On a side street of Hayden, Colorado is an unmarked historical building. At first, I couldn’t even find which door led inside. Essam greeted me and invited me to wander around. Before long I’m enraptured with the stacks of bikes and parts that fill the small space. Once I pull my jaw back off the floor, Essam bends my ear with the tall tales from Hayden, how his shop got its name, Moots history, and the crazy injury that lead him down the path of owning Iron Wheel Trading. In a town that is mostly blown through by people on their way to Steamboat Springs, there is a special treasure waiting for those who stop to pay a visit to Essam and his shop.
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.
Growing up in a small South African town in the late 80s and early 90s meant David Mercer was largely shielded from the travesties of the apartheid era. But in 1994, in a coincidental coming-of-age historical convergence, the status quo was cracked open, not just for Mercer but for the whole country. The same year he turned 16, South Africa officially ended apartheid as the country held its first democratic elections. At this point, Mercer was well enmeshed in his love affair with bikes, having grown up a young BMX ripper but becoming fully infatuated with mountain biking as a teen. Many youthful afternoons spent pouring over bicycle magazines like MB UK and Mountain Bike Action led him to develop a fast fascination with steel-wielding magicians like Dave Yates and Chas Roberts and were responsible for his own framebuilding aspirations. However, the end of apartheid brought a wave of foreign frames as longtime sanctions were finally lifted. This swift influx quickly decimated the local steel bicycle manufacturing industry and a deflated Mercer went on to become a veterinarian. The dream of bikes was always there, simmering in the background, but it would be nearly a decade-and-a-half before he’d pick up a torch himself.
Tom Ritchey is not what you would call an open book. Rather, he’s a whole library; a labyrinth with many alleys, chockfull of stories, where everything splits and branches like the best network of singletrack, and there are no cul de sacs. Every door leads you to another room. Every answer opens up another question. There are no shortcuts.
The following is just a casual conversation. In it, you might not find all the details of the next frame that he is working on but you may find a better understanding into what it took for Tom Ritchey to become Tom Ritchey.
“I have a public self and I have a personal self. I could answer that question on a public side and tell you I just love riding my bike and being by myself and all (…) That would be an authentic answer but it’s not the whole answer of course. So I’ll give you the personal one too.” – Tom Ritchey
In our previous story, we showed you Atom Cycles’ workshop in Ojo de Agua, in the State of México, but here we’ll take a look at two of their finished bicycles. What better example to look at in-depth than the personal bikes of Dulce and Wladimir, the couple behind the name.
My partner Karla and I find ourselves in México City after what feels like going in and out of a pipe from Mario’s world. The truth is we took a plane, but after so much time of having this trip in mind, it takes a while to assimilate that it’s actually happening. We spend an afternoon putting our bikes together and some bolts later they’re ready to take us around this city; we feel quite intimidated by its size and the never-not-honking cars but the bike paths that have emerged over the recent years make riding much more manageable. Coming from a place that’s pretty much at sea level, the 2200 meters of elevation squeeze our lungs on the slightest uphill and when we arrive at the address on our map our hearts are beating fast. There’s no sign outside the place but a rack full of bikes indicates we’ve made it to Básica Studio, home of frame builder Eli Acosta.
I first met Elliot a few years back while I was leading a bikepacking trip with El Grupo, a Tucson based youth cycling organization. Since then I had seen Elliot tinkering with all manner of frankenbikes, which are a regular, at the Grupo clubhouse. Discarded and mismatched components of yesteryear handed down from the large cycling community here. Their low-pro pursuit fixed gear with a 24″ bmx fork caught my eye awhile ago and I knew Elliot had that special eye for janky but fun clashing of parts.
The story of this bike starts before it entered my life. It starts with a place, a center of creativity and bike culture. It starts with Citizens warehouse. In 2007 my sister Cailin joined a newly formed youth cycling club called El Grupo through her high school. The club centered around a DIY ethic and she built herself a bike at a then 18-year-old bike collective called BICAS. BICAS lived in the basement of a haggard old warehouse called The Citizens Transfer Warehouse affectionately known as Citizens. Cailin quickly fell in love with cycling and being my best friend she built me a single-speed road bike and encouraged me to come to see what El Grupo and BICAS were all about.
Brian from Chapman Cycles brought two bikes to the Philly Bike Expo this year with 99% matching parts and paint save for a saddle, this is the smaller of the two. A mixte with a monumental amount of flair, all the way down to the Campagnolo shifter turned chain-keeper and the double Rene Herse crank turned single with a bash. The build is a mix of Campagnolo Veloce setup 1×10 with a wide range SRAM cassette, SON dynamo hub that powers both a front lamp and a tail-light the tail wiring run internally to the saddle, a handmade rack designed around the bike. Paul Touring Cantis provide the stopping power.
It’s hard not to make that reference on a bike called the Chris Cross. Back when Fat Chance began, I doubt Chris Chance would have foreseen the future, or at least where and how people would be riding these bikes that are a mix of ‘cross and road bikes yet here we are. Brent bought a Chris Cross with the “Team Fade” finish and matching stem to be his all-rounder bike in SoCal and on a recent outing to Los Angeles, I was able to shoot this damn perfect bike.
