#Ronnie-Ultra-Romance-Bikes

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Ultra Romance’s Warthog Wash Wiper Dirt Tourer

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Ultra Romance’s Warthog Wash Wiper Dirt Tourer

Over the years, we’ve featured many of Benedict‘s bikes here on the site. They’re always a lil bit of weird with a dash of kooky but the result of a lot of ‘pondering over a wooden pipe’ functional. For the latest build, which we dubbed the Warthog Wash Wiper, all the above applies.

In short, this bike is a desert bulldozer, yet not one you’d find Hayduke underneath with a 3′ wrench and a cheater bar. This is a bicycle, not a machine for destruction. The Warthog Wash Wiper, aka WWW, is an all-rounder dirt tourer, and it comes alive when the sand gets deep, where normal bikes become less than ideal trekking poles.

Ultra Romance and His Rivendell Atlantis Mountain Bike: Ride & Review

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Ultra Romance and His Rivendell Atlantis Mountain Bike: Ride & Review

“The kinda danger I’m into is riding tubes in the desert”

“Any bike can be a mountain bike if you ride it in the mountains”

These are just a few quotes pulled from the freshly shaven mouth of Ultra Romance, the cycling sensation, turned Rivendell sponsored rider and mobile dealer. Bené, as I like to call him, is wintering in Tucson where I was spending my New Years with friends. Turned out, there were a lot of out of towner cyclists around, so we organized a ride at the 50 Year trails. More on that later…

Keep It Sketchy This Weekend!

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Keep It Sketchy This Weekend!

We’re in Tucson, riding bikes and soaking in the Sonoran, while avoiding jumping cholla. Yesterday a big group met up to ride bikes at the 50 Year trail network and things got nutty!

A Solstice Ballad for My Hometown – Tenzin Namdol

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A Solstice Ballad for My Hometown – Tenzin Namdol

A Solstice Ballad for My Hometown
Words by Tenzin Namdol, photos by Ultra Romance and Thomas Hassler.

While the God-fearing Christians of the lower Connecticut River valley ended their day cleaning off their lawn care equipment, a small group of Wiccan-observing, season-worshipping heathens rolled their tires through the forested glades of the Nutmeg Country triangle in honor of the Swift Campout. We smell of essential oils and the crystals around my neck jingles at each pedal stroke. The leaves on the trees have matured from their Spring-emerged highlighter green to a darker, more robust hue, properly at the ready for the next summer storm. The back-to-back Nor’easters these trails have endured in recent months have left branches and huge fallen trees in the path as we head for the lean to’s in Cockaponsett State Forest- a mouthful, I know, especially paired with the Pattaconk Lake that nests inside. This area is full of names like that: Hammonasset Beach is a rock throw away from Benedict’s home, the Quinnipiac flows into New Haven harbor several miles away. Connecticut is a colonized spelling of the Native Algonquian, Quinnehtukqut, which translates to “place of the long river”.

Tucson to Kanza: a Long Ride to a Long Ride – Ultra Romance

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Tucson to Kanza: a Long Ride to a Long Ride – Ultra Romance

Tucson to Kanza: a Long Ride to a Long Ride
Word and photos by Ultra Romance

Dirty Kanza: How does one prepare their mind, legs and undercarriage for a 200 mile “race?” How do you relaxation cycle ésport™ without relaxation? How does one saunter through the day, resting in the sun whenever the mood strikes, dine on expensive chocolate after a fine fine yogurt cupping at the local co-op, all whilst riding 200 miles in one go?? Can that even be kinda fun?

I suppose it depends on your Myers Briggs score divided by how many years you’ve spent in dental school. Dentists were all over the road scene, and as road has taken a major swan dive into a pile of 20c used rubbers (sounds dirty cuz it is), grav grinding (sounds dirty but only mildly) has become the future world arena for the well-to-do-sadistic. Dentists are sadists by nature, nothing against them, they just are. They drill and pull teeth outa screaming peoples faces all day. They love training for 200-mile races.

