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Cielos Infernales – Cooper Ray

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Cielos Infernales – Cooper Ray

Cielos Infernales
Photos and words by Cooper Ray

On December 5th, 2015, the world’s toughest track bike race took place in the mountains surrounding a place which was once Tenochtitlán, the capital of the great Aztec empire, known today as Mexico City where more than 21 million people reside.

The race: Cielos Infernales. The only information provided to racers was checkpoint locations, and a finish line. This is not your average bicycle race – you must contend with open traffic, self-navigation, and 10,500 feet of elevation gain (also descending) on track bicycles. There were three peaks to be ascended with winding navigation through favelas between the Sierra Madre mountains. Throughout the race, it was either up, or down, with the descending nearly as difficult as the climbing. With impossibly steep and narrow streets, stray dogs, and uneasy looks from locals, this was a game or survival as much as a race. There is no giving up, you have to finish. This is the first track bike race of it’s kind, and will set the standard for this type of event and hopefully inspire more like it around the globe.

Bienvenidos a Distrito Federal y Cielos Infernales.
____

Follow Cooper on Instagram.

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Cielos Infernales

“Cielos Infernales was being billed as the world’s toughest track bike race. The first of it’s kind- long, brutal, fast with miles of climbing into the clouds- on one gear in live traffic. 75 miles and 3 mountain ascents completely unsupported. It’s the first time an all-fixed gear alleycat has required the fitness and endurance of a stage race, and the street handling of a messenger. Plus racing in open streets in Mexico City is always a risk. Traffic is wild, roads are rough, and there’s always a chance of a stray pothole, dog, donkey or car catching you out. ”

Woah!

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SF Bike Messengers in 1987

San Francisco is an ideal city to ride a bike, both for pleasure and work. This documentary interviews the city’s bike messengers from 1987 who by the looks of it, ride for both reasons!

ECMC 2016 Registration is Open

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ECMC 2016 Registration is Open

The European Cycle Messenger Championships have landed in Copenhagen next year and if you’re a bike messenger, you can get a jump on the early bird registration now. Head over to the ECMC website for more information.

Ride in Peace Jacob Smoller: A Tribute Jacobs Track Bike – Kyle Kelley and Billy Sinkford

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Ride in Peace Jacob Smoller: A Tribute Jacobs Track Bike – Kyle Kelley and Billy Sinkford

Ride in Peace Jacob Smoller: A Tribute Jacobs Track Bike
Photos by Kyle Kelley and words by Billy Sinkford

Preface: Jacob Smoller recently passed away in Boston. Coinciding with this unfortunate event, Kyle came across a Jacobs track bike in Los Angeles. To celebrate Jacob’s life and work, we reached out to Billy Sinkford, a good friend of Jacob to write a memorial piece:

Try Harder. That was Jacob Smoller’s motto. His creed. Jacob would have turned thirty a few weeks ago and passed just a few days before his birthday. He was a Boston bike messenger, frame builder, beloved member of the international messenger family, and urban cycling community at large.

Be it music, racing, building bikes or riding them, Jacob was an artist with a strong creative drive. His commitment to the cycling community even stronger. Over the past 10 years Jacob had a hand in organizing countless cycling events and races, all with the emphasis on fun and inclusion, he was happiest bringing folks together.

Jacob loved this community, he loved bikes, and he loved Boston. Try Harder, never settle and give your all. He gave everything to the messenger community, his friends and family and we will miss him all the more for it. As everyone does, Jacob had his demons. It’s important to remember our friend for the light that he shined and not the shadow that he cast. He was a beautiful man who didn’t ask of anyone and stood tall with his decisions.

Jacob and I met over a decade ago during my transition from messenger life in Boston. I had some of the best times of my life with him, late night antics, exploring the country by bike, and candid conversations over the years. He is a friend that I hold close and his loss has rocked my world. I miss him with all my heart, ride safe my friend. I will miss our talks.

____

Follow Kyle on Instagram and Billy on Instagram.

