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Pottery, Stickers, and the Eastern Sierra Dream with Casey Clark

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Pottery, Stickers, and the Eastern Sierra Dream with Casey Clark

Pottery, Stickers, and the Eastern Sierra Dream with Casey Clark

Words and Photography by Spencer J Harding

In an all too familiar series of small world events, I ended up at a small property about an hour north of Reno with Casey Clark.  Casey is more known in this bike world for his side hustle of “Camp and Go Slow” stickers and patches, a visual play on the famous Campagnolo logo.  Think of this as a Behind the Music if you will, well behind the sticker at least…

An In-Depth Review of Revelate Designs’ New Dyneema Infused Lineup

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An In-Depth Review of Revelate Designs’ New Dyneema Infused Lineup

Revelate Designs’ Newest Dyneema Infused Lineup
Words and photography by Spencer Harding with additional words by Lael Wilcox 

When I heard that Revelate Designs was planning to release some new bags featuring fancy Dyneema fabrics, I was drooling. For those in the back that remember that pedestrian activity called backpacking, which was my background before bikepacking, you will remember salivating over gram-saving Cuben Fiber everything! I hope our new Dyneema overlords can forgive the reference to the previous name of the fabric, I just get a little sentimental. If you are curious about the name change, you can check this article or fall down a rabbit hole of the many applications of Dyneema fibers here. The most important takeaway is this: Dyneema is the world’s strongest fiber with superior strength to weight ratio, and for a set of bags designed for the express purpose of achieving a FKT (fastest known time) on endurance mountain bike routes, every ounce counts.

The Kids are Alright Y’all: The Grupetto

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The Kids are Alright Y’all: The Grupetto

The Kids are Alright Y’all – Spencer Harding
Words and Photos by Spencer Harding

The Grupetto is a group of riders that have formed at the rear of the race, having either been dropped or having done their job for the team that day.

About a year ago, I was picking Colin Holmes’ brain about what he had in store for El Grupo in the future and he mentioned a youth bikepacking program. He needed not to say more, I was in.  This was even before my partner and I decided to move to Tucson. Once we moved down to the desert one of my first orders of business was to sign up to volunteer with El Grupo!

The kids we have in the El Grupo program, they ride their bikes every day, across town, into the mountains, and now even on bikepacking trips.  I can’t imagine where I’d be if I had known such a world of possibility in middle school instead of my late 20s.  Well, I now have the privilege to pass such knowledge and power onto the next generation of bikepackers.

Happy is the Messenger – Ryan Le Garrec

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Happy is the Messenger – Ryan Le Garrec

Happy is the Messenger
Photos and words by Ryan Le Garrec

HAPPY IS THE MESSENGER
asphalt surfing

NO GPS, NO DEVICES

No GPS, no Strava, no smartphone, no device if only an old Nokia burner. No Macbook in the bag but a map book that rarely makes it out. After ten years on the streets, Karadama a.k.a. Karl Heinz Pohl knows the client list and all their locations well enough. He knows enough shortcuts and safe ways to make his day smooth rolling, dodging delays, anticipating complications, chasing any trouble out of his way. You’ll rarely see him hammer but when he does it’s with this emergency motto in his head “it had to be done yesterday”, that kind of speed.

The Road to Delcie’s Cup Cake Bike

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The Road to Delcie’s Cup Cake Bike

The Road to Delcie’s Cup Cake
Words and Photos by Spencer Harding

This past summer I was lucky enough to meet to some truly amazing people in Minneapolis.  I noticed a common thread connecting these wonderful humans. It all culminated in getting to ride with Delcie on her über custom Cup Cake…

Peacock Groove

Erik Noren is a bit of mythical beast in the world of framebuilding. His bikes are outlandish, sparkly, and painstakingly detailed. With his newer venture, Cake Bikes, he seeks to build proportionally-sized, high-performance bikes for shorter riders. Cake partnered with Minneapolis Wheel masters HED cycling to offer fat-bikes built around a 24 x 4” platform and has since moved into building cross and gravel/adventure bikes built around a 650b platform, and some yet smaller wheeled bikes which we will get to at the end.  While the bikes’ geometries are focused on smaller humans regardless of gender, the cake race and adventure team is compromised entirely of women/trans/femme/non-binary riders.

