Today we are back with part two of Spencer Harding‘s ENVE Grodeo and Builder Round-up coverage. If you missed the builds featured in yesterday’s post, we’d recommend going back and giving them a gander—3D-printed parts (most ti but some steel, too!) seems to be the unofficial theme for the year but there’s plenty to see across the creative spectrum! Today, we finish up with the remaining frame builders in the showcase—with a few more overseas features—then we head out on the weekend’s main event, a 92-mile gravel ride on some of the best dirt in the northern Wasatch Mountains. Let’s dive in!
Petor Georgallou steals his sister away as a (reluctant) partner in crime to check out the Brother in the Wild Dorset, hosted by Brother Cycles. He’s pleased to find a “field full of weirdos” and a plethora of equally unique and odd bikes and, it turns out, everyone’s nice. Stick around near the end for a lengthy discussion on the merits and cost of silver brazing, and a sampling of the bikes that made an appearance.
The Mid South is infamous for its weather, which is banned from conversation by the staff in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Instead, the good people at The Mid South put all of their energy into providing an incredible experience for every single type of cyclist and person. Arguably the most welcoming and inclusive event on the calendar, it has cultivated a special community in the increasingly corporate world of gravel. Oh, and as for this year’s race the unmentionable weather was perfect.
Andy Karr takes us to Hush Money Bikes‘ Fall Fuckaround ride in Lancaster, PA. Amish Buggies, underbiking, and an open-heart surgery all coalesce to form the story of this event. Make sure to listen to the adjoining episode of Big Dumb Ride for more from the event’s organizer Nathan Baker.
What do you picture when you hear “African bikes”? There’s a good chance you’re not thinking of a luxury, world-class bike. And you’re not alone. We need to change the way people think about goods made in Namibia – and from Africa as a whole. Name a luxury brand from the African continent…? Yeah, we have our work cut out for us. Onguza is making handbuilt steel frames in Omaruru and helping to put Namibia on the map of international frame builders. Continue reading below as Dan Craven gives us a look into starting the brand and his motivations.
With my camera bag loaded with several boxes of 120 film and a brick of Ilford HP5, I pulled out of the driveway bound for Hartford, CT; I paused, wondering how I arrived at this moment. All of the little moves and influences resulted in me lugging two cameras with a combined age of some 75 years to shoot the season’s most crucial cyclocross race. There is a “Butterfly Effect” moment in our lives that leads us to our current state, and somewhere amongst the mud, dust, and thousands of shutter actuation is mine.
Amidst the fray of cyclocross athletes regularly pushing themselves to the limit, the unsung heroes of this discipline are churning away behind the scenes. From mechanics and photographers to directors and coaches, the lesser-known faces that keep this crazy sport going are all unique people with their own stories, but not ones you’ll likely hear about in race coverage. So enjoy a glimpse into the world of the people on the outside of the tape – we hope it inspires you to take a walk through the paddock at the next race you attend and look a little closer.
The Ibis Ripley AF is an aluminum version of the very popular Ripley (carbon) model, with the exception of a slightly slacker head tube. It seems that the Ripley has been a pretty damn popular model for Ibis, so why not adjust for yearly geometry inflation (moar slacker!) and make it more affordable at the same time? Seems like a winning concoction to me.
For those of you here for a quick review: the Ripley AF is really fun and a great deal. Its few drawbacks are minuscule enough to be overlooked. Go have your second cup of coffee and see what part of society is falling apart today. Then, if you’re still here for the long haul, let’s dip our toes into the ever-fleeting world of this “down-country, enduro-lite, extreme gravel, or whatever the industry’s buzzword is this week” bike.
“You can never go home again.” Martin O Blank’s defining line from the film Grosse Pointe Blank has stuck with me since I first heard it in the late ‘90s. It stuck with me because I thought, until recently, that it was bullshit. I moved away from Grand Rapids, MI for work and school in Colorado in 2004 but would go back to visit at least every year. And nothing seemed to change. My friends and the city itself seemed perfectly preserved in time. It always felt like home. But after a big move to Arizona and a pandemic, nearly five years passed without a visit. Then, after that time away, when my family and I road tripped Michigan this past July, I realized that Blank might have actually been onto something. My friends and the city had changed. In exciting ways to be sure, but things were markedly different and the area felt less homey for the first time in my life.
Moksha Patam is a game based on traditional Hindu philosophy. It was designed to teach players the Hindu concepts of Karma and Kama: virtue and desire. The virtues of generosity, faith, and humility are the ladders that carry you up the board, upwards towards enlightenment and to the end of the game. But if you follow the path of vices—lust, anger, murder, and theft—the snakes will pull you back to the beginning of the game. Up and down. Enlightenment and rebirth. Making it to your destination or being pulled back to the start.
