Mert Lawwil had already been a legendary motorcycle racer for years and was building and selling Harley Davidson flat-track racing frames with Terry Knight when they got the idea to weld up a batch of BMX bicycle frames. But Don Koski of the Cove Bicycle Shop in Tiburon, California (hangout spot of mountain biking progenitors, The Larkspur Canyon Gang), convinced them to make a production run of “mountain bikes” in batches of 50 at a time instead. Mert and Terry had to label and sell these bikes as “cruisers” because most other bicycle shops didn’t understand or want to sell “mountain bikes”…yet.
Remember last week’s story about the Coaster Brake Challenge? Well, this was the bike that Kyle from Golden Saddle built up post-haste for the last race of the year. At the time, he wanted to save up for something special but with a race rapidly approaching, he had to go quick and easy…
Welcome to the beautiful dark twisted world of Paul de Valera and Atomic Cycles‘ Coaster Brake Challenge! A race I have known about for over a decade, a race that my mentor JimC would race religiously, but for some reason, I never made the time to attend. I always made up some kind of excuse, usually, it was about the bike, which is bullshit. Paul and Atomic Cycles have plenty of loaners, and as you can already tell from the title of this story, these bikes are simple, cheap, and easy to build.
Klunkers and Cruisers, the early mountain bikes, took to the fire roads of Marin back in the 1970’s. Klunkers had a derailleur and hand brakes while Cruisers had coaster brakes only. The disambiguation of these two terms doesn’t count for much these days, as just about any bike that looks like this will be dubbed a “klunker”. We the People’s newest bike, the Avenger, is a 27.5″ rigid MTB with klunker/cruiser feels and disc brakes. We’ll look at the predecessor to this bike, a 26″ version, in detail this week but this bike, with a coaster brake would be all kinds of fun! Or just ride it as is. See more on the Avenger at We the People and see more photos below.
I went to grade school in Chico with Jeremiah and still have a very distinct memory of us running laps around the field at Citrus Elementary. He still has some cartoons I drew of a triangle guy riding a skateboard from back in those days. So it’s a real trip that after all these years, and what feel like many lifetimes to me, life has come full circle and I now find myself riding bikes and going to shows with him all the time in Chico. He almost always answers yes to the last minute “Swimming hole ride after work?” texts I send out, and as a long-time Chico rider, he knows all the cutty local trails.
Who is Uncle Dan?
Surely many of you know the Heighdealist emporium that has become the Dangle Supply Company, but most folks do not know the origin story of this incredibly popular and successful bong business.
When I was an architect, a few clients came to us with project proposals, revolving around a key object like a doorknob, a bookcase, or some other heirloom piece. In essence, they wanted us to design a house around this object. Believe it or not, this happens a lot with bikes as well in what I call “Genesis components.” Someone has a stem like a Ti Grammo Art or a crank like a Kooka and wants to build a complete around that part. More often than not, it’s that heritage piece that really ties a build together. These unifying pieces don’t have to be vintage and they don’t have to be the Genesis piece. Take Spencer’s 1956 Schwinn cruiser build for example.
Spence is an employee at Yuba Expeditions, the shop and shuttle company in Downieville that’s an extension of the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship. Everything sold at Yuba and every shuttle run purchased goes right back to the Buttes. It’s a solid system and gives dudes like Spencer and the rest of the team at Yuba, a great job in an even greater town.
Downieville isn’t a hilly town. It’s pretty flat along the main drag, so Spencer wanted a beater bike to kick around on. That’s when he pieced together this 1956 Schwinn cruiser, which fit a nice knobby tire, a modern unicrown fork, a Brooks Saddle, and yeah, the Genesis piece – the bar that really tied the build together.
A few years back, S&M introduced a new handlebar to their MUSA lineup. The Husky High MX bars are replicas of 1972 – 1977 Husqvarna Motorcycles High Crossbar. Once Spencer saw them, he knew where they needed to go.
Genesis components aren’t always the beginning of a bike build, but they do make a build unique to the owner. The context of this bike made it so unique to me, as it sat next to multiple $10k+ carbon full sus builds. Thanks to Spencer and Yuba for making my last trip to Downieville so much fun!
“The bike is done, and you can have it!
Wow, remember when we sent out that last teaser press release about the sweet custom bike we were building for Sierra Nevada Brewery to show off at this year’s Sea Otter Classic?”
Bumping into Rick Hunter in Santa Cruz, you never know what you’re going to get. In terms of his bike anyway. You’ll always get a smile, a handshake, an offer of a beer or a piece of fruit. Rick’s full of surprises and sometimes, that means he’s riding a beast you’ve never seen before. One made from steel, in his shop, where he painstakingly hand mitered the tubes and milled out random bits of hardware. This rusty singlespeed cruiser has been around the block over the years, first being handed off to Cameron Falconer and eventually it rolled back into Rick’s possession where he recently just rebuilt new wheels for it.
It looks like a hunk of metal from afar, but upon further inspection you can really see the thoughtfulness that went into its design. My first thoughts were how even though this was one of Rick’s early bikes, it still looks strikingly similar to the Bushmaster we saw last year around this time. Ok, maybe it’s not that similar, but the lines of these two bikes are undeniably a Hunter Cycles creation.
Thanks for the nectarine and chats Rick! See ya again soon.
Edit: the gallery is fixed. Sorry about that!