Love Letter to a Velodrome – Brenda Croell

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Love Letter to a Velodrome – Brenda Croell

Love Letter to a Velodrome

Words and photos (black and white) by Brenda Croell,  Introduction and photos (color) by Spencer Harding

I had heard much lore about the NSC velodrome over the years leading up to me spending last summer in Minneapolis.  It is truly a spectacle in physicality and community alike. Until you have taken a lap on those old boards you don’t truly understand what it takes to drop into those turns every Thursday night.  After just a few months in this community, I was brought to tears as we left the velodrome to move to Arizona, Brenda and I literally drove our fully packed truck to the velodrome for one last night of racing. I lack the words to describe my sorrow imagining how everyone in this community will feel when this place is torn down next summer.

We met on a cold Saturday in April. Winter had worn on you, rotted your core. My job, along with other volunteers, was to strengthen your weak points; a job you would reciprocate months later. You creaked and moaned as we pulled up your boards to expose your insides. Afzalia had become endangered and so we patched you with lesser wood. Rotten next to the new, but “well-loved” was the word I chose to use when talking about you to friends and family.

Summer meant I spent every Thursday I could spare with you. My body leading up to that day reacted as it does before a first date: sleepless nights, unbridled giddiness, overthinking, and trying on my skinsuit countless times. Instead of butterflies in my stomach, my lower region decided to nervously poop for 24 hours leading up to our meeting. Was this love?

Once a week for three months, my weaknesses were unapologetically put on display. Dark truths of my life that I had done well to ignore were spoken so clearly from an inanimate and seemingly voiceless object. “Eat more. Or you will not be able to ride.” And so I ate because being away from you meant my body would wither. “Leave him and be free.” And so I left because the three hours I spent with you were more joyful than the past three years of my life. I always thought it was a cliche when I overheard folks saying bicycles changed their life. But there I was, truly living on two wheels without brakes and without fear, speaking a sentence over and over that had never felt comfortable coming from my mouth: “I am strong.” What was supposed to be a casual hobby quickly turned into therapy while my competition soon became family.

Unfortunately, your time is coming to an end. And I can’t save you the way you have saved me and countless others. The space you occupied, which was dedicated to bikes and their humans, will ironically become a place for cars to park. Your soft green grass once littered with grandma quilts that were occupied by sweaty bodies of exhaustion and elation will turn to hard concrete. Silence will replace the sounds of rumbling boards, cheers from dedicated fans, and ridiculous infield dance parties. The bright lights will go dark and no longer illuminate faces of determination and defeat. We’ve seen this finale before. Dorais. Olympic. Stone Mountain. Fallowfield. Meadowbank. Dieppe. Your name will be added to the long list on a Wikipedia page titled “Velodromes No Longer in Use,” followed by a short description that does your story no justice.

I started this relationship knowing there was an expiration date, and that awareness has not softened the heartbreak. I refuse to accept that the only narrative told of you will be two sentences, one of them including the word “demolished.” You deserve better than that because you are magic incarnate. Each board possessing the ability to not just call out my fragileness, but also my strengths. The pieces of you that will stay with myself and others, outside of the literal splinters under our skin, are in the form of lifelong friends and a passion to preserve the freedom and power we all felt pedaling in circles at the NSC Velodrome.

The NSC Velodrome in Blaine, Minnesota is being torn down after the 2019 season. It has hosted countless Thursday Night Light competitions, Fixed Gear Classic, Track Cycling Championships, and Olympic Trials. One of the largest WTF fields in the country called the boards home, and numerous racers from around the country were able to experience riding what can only be described as a wooden roller coaster. The track community in Minneapolis is currently working hard to contact legislators to find a location and funding for an indoor cycling center that will not only benefit athletes but the community as well through youth job training programs and a variety of learn-to-ride cycling classes for children and adults.   

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Follow Brenda on Instagram and follow Spencer on Instagram

 

Quicksand, Camaraderie, and Existential Optimism in Canyon Country – Spencer Harding

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Quicksand, Camaraderie, and Existential Optimism in Canyon Country – Spencer Harding

Quicksand, Camaraderie, and Existential Optimism in Canyon Country
Words and photos by Spencer Harding

Sometimes you plan a trip months in advance and mother nature decides that the normally dry ground you planned to ride your bike will now be a raging soupy brown milkshake of a river. 

Sometimes you help a random couple push a broken down vintage Jaguar in the middle of nowhere in the rain. 

Sometimes you get stuck in waist-deep quicksand in said raging soupy brown milkshake river and have to yell for help until your friends come to rescue you covered in cockle burrs. 

Sometimes you ride your bike even though the map says you are underwater in Lake Powell. 

Sometimes you decide to drag your bike and raft upstream for some damn reason.

Sometimes your overnighter was shorter mileage-wise than an average grocery run. 

