In a strip mall on the north side of Tucson, a small business space houses Moon Dust Apparel (formerly Handlebar Mustache) and Cycle Monkey. One of these you have heard of if you like sweet socks, the other if you are an internally geared hub nerd. Today we highlight these two neighboring businesses you may not have known are now down in Tucson.
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.
Dennis Lastochkin walks, or rather rides, us through his win at the East Texas Showdown. Brainchild of Patrick Farnsworth from the Bikes or Death podcast, the early March event feels like a season opener of sorts for the multi-day endurance crowd and traverses 400 miles through southeastern Texas. Check out this from-the-saddle tale of bikepacking’s “Super Bowl.”
Last year at the 2022 Sea Otter Classic, as I was walking through a parking lot near the Expo I came across a pair of athletes with the most incredible bicycles I’d ever seen. They were rugged, heavily-built trikes with two mountain bike wheels in the front and a massive single fat mountain bike tire in the back, and an electric drivetrain was apparent on each. Both athletes were in wheelchairs. Later that weekend I’d see them, and other para-cyclists, compete in both the Downhill and Dual-Slalom events. It was the first time para-cyclists had been given their own separate classes in any Sea Otter event. I was flabbergasted and, honestly, in awe of not just the bikes but by the para-cyclists and how hard they were sending it on every single run. I came back to Sea Otter this year to talk with and document a few of these athletes.
Kuwait was the last place Abe Alkhamees expected to find a cycling community. After an extended vacation to all the best cycling destinations in Europe, he traveled to his home country to explore the cycling there. His Meet The Rider project aims at putting a face to Arab cyclists, sharing their stories, and bridging the gap between these riders and the rest of the cycling world.
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.
The last time we reported from the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival was in November of 2021 and conditions were perfect with sunny skies, warm days, and cool nights. Bike demos and clinics were abundant; everything went according to plan. This year, however, with the festival back on its spring schedule during the first week of March, the weather wasn’t so cooperative. After a sizeable snowstorm caused the first day of the festival to be canceled, Josh and Spencer ventured up to the land of red dirt and vortexes to see how the subsequent days would be salvaged. Thankfully the event organizers, vendors, and festival-goers made the best of things and there were still plenty of bikes and products to show off along with abundant festivities to partake in. Let’s take a look below at what we found!
In this shop visit with Saffron Frameworks in London, UK, Sam Rice traces a line from Matthew Sowter’s previous life as a chef to his current trade as one of the most awarded frame builders in the world. Matthew’s skill in transforming basic ingredients into magnificent dishes transfers over into his ability to turn a box of tubes into a frame deserving of the word “perfection.” Materialism may be a concept of the past, but it is very much alive in Matthew Sowter’s craft.
Following up on their previous shop visit, Daniel and Karla take us back to Básica Studio in Mexico City. This time they delve deeper into a larger spectrum of Básica’s bikes, along with some updates on builder Eli Acosta.
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.
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.
A lot of readers have asked for a guide to photographing their bikes. Be it for Readers’ Rides or for their Instagram. Here, John walks us through the process he uses, which we can all agree is ‘dialed.’
Over the past 15 years, I’ve documented hundreds of bikes both in situ and in my makeshift studio setup at events like the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, the ENVE Builder Roundup, and the Chris King Open House. While it might seem daunting at first, it really is easy and like everything photo-related, it’s all about the setup. Let’s look at my process in detail below…
Last month, bikepackers from all over the country gathered in the southernmost Oregon Timber Trail Gateway Community of Lakeview for the inaugural OTT700 Race. Lakeview’s mayor, Ray Turner, set up his famous BBQ station the evening before in the city park and treated the racers and their families to a final warm dinner before days of eating ramen and snickers bars. It was great to see the camaraderie already building between riders and proved the value of bringing the rider community together around an event like this.
The first time I found my way across the train tracks and into the strange little courtyard parking lot of Citizens I was awestruck. It was full of rusty old sculptures of flowers and birds and beautiful strange shapes welded out of discarded bike parts. I knew that I had found something that felt right in that deep way that feels like home and an adventure all at once. It was love at first sight and it only got better as I walked down a makeshift concrete ramp into the dark basement. It took my eyes a few moments to adjust and focus on the chaos that surrounded me. There were folks with bicycles in all states of disrepair and disassembly. There were piles of wheels, rusty frames, milk crates full of thousands of derailleurs and brakes, and every bike part you could possibly imagine. Every surface was covered in murals and the bright colors were dimmed by the shadows of sparse fluorescent lighting. The staff was indistinguishable from the crowd and everyone seemed like they would be just as comfortable in a post-apocalyptic wasteland as in a basement in the center of Tucson Arizona, which come to think of it often resembles a scene from a dystopian novel.
Of Crank & Chain: Cyclocross is a 240 page photographic and written expression of domestic cyclocross in 2019. Both black and white and color images captured locally in the Pacific Northwest as well as at UCI events around the nation, the book is not organized by the events themselves, but rather by parts of a race day from the events spanning the season, blended together and presented as one continuous event. None of the images contain captions of the who and the where, because, in a way, a season is a singular event and also features images of amateurs and professionals and doesn’t draw a distinction between them. In the U.S., we are all just ‘cross racers suffering on the same track. In that respect, American cyclocross paints amateurs and pros with essentially the same brush. More than anything the book is about what it is to race cyclocross and what goes into it, as opposed to a year in review.
We have all been on rides that, at some point, require us to dig deep. But we still find a way to get that last bit of energy out of our bodies. We fight, we endure. And on the other side of these rides, we emerge stronger. We need to make the same commitment to anti-racism that we do to become stronger on the bike.