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The Shed of Shred: A Workshop Visit with Starling Cycles

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The Shed of Shred: A Workshop Visit with Starling Cycles

Midlife crises come in all shapes and sizes. For some, a bright red Mustang relieves the itch. For others, some Eat Pray Lovin’ on a beach in Bali is just the ticket. But for Joe McEwan, Founder of Starling Cycles, chucking in his job as a successful aerospace engineer to build steel mountain bikes in a garden shed was just what the doctor ordered.

In this shop visit, we dig into the brand’s origin story, go behind the scenes at their Bristol workshop and learn why their signature single-pivots and retro rear shocks prove that simplicity never goes out of fashion.

Shawn Gillis Helped Build the Mountain Biking Community in Salida, Colorado

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Shawn Gillis Helped Build the Mountain Biking Community in Salida, Colorado

If you stop in at Absolute Bikes, a bike shop in the mountain town of Salida, Colorado, Shawn Gillis, with his welcoming grin under a distinct ginger mustache, will likely be there to greet you. Whether you need a flat fixed on your commuter or the brightest bike light money can buy in order to finish the 2,745-mile Tour Divide, Gillis will lend a hand and have you riding again in no time.

But what he really loves is setting someone up on their first mountain bike, hearing about the adventures they want to tackle, and giving them tips about which local trails to start on.

Russ Pope Studio Visit: On Skateboarding, Arting, and Bikes

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Russ Pope Studio Visit: On Skateboarding, Arting, and Bikes

The artist Russ Pope is a west coaster-turned-New England émigré. Growing up as a skateboarder and an artist, he brought his two passions together at a young age. Creativity has been intertwined with all his outdoor pursuits since, with a portfolio that boasts many skating and cycling collaborations. Hailey Moore recently had the opportunity to sit down with Russ to talk about it all—Read on for a rundown about his life of skating, arting and bikes and to learn more about a Russ Pope drawing giveaway! Thanks Russ!

Inside/Out at Oddity Cycles: Mastering the Dark Arts of Framebuilding

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Inside/Out at Oddity Cycles: Mastering the Dark Arts of Framebuilding

Looking at an Oddity Cycles-designed frame, handlebar, or fork, you might think that it was welded in a circus sideshow tent by a depraved, frazzle-haired, torch-wielding, radical. That these wildly bent steel and titanium tubes, contorted and bonded into freakishly beautiful forms, could only have originated in the darkest corners of a PT Barnum exhibition. And that’s exactly what Sean Burns, founder, designer, and fabricator wants you to think. So, on this eve of All Hallows, let’s pull back the curtain on this iconic framebuilder, and his assistant “Spooky,” along with a close look at a couple of Sean’s personal two-wheeled creations…

Introducing the Argonaut Cycles GR3 Gravel Bike, Shop Visit, and Interview with Founder Ben Farver

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Introducing the Argonaut Cycles GR3 Gravel Bike, Shop Visit, and Interview with Founder Ben Farver

Over the years, we’ve done a lot with Argonaut Cycles, from documenting its first shop location to photographing its race team at the Rouge Roubaix and shooting bikes at various showcases. The brand has come a long way in that time and today, after three years of design, testing, and research, they are releasing the GR3, a next-gen custom carbon gravel bike.

While in Bend, OR, recently, Josh caught up with the Argonaut Cycles team for a tour of their facilities and sat down for an interview with founder and designer Ben Farver. The conversation covers the brand’s fully custom in-house carbon frame and component production methods and more. Below, find Argonaut’s GR3 introduction, Josh’s interview with Ben, and an extensive photo gallery detailing the Argonaut fabrication process!

Custom With a Conscience: A Shop Visit with Terra Rossa Gear

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Custom With a Conscience: A Shop Visit with Terra Rossa Gear

It’s 8am and we’re out in the not-so-salubrious outer suburb of Campbellfield, a 45-minute drive north of Melbourne CBD. A bruised-up Subaru sits parked outside an industrial workshop with all its doors flung open, and the sound of Don Williams’s country classic “Tulsa Time” fills the air. With some trepidation, we draw closer. A pair of skis erupt from the passenger side window. Anoraks and half-finished sleeping bags lay strewn across the backseat, while a huge roll of fabric pierces through the car, like that motorway scene in Final Destination 2. Did we take a wrong turn somewhere off the highway?

Singing with Don as he walks down the stairs, Evan spots us loitering by his car. “Hey guys!” he shouts. “Welcome to the Terra Rosa playground! Apologies for the car, it’s not stolen. There’s been an unreal dump these last few days and I’m getting ready for some snow adventures in the high-country.” Of course we were in the right place: we were standing at the palace gates of Terra Rosa Gear.

