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.
Since no one is out riding the Tour Divide this year and I’m locked away in a lake house in Wisconsin, why don’t we take a trip down memory lane? Like, I found a backup of these images on my iPod kinda trip down memory lane, back to 2014 baby. This was my first proper “bikepacking” or off-road touring trip. I borrowed my dad’s 90s hybrid and put a Surly fork and some racks on it and hightailed it to Missoula after finishing my first few weeks working as a tour guide in Oregon. I met Kurt and Sam as they were working their way down the Tour Divide as the inaugural Blackburn Rangers, which I had applied for too, but didn’t get, so why not just crash their party anyway?
I fell upon a sudden dry spell in my business. Understandably, most of my commercial clients put current and future work on pause. I was kind of sitting around for a few days watching tumbleweeds roll through the house and started to worry about the future of my creativity and viability as an illustrator.
Cyclists make great subjects for portrait illustrations, especially when it’s with their bike. Artist Dean Liebau has illustrated many of the faces seen here on the Radavist, including this drawing of Ethan Goodwin. Check out the photo he based it on at our Ruta Del Jefe coverage from 2019. His whole Instagram account is filled with colorful portraiture, so head on over, give him a follow and enjoy!
Time Trial on the Arizona Trail 300: The Trail is Always Available
I started thinking about riding the Arizona Trail again while Rue and I were hiking it in November. We took a $5 FlixBus from Tucson to Flagstaff, walked one mile down Historic Route 66 and got on the trail. It took us a month to walk to the Mexican border. Walking was my mental recovery from a summer of racing. The Arizona Trail is a 789 mile hiking trail across the state. With a bike, it’s a hybrid– mostly riding, but a considerable amount of pushing too. It’s hard. It took me 270 miles of walking to start dreaming about getting back on the bike. I remember the moment– we were hiking the Gila River section and my mind started tracing the curves of the trail with bicycle wheels. And it hit me, what if I rode the Arizona Trail with a bigger, more capable bike?
The Sandal Boiyz do Mallorca: Toros De Gravel
Words by Benedict Wheeler, photos by Kyle Kelley
Note: this article contains NSFW imagery. Blame Benedict!
Mallorca was a place that every true fan of pro road racing knows about. Especially if you are into the DEEPly nuanced euro trash aspects of the sport…
Mallorca is where the professional teams come to train and party in the winter months. Scores of doping scandals, both performance and party enhancing, have clumsily unfolded with the spanning mountains and electric blue waters of Mallorca as a scenicback drop. Would simply going to Mallorca allow me to be immersed in cycling scandal like all of my heroes of the golden doping age? Would Michelle Ferrari notice my talents on the beach and pump me full of ox blood in his secret lab/discotheque??
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…
When Sean from the Cub House told me his dream of putting on a bike and auto show, I wasn’t exactly sure how it’d pan out. Now, don’t get me wrong, Southern Californians love their cars and in this social circle, people love their bicycles just as much, if not more. I was worried that the cars would take center stage over the bikes, or it would get overrun with the auto show crowd. Boy, was I wrong!
Photos and words by Morgan Taylor
From first time bicycle campers to experienced fully loaded singletrack riders, 30 people joined us for Swift Campout here in Vancouver. Swift Industries‘ global call to head out for a bicycle overnight on solstice weekend was a perfect opportunity for us to scope a camp spot and a route and put out an open invite.
After weeks of route planning, helping with camp setups, and hoping for good weather, the sun shone down Saturday morning and we set out en masse with spirits high. For a good number, it was their first time camping by bike, or their first time loading up without racks to ride singletrack to camp.
A quick ferry ride landed us on the Sunshine Coast just outside Vancouver and the group split up, one third to ride a challenging singletrack-heavy overland route and two thirds to ride the backroads, eat ice cream, and swim in the ocean. We converged on the camp spot in the evening and shared stories of our travels.
As expected, we met lots of great people, got to ride bikes and hang out on the roads and trails and beaches, cook and camp together, learn more about ourselves and each other. Thanks so much to the wonderful folks at Swift Industries for facilitating this global event!
When your bikes are made by Sherwood Gibson of Ventana, who’s been constructing frames since 1988, you can spend all your time on marketing, designing and applying their paint jobs. For Squid Bikes co-owner Emily Kachorek, paint design and implementation happens in a whimsical way. All it takes is some inspiration, a precedent and she’s out in her paint booth with spray cans blazing. For her latest race bike, she chose the childhood game Barrel of Monkeys to be the theme. Then, to up the ante, she gave the monkeys neon pink sunglasses, save for one, who has black shades on.
