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Try Before You Buy at Santa Fe’s Mellow Velo

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Try Before You Buy at Santa Fe’s Mellow Velo

“Try before you buy.” It’s not a saying you’d normally associate with a bike shop. Sure, most shops will let you take a bike on a test ride around the block or in their parking lot, but to pull a brand new bike off the shelf and “demo” it for a day, or two, or a whole month, if you so wanted to, is unique. That model was very foreign to me until I walked into Santa Fe’s Mellow Velo.

Cactus Fruit and Community at FASS Bike

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Cactus Fruit and Community at FASS Bike

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.

BTCHN’ Bikes: the Latest Chapter in Chico Framebuilding

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BTCHN’ Bikes: the Latest Chapter in Chico Framebuilding

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.

Checking in With Strawfoot Handmade

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Checking in With Strawfoot Handmade

Readers of this website might know of Strawfoot Handmade‘s bike-related products. Garrett and Vince make saddle bags, musettes, and other on or off-the-bike portage solutions. In recent years, Strawfoot has pivoted to make more than just bike bags, or bags in general. With the growing popularity of Sprinter van buildouts and other forms of mini-RVs, Garrett began making insultated window shades for the various van models, allowing the owners to not only reflect heat but offer a bit of privacy from the outside world. As you can imagine with the increased popularity of van buildouts, Strawfoot is very busy. When I was in Santa Cruz before the Sea Otter Classic, I checked in with Strawfoot, who had just moved into Rock Lobster’s old space

Belmar Bike Shop’s Beach Front BBQ Bash

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Belmar Bike Shop’s Beach Front BBQ Bash

Belmars Bike Shop’s Beach Front BBQ Bash
Photos and words by Jarrod Bunk

It was 2002 and Kyle was sitting inside of what was at the time DJs Bikes in Belmar, NJ, 16 bright-eyed and loving bikes. Ten years later Hurricane Sandy shook the eastern seaboard, in its wake not much made it through the winter, not even the bicycle shop Kyle worked at 10 years earlier.  With five grand a hell of a lot of heart, hard work, and surely ramen noodle meals, Kyle, friends, and family built Belmar Bike Shop in what was once his former employer’s space that winter, hibernation can sometimes be a great catalyst for change. Looking back to that first year, and all of the uncertainty Kyle said he’s stoked he took that first step, now in year 7 its been a wild ride and was even the original birthplace of Crust Bikes before moving down the street. My first interaction with Belmar Bike Shop was watching Kyle huck in Tahoe, so when I was invited to spend a few days checking out Belmar a few months ago cause I knew for sure I’d be in for a party.

Captain + “The Most” Stoker Coffee – Kyle Kelley

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Captain + “The Most” Stoker Coffee – Kyle Kelley

Captain + “The Most” Stoker Coffee
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley

If you’ve been to the Sea Otter Classic in the last couple years, it’s very likely that you’ve been to Captain + Stoker Coffee. It’s become quite the staple for bicycle nerds making the annual pilgrimage to the event. I’d even say that Captain + Stoker has become a home base for many people attending the Classic. Hundreds of people meet there before and after rides, they host movie screenings and even live stream races in their beautifully converted service station.

It hasn’t been easy for Tyler Ellis and Kelsey Richmond the owners of Captain + Stoker to get to this point, but from what I’ve seen each time I’ve been there, I believe they’ve both found their calling.

Duncan From Transit Cycles’ Black Cat All Road

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Duncan From Transit Cycles’ Black Cat All Road

After spending close to a month in Tucson, I got a good handle on what the cycling community is like in that wonderful city. Well, in the winter anyway, summer is another story. One place I found myself stopping by frequently for events is Transit Cycles. With Spencer’s gallery being one of my favorite Shop Visits on this site, I didn’t feel it necessary to completely revisit Transit, photographically. While they did move to a new location since Spencer’s piece, many of the vignettes and textures are still relevant to Transit’s modus operandi. I did, however, feel compelled to check out their new space and hit some highlights, and as the title implies, to shoot the owner, Duncan’s, Black Cat All Road.

Bikepacking Bags Made in Arizona at Rogue Panda – Locke Hassett

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Bikepacking Bags Made in Arizona at Rogue Panda – Locke Hassett

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.

Pottery, Stickers, and the Eastern Sierra Dream with Casey Clark

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Pottery, Stickers, and the Eastern Sierra Dream with Casey Clark

Pottery, Stickers, and the Eastern Sierra Dream with Casey Clark

Words and Photography by Spencer J Harding

In an all too familiar series of small world events, I ended up at a small property about an hour north of Reno with Casey Clark.  Casey is more known in this bike world for his side hustle of “Camp and Go Slow” stickers and patches, a visual play on the famous Campagnolo logo.  Think of this as a Behind the Music if you will, well behind the sticker at least…

Party Lines to Party Time with Durango Cyclery – Kyle Kelley

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Party Lines to Party Time with Durango Cyclery – Kyle Kelley

Party Lines to Party Time with Durango Cyclery
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley

Durango Cyclery was Liz and my last stop on the Great American Bike Shop Tour of 2017 and I must say it was very much the grand finale I was hoping for. I’m talking a crash course in sustainable free riding, fireworks from every window imaginable, late night shenanigans involving copious amounts of booze, and one of the most decorated shops in all the ranks of local bike shops all over the world.