Under No Pretext Should Radness Be Surrendered: Guerrilla Gravity Trail Pistol Review and Factory Visit

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Under No Pretext Should Radness Be Surrendered: Guerrilla Gravity Trail Pistol Review and Factory Visit

The Trail Pistol is Guerrilla Gravity’s short travel trail bike with 29″ wheels and 120mm of travel. It’s the type of bike that seemed to fit my riding style, and I was super excited for the opportunity to spend some time with one for a long-term review. Since the factory where these bikes are made is just a short drive from where I currently live, it made sense to combine the review with a more in-depth look at the brand, their manufacturing process, and the modularity of their bikes. The original article was close to 6500 words, so we decided to split it up a bit for everyone’s sake. Next week, we’ll share a slightly shorter article that takes a look at the modular frame platform, new paint schemes for the brand, and the next-gen Gnarvana, which is GG’s long travel enduro bike. Let’s get to it!

Among the Eucalyptus Trees: A Shop Visit with Framework Designs

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Among the Eucalyptus Trees: A Shop Visit with Framework Designs

I’d only started dating my partner Sam for a matter of weeks before we left to cycle around the world together. Red flag? Romantic? Stupidly spontaneous? – I’ll let you decide. I’ll concede that a multi-year bike tour isn’t exactly a traditional way to start a relationship. But with precisely zero bike touring experience under my belt, cycling around the world with a stranger was ironically the least of my worries. I had to find a bike, learn how to ride it (yes, I’m serious) and figure out how the hell I was going to pack my life into two panniers and a basket bag.

To say I made some mistakes would be an understatement. I mean, who knew hair straighteners and a hardback copy of The Power of Now wouldn’t be suitable for a bike tour? That said, I also made some damn good decisions, not least my choice of basketbag: The Sight Seeker from Framework Designs. That bag has travelled halfway across the world with me, weathering everything from tropical monsoons in South East Asia to numbing snowstorms in Nepal. So when Sam and I returned to Melbourne three years later, I couldn’t wait to check in with Framework Designs Founder, Tia Evans on how the business was going, visit her home studio and, of course, share it all with you.

Inside / Out at Bender Bicycle Company of Fort Collins, CO

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Inside / Out at Bender Bicycle Company of Fort Collins, CO

I’ve always wondered if there was something special about the water in Fort Collins that makes it a hotbed for legendary bicycle frame builders. Is the Poudre River’s clean mountain water that so famously supplies New Belgium, Odell, and numerous other local breweries in some way responsible for the wildly beautiful frames made by the likes of Black Sheep Bikes, Oddity Cycles, or Moonmen Bikes? Well, the answer is probably not, but Fort Collins’ water is delicious and it’s a great place to build bikes. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting with the Choice City’s newest framebuilder, Will Bender, of Bender Bicycle Company. Will has been making frames part-time for a handful of years now, with some truly beautiful machines under his belt, and he just recently moved into a new shop space to start building full-time.

Below, let’s take a look at Bender Bicycle Company as well as some of Will’s recent customer builds!

A Shop Visit to Wildflower Cycles in Superior, Wisconsin

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A Shop Visit to Wildflower Cycles in Superior, Wisconsin

Back in June of 2021, I found myself way up north in Duluth, Minnesota. I was there with my teammate Kait Boyle for a Backcountry Bike Challenge fundraising event for the local advocacy organization, Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores (COGGS) and to ride the Duluth Traverse. COGGS had been working on the 45-mile-long Duluth Traverse for years, building and linking together trails on the highlands above town, and we wanted to experience what they had created. But this was also a trip back to where I spent quite a bit of time as a kid that grew up just a couple hours to the south near Minneapolis, albeit in a decade when there were far, far fewer trails in the area. I’ll save the story of just how impressive the Duluth Traverse is for another time since you’re probably here to read about Wildflower Bicycles’ beautiful bikes rather than beautiful trails. But first, let me share why I was especially excited to visit the shop of a new-to-the-Midwest frame builder and the only one in the Duluth-Superior area.

TUNED: A Black and Asian Owned Boutique Bike Service Shop in Brooklyn, NY

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TUNED: A Black and Asian Owned Boutique Bike Service Shop in Brooklyn, NY

It seems like only yesterday, Tijon Randall was wrenching client bikes in the basement of his Brooklyn apartment due to COVID-19 shutting down shops across the country. Prior, Tijon was one of the mechanics at a local bike shop in Manhattan when the coronavirus pandemic was at its peak, including the one he worked at. Thankfully, Tijon’s relationship with clients was strong enough that the demand for repairs, maintenance, and builds kept him afloat as everyone was trying to figure out how and when it was safe to re-open stores and businesses again. This new reality showed that he might be able to fulfill his once-longshot dream of opening his own shop. And just like that, TUNED, a boutique bike shop in Brooklyn, New York, was born.

Megan Dean’s Frame Building Class at Center for Metal Arts in Johnstown, PA

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Megan Dean’s Frame Building Class at Center for Metal Arts in Johnstown, PA

The Philly Bike Expo brings together folks from all over the country each year, many of whom have transformed the event into a gathering of some of the finest frame builders in the world. I’ve made a lot of friends over the years attending the show and documenting these awesome builders. While at the show in Philly, I often approach it with a mission in the back of my mind to bring good friends back to Johnstown, PA where I live. It’s a place that desperately needs more cycling culture.

