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Shawn Gillis Helped Build the Mountain Biking Community in Salida, Colorado

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Shawn Gillis Helped Build the Mountain Biking Community in Salida, Colorado

If you stop in at Absolute Bikes, a bike shop in the mountain town of Salida, Colorado, Shawn Gillis, with his welcoming grin under a distinct ginger mustache, will likely be there to greet you. Whether you need a flat fixed on your commuter or the brightest bike light money can buy in order to finish the 2,745-mile Tour Divide, Gillis will lend a hand and have you riding again in no time.

But what he really loves is setting someone up on their first mountain bike, hearing about the adventures they want to tackle, and giving them tips about which local trails to start on.

Inside/Out at Oddity Cycles: Mastering the Dark Arts of Framebuilding

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Inside/Out at Oddity Cycles: Mastering the Dark Arts of Framebuilding

Looking at an Oddity Cycles-designed frame, handlebar, or fork, you might think that it was welded in a circus sideshow tent by a depraved, frazzle-haired, torch-wielding, radical. That these wildly bent steel and titanium tubes, contorted and bonded into freakishly beautiful forms, could only have originated in the darkest corners of a PT Barnum exhibition. And that’s exactly what Sean Burns, founder, designer, and fabricator wants you to think. So, on this eve of All Hallows, let’s pull back the curtain on this iconic framebuilder, and his assistant “Spooky,” along with a close look at a couple of Sean’s personal two-wheeled creations…

Introducing the Argonaut Cycles GR3 Gravel Bike, Shop Visit, and Interview with Founder Ben Farver

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Introducing the Argonaut Cycles GR3 Gravel Bike, Shop Visit, and Interview with Founder Ben Farver

Over the years, we’ve done a lