The beauty of bikes is in the people who ride them—and how they all have a story. I have little doubt that everyone—serious riders, aeroed and grimaced, and carefree cruisers alike—have experienced that epiphanous fresh-air feeling of freedom that accompanies spinning your legs astride two wheels. Sometimes we just enjoy it at the moment—letting the short-lived wave of release and clarity wash over us during a weeknight burrito run, or a trip to the coffee shop. Other times we chase that feeling down with the hope that, somehow, it might change our life.
What first intrigued me about Josh Uhl was, however, not his history with bikes but his podcast Here For Now, which he started in February of 2021. Josh uses this platform to have intentional and intimate conversations with his guests about motivation, struggle, and the big whys of life. Listening to an early episode with Peter Hogan, where the recovering addict asserts that “Bikes aren’t God,” and to a later episode where the writer Zoe Röm reflects on the delusion of “authenticity” on social media, I found myself frequently nodding along. Yes, exactly.
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.
PNW Components’ Range Handlebar Gen 3 comes in an 800mm width and a new 35mm diameter option. As modern mountain bikes push towards a longer reach, the Range Handlebar Gen 3 prioritizes fit and comfort with 10º back sweep and 5º upsweep, and a 30mm rise means your arms and shoulders will be in a more relaxed position. These aluminum bars are wider and even with the increase in diameter, are 25grams lighter than their predecessor bars.
The Range retails for $69 from PNW Components and come in a variety of accent colors.
Bicycle tourists are some of my favorite subjects to document. Especially ones that ride by their own rules. When a fella named Beau Walters dropped me a line on Instagram on Sunday, asking if I was free to meet up in Santa Fe as it was on his touring route from Boulder to Mexico City, I naturally obliged. Little did I know what I was getting myself into!
This video documents a couple on a road tour through southwest Colorado and southern Utah in 1982. That’s prior to the internet, mobile phones, and GoPro. All images within were captured on Kodachrome slide film and were just recently scanned and uploaded to YouTube. Videos like this have all the bicycle touring vibes!
You know how a hashtag can fuck you? Well maybe not, but a few years ago my good friend Nic and I had this idea … we’d always been intrigued by the pans – or mud flats – of the Northern Cape here in South Africa. At the time we were really getting into riding fixed gear bikes and one day it hit us – let’s take our fixed gear bikes onto the pan! Why not? Surreal landscapes, super smooth surfaces good enough for world speed records! Sounds like a good adventure right? We did some research and found out that that year there was a South African Speedweek planned in September 2014 on the Hakskeenpan, coinciding with the launch of a planned rocket-propelled car land speed record attempt – the Bloodhound SSC. We decided to travel up in Nic’s old 1963 Porsche 356 – it seemed appropriate. Bikes on the roof, gear in the back.
Today on the Radavist, we’re featuring a bit of unobtainium. Those of you who might have heard about this brand before know that the first batch of frames already sold out. For those of you unfamiliar with Rangefinder, it’s a collaboration be Adam Sklar of Sklar Bikes, Hubert d’Autremont from Madrean Fabrication, and the painter Jonathan Pucci from Cicli Pucci. While the frames are gone, the process is what’s important and that process was documented with 35mm rangefinder cameras. We’re featuring the Mystic Project book which has over 100 images, slides, project text from Nicholas Haig-Arack, and final bike photos in a really special Reportage, so enjoy.
Jones Bikes’ beloved H bars have really filled a niche in the bicycle touring community. You’ll see these bars all over the world, on all sorts of bikes. Recently, Jones updated the H Bar line to include a 35mm clamp model. This new bar has the same 45º sweep as the other Jones bars, comes in a 710mm width, and a 22.2mm standard grip area various accessories. If you’re worried about space to mount accessories, worry not, the entire front loop is 22.2mm diameter.
See the entire spec sheet at Jones.
Coming off a week of downtime after one of the most tumultuous years of our lives has brought clarity to this annual retrospective. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect as Covid-19 gripped the global community and changed life as we know it. We looked to our new home in Santa Fe, New Mexico and the surrounding areas for inspiration, pinged our good friends for their penmanship, and listened to communities that have been underrepresented in cycling. What resulted were a lot of articles that tackled some big issues and the realization that we still have a lot of work to do.
