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The Evolution of A Timeless Mountain Cruiser: Merlin Bikes’ 2023 Newsboy LTD

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The Evolution of A Timeless Mountain Cruiser: Merlin Bikes’ 2023 Newsboy LTD

According to the internet, The Beatles’ song “Yesterday” has been covered between 1,200 and 3,000 times, which even on the low end of that range makes it the most covered song in history. The spare lyrics, describing the ever-relatable ache of lost love, and string arrangement make it a simple yet sophisticated work that has managed to transcend the six decades since Paul McCartney first dreamed (literally) up the melody. The uncluttered elegance has rendered “Yesterday” truly timeless.

While first unveiled in 1994—incidentally, the same year that both LeAnn Rimes and Boyz II Men covered the McCartney classic—Merlin’s cruiser-inspired mountain bike, the Newsboy, has also reappeared in various forms throughout the intervening years. Like McCartney’s paired down lines, the Newsboy shares an on-the-surface simplicity and a nostalgia-driven design that has contributed to its lasting appeal. Merlin has just launched its latest Newsboy redesign, let’s take a look below…

Bobby’s Wilde Bikes Ti Dorothy: A Match Made In Oklahoma

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Bobby’s Wilde Bikes Ti Dorothy: A Match Made In Oklahoma

We’re not in Kansas anymore. Certainly not. Unlike the hard bedrock of the flint hills and similar gravel roads that pattern the Midwest, The Mid South (or “Mud South”) hosted in Stillwater, Oklahoma is characterized by its rich red clay. Second only to race director Bobby Wintle‘s finish line hug for every rider, The Mid South has become infamous for its often wet weather that turns that beautiful red clay into drivetrain-eating mud. Re-routing the course is never even a topic of conversation.

Geographic locations and riding can add a lot to the picture when considering what your dream bike may be. Massive tire clearance? Tall or low bottom bracket? Slack or steep head tube angles. Well after riding in an area for so long you figure out what works, what doesn’t, and what you wish someone could just get right. With these thoughts in mind Bobby collaborated with Wilde Bikes to develop a bike that is Mid South approved. How so? Read on to find out a little bit more about this bike from Jarrod Bunk and check out some flicks on the red dirt.

Too Small To Stomp Out: Reflections from 2023 “Meet Your Maker” in Napa, CA

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Too Small To Stomp Out: Reflections from 2023 “Meet Your Maker” in Napa, CA

Meet Your Maker is an ongoing series of rides hosted by the Northern California bike-making community and finally returned to Skyline Wilderness Park in Napa, CA this past May after a nearly eight-year hiatus. Always excited to document cycling culture, Erik Mathy loaded up his touring bike and headed to the event from his home in the Bay Area with his usual eclectic mix of handmade cameras and lenses in tow. Below, Erik shares reflections on a few aspects of the memorable weekend that resonated with him, in addition to a series of interviews, a gallery of uber-creative analog portraits, and scenes from the event.

The Current Hardtail Moment: Hailey Reviews the Neuhaus Metalworks Hummingbird 29er Hardtail

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The Current Hardtail Moment: Hailey Reviews the Neuhaus Metalworks Hummingbird 29er Hardtail

It’s a fun thought experiment to try to pinpoint when the decision to buy a hardtail might factor into someone’s cycling journey. Or, it is if you spend most of your time thinking about, designing, and building bikes like Nick Neuhaus and Daniel Yang of Neuhaus Metalworks. For me, the decision came about 18 months ago when I realized that the terrain that held the most appeal—for day rides and multi-day tours—was continually falling in the underbiking category when ridden on my drop bar gravel bikes. And even though I’m still very much cutting my teeth on more technical terrain, Nick and Daniel reached out to see if I’d be interested in reviewing their second steel hardtail design, the Hummingbird. Of course, I gladly accepted the chance to see if I could keep up with this handmade steel singletrack seeker. In addition to testing the bike on a variety of Colorado terrain, during the past three months I had multiple conversations with the Neuhaus guys about the current hardtail moment; how identity and marketing affect one’s perceptions of this somewhat black sheep trail category, and where the Hummingbird fits into this evolving conversation.

Hecho en Colombia: A Visit to Scarab Cycles in the Heart of the Andes

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Hecho en Colombia: A Visit to Scarab Cycles in the Heart of the Andes

It isn’t often that I have a chance to stop by a custom frame-building shop in places where I typically like to tour, but upon arriving in Colombia, it was clear that cycling culture in this country is on another level. During weekends in Bogotá, it was not uncommon to see large herds of spandex-clad riders hanging out at coffee shops with fancy gravel bikes or amongst a sea of other riders, dancing on the pedals up to “Patios”, the local roadie hotspot.

Walk into a random bakery in any town throughout the country and it would be no shock to see some obscure (to me) bike race on TV, with a group of abuelas keenly following the action as they enjoy an almojabana and hot chocolate. Catch yourself cruising down one of the many cycle paths in Bogotá and you might just get dropped by a dude in jeans with a backpack heading to work. When it comes to cycling, Colombians are built differently. Read on for a behind the scenes look at my visit to the Colombian builder Scarab Cycles.

Flatland Coasting with Richard’s Self Made 29+ Trail Cruiser

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Flatland Coasting with Richard’s Self Made 29+ Trail Cruiser

Living in the Phoenix, AZ metro area, I get to connect with a variety of interesting folks who travel here during the winter months. Like Western Sandpipers, Sandhill Cranes, Golden Eagles, and other airborne travelers of North American migratory flyways, humans also flock to warmer climes in the Sonoran Desert’s overwintering sites. On a recent trip to my neighborhood caffeine dealer, Cartel Roasting Co, my jaw dropped when I saw Richard’s handmade cruiser parked out front. Visiting from Winnipeg, Manitoba with his wife Michelle, the couple snowbirds in Arizona to connect with friends and ride bikes. Before I knew it, Richard and I had talked for nearly an hour about his love of vintage bikes, cycling for physical and mental health, and his recent forays into building his own framesets. Let’s take a look at his most recent creation below!