I had been holding back on these notes for about a year now because I felt that calling it a “review” sounded like too much. The audience here is used to deep comprehension reviews and it’s very intimidating to put it in the same category when my experience with bicycles is reduced to the five I’ve owned in my adult life, this one included. So instead this is more of a short story about a bicycle, with hints of technical information where it feels required.
To begin, it is important to say that I am not a doctor, a data analyst, or an economist. Am I an expert regarding the growing pandemic that is becoming one of the defining events of our lives? No, I am not. I am a bike mechanic who likes to take photos. There are smarter people out there who could (or should) be writing about this, but as it is, you have me. And I find it extremely difficult—even inappropriate—to talk about this year’s Mid South without acknowledging the massive elephant in the room. For some of you, these images or just the thought of a large group gathering may be upsetting. You would be right to feel that way, and I get it. If this were any other year, it would have been a widely celebrated event, filled with love and excitement from the greater cycling community. In a lot of ways, it still was. But given that upside-down is the new normal, here we are.
Cocktails at the beach, world-renowned surf, and luscious ride patty fields. Great food, friendly people and a getaway from the hustle and bustle that is ‘Western Life.’ Sounds like a dream right? Well, it is…BUT, what if there was more? If I was to tell you that in addition to the above, this same destination was home to some of the most beautiful climbs on the face of the planet? What if there were wild monkeys swinging from above as you rode beneath the forest canopy on roads so perfect in places, that even the best roads of the first world would be put to shame. To be honest, even in writing this I excite my own senses from within. Sami Sauri and I have just spent 10 days exploring the islands of Bali and East Java on bike and can confirm that the above oasis does in-fact exists. It’s not a magical place from our dreams, but rather a short 2.5hr flight from Perth Western Australia. Paradise does exist, but not as you know it…
Credit: 906 Adventure Team. Cable, age 9, carving out his legacy.
(It’s a good day; it’s a bad day)
Shakespeare insisted that a name held nothing significant; in fact, a name is but an arbitrary designator. A rose, “by any other name would smell as sweet.” If the rose weren’t called a rose, we would still swoon over the sweet smell. Poor Juliet, the owner of a smitten young heart, failed to see everything that exists in a name. In my case, at thirty years old, I still carry my maiden name. Instead, I like to say it’s the name I’ve made for myself; I don’t see that changing any time soon. I grew up in the trailer park across the street from the General Motors Factory in Janesville, Wisconsin, and attended Jackson Elementary school. It was there I celebrated Andrew Jackson as a glorious president; Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act of 1830. What’s in that name? A legacy of brutality*, I say.
*Yes, this is a reference to the 1985 album by the Misfits. Hybrid moments is one of my favorite songs of all time.
Take the Andes, a mountain range that stretches for an impossibly long 7,200km down the West Coast of South America. Chuck in 32,000m of climbing, crazy gravel sections, remote towns and villages, altitudes of nearly 5000m, huge canyons, glaciers and some of the best views on the planet, and you have a heady cocktail of elements that make up the craziest ultra-cycling race in the world. BikingMan Peru – The Inca Divide.
Words and Photos by Spencer Harding
It’s easy to get lost in the dreamy imagery of bike tours to exotic far-off lands. I’m always making myself feel like everything has to look like a crazy-ass skid backlight by a Kodachrome sunset at the end of the world…but let’s be real in a world of unreal imagery.
Pepper and Sam came down to Tucson to start their trip on the Sky Island Odyssey. Pepper was in from Australia after being away from the states for many years on her way up to a new job in Seattle. Sam, running from the winter on Prince Edward Island and needed no excuse to come down and get sunburnt. Monique and I had been talking at the shop about going camping for a few weeks without any plan coming to fruition. We decided to take Pepper and Sam on a little shakedown ride into the mountains near Tucson before sending them down south on their odyssey. Colin, fresh off getting an OK from the doctor to do some light pedaling after he tore his Achilles, joined us until the route turned uphill!
Tro Bro Leon is Its Own Unique Race
Photos and words by Ethan Glading
Don’t call it “the Paris-Roubaix of the west.” Or “Paris-Roubaix on dirt.” Don’t call it “the Paris-Roubaix x” of anything. Tro Bro Leon is its own unique race with a character and charm you won’t find at any other event.
Held in late April in far western Brittany, the race covers 205 kms of the beautiful Bretagne countryside, including 27 sectors of ribinou, narrow dirt roads that wind through woods, farmers’ fields, over hills, along the sea and even through tunnels. The weather is typically Breton: the riders face rain, dust, mud, sunshine and strong winds from all directions in the course of the race.
At the end of most trips, I end up with left-over photos or photos that don’t have a home in any one specific gallery. Yet, while in Tucson, I found myself carrying a camera and shooting photos on just about every ride, resulting in some pretty stout photographic documentation of a handful of rides. Without diving deep into the history or the meaning, I decided to simply present these routes with ample photographic documentation.