The Beauty of Fatigue: Slow (SLO) Road to Eroica – Tenzin Namdol

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The Beauty of Fatigue: Slow (SLO) Road to Eroica – Tenzin Namdol

The Beauty of Fatigue: Slow (SLO) Road to Eroica
Words by Tenzin Namdol, photos by Ultra Romance

Something happened to me while I was riding the 90-mile NOVA Coastal Route of Eroica California, I started loving the ride. A bit of a “duhhhh” moment, right? That may have had something to do with the skill and knowledge of the route-maker who has expertly joined some of the most stunning roads of San Luis Obispo County. From wineries to summits to the Oceans’ shore featuring some loosen-your-filling descents. I’m sure we could have easily found a dentist at Eroica to fix that last problem. So, not really a problem. It also helps to have beautifully cheerful people at rest stops handing you wine, chocolate-covered strawberries, and praising your athleticism. I felt so undeserving of such treatment, but that’s for me and my therapist to figure out together. Regardless, treatment like that could make a cyclist out of just about anyone.

Loose Lobster At The Landing: A Pre-NAHBS Tour Of Nutmeg Country

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Loose Lobster At The Landing: A Pre-NAHBS Tour Of Nutmeg Country

Loose Lobster At The Landing: A Pre-NAHBS Tour Of Nutmeg Country
Photos By Renaldo, words by ‘Cobra Bones’ Sinkford

The show coming to the east coast for the first time meant all eyes are on Connecticut, and who could provide the ultimate pre-NAHBS experience with home court advantage than the mayor of Lobster Landing himself? I was told Nutmeg Country was a place of peace. A place of pizza, and pancake flat roads soft to the touch and pleasing to the eye. Two of those things are true.

Over the holidays the modern and progressive geometry of the #ultranutmegger was designed. Sklar would build a nutmeg themed dream bike for NAHBS, as custom as desired. That was a rabbit hole he should have never walked down. Seriously. One bike became two, because I was not going to be left out of the party. Truss forks and custom racks haunted young Adam’s dreams as the parts started to roll in, literally like Christmas.

2018 NAHBS: Behold the Sklar Bikes x Ultra Romance Nutmegger

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2018 NAHBS: Behold the Sklar Bikes x Ultra Romance Nutmegger

Where do I even begin here? A bunch of awesome brands working together on a unique concept, featuring unique products and a lot of uniqueness. Is that even a word? Sklar and Benedict, aka Ultra Romance teamed up to build the ultimate bicycle. It’s so ultimate that I don’t even know what to call it. Is it a road bike? A touring bike? A mtb? Who knows. Right now, the consensus seems to be just “Nutmegger,” so that’s what I’ll call it. Before I go any further here, I’ll just say this bike begs for more than the brevity associated with copywriting of my NAHBS galleries and maybe one day we’ll dive in deeper, until then, I’ll give you the gist.

This is a part fillet, part tig welded steel frame in a nickel finish, with a custom stem by Hubert from Madrian Fabrication. It’s got a long wheelbase, mid-trail and a truss fork design, along with a double top tube to support the massive head tube. When you ride this thing, you’re really IN it, not on it.

The 66.6cm wide Crust bars are mated with a custom Swift Industries bag and nestled in that top tube space is an Andrew the Maker Bag. Those perty Paul and White Industries bits are custom annodized brown. There’s even a Connecticut State Coin as the top cap! It was assembled in Benedict’s mom’s kitchen and is still kinda sorta being built up as I’m writing this. Yes, the derailleur cable is long, there are no brake cable crimps and I had to stop Poppi from shallacing the tape as I was photographing it.

So what is the Nutmegger? I honestly have no idea. It’s a bicycle that embodies Benedict and that’s all it needs to be. Will Adam from Sklar make you one? Helllll nahhhhhh.

420.69th annual Nutmeg Nor’easter – Ultra Romance

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420.69th annual Nutmeg Nor’easter – Ultra Romance

420.69th annual Nutmeg Nor’easter

Words by Ultra Romance, photos by Erin @erinmarie.gordon, Jon Weekes @gungywump, Jamie M @jamiemurrett, and “Big Janet”

I’ve lived in the same area of shoreline Connecticut my entire life.  My home is a garage artist’s studio that I just so happen to share with my mom’s gardening tools.  Paris, Milan, Clinton, CT.  As weather permits, I return home about 4 months out of the year; always being sure not to miss the splendor of autumn; the beauty of death as the colors fall, ushering in the grim shadows of wintär.

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A Recording of Ultra Romance’s Fred Talk at the Philly Bike Expo

Nicholas Karwoski recorded Benedict’s “Fred Talk” dubbed “The bicycle, a vehicular philosophy of simplification” that took place at this year’s Philly Bike Expo. Topping in at over 80 minutes, this might be a bit ambitious for you to tackle in one go, but definitely give it a listen. Thanks to Nicholas for pulling this together!