I’ve spent the past few weeks mulling over our content and have compiled a list of some of the most meaningful and fun pieces from the past twelve months. Read on below for a selection of memorable moments from 2020, in chronological order…
I’ve lost hours with a pen in hand staring at the empty page in a notebook. A cursor on a vacant screen blinking, daring me to try and recount our days from Pittsburgh to D.C. without a single mention of Covid. Alas, I couldn’t even make it two sentences without avoiding the dreaded C word, and rightfully so. Covid-19 and the pandemic we are currently in the grips of have dictated all aspects of our daily lives and certainly dictated this trip’s timing. Without Covid, the three of us would likely have been on the road in some capacity or other. Steph has been touring with bands big and small, managing their merchandise sales. Ed has been a touring musician for the better part of six years and was getting ready to embark on another tour just before the pandemic striking. As for myself, I would have oddly enough found myself in Washington, D.C., just the same, camera in hand, shooting the annual DCCX race.
While I can’t recall when the seed of this idea was planted, by early spring our plan to escape the reality of 2020 by riding from San Francisco to San Diego was beginning to take root. The year had started upbeat as I’m sure is the case for most people at the beginning of most years, but before long it took a hard turn in the other direction. Starting with a whiplash-inducing breakup that led to moving back to my parents’ house outside of Denver; those events seem small now in the context of everything that followed. As Covid 19 swept the planet and most of humanity began to shelter in place, our collective grief and anxiety began to feel like the status quo. As the days passed at a glacial pace (that was somehow simultaneously lightning fast), the snow in Colorado melted and this idea began to sprout as the earth began to thaw. At the same time, my best friend was dealing with his own lockdown situation down in Baja. Lorenzo had moved down to Ensenada late in 2019 to open a Gelato place (appropriately named “El Gelato”) and was absolutely killing it in the gelato game, helped in no small part to being probably the only gelateria in all of Baja. But when Covid hit, it hit hard and the dusty little town he was calling home completely shut down. With nowhere to go and nothing to do, I started receiving regular text messages from him about riding away from all this bullshit.
As someone who tends to spend seven months out of the year on the road, away from home, 2020 has been a welcomed change, albeit with some major adjustments. Stay at home orders in New Mexico are some of the strictest in the United States and this forced me to look to my new home state for rides and trips. Suddenly, I found myself living at the threshold of beautiful high-country riding with endless possibilities for bicycle touring and mountain biking. To put it mildly, my relocation to Santa Fe has opened up a whole world of opportunity.
It took me a while to adjust to living at 7,000′ and a big part of that adjustment has been facilitated by riding with my fast and fit friend, Bailey Newbrey. Bailey’s accolades need no introduction here and it should be no surprise to any of you that he is an incredible rider. He’s so fast that I jokingly refer to him as the “mountain trout on two wheels.”
HIGH STEEP BROKEN MOUNTAINS: Riding in Threatened Central California Coast Public Land that lost protection to drilling and fracking upon the moratorium lift in December 2019, routing through the Cuyama Valley and Sierra Madre Ridge through Bates Canyon, Santa Barbara Canyon, and Quatal Canyon.
In what I hope will be the first of many monthly(ish) articles, of varying lengths, Nikolai and I visited (in)famous bicycle designer Mike Burrows, who has been a constant in terms of support, inspiration and taking me down a peg or two when I need it (always). Nikolai filmed our trip on my Sony A7iii as part of an ongoing project, so I decided it would be especially fitting for Mike to document our trip on celluloid with my Mamiya C330, and a little Olympus rangefinder on Kodak Portra 800 film.
The journal entry following my first bike trip reads: “Why does recording life events feel so vital? Because memories can’t be trusted to stay in place. Because in their wake remains the shadowy outlines of phantom feelings—forms so great and vague that we long to recall the experiences that gave them flesh and weight. Okay. Bike trip.” On the next page I taped five sheets of 3×5 pages, carefully ripped from the pocket journal that I carried with me on the bike. I did this for the sake of chronology in my journaling, so that all of my day-to-day reflections remained bound together, in order, but in leafing through the past, I enjoy the three-dimensional quality that my inserted notes lend to the entry.
The doorbell of the Alaska bike shop jingled shut as another khaki shorts cruise ship goer left, leaving me alone at the counter for a brief moment to contemplate my future. My job at the bike shop would end in mid-September, and I wanted to be riding the Baja Divide in mid-January. These things were clear, what lay between them was not.