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!
Back in February of this year at Singlespeed Arizona in Bisbee, I had wanted to document the wild variety of funky, freaky, and beautiful bikes that had descended on the small town for the event. Unfortunately, the pace of that particular weekend didn’t lend itself to photographing individual bikes (something I certainly plan to do in 2021). Bike portraits, or not, it’s impossible to ignore the eclectic array of Mone, Oddity, Moonmen, and other eye-catching derailleur-less boutique fabrications and other unusual setups while in that environment. There were a handful of frames though – clean and somewhat understated with swoopy seat stays and moustache-shaped logo badges – that I didn’t recognize. While chatting with Nate from Absolute Bikes, I pointed to a member of Thee Deores (Northern Arizona’s premiere Mountain Biking band) cruising around on one of these swoopy-tubed moustachioed hardtails and asked if he knew anything about the bike. He responded by pointing to Richard May and informing me that Richard, based in Flagstaff, builds bike frames and other custom parts under the moniker Moustache Cycles.
The Santa Rita Pricklypear, Opuntia santa-rita, is a brilliant magenta-colored cactus, specific to the Sky Islands of Southern Arizona. The Ruta Del Jefe gravel race traverses this magical mountain range and this unique opuntia are the inspiration for Shimano’s new RX800 gravel shoes in a “purple and green” colorway. Pulling inspiration from the natural world brings awareness to these delicate ecosystems and the Santa Rita Mountains are still under attack from mineral extraction companies. Find out more about the fight to save these mountains at Save the Scenic Santa Ritas and see more details of these beautiful shoes at Shimano.
Towering over Flagstaff and the surrounding area, the series of mountain summits comprising what are contemporarily referred to as “San Francisco Peaks,” or just “The Peaks,” have held spiritual and cultural significance since long before Spanish colonists arrived and began assigning names to geologic formations.
The current administration has no regard for sacred lands, indigenous peoples, or public lands. After reducing Bears Ears, Grand Staircase Escalante, and other national treasures, the construction of the border wall has threatened the Arizona Trail:
“Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced their plans today to construct two miles of border barriers through the Huachuca Mountains within Coronado National Memorial and across the Arizona National Scenic Trail. Beginning Monday, July 13 the southernmost two miles of the Trail will be closed in the interest of public safety during construction activities.
This project will significantly impact the southern terminus of the Arizona National Scenic Trail, transform the landscape, and forever alter the Arizona Trail experience. The border barrier project includes 30-foot-tall steel barriers filled with concrete, the installation of a linear ground detection system, and the installation of lighting, which will be supported by grid power and embedded cameras. In addition to a 100-foot-wide road along the border wall which will be frequently driven by Border Patrol agents, CBP will also build an access road down Yaqui Ridge. This new road will be within 50 feet of the Arizona Trail.”
Read more about this travesty at AZtrail.org and remember to VOTE!
Last summer I was lucky enough to make my pilgrimage to Nutmeg Country while on a work trip to NYC. While getting a tour of Benedict’s “childhood home”, he showed me the bike pile in his basement. He looked at me and said, “Spencer, you need something classy, pick whichever frame you want.” Of course I picked the rusted Romanceür prototype…
Back in 2016, at the end of the #dflthedivide trip, there was a great little 40th-anniversary party at FreeCycles in Missoula to celebrate Adventure Cycling turning 40. At this party, there was a real nifty bikepacking rig from a small company that was right at home in a nonprofit shop. The Advocate Cycles Hayduke. Now, Advocate has transformed into Esker Cycles, and though the road and touring frames are no more, Hayduke Lives! (on). These are my impressions of this nifty hardtail.
All photos by Josh Weinberg
The Navajo people are suffering terribly from the coronavirus and Four Corners is looking to raise $2,500 to send funding specifically to our pal Jon Yazzie – our host in our this trip – and his chapter in Kayenta, so that food and water can be purchased and delivered to Navajo elders and others in need.
On the fence about this fundraiser, well, consider these data points:
-62% of Navajos live in poverty
-40% don’t have running water, with many of those unable to even afford containers to hold water. Think about that? How would you feel if you couldn’t wash your hands 10 times per day, as many of us are used to?
-Around 30% live without basic sanitation
-According to the LA Times, there are about 175K residents and only four inpatient hospitals.