A couple of years ago I did just that and, with fingers crossed, I sprung this question on Megan Dean of Moth Attack: “This bike is unreal, it’s truly a work of art, have you ever thought about teaching a frame-building class?” I think Megan said something like “Funny you should say that… I actually have been.” I responded by telling her that I have a friend in town with a special spot we could use called Center For Metal Arts. It’s filled with light, a fire, and the glow of forged metals most days of the week. Not familiar with CMA? No problem, read on.

A Pit Stop at Roly Poly Coffee in Bozeman: Vintage Threads, Old Trucks, and a Madrean Touring Bike

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A Pit Stop at Roly Poly Coffee in Bozeman: Vintage Threads, Old Trucks, and a Madrean Touring Bike

I still look back at my time in Austin, Texas, with the fondest of memories, thanks to the many people I met while living there. I got to know the most amazing, down-to-Earth, truly unique souls in the five years I called Austin my home. Many of which I’m still quite close with today. A few have since moved on to other cities and are doing big things in their respective new homes.

One of which is Taylor Wallace, a fella I met at Flat Track Coffee years back and have since gotten to see the life he’s made for himself in Bozeman, Montana, where I’ve been visiting for a little over a week now. Taylor owns a coffee company which he operates with his brother, Gavin, called Roly Poly Coffee. We haven’t featured many coffee shops here at The Radavist but Roly Poly, as an extension of Taylor himself is much, much more…

Analog Artisanship in the East Bay: A Shop Visit with Vernacular Sewn Storage

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Analog Artisanship in the East Bay: A Shop Visit with Vernacular Sewn Storage

You might recall seeing the half-frame bag from Vernacular Sewn Storage (VRNCLR) on the prototype Super Something gravel bike Adam Sklar had at Ruta del Jefe. VRNCLR is the Oakland, CA – based bag company of maker Tom Gilpatrick. Tom has been working in sew business for some time now, currently focusing on bags for bikes and also Go Fast Campers (GFC). Earlier this summer I was in the Bay Area with filmmaker Justin Balog and we had a slice of time before heading to the airport to catch flights home, so stopped in to visit with Tom and check out his space in the eclectic O2 Artisans Aggregate.

Inside / Out at Santa Barbara’s Boom Boom Bike Room

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Inside / Out at Santa Barbara’s Boom Boom Bike Room

I met Alex when he was probably 15 or 16 years old in our local Santa Barbara bike shop Velo Pro. I had recognized him from punk/hardcore shows and I vividly remember him wearing a Minderaser shirt. He came up and was like “what’s up dude I’ve seen you at shows I had no idea you were into bikes!” After that he and I became close friends and over the past 10 or so years I’ve watched him and his wife Erin get married, open two businesses, and have a child. These two not only have, but live, that DIY lifestyle they are no bullshit about anything and it’s been awesome to watch. As soon as they told me they were opening a bike shop next to their barbershop I knew it would be something special. They’ve curated a style unlike anything seen in Santa Barbara and have built an entire community around the bike shop. It doesn’t matter if you’re a gravel grinder, BMX wheelie kid, or a commuter you will be welcomed into the Boom Boom family. If you’ve never been to Boom Boom Bike Room just imagine the video of Bad Brains playing CBGB in 1982 as the intro to The Big Take Over is starting and then the entire room explodes. That’s the energy that Boom Boom is putting out in our community!

You’ve Got a Friend in Middle Tennessee: A Shop Visit with Amigo Frameworks

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You’ve Got a Friend in Middle Tennessee: A Shop Visit with Amigo Frameworks

When I started working here at The Radavist full-time last fall, one of my first projects was collaborating with Jarrod Bunk on the builder galleries he photographed at the 2021 Philly Bike Expo. It was a great project for me at the time, as I got to interview many of the builders about the bikes they showcased and, more generally, their individual framebuilding ethos. Designing and building bicycle frames is, for the most part, an individualistic pursuit and I always enjoy learning about how builders’ personal backgrounds and experiences become physically manifested in their craft. As alphabetical order would have it, the file folder labeled Amigo Bug Out was the first I opened and I instantly fell in love with the bike I found inside. The Bug Out had everything I’d been looking for: shreddy geo, setup versatility, innovative design solutions, beefy tire clearance, and badass artwork from my buddy Casey Robertson.

After a few emails and brief phone calls with builder Zach Small of Nashville-based Amigo Frameworks, I was more than stoked to put my name on the list for the initial run of Bug Outs. Zach and I ended up talking even more over the following weeks and when we determined the bike would be built and painted in time for the annual Gosh Darn Gravel Gathering, we hatched a ridiculous plan for me to travel to Nashville, build up my bike in his shop, and then ride GDGG together. Ergo, from the coverage we’ve already shared, I had a great and productive time with Zach and I not only returned home with a hellova fresh bike, but also a new friend… or I should say amigo.

Continue reading below for an immersive look inside Amigo Frameworks and to hear more about Zach’s path toward becoming a full-time framebuilder!