#Arizona

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Red Velcro, Skipping Vortices, and Heavenly Sandstone: Riding in Sedona, Arizona

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Red Velcro, Skipping Vortices, and Heavenly Sandstone: Riding in Sedona, Arizona

With cooler temps approaching, I really wanted to circle back around to our late spring trip to Sedona. Colin and I bugged out for a bit, camping just outside of town, riding bikes, 4-wheeling, and enjoying the local cuisine. While this isn’t necessarily a “Guide to Sedona” nor will it dive into history, both colonial and indigenous, it is meant to spark a desire to ride in this veritable mountain bike theme park.

Plenty of Space to Hang Towels on Ben’s Gilmour Tandem

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Plenty of Space to Hang Towels on Ben’s Gilmour Tandem

Ben has been regaling me with stories of putting this tandem together for quite some time, each time he was looking for one last little bit to make it all fit together.  Before we met up for coffee outside the other week, he pinged me to ask if he should bring the tandem to which I responded: “Of course, coffee and cool bikes, duh.”

Pushing and Punishing Pivot’s Insatiable Mach 6 Carbon 27.5″ Trail MTB

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Pushing and Punishing Pivot’s Insatiable Mach 6 Carbon 27.5″ Trail MTB

Chris Cocalis, the owner of Pivot Cycles, knows a thing or two about bicycle design and the popularity of his bikes prove just that. I’ve reviewed a lot of full-suspension bikes over the years and am accustomed to people’s reactions at the trailhead or on the trails but no bike received such trail accolades as the Mach 6 Carbon. Before I had even gotten to ride the bike, it seemed like everyone had something to say about it. Which, as someone trying to approach reviews without any bias, can be a bit much to handle. Yet, here we are, with a month on the bike and a month since I’ve ridden the bike, ready to talk about the Mach 6. Does it live up to the lore? Read on below.

The Knolly Fugitive 29er: How a Small, Rider-Focused Brand Stays Ahead of the Game

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The Knolly Fugitive 29er: How a Small, Rider-Focused Brand Stays Ahead of the Game

Modern Modular Boingers, or How a Small, Rider-Focused Brand Stays Ahead of the Game.

Can we all agree that Mountain Bikes are just so damn good these days? Anyone who started out dropping chains on a triple ring rigid MTB back in the day will appreciate how lucky we all are now: brakes stop fast (whether or not your wheels are true); droppers drop; giant cogs for chilling; tubeless tires! Those parts all have to hang on something though, and here’s where we’ve seen leaps and bounds in design in the last five years toward lower, slacker, and longer bikes with short stems, big wheels, and unique suspension designs.

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Ruta Del Jefe Film Release, 2020 Event Date Announcement, Latest News, and Action Items

In February 2019, I hosted Ruta Del Jefe, a 125-mile self-supported adventure race following dirt roads around the Santa Rita Mountains and the lair of El Jefe, one of the few remaining North American Jaguars to live in the U.S.
Ruta Del Jefe is not just any adventure bicycle race. This film shares how the event is used as a platform to raise awareness of environmental and political threats affecting the U.S./Mexico borderlands of Southern Arizona where Ruta Del Jefe takes place and to inspire action among bicyclists. To learn more about Ruta Del Jefe, click here.
Riding Salsa’s New Split Pivot Mountain Bikes on the Black Canyon Trail

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Riding Salsa’s New Split Pivot Mountain Bikes on the Black Canyon Trail

Snow in the High Desert

Hell, we need snow in the Southwestern United States, especially in what is called the Four Corners. All winter, riding plans have been put on hold for Mother Nature’s cool embrace as our landscapes get covered in a thick blanket of soil-enriching snow. With warmer temps, the crypto soil locks in as much moisture as possible, giving water to our desert flora friends. Needless to say, when it snowed over 14″ in Sedona I was a bit sad. You see, Salsa sent out an invite to ride in Sedona last week – to take on some of the best the area has to offer on their newly-designed trail bikes.

Ultra Romance’s Warthog Wash Wiper Dirt Tourer

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Ultra Romance’s Warthog Wash Wiper Dirt Tourer

Over the years, we’ve featured many of Benedict‘s bikes here on the site. They’re always a lil bit of weird with a dash of kooky but the result of a lot of ‘pondering over a wooden pipe’ functional. For the latest build, which we dubbed the Warthog Wash Wiper, all the above applies.

In short, this bike is a desert bulldozer, yet not one you’d find Hayduke underneath with a 3′ wrench and a cheater bar. This is a bicycle, not a machine for destruction. The Warthog Wash Wiper, aka WWW, is an all-rounder dirt tourer, and it comes alive when the sand gets deep, where normal bikes become less than ideal trekking poles.

Racing Along the Ruta del Jefe in the San Rafael Valley

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Racing Along the Ruta del Jefe in the San Rafael Valley

Over the past few years, there’s been an awakening of sorts within my scope of reporting and documenting cycling: when I travel to cover an event, or set out to ride in even a familiar landscape, I like to know the geopolitical, geographical, and geological history of the land in which I’ll be pedaling across, over and through. As much as this awareness contributes to a better understanding of the land we all recreate on, it’s also a way to pay respects to the prior inhabitants of these fragile landscapes.