The Road to L’Eroica: An Italian Honeymoon – Ultra Romance

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The Road to L’Eroica: An Italian Honeymoon – Ultra Romance

The Road to L’Eroica: An Italian Honeymoon
Words and photos by Ultra Romance

We had been running from winter… riding from winter… actually hike-a-biking away from winter in the Swiss Alps for nearly 2 weeks now.  Snow, wind, rain, and low UV indexes had driven us out of the most verdant and bucolic panoramas I’ve ever eyeballed. Away from the abrupt mountaintops that rise from the undulating valleys like the jagged teeth of a gnashing puma eagle.  My hair was damp and lifeless, and our bodies were craving the sunlight and ACTUAL early September weather (fair and pleasant for those of you who live in the Swiss tundra).  In a split second decision, while climbing out of a cold and empty valley after hiking down a roots rock reggae slip n’ slide, we hopped a train south to Europe’s fashion capital, Milano. It just felt natural.

Ciao Italy!

Bicycle Touring the Tick Jungles of New England – Ultra Romance

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Bicycle Touring the Tick Jungles of New England – Ultra Romance

Bicycle Touring the Tick Jungles of New England
Words and photos by Ultra Romance

The east coast is like a frumpy ex-lover. She wears the same green maple tree moo moo every day in the summer and wears nothing but a cold distant gray gaze all winter. Her breath smells like a yawning swamp, her clammy visage infected with ticks, mosquitos, and horseflies. Yet still, she’s comfortable and familiar, drawing me back time and time again with that ruddy olde face.

The Appalachian mountains of the northeast are among the oldest mountains in the world. 480 million years olde according to Siri; 483 million if you ask Alexa. By contrast, the sensuously photogenic Rockies are a supple 55 million years young. That’s another 428 million years of HARD livin’ for that olde bag of a spinster, Mrs. Appalachian East Coast. The glacially mowed over Appalachians sit plain and internet forgotten, cloaked in a canopy of hardwoods with nothing but a flip phone for company. This all sounds great in theory, and it really is, butttt they sure don’t photograph all that well… and if you can’t get that ‘gram, then why do it, amiright????!

Ultra Romance on Bedrock Sandals

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Ultra Romance on Bedrock Sandals

“I was 28 years old. The previous 15 years of my life had been spent as a cyclist. Not the kinda cyclist you see in a bike lane at rush hour, or out dinging bells on rail trails, ha, I turned my nose up at those types. “Freds”, I’d say to myself as I looked down at my heart rate monitor while muscling my spendy spindly Italian race rocket over the next imaginary finish line.

My attire was a zebra print lycra leotard, my legs had been shorn before I’d even hit puberty. I was quite comfortable with being uncomfortable while pursuing my passion for bicycles and my petty amateur victories aboard them. So what happened?”

Read more from Benedict at Bedrock Sandals!

Pedaling in Anger: Training Camp Camping Arizona – Ultra Romance

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Pedaling in Anger: Training Camp Camping Arizona – Ultra Romance

Pedaling in Anger: Training Camp Camping Arizona
Photos and words by Ultra Romance

What do you ride a bike for? Is it simply fitness and abs? Primordial warrior expression? JFF (just for fun)? Commuting? Too many DWI’s? Do you just merely believe that personal auto ownership should be banned, and only for commercial use? Or maybe it’s all of the above? Regardless, if you are reading this, you are likely some kind of cyclist, or merely just a fan of my creative spellings and punctuation style. So what kind are you? What does sykling mean to YOU???

As many of you who subscribe to the fan club letter my mom mails out bi-weekly may know, I’ve recently enlisted in a documentary art performance piece directed by Dan and Kyle at Yonder Journal. It’s entitled Project Y, and its purpose is to answer the question Y (why) (get it?) predominately white suburban career professionals train and compete in events that are both nonsensical and detrimental to one’s health and interpersonal relationships for no real reason other than the intrinsic reward of simply finishing. I don’t get it, or maybe I once did, but regardless, it’s a documentary MOVIE, and I wanna be a movie star, always have. The catch is, I have to race the Dirty Kanza 200. I’m a 20-40 mile a day kinda guy, so some training would be necessary, I suppose.