overdue for an overhaul, mainly in one specific area, the tire clearance!
Biking Man Corsica: The Mountain in the Sea
Photos and words by Ryan Le Garrec
Bikingman Corsica is a mere 700 kilometres race, sounds short for an ultra distance race, well, add 14.000 meters to climb, crazy temperature drops, freezing wind gusts, potholes hiding inside the dark, standing cows on the roads and pigs and boars coming along, wandering dogs and all kinds of wildlife. A beautiful tortuous island with no flat road at any point.
It almost feels like a waste to race it.
We were on a ride when I told Alex the idea.
Thinking about an art piece while pedaling was nothing new, many of my paintings can be linked back to a long ride or a short bike tour. Spending most of the day in the saddle gives me the opportunity to clear my head, observe the landscape, brainstorm, and talk with friends; it’s the perfect social activity for the semi-recluse artist. I can be silent for hours, and when there is something to say we talk.
“Alex, I want to make my bike into a mobile painting studio so I can bike out and paint the landscape. A custom rack that could turn into an easel would be awesome, and I’m hoping you can fabricate it.” This bike setup would eventually be the narrative foundation of my next art show.
We took a quick look at this bike once before – during our 2018 NAHBS coverage – but it’s back, with a vengeance! This Northern Frameworks hardtail belongs to Jarrod Bunk, one of the authors here at the Radavist. Who knows Jarrod? Show of hands. Ok yeah, he’s a popular fellow and he finally made it across the United States from Western Pennsylvania to as far west as you can go to California. He has been in town for the week to see Kyle and Liz get married and to get a taste of what it’s like to ride mountains here in SoCal.
Problem is, to enjoy it a little more, he had to switch the bike from singlespeed to geared.
Quincy, California sits at the northern end of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It’s in the heart of California’s Gold Country where in the mid-1800s, miners from all over the world came for their chance at striking it rich. It’s in part thanks to the Gold Rush that within spitting distance of town, you have access to hundreds of miles of mountainous dirt roads.
While the town itself is small, with not much more than a movie theater and a few places to shop, each year around September the population swells with the crazy two-wheeled set for Grinduro weekend. Juliana’s new drop bar bike, the Quincy, is 100-percent made to rule on this terrain. Before Sea Otter, I was invited down to hang out with the Juliana/Santa Cruz team and test out the Quincy. With a 40+ mile ride in the mountains around Big Basin Redwoods State Park, we rode hard on everything from tarmac connectors and loose chalky gravel to branches, mud, and gopher-hole-checkered grassy downhills.
Can’t Stop Won’t Stop with Winneteaux
Words and Photos by Spencer Harding
Years ago a housemate of mine came back from SXSW with a tale of this person who they met rolling around on a tall bike while playing the accordion. He said, “I wish that kid from somewhere could be from LA.” Fast forward a year and Winn, the kid from somewhere, showed up on our doorstep. She had caught a ride back with some of my housemates on their way back from SXSW that year. So it had come true, the kid from somewhere had made it to LA.
For those of you who have been following along for a while, you may know that before all this bikepacking-cool-bike-stuff I used to build and ride freak bikes, in fact, up until recently a majority of my touring experience was done from the seat of a tall bike. After college, I chance happened upon a warehouse full of freaks and bikes alike, it was the most beautiful place I had ever seen. Winn had migrated to LA in search of the same place.
Save The Boundary Water With Northern CX Works
Photos and words by Jarrod Bunk
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is America’s most visited wilderness area. It contains 1.1 million acres of pristine water and unspoiled woodlands. Along with the Superior National Forest, it contains 20 percent of all the fresh water in the entire National Forest System. Like much of our Nation’s pristine Wilderness, it is now being threatened.
One Arm Bandit: Little Wings, Big Things
Photos and words by Ryan Le Garrec
François is what you would call in French a “fonceur”.
Literally, the word means “fast guy” but it’s more of an expression.
It evokes enthusiasm, determination, well, a lot of will and positivity,
and I couldn’t think of a better way to define this guy.
He won’t take no for an answer. From anyone. He is driven.
At the beginning, he was the first messenger working for Hush Rush, that another François created. He soon took the project by himself and managed to develop it into a real company.
Words and Photos by Spencer Harding
It’s easy to get lost in the dreamy imagery of bike tours to exotic far-off lands. I’m always making myself feel like everything has to look like a crazy-ass skid backlight by a Kodachrome sunset at the end of the world…but let’s be real in a world of unreal imagery.
Pepper and Sam came down to Tucson to start their trip on the Sky Island Odyssey. Pepper was in from Australia after being away from the states for many years on her way up to a new job in Seattle. Sam, running from the winter on Prince Edward Island and needed no excuse to come down and get sunburnt. Monique and I had been talking at the shop about going camping for a few weeks without any plan coming to fruition. We decided to take Pepper and Sam on a little shakedown ride into the mountains near Tucson before sending them down south on their odyssey. Colin, fresh off getting an OK from the doctor to do some light pedaling after he tore his Achilles, joined us until the route turned uphill!