Chas’ Legor Cicli Track Bike

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Chas’ Legor Cicli Track Bike

In the world of beausage and bicycles, you’d be hard pressed to find a better catalyst than a street-racing track bike. Or even a bike messenger’s work horse. When you combine the two…

This Legor Cicli track bike was first featured here back in 2011 at NAHBS in Austin. Originally owned by John Taki and was just recently passed down to Chas, it’s seen its share of street wear and tear. Fit with Omnium cranks, a 44RN camo chainring and Essor wheels, it has the mean stance of a race machine, with a lot of that special pista patina we’ve all come to admire.

Chas was in London to do a panel with Oakley at their In Residence space, so in-between his busy schedule, I took this bike outside to document it. There’s something special about a track bike in a city like London… and I love it! Oh and that cup in the spokes? Chas didn’t want to litter when he finished his beer.

Merckx Mondays: Scotty’s Eddy Merckx SLX Pista

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Merckx Mondays: Scotty’s Eddy Merckx SLX Pista

This is not for the vintage elite, the collectors, the Eroicas, the spoke sniffers, or the internet aesthetes. Do not bother commenting on the lack of period correct toe clips, or the lack of bar tape, or how you don’t like white tires. The bar angle will rub you the wrong way and Scotty will ride on, not giving two shits.

Scotty’s a working messenger in Los Angeles. Scotty’s older than dirt. He walks with a stride, or a cadence that is only found in individuals who live, breathe and sleep track bikes. You won’t see Scotty on a road bike and in fact, you won’t see him on any other bike than this street-thrashed Eddy Merckx SLX pista. The components tell a story, moreso than any museum-grade bicycle will, regardless of heritage.

Like beausage? This bike is for you. Just remember, before you type a critique, Scotty don’t care. Happy Merckx Mondays. Thanks to Tracko for the heads up on this bike!

Radar

Oakley: Chas Christiansen – One Obsession

Yes, Chas!

“What started off as a way to pay the rent in San Francisco, soon turned into a new way of life for Chas Christiansen. Messenger cycling opened up a world of opportunity and introduced Chas to an international community of like-minded people. Taking his bike everywhere that he goes, travelling the globe in search of new people, cultures and experiences.”

Nice one, Oakley.

Radar

The Radavist Presents: Monster Track 2015

Monster Track is arguably the most intense and highly regarded annual street race in the world. Throughout its history, racers have been inspired to travel from all over the globe to compete for the title. In it’s 16 year history, no out of town racer has come out with a first place finish.

It can be difficult for someone to appreciate Monster Track and understand what makes it such a special race for its participants without actually being there. This year, Monster Track is told through the experience of its past champions, native citizens of a city that allows for a race of this caliber, and its visitors.

Video:
Quinn Gundersen
Website: http://www.fundersen.com
Instagram: @fundersen

Photos:
Chris Lee
Website: http://www.theotherchristopherlee.com/
Instagram: @theotherchrislee

Boda Boda NYC and TCB Courier ACAB Shirts

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Boda Boda NYC and TCB Courier ACAB Shirts

All cops are bastards?
All cabs are bastards?
All couriers are bastards?

Boda Boda NYC and TCB Courier – that’s East Coast and West Coast – have teamed up on a limited run of shirts, designed by Tom Guenther and literally flying off the shelves now. Head on over to TCB Courier to swoop!

Messengers Style from the 1990’s

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Messengers Style from the 1990’s

New York City is arguably the originator of what has been marketed, packaged and sold as “messenger style.” From alleycats, to messenger bags, a lot of the visual references really took hold in NYC during the 90’s. Many of the faces and names are still in the game today.

Messengers Style is a visual showcase that illustrates what people rode and looked like in the NYC messenger community during the 90’s. This book is one that’s eluded my private collection for some time, until recently, and for those who haven’t been able to acquire a physical copy, there’s a scanned copy at Stampsy. Who needs Vogue’s interpretation of this? This is the real deal.

If you jump on it quick, there’s a used copy at Amazon right now.

2014 East Coast Messenger Stage Race – Chris Lee

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2014 East Coast Messenger Stage Race – Chris Lee

2014 East Coast Messenger Stage Race
Words and photos by Chris Lee

It was a warm, sunny day in Washington, DC. Observe the scene at the most southern tip of Hains Point park and you’ll start to see a group of rag tag racers gather near an enormous matte black camper truck. As the racers arrive, they each greet each other with warm hand shakes or even the occasional hug. This is where this year’s East Coast Messenger Stage Race would begin…