This bike was at the WD-40 Interbike booth, built up with Zipp components, wheels and a fresh SRAM gruppo with a TRP fork. It’ll be thrashed in various UCI ‘cross races around the US this season and as with any cross bike, it’ll look so much better all muddy.
Thanks to Emily and Squid Bikes for making bicycle paint design look easy and fun! If you’d like a Squid of your own, check out their offerings at SquidBikes.com.
These days, Stinners are everywhere, even all over the pages of this website and while it might feel like some kind of marketing conspiracy, with loads of money exchanged and bathtubs filled with gold coins, I can assure you it’s not. Since I moved to Los Angeles, I see more Stinners on the road and in the trails. Rightfully so, seeing as how their shop is located in Santa Barbara, just 90 miles north of LA and yeah, they make some pretty stellar bikes.
Practice makes perfect. After a string of late starts, mishaps and consequently even later evenings, our group pushed through the sleepless nights, finally hitting the road before 8am. It took a while, but so it goes in brevets like this. 2100km in 177 hours is no walk in the park, yet it doesn’t have to be a panicked sprint either. There’s a balance to be achieved and oftentimes, it takes a bit of on-the-bike rehearsal.
As you might have noticed in the previous two galleries, not a lot of riders in the Sverigetempot are on traditional randonneur bikes, or even touring bikes. Rather, many of the participants are on carbon fiber road bikes, with a few select modifications to their components and of course, bikepacking bags. While there have been many excellent examples of bikes on this trip, I managed to photograph three in particular from the riders in our troop: Johan’s Focus, Daniel’s Roubaix and Johan’s Venge. Each have very similar specifications in terms of gear range and tires, but as you’ll see, are built to be lightweight, long-distance rigs.
Yesterday while on a ride, Erik hit a trash dumpster with his face in a freak accident. One minute we were all riding to explore the mountains and the next, a cacophony erupted and Erik was flying through the air before landing on his face. By the time Dylan and I made it to him, he was bleeding from his head and having seizures. I immediately called 911 and made sure he was breathing. After a few minutes, the ambulance and fire truck showed up, rushing Erik to the ER for scans.
A few hours later and he was good to go with a few stitches, a mild concussion and a sore back. All this happened just a few days before he and I are leaving for the Length of Sweden brevet, the Sverigetempot, a 1400 mile brevet from Northern to Southern Sweden. It made for an interesting start to the weekend and served as a sobering reminder that we’re all pretty fragile while on our bikes. Many thanks to the local South Pasadena emergency response teams for being so rad and be safe out there!
Big guys have big headtubes. How big? Bigger than a tallboy? Depends, but if you’re a Texan like Josh Hines, everything’s bigger there, so why stop with a bicycle?
Joking aside. Josh and I are buddies from Austin. He’s in Los Angeles this week to take on some mountains and break in his new Icarus Frames road bike. After being fed up with stock sizing and carbon fiber, he wanted something with more longevity so Josh turned to Ian Sutton to make him a special road bike… and special it is.
Ian’s not one to turn down a challenge. Well, that’s not true, I’m sure everyone has their limits but let’s just say Josh’s request piqued his interest. While Icarus has made carbon and steel bikes before, he hadn’t spent much time working with carbon seat tubes, which is what Josh wanted. Will Ian do it again? Probably not, as it turned into quite the challenge. Does it look rad? Of course!
Josh wanted a road bike for long days in the saddle. His full time job of being a chef doesn’t offer much free time, so when he has a day off, he wants to spend it all on the bike. He wanted the frame to be painted to match his older Beat the Clock Cycling kit, which has geometric patterns all over it and while the frame is about a month old, the parts were all bought used. Even those Bontrager Aeolus wheels! In fact, all he’s waiting on is a new stem, painted to match the Ben Falcon-paint job and he’ll clean up that steerer-area asap.
Til then, Josh has been enjoying Los Angeles’ killer road climbs. Yesterday he rode Mt. Wilson and we’re trying to convince him to take on Cloudburst… We’ll see! Even if he doesn’t, that bike will be happy regardless.
Oh yeah, how’s that new Will Bryant-designed Beat the Clock Cycling kit? So good!