-Furthermore, there’s a lack of grocery stores. Where once Navajo elders would drive to bigger cities for shopping, they are now stuck at home.
Thanks for joining me in supporting our friends!
Ya ever wondered if you could keep only one of your bikes, which would it be? At this point in my life I’d have to say my Fuji Sundance with a Crust Bikes Clydesdale fork up front. This is my “daily driver” that serves for commuting, errand running, Costco runs, carrying coworkers home, or just taking the dog out for a spin. Vintage 26” rigid bikes are the bikes that just wont die and continue to show themselves as being so damn useful, and nothing compliments that better than the Clydesdale fork.
7 years ago, I bought my first mountain bike. 3 months after that, I slammed it into a downed tree at 30mph and broke it in half. So I bought a new frame. A Soma B Side. This is the story of that bike. Now, this bike has already been featured on this site, in one of its most radical (read: stupid and most likely mechanically unsafe) configurations.
John already made that build look real purdy… This is another ode to that bike, but also an ode to how it has evolved, and how I’ve evolved with it.
Ralph Samson took off on the Sky Islands Odyssey with friends last January, documenting the trip for all of us to enjoy while we’re locked indoors. Thanks for sending this over, Ralph!
Returning to Minneapolis from my solo bike trip in Scotland, the last thing on my mind was riding bikes. Turns out pushing your fat bike through rivers, bogs and pouring rain for three weeks makes you want to never look at a bike again. I needed a break and I had planned on recovering by a lake for the rest of the summer. That is until I received an email that my new gravel adventure bike was ready in Bloomington, Minnesota.
Long-time readers will recall this bike from 2015. That photoshoot was a lot of fun and while we lost a bulk of the gallery images when our server failed, a few photos survived, including a drive side shot and the Brüt Rosé spray photo, which still to this day is tooooo hawt.
The Hawes Trail System, located in Phoenix, Arizona’s East Valley, is quickly becoming one of metro Phoenix’s more popular mountain biking destinations for both tourists and locals. Situated in the Mesa Ranger District of the Tonto National Forest, the zone is known for spectacular views and around 25 miles of designated trails that range from easy to very difficult; featuring bermed corners, steep climbs, and chunky rock drops.
The idea for a WTF Bikexplorers Gravel Program sprouted in 2019 as I spun back into the gravel race scene. I saw the same deficit in diversity that bike-touring had (and still has) when five friends and I decided to organize the first WTF Bikexplorers Summit in 2018. Despite gravel racing as a rapidly growing sport within cycling, it is still very grassroots. It is not controlled by the UCI – yet – or any other sanctioning bodies and therefore it has the opportunity to mold and change to be the way we want it to be.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
The world offers itself to your imagination,
Calls to you like the wild
geese jaguar, harsh and exciting
Over and over announcing your place
In the family of things.
-(modified) Mary Oliver “Wild Geese”
The weather matched the event in challenging the assumptions of what a desert landscape or a gravel race should be for most of the riders of the Ruta Del Jefe this year which was hosted at the Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch in Elgin, AZ. The imagination of a desert as a dry and sunny landscape dotted with saguaros, prickly pears, and cholla was expanded for those who held that thinking. Home to the Madrean Sky Islands ecoregion that includes the Santa Ritas, Whetstone, and many other mountain ranges, this area is a treasure trove for those who eat gravel for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sky Islands refers to the unique interplay between the low lying desert grasslands and the dramatic wooded mountains that become islands in the sky for their residents. Natt Dodge introduced this concept as “mountain island in a desert sea” back in 1948 which was then cemented by Weldon Heald’s book Sky Island in 1967. In the lowlands, this area is home to many unique varieties of grasses who abundantly glow their sunshine and straw colors to her visitors.
We at the Radavist are very excited to have our hands on two of these redesigned bags so stay tuned for a full-fledged review in the coming months!
Swift Industries® unveils its 2020 product-line with the Zeitgeist Saddle and Handlebar Bag in the limelight. The improvements to the Zeitgeist mark an inspiring step for the cult brand’s design trajectory as the female-led team went full steam ahead to elevate Swift Industries’ top-selling bag from an already notorious saddle bag to moonlight as an equally hailed handlebar bag.