This interest in the background and history of a place was a large motivation for me to take part in the Ruta del Jefe: a race through the San Rafael Valley, and Santa Rita Mountains, coordinated by Sarah Swallow. Last weekend, the race went down, and up for that matter, all around the San Rafael Valley, but the weekend had much more on the agenda than just riding bikes: it was a lesson for us all in how to sustainably use the land and how we could offer up our recreation as a resource.

Super Stoke 2019: Spencer’s Black Mountain Cycles MCD

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Super Stoke 2019: Spencer’s Black Mountain Cycles MCD

There were a lot of practical and well thought out bikes at this year’s Super Stoke Weekend and if time had allowed – short days and long ride agendas always make it hard – I would have shot them all. My methodology was to try to capture some of the themes present in the stable of steeds. With Gideon’s bike, I was able to shoot a 333 Fab. One of four present at the ride. With Spencer’s bike, it was about a similar approach to frame design but from an overseas production perspective. Black Mountain Cycles is a shop in Point Reyes Station, California. Mike Valey who owns the shop designs bikes for the brand after he spent years designing bikes for other companies in the industry. He and Sean from Soulcraft worked on this frame, dubbed the MCD, or Monster Cross Disc, with specially-designed dropouts for the thru-axles. While this bike is a departure from the traditional monster cross ideologies (700x45mm ish wheels with wide dirt drops,) it gets the point across and thrives off the ambiguity of mainstream monster cross definitions.

Riding in Southern Arizona’s Sky Islands for Super Stoke Weekend!

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Riding in Southern Arizona’s Sky Islands for Super Stoke Weekend!

What started as a weekend getaway on Super Bowl weekend with friends has evolved into something much more than that. Originally, our “Super Bro” weekend – please take that tongue in cheek – was just a bunch of friends camping and riding. The next year, it grew, more ladies attended, the weather kinda sucked but what can you do? It’s Texas in February. Once I left Austin, the event spread to our friends in Seattle at Swift Industries and the name was changed to the more inclusive, less inside jokey, Super Stoke weekend. What’s the point in joking with a name if you have to explain it each time?

The event continued, mostly in Texas, with a field trip to Seattle one April, before landing in Tucson this year. Now, it was a hard sell to get me to drive to Austin to ride in the rain, but I’d gladly drive to Tucson to ride in the majestic Sky Islands and the San Rafael Valley.

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DEER

Up on Mt. Lemmon in Arizona, a rider has an unexpected run-in with a deer.

Radavist Ride with Advocates: Joe and Amber, Save the Dells – Locke Hassett

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Radavist Ride with Advocates: Joe and Amber, Save the Dells – Locke Hassett

Radavist Ride with Advocates: Joe and Amber, Save the Dells
Words and photos by Locke Hassett

When you say “mountain biker” to most people, the image of a baggy shorted, full-face-helmeted, taurine fueled adrenaline junky schralping berms and cutting switchbacks with little regard to the world around them comes to mind. The mainstream MTB media doesn’t help that image much, and bikes with names that evoke human dominance over landscape exasperate the narrative of a sport that is more concerned with KOM’s than connection.

We are criticized for not “showing up” to the table of conservation issues, and as a recreation group, we are often seen as a self-interested group of shredders. Trying to gain access to everything and terrify hikers and equestrians alike, drafting legislation that concerns hardline conservationists, and generally going too damn fast. Let’s face it, the sport has an identity crisis.

Spending New Years Sonoran Soaking in Tucson!

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Spending New Years Sonoran Soaking in Tucson!

The Holiday season is my favorite time of year. It gives me a chance to reconnect with friends, to travel, and to ride without feeling the need to take a camera with me each time. After a relaxing Christmas in Santa Fe, we headed South to the city of Tucson, where we spent five days Sonoran soaking! This gallery showcases a few of the places we rode and visited during our stay.

Registration is Tomorrow at 9am! Ruta del Jefe Race in Elgin, Arizona on February 16th

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Registration is Tomorrow at 9am! Ruta del Jefe Race in Elgin, Arizona on February 16th

Registration opens tomorrow at 9am MT at Bike Reg!

The Ruta del Jefe is a race in Elgin, Arizona, thrown by Sarah Swallow and it lands in Elgin, Arizona on February 16th. Here are the details:

“Happy 2019 Everybody! Let’s start this year off by kickin’ our butts in gear with a healthy dose of challenge and friendly competition. Ruta del Jefe is on February 16 and registration opens January 9 a.m. MT.

Ruta del Jefe is a 125-mile self-supported adventure race following a variety of dirt, rocky, and sandy surfaces around the Santa Rita Mountains, the lair of El Jefe, one of only three North American Jaguars to remain in the U.S.

The ‘fun’ doesn’t stop there. We’ll be having a camp out the night before and the night after the race/ride and word on the street is @ultraromance will be cooking everyone a very special post-race dinner.

The Sky Islands region of Arizona is one of the most biodiverse regions in the WORLD and remains one of the most spectacular places I’ve ridden a bicycle, yet the region is plagued with many environmental threats and a humanitarian crisis. To read more about the route and the issues at play, click the link in my profile.

Now go get training!”

Flyer artwork by the amazing Mary Rose Lytle Art.

We’ll see everyone there!