BTCHN’ Bikes, the latest chapter in Chico Framebuilding
Photos and words by California Travis
The small college town of Chico, California has been home to a few very notable framebuilders over the years. Jeff Lindsay starting out building road bikes is 1972, and was one of the first pioneers to create mountain bikes under the name Mountain Goat in 1981. Bob Seals (inventor of the Klean Kanteen and Cool Tool amongst other things) took modern geometry and quality materials, combined them with classic curvy steel cruiser aesthetics and founded Retrotec Bicycles in 1992. Mitch Pryor of MAP Bicycles took custom randonneuring frames to the next level of meticulous perfection in Chico and then Paradise.
Ready for some eye candy overload? Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you! Head over to the Vanilla Workshop to see the 2019 Speedvagen Guidebook. This has to be the best yet!
We’re here at Sea Otter Classic and in the throughs of the first day’s chaos of setup. While we get our bearings straight and document the show, we’ll share this beautiful Mosaic Sparkle all road. The GT1 is Mosaic’s titanium gravel bike with a geometry tuned for all day rides. It’s built with Mavic’s new All Road Carbon SL wheelset, SRAM AXS, Zipp components and WTB’s Venture 27.5 x 47mm tires.
This bike, along with McGovern, Sklar, Stinner, Argonaut, will be a part of the Builders for Builders raffle fundraiser for the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship.
What do you think? Class? Or Flash? Or both? It’s growing on me for sure. If you’re at the ‘Otter, swing through the Echos Communications booth at A42 to check it out along with the rest of the builder’s offerings.
Without going into the psychology of tandem riding again here on the site, let’s just dive right into this super sick Legor Cicli MTB touring tandem named Bruno. Mattia from Legor Cicli made Bruno similarly to his 27.5 or 700c road bike called LWTUA, or love will tear us apart. You can fit a 27.5 x 2.4″ tire for off-road riding, or a 700c x 45mm tire for road. The gearing is also interchangeable with 1×11 or 2×11, depending on the riding. Mattia used T47 bottom brackets and a custom eccentric shell. Oh and it’s Di2 for a very practical reason; packing and shipping the bike for international travel. Mattia and his wife Franka from MAAD Cycling toured on this bike prior to the Eroica Nova, where Kyle and Liz raced the bike.
Want to support trail building, the Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz and win a Caletti? Check out how below!
“One lucky supporter will get a custom steel Caletti Cycles frame in the Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz’s (MBOSC) “Support Trails & Win a Caletti” campaign. MBOSC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit trail stewardship and advocacy organization that works to improve trail access in Santa Cruz. Donors receive one entry for every $10 donated to MBOSC between now and May 4 when a winner will be selected. The winner then gets to work with John Caletti, framebuilder and owner of Caletti Cycles, on a custom steel frame. The winner can choose any frame model that Caletti Cycles offers. Donations can be made at www.mbosc.org/win-a-caletti. “
Mattia from Legor Cicli and Franka from MAAD Cycling were at the Eroica California weekend, at the tail end of their trip to California this past week. In tow were a handful of beautiful Legor Cicli bikes, ranging from a classic Eroica road bike, a rowdy MTB tandem, a true chubby road, and this modern road bike. Each has unique details and a presence that demanded photographic portraits.
Wow. Where do I even begin here. This is the first post to come from a four-day ride from Tropic to Green River, Utah, traversing the Grand Staircase, down to Lake Powell and through the plateau leading out to Barrier Canyon, now known as Horseshoe Canyon with Machines for Freedom. The route was mixed terrain, ranging from smooth bitumen to sand and hardpack. Each rider on this journey had various setups, which we’ll go over later, but right now I wanted to showcase Alter Cycles co-owner Mason Griffith’s Pucci Cicli painted Sklar all road.
Fire is nature’s way of redesigning. A way to rewrite the present landscape and while the process is painful, oftentimes, the landscape is rejuvenated. Coastal California is tricky though due to its chapparal ground cover along the mountainsides. You see, chapparal – a coastal low-lying shrub – is old growth and when it’s burnt, the soil loses its stability, causing horrific mudslides. Once the chapparal is gone, there’s nothing else to hold all that dirt together. There aren’t really trees or forests like in other parts of the country along these hills and mountainsides, rather the trees find refuge in the canyons, where they can be more protected, although, with the past few years in California, there seems to be no refuge from fires.
Like many of the local riding areas in Santa Barbara, Refugio burnt a few years ago in the Serpa Fire, engulfing the fire road and hillsides, charring it to the ground. As with most fires, mudslides followed, wiping out El Capitan Ranch in the process. Local efforts have brought the area back, making this epic dirt climb ridable again. Many people say it’s better than ever. Perhaps it was the rebirth of Santa Barbara’s trails and roads that prompted Stinner Frameworks to update their Refugio all road model. Or maybe that’s just a correlation I came up with, either way, a redesign, and improvement is always good when it comes to a bicycle frame, especially one that stays close to its roots, post-burn.