Sometimes in desperation, you make a pipe out of the darndest things and then eat it.

Sometimes you realize maybe you should have left the damn bike at home this time.

Sometimes you decide to go for a leisurely ride to see pretty fall colors on the way home, which turns into a two hour long hike-a-bike ending with Y’all running from a snowstorm.

 

And finally, sometimes none of these things matter because the people and places around you are so dang beautiful…

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Follow Molly on Instagram follow Brenda on Instagram and follow Tyler on Instagram

Riding Mountains on the New Santa Cruz Bicycles Bronson and 5010 in Los Angeles

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Riding Mountains on the New Santa Cruz Bicycles Bronson and 5010 in Los Angeles

Tyler wanted to get a limited slip differential installed in his Volvo 142. The problem is, Tyler lives in Santa Cruz where he works for Santa Cruz Bicycles in the design department, and the Volvo experts were down in Long Beach. No one wants to drive from Santa Cruz to Los Angeles on the weekend, and the shop was closed then anyway, so what’s a dude with a slick Volvo to do? The genius of this whole ordeal was that Tyler, and David – two design department dudes at Santa Cruz Bicycles – were able to convince their bosses to let them ride the newest bike models down in Los Angeles, allowing Tyler’s car to get worked on while we shredded some of the area’s best trails. I’m sure it didn’t hurt to have me offer to show them around, ride the new bikes and obviously tell a story about the whole shindig. Sure, this is about the bikes, as much as it is about showing Tyler and David Los Angeles’ best trails in a condensed, two-day experience.

Playing host in Los Angeles is as much fun as it is hard work. Hard in the sense that these are my local trails that I ride quite frequently, so seeing the “new” in the familiar can be photographically challenging. Add to that, technically I’m injured. I found out right before the guys rolled into town that my pinky was indeed broken from a collision with a Prius’ side view mirror one day while I was riding home. That incident happened almost a month prior. Bummer for me, my bike control, and the potential to have a full-on shred fest, but I was so excited to ride the new 5010, so I sucked it up, taped my finger, and clipped in…

The Radavist 2018 Calendar: June

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The Radavist 2018 Calendar: June

This is the sixth layout of the Radavist 2018 Calendar, entitled “Lassen” shot with a Canon 5dmiv and a 24-70mm lens in Lassen National Park, California.

“Spring is here, yet up in the Cascade Range, there’s still plenty of snow. Luckily, the road conditions are prime for the taking.”

For a high-res JPG, suitable for print and desktop wallpaper*, right click and save link as – The Radavist 2018 Calendar – June. Please, this photo is for personal use only!
(*set background to white and center for optimal coverage)

The mobile background this month is from McCloud, California. Click here to download June’s Mobile Wallpaper.

Ryan’s Rootbeer Rivendell Rosco Bubbe

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Ryan’s Rootbeer Rivendell Rosco Bubbe

Ryan might not be known too well in the cycling scene. Unless of course, you’re at Golden Saddle where he’s a regular to the shop, tweaking things on his bike, or figuring out where to bicycle camp, and just ride. He’s an accomplished skateboarding photographer though, which is the realm where he’s best known. Ryan traded his previous bike for this Rootbeer colored Rivendell Rosco Bubbe, which he swapped out a few parts on to make it his own. The details on this thing are exceptional, as are all Rivendell frames, but it’s the build kit that really stands out.

From the Sugino triple, to the JJJ Bars, to the Red Monkey Grips, Pass & Stow rack, a Bell Tower to raise his Spurcycle bell up, PAUL brakes, and Swift Sugarloaf bag, this bike is highly functional but looks damn good at the same time. Remarkably, Ryan was able to cram in those 50mm Cazadero tires into the frame, making it a perfect off-road machine for LA’s fire roads.

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Follow Ryan on Instagram

A Solo MTB Outing on Papoose Flat in the Inyo National Forest

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A Solo MTB Outing on Papoose Flat in the Inyo National Forest

Inyo County. Home to the lowest and highest point in the contiguous United States. Home to Death Valley, the White Mountains and parts of the Eastern Sierra. When I think about Inyo County, I think of a certain sense of exploration, of all-day, or week-long excursions into the unknown. I think of the very thing that motivates myself and many others to drop everything, pack up the truck, and just go.

This sense of exploration has fueled so much of the content of this website over the years and when I look at just last year’s best stories, most came from Inyo County. From our Triple Header out of Lone Pine to the Prospector’s Pack Mule bikepacking trip, and countless other stories from the region, this beautiful place has inspired me, and others, hopefully, to take full advantage of our beautiful public lands.

