Babad Do’ag, roughly translates to “Frog Mountain” in the O’odham language. This mountain is now commonly referred to as Mt. Lemmon, named after botanist Sara Plummer Lemmon who studied the botany of the mountain in the late 1800s. The imposing profile of the sprawling mountain range that lines the north and east sides of Tucson is impossible to ignore. While the paved road up into the range is the stuff of road biking legend there is a huge spectrum of unpaved roads that circle the mountain as well. While Patagonia, AZ has been an epicenter of gravel cycling in Southern Arizona, I wanted to bring some attention to a route that was more Tucson-focused.
Perhaps you remember this piece we posted a few years back, showcasing the conservation efforts by Arizona-based community members to save the Dells from residential development. Well, on July 13th, the City Council of Prescott, Arizona voted in a Special Voting Meeting, ultimately rejecting the development of this important piece of land in Northern Arizona, saving 474 acres of unique public land…
“Tuesday, July 13, 2021. Remember the date. Prescott, Arizona City Council voted 7-0 to approve the annexation of thousands of acres of land owned by Arizona Eco Development into the city, with the prize being 474 acres of natural open space now under city protection. This culminates a five-year process in which a few caring citizens formed a political action committee, Save the Dells, to achieve this very goal. Save the Dells garnered enormous public support, and through long, sometimes very difficult, negotiations, this date turns out to be the win-win-win successful compromise for Prescott, the people, and the developer. And let’s not forget the thousands of animals that depend on that ecosystem!”
Read more at Save the Dells’ Facebook Page.
Expectations are an interesting thing. In a way, dreaming about something is often what motivates us to do it. We dream of what we can achieve, or of a potential adventure, and the belief that it could happen excites us enough to go out and prepare in the hope of making it a reality.
I’m a professional cyclocross racer, and those dreams and expectations I have for myself guide my everyday decisions and allow me to push myself above what I think is possible. Just thinking about what I want to achieve gets me excited, but also a little bit nervous. I want to live up to my own expectations, and I so badly want to make those dreams a reality. Yet, those expectations allow me to set a standard for myself; a standard of excellence that I need to bring to each training session, making me inherently better than if I did not have those high expectations.
But there can also be a darker side to expectations: when an unrealistic picture you paint in your mind ends up being shattered by a much more difficult reality than the one you had planned.
The accompanying gallery includes photos from a few of the areas in Arizona burned by wildfire in just the past 15 months.
My friend Joe and I stood atop Spruce Mountain just below the fire tower one last time this past Friday, admiring the surrounding peaks and forests of the Bradshaw Mountains. We both live just a few miles from this summit, and we share a love for big rides in the chunky, challenging backcountry trails deeper in the range. But today’s ride was a short one, first thing in the morning. Up on that vista, my eyes hopped from one patch of brown to the next, each a cluster of dead pines and firs. The ongoing drought is having a devasting impact on these forests. To the north, smoke from the nearby 40,000+ acre Rafael Fire filled Verde Valley with an impenetrable brown haze.
A while back, we featured the photography of Shaun Marcus and the writing of Jon Yazzie in our Reportage section, documenting the Dzil ta’ah Adventures Navajo Youth Bike-Packrafting Adventure Series. That story took place in Nazlini, AZ, and it served as an introduction to the readers of the Radavist about the Silver Stallion Bicycle and Coffee Works. All last year, the Navajo Nation fought the Covid-19 pandemic, as it spread across the expansive reservation which covers over 27,000 miles of Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. This year, with the vaccination efforts pushing forward, I felt like it was finally safe to travel three hours south to Gallup, New Mexico upon invitation to get a first-hand experience of what the Silver Stallion has been up to…
We rolled back into Kayenta from an overnighter with Jon Yazzie from Dzil Ta’ah Adventures and I reminded him that I wanted to shoot his bike. “Yeah! Leave the bags on it. As is…” I said to him. Jon took a few moments to tidy up the straps and make sure the bags were tight and neat before handing it off to me. He loves this bike and so I took it as an honor to photograph it. For me, there’s nothing better than riding with the person whose bike you’re documenting. It feels less transactional and more personal. You get to see how they treat their ride. Are they crashers or thrashers? In doing so, there’s a real connection that’s established. For Jon and I, we’ve spent a few years communicating over email when projects arise. Josh has done an exceptional job documenting Dzil Ta’ah Adventures’ trips in Arizona in the past and this trip was the first time I met Jon in person. It felt like a no-brainer to shoot his titanium Vassago Optimus 29+ tourer, so check it out in detail below.