2022 Bespoked Mega Gallery, Part 02: Prova Cycles, Clandestine, Black Sheep Bikes, Etoile Cycles, Dawley Bikes, Avalanche Cycles, Coal Bikes, Black Cat Custom Paint, Fahrradbau Stolz, and Sour Bicycles

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2022 Bespoked Mega Gallery, Part 02: Prova Cycles, Clandestine, Black Sheep Bikes, Etoile Cycles, Dawley Bikes, Avalanche Cycles, Coal Bikes, Black Cat Custom Paint, Fahrradbau Stolz, and Sour Bicycles

We’re back today with Josh’s second installment of coverage from the Bespoked Handmade Bicycle Show! Let’s jump right in below with more recapping and a gallery of beautiful builds from Prova Cycles, Clandestine, Black Sheep Bikes, Etoile Cycles, Dawley Bikes, Avalanche Cycles, Coal Bikes with Black Cat Custom Paint, Fahrradbau Stolz, and Sour Bicycles

Custom With a Conscience: A Shop Visit with Terra Rossa Gear

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Custom With a Conscience: A Shop Visit with Terra Rossa Gear

It’s 8am and we’re out in the not-so-salubrious outer suburb of Campbellfield, a 45-minute drive north of Melbourne CBD. A bruised-up Subaru sits parked outside an industrial workshop with all its doors flung open, and the sound of Don Williams’s country classic “Tulsa Time” fills the air. With some trepidation, we draw closer. A pair of skis erupt from the passenger side window. Anoraks and half-finished sleeping bags lay strewn across the backseat, while a huge roll of fabric pierces through the car, like that motorway scene in Final Destination 2. Did we take a wrong turn somewhere off the highway?

Singing with Don as he walks down the stairs, Evan spots us loitering by his car. “Hey guys!” he shouts. “Welcome to the Terra Rosa playground! Apologies for the car, it’s not stolen. There’s been an unreal dump these last few days and I’m getting ready for some snow adventures in the high-country.” Of course we were in the right place: we were standing at the palace gates of Terra Rosa Gear.

Back in School at The Bicycle Academy of Frome, England

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Back in School at The Bicycle Academy of Frome, England

From its crowd-funded origins in 2011,The Bicycle Academy (TBA) has arguably become the most influential framebuilding school in Europe. With names like Ted James, Robin Mather, Paul Burford, and Tony Corke of Torke Cycling, gracing the past and present roster of instructors, it’s no wonder that TBA has seen over 1,000 framebuilder graduates leave its halls.

TBA’s current space is a large, purpose-built warehouse with a semi-open plan on a labyrinth-like industrial estate just outside of the town center in Frome, England. Even with its spacious design, every corner is jammed full of amazing bits of work, every surface adorned with tools or momentos and every wall covered in paraphernalia that induces positive vibes. It’s a fortress for community building and the halls themselves seem built to foster forward-thinking, where shared mantras include, ”what good will I do this day” “make the new” and my personal favorite “flux is thicker than water”.

Many of the faces are TBA come and go—that’s, of course, the nature of a school—and the fluid shifting keeps the place brimming with energy and dynamism. But a few figures have become cornerstones of the institution. Below, let’s dive into some of the conversations I recently had with a few TBA long-haulers.

Among the Eucalyptus Trees: A Shop Visit with Framework Designs

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Among the Eucalyptus Trees: A Shop Visit with Framework Designs

I’d only started dating my partner Sam for a matter of weeks before we left to cycle around the world together. Red flag? Romantic? Stupidly spontaneous? – I’ll let you decide. I’ll concede that a multi-year bike tour isn’t exactly a traditional way to start a relationship. But with precisely zero bike touring experience under my belt, cycling around the world with a stranger was ironically the least of my worries. I had to find a bike, learn how to ride it (yes, I’m serious) and figure out how the hell I was going to pack my life into two panniers and a basket bag.

To say I made some mistakes would be an understatement. I mean, who knew hair straighteners and a hardback copy of The Power of Now wouldn’t be suitable for a bike tour? That said, I also made some damn good decisions, not least my choice of basketbag: The Sight Seeker from Framework Designs. That bag has travelled halfway across the world with me, weathering everything from tropical monsoons in South East Asia to numbing snowstorms in Nepal. So when Sam and I returned to Melbourne three years later, I couldn’t wait to check in with Framework Designs Founder, Tia Evans on how the business was going, visit her home studio and, of course, share it all with you.

We’ll Be at Bespoked 2022!

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We’ll Be at Bespoked 2022!

Bespoked is Europe’s largest handmade bicycle show and it’s taking place in just under two months, from October 14-16, at London’s Lee Valley VeloPark. As you might have heard, our friend Petor Georgallou, who has documented previous Bespoked shows for us, has purchased the show! So, to let Petor focus on running the show rather than documenting it, we’re stoked to announce that we’ll be there photographing bikes AND giving out awards and prizes for a yet TBD category.

If you haven’t already purchased tickets to attend, you can do so over at the Bespoked website. Also, be sure to sign up for Bespoked’s newsletter, which will have a discount code in the upcoming edition.

There are still a few exhibitor booths remaining, but they are going fast, so reserve yours now!