All this goes without saying, but there is an obvious underlying message in much of this content; be smart, be safe, and be kind, to the animals, the land, and other humans.

The Forgotten Pass of the Atacama

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The Forgotten Pass of the Atacama

The Forgotten Pass of the Atacama
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

The Atacama Desert can be an intimidating place when you look at it on paper. There’s a certain mystique in the cycle-touring world that comes with being labeled the driest place on Earth. The lack of water also means that populated settlements are rare, which makes the vast 128,000 square kilometers of salty, sandy, and rocky terrain seem all the more inhospitable to someone looking to pedal their way through.

To be honest, the prospect of having to carry more than a week’s worth of food along with 3+ days worth of water at any given time didn’t just seem like a logistical challenge in trying to over-stuff bags and strap things to places where they shouldn’t be strapped… It seemed wholly unappealing. Just the thought of watching those liters disappear while you keep your fingers crossed that the next potential water source actually exists was enough to make me wonder if it would even be worth the stress. Still, I’d heard enough praise about the solitude and beauty of the Puna de Atacama that I just couldn’t pass up the chance to see what the hype was all about.

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Reuben Wu Shares his Process for Lux Noctis

Lux Noctis is a photo series by photographer and director Reuben Wu. He documents some of the Southwest’s most outstanding geological formations by using drones to light these alien forms and shooting them with a 100-megapixel Phase One system. Reuben’s Instagram is one of my favorites and seeing his process, step by step is enlightening. As someone who loves geology and photography, I had to share this with you.

Tracy L Chandler’s Scar Stories from Cyclists

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Tracy L Chandler’s Scar Stories from Cyclists


Photo by Tracy L Chandler

Photographer Tracy Chandler connected with cyclists in LA for stories on how both physical and mental scars have affected their lives, including Edie Perkins, the woman we rallied to help after she was struck by a car on a morning road ride:

“The car came out of nowhere. I knew it was too late and there was nothing I could do. This striking and incredibly powerful sense of calm came over me. And then I was out.”

Continue reading Edie’s and other’s stories at Outside.

The Radavist 2018 Calendar: February

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The Radavist 2018 Calendar: February

This is the second layout of the Radavist 2018 Calendar, entitled “Striped Butte” shot with a Canon 1dx and a 100-400mm lens in Butte Valley, California.

“Striped Butte juts up abruptly from the aptly-named Butte Valley floor to an elevation of 4,773 feet, with a 700′ prominence. Geologists believe the lines of this unique mountain were formed when the crust was forced upward, changing the striations from horizontal to their current form. Made from almost entirely Paleozoic limestone – 541 to 242 million years old – this unique and beautiful formation is in one of the most remote regions of Death Valley National Park. This valley and both of the roads in are riddled with mining, Mojave magic and straight up Mansonian Helter Skelter…”

For a high-res JPG, suitable for print and desktop wallpaper*, right click and save link as – The Radavist 2018 Calendar – February. Please, this photo is for personal use only!
(*set background to white and center for optimal coverage)

The mobile background this month is a fiery sunrise from Butte Valley. Click here to download February’s Mobile Wallpaper.

On Vision and Focus

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On Vision and Focus

Themes are very prevalent in a photographer’s work, whether intentional or not. My personal approach could be summed up in a number of ways, although I try to go into each situation with perspective. Whether or not that perspective is something I’m either re-visiting or looking to hone depends on a number of parameters. The moments in which I’m most comfortable experimenting are the ones that are most familiar to me and where the experimentation occurs usually falls into any number of challenging parameters.

Un-Lost: Camille McMillan’s Photographs of the Transcontinental Race

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Un-Lost: Camille McMillan’s Photographs of the Transcontinental Race


Photos by Camille McMillan

Every photograph has a story and for Camille, it centers around the tale of the TCR.

“Camille McMillan has followed the riders of the Transcontinental Race with his camera for the last three editions of the race, capturing their journeys from one corner of Europe to the other.

The Transcontinental is a self-supported bikepacking race, with riders finding their own way for over 4000km. To paraphrase the race’s founder, Mike Hall, “if you get lost, you will need to get un-lost.” Camille’s photographs capture the riders as they navigate unfamiliar and vast landscapes of Europe, showing that in an age of SPOT trackers, GPS and Google Maps, there’s something to be said for being lost and finding your way again.”

Head to Un-Lost to see Camille’s prints for sale, or to an Apidura retailer to see a selection of artist proofs in person.