It’s hard not to make that reference on a bike called the Chris Cross. Back when Fat Chance began, I doubt Chris Chance would have foreseen the future, or at least where and how people would be riding these bikes that are a mix of ‘cross and road bikes yet here we are. Brent bought a Chris Cross with the “Team Fade” finish and matching stem to be his all-rounder bike in SoCal and on a recent outing to Los Angeles, I was able to shoot this damn perfect bike.
Equipping an Amateur Bikepacker (and Professional Filmmaker) for the Peruvian Andes
Photos and words by Morgan Taylor
When most people think “I’d like to take on my first bikepacking trip,” they don’t think of going to the Peruvian Andes. Well, most people aren’t my friend Ben Johnson. Ben’s a filmmaker and a storyteller, and once an idea gets into his head, it’s hard to shake him of it.
Ben had long been following Ryan Wilson’s work here on the site, and lusted to pedal in the high mountains of Peru. With another film project taking Ben down to Lima, the flights were paid for, and the idea of this side trip and a passion project was sparked.
Lots of people ask Stephanie and me for advice about bike traveling and we’re happy to help. Ben came to us with an ambitious plan, a short timeline to get a bike built, and enthusiasm through the roof. He needed help.
I had recently transitioned away from full-time work to focus on creative projects: the right place and the right time to help Ben get set up for his adventure in the Andes. I’m happy to present the film here, and will get into the details of the bike build below.
Cactus Fruit and Community at FASS Bike – Locke Hassett
Words and photos by Locke Hassett
A few weeks back, I found myself an hour from the Mexican border with no real plan. This impromptu trip was a response to bad weather in Moab and a spooky snowpack in the La Sals putting a damper on a spring break sufferfest that had cooked up. I found my passport in my truck, and we decided the night before leaving to head to Baja instead. This would in no way be the same trip, and I’m ok with that. Still, I couldn’t go on a week-long road trip and leave the bikes at home. Luckily, my co-pilot understood my addiction and played along. Before the border crossing, I sent some friends a message asking for tips of cool places to ride in Baja. Lael came through with the recommendation of checking out FASS Bike in Vicente Guerrero and the trails near there. Lael knows what’s up, so I heeded their advice.
Tro Bro Leon is Its Own Unique Race
Photos and words by Ethan Glading
Don’t call it “the Paris-Roubaix of the west.” Or “Paris-Roubaix on dirt.” Don’t call it “the Paris-Roubaix x” of anything. Tro Bro Leon is its own unique race with a character and charm you won’t find at any other event.
Held in late April in far western Brittany, the race covers 205 kms of the beautiful Bretagne countryside, including 27 sectors of ribinou, narrow dirt roads that wind through woods, farmers’ fields, over hills, along the sea and even through tunnels. The weather is typically Breton: the riders face rain, dust, mud, sunshine and strong winds from all directions in the course of the race.
BTCHN’ Bikes, the latest chapter in Chico Framebuilding
Photos and words by California Travis
The small college town of Chico, California has been home to a few very notable framebuilders over the years. Jeff Lindsay starting out building road bikes is 1972, and was one of the first pioneers to create mountain bikes under the name Mountain Goat in 1981. Bob Seals (inventor of the Klean Kanteen and Cool Tool amongst other things) took modern geometry and quality materials, combined them with classic curvy steel cruiser aesthetics and founded Retrotec Bicycles in 1992. Mitch Pryor of MAP Bicycles took custom randonneuring frames to the next level of meticulous perfection in Chico and then Paradise.
The folks at UK-based cycling adventure co. Pannier are doing great things. From before I ever started backpacking and touring, I’d had a romantic vision of touring around the English countryside – stopping into pubs when I needed food and rest, waving at sheep. The “usual stuff” had always prevented me from actually doing it – namely, the logistics of mapping a route and flying a bunch of gear across the pond. So it felt like divine intervention just a few weeks ago when I discovered the Route Beer Ramble – a 200km weekend group ride from London to Bristol, wrapping up with custom-brewed beers (and a brewery tour) at Cocksure Brewing Co.
I was told by Stef and Dave (Pannier head-honchos) that I’d only need to bring a helmet, pedals and cycling shoes – they’d essentially handle everything else. This removed my biggest obstacle – and as the sole international traveler, it made booking this trip last-minute infinitely do-able. Upon arrival, Stef had me fully setup with a beautiful Surly Straggler with fat gravel tires and Ortleib weatherproof bags. All the necessary camping gear (tent, pad and bag) would be ready and waiting for me upon arrival at our first checkpoint. This was really almost a bit too good to be true.