This one is gonna be a simple write-up. Ally had a really amazing looking custom bike from a builder, Hoefer Cycles, I had never come across before. I asked Ally about the story behind the bike and she just responded, “I told him I wanted a sweet bikepacking rig that I could ride anywhere.” I reached out to Donald, the man behind Hoefer Cycles, and he corroborated the story and adding that “It’s really fun when someone comes to me with a request as open-ended as hers was and trusts me to deliver.” While handcrafting a detailed and intentional build such as this is nothing simple, the joy it produces is. Just look at that smile, Donald still remembered seeing Ally’s huge smile as she came back from the first test ride. After Ally had trouble finding something that truly fit, it seemed Donald had hit the bullseye.
February 28 – March 8, 2021
Arrival in Yuma, Arizona
The Impossible Route team arrived about as prepared for it as a groom to a shotgun wedding.
We planned on paper, but this was the Mojave Desert and Death Valley; and they would definitely hold some big surprises.
Things are moving a bit slow over here this morning after I spent the weekend in Arizona with the Silver Stallion team riding trails with kids and documenting a very busy Sunday in Fort Defiance at the Silver Stallion mobile bike shop pop-up in the Navajo Nation. Being present while this team worked all day in the sun and wind on its community’s bikes was a wonderful thing to witness, so expect some Reportage coming up next week. For now, I just wanted to say thank you to the entire Silver Stallion team for being such great hosts.
This video is embedded in today’s Reportage.
With $12,000 e-MTBs on the market, we asked ourselves, “what is the minimum you need in a bike to have fun?”… This is a wild ride, presented by Cjell Moné’s writing and Joshua Weinberg’s vision. Enjoy!
Swipe, BMX video, swipe, oh, nice curved top tube, super-sharp photo of a gorgeous frame sitting on OSB, @sklarbikes. Swipe, snowboard video, swipe, oh, (pulls phone away and back in toward the eye), brain knots and unknots, those seat stays are hard to comprehend @oddity_cycles.
Swipe, surf video, swipe…AD for an OG Klunker from State. Swipe, swipe, swipe, backswipe backswipe backswipe….$399?! Shut up. The lines on that thing aren’t half bad. Swipe, swipe… Backswipe backswipe… I can’t stop looking at this affordable klunker from State. It comes with Kenda chunky 27.5 x 2.2 tires, a 1 1/8 threadless fork, and pretty decent lines. Not a huge fan of the chrome riser bars, but hey those Vans grips…hmm hmmm. $399?!
Last year, State Bicycle Co’s team took off on their new 6061 All-Road bikes to ride from Flagstaff to the mighty Grand Canyon. Watch as their adventure unfolds in this video… #SouthWestIsBest
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.
Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a lot of negative internet chatter when bike brands release hardtail trail bikes that are not overly slack, steep, or otherwise geometrically boundary-pushing in some way. My suspicion is that many of these comments come from riders that prefer lifts over pedaling uphill but nonetheless cast a shadow on mid-travel hardtails that are intended for folks that aren’t spending their days in terrain parks.
The first time I found my way across the train tracks and into the strange little courtyard parking lot of Citizens I was awestruck. It was full of rusty old sculptures of flowers and birds and beautiful strange shapes welded out of discarded bike parts. I knew that I had found something that felt right in that deep way that feels like home and an adventure all at once. It was love at first sight and it only got better as I walked down a makeshift concrete ramp into the dark basement. It took my eyes a few moments to adjust and focus on the chaos that surrounded me. There were folks with bicycles in all states of disrepair and disassembly. There were piles of wheels, rusty frames, milk crates full of thousands of derailleurs and brakes, and every bike part you could possibly imagine. Every surface was covered in murals and the bright colors were dimmed by the shadows of sparse fluorescent lighting. The staff was indistinguishable from the crowd and everyone seemed like they would be just as comfortable in a post-apocalyptic wasteland as in a basement in the center of Tucson Arizona, which come to think of it often resembles a scene from a dystopian novel.
Alrighty just gonna come out and say it, this Industry Nine carbon wheelset is amazing. Fucking duhhhhh, for $2500 it better be sweet right? Well, yeah, it is. If you’ve read this far and gleamed as much as you need to know about a really expensive wheelset that you (and me honestly) can’t afford, great, look at the cool photos and enjoy.
If you are seriously interested in making this purchase and want to know my thoughts then, please follow me down the rabbit hole…
Bikepacking gear has evolved so much over the last couple of years and I’m always excited to see brands expand on products and concepts that are proven to work and also step up to create solutions to carrying gear on bikes in innovative ways. Utilizing 100% the waterproof and durable construction they are known for, Ortlieb just released updates to their classic bikepacking line and also added some interesting new products. In advance of the products becoming available this week, Ortleib sent me a handful of bags from their new and revamped bikepacking lineup. I’ve been using them on my Kona Sutra, fairly full and weighted, around my local singletrack to provide some initial insights and detailed photos of some of the new aspects.
Yesterday, we featured an Inside / Out piece on Moustache Cycles, a Flagstaff-based framebuilding operation headed by Richard May. Today, we’re checking our four of his bikes, with Richard describing each so enjoy!