When you walk into Durango Cyclery, it just feels right. It feels exactly like your favorite bike shop growing up. It even has all the posters from your childhood on the walls still. Which makes me think that maybe I’m wrong, maybe no bike shop felt like this. Maybe Durango Cyclery actually feels more like your bedroom as a young mountain biker, chasing the dream that one day you’ll be riding and racing with the Tomacs, Tinkers, and Gioves of the world. Maybe Durango Cyclery just feels like home! There is absolutely no compliment in the world that could be given to a bike shop that would hold higher regard than your bike shop makes you feel at home.

Inside Hubert D’Autremont’s Madrean Fabrication

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Inside Hubert D’Autremont’s Madrean Fabrication

Fans of framebuilders, or at least those who have been visiting this website for a few years might remember the work of Cycles d’Autremont landing on these pages in the past. We’ve featured Hubert’s shop, as well as a few of his bikes in the past. Well, Huburt turned a new page in his career, when he moved to Tucson, Arizona two years ago to open a new operation, Madrean Fabrication. I had the pleasant experience of hanging out with this wonderful human for a few days while in Tucson and got to look inside his shop, as well as check out a few of his new bikes.

The Road to Delcie’s Cup Cake Bike

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The Road to Delcie’s Cup Cake Bike

The Road to Delcie’s Cup Cake
Words and Photos by Spencer Harding

This past summer I was lucky enough to meet to some truly amazing people in Minneapolis.  I noticed a common thread connecting these wonderful humans. It all culminated in getting to ride with Delcie on her über custom Cup Cake…

Peacock Groove

Erik Noren is a bit of mythical beast in the world of framebuilding. His bikes are outlandish, sparkly, and painstakingly detailed. With his newer venture, Cake Bikes, he seeks to build proportionally-sized, high-performance bikes for shorter riders. Cake partnered with Minneapolis Wheel masters HED cycling to offer fat-bikes built around a 24 x 4” platform and has since moved into building cross and gravel/adventure bikes built around a 650b platform, and some yet smaller wheeled bikes which we will get to at the end.  While the bikes’ geometries are focused on smaller humans regardless of gender, the cake race and adventure team is compromised entirely of women/trans/femme/non-binary riders.

A Slice of Cycling History at Orange Peel Bikes in Steamboat Springs

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A Slice of Cycling History at Orange Peel Bikes in Steamboat Springs

Steamboat Springs is the birthplace of Moots, Eriksen, and other outdoor industry brands. Visit this ski town and you’ll see why. Located in the Northern Yampa Valley the city has thrived due to its proximity to the Routt National Forest and its plethora of trails. It doesn’t matter what your preferred form of recreation is, Steamboat has an abundance of resources for it.

One of the bike shops in Steamboat is in one of the most unique spaces I’ve ever visited. Period. When Jon from Moots took me to pick up some last minute supplies before embarking on our Steamboat Ramble Ride trip, my jaw was on the ground. While most of the outdoor shops in Steamboat are very clean and corporate, Orange Peel Bikes embraced its chaotic beauty. Much like something found in nature, there are no right angles in this bee-hive shaped space.

Bikes, Bags, and USA Made Tags: Bedrock Bags – Kyle Kelley

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Bikes, Bags, and USA Made Tags: Bedrock Bags – Kyle Kelley

Bikes, Bags, and USA Made Tags: Bedrock Bags
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley

One of Liz and my stops along the great American Bike Shop Tour of 2017 was Bedrock Bags in Durango, Colorado. A larger than life operation, in a very small space, boasting that they “make the best bikepacking gear on the market.” And when I mean small…I mean small, at first I had no clue how everyone worked in this small space at the same time, but as Joey Ernst, one of the owners, and Tae Hillyer, the production manager, and I chatted about the business I began to understand. This space had been thought out in the same tailored, tight, and clean aesthetic as all of their bags. Just like you don’t want your knees rubbing your framebag, everyone at Bedrock Bags had created a very workable space with no elbow rubbing in a very small, but very efficient corridor.

So you know your knees aren’t going to be rubbing one of their framebags.

Don’t Fake that Funk with Cjell Moné

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Don’t Fake that Funk with Cjell Moné

Don’t Fake that Funk with Moné Bikes

Words and photos by Spencer Harding

I first saw one of Cjell’s (pronounced like “shell”) bikes on a tour of Adventure Cycling’s headquarters in Missoula, Montana.  His lugged 29+ drop bar Great Divide rig hangs on the walls, in all of its patina’d glory.  Over the past few years, we have had a lot of near hangout misses, from a trip to Ecuador to being in Salida, Colorado the same day this past summer. But alas the stars finally aligned and after spending Thanksgiving in White Sands National Monument, my partner and I decided to make a stopover in Silver City for a spin in the hills and a dip in some hot springs. 

Inside / Out at Horse Cycles – Ian Matteson

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Inside / Out at Horse Cycles – Ian Matteson

Inside / Out at Horse Cycles

Photos by Ian Matteson, words by Kevin McClelland from ENVE

The Idea for this bike and trip transpired from a casual conversation at NAHBS in Hartford.  I approached Thomas from Horse Cycles at his stunning booth filled with some of my favorite bikes at the the show and we began talking about the yet to be released ENVE Gravel Fork and Gravel Bar. Thomas quickly started to show me photos of his freshly built cabin in Upstate New York surrounded by a beautiful landscape littered with some amazing gravel roads. That was the moment I knew I wanted to get out to New York for some riding with him and I knew I wanted it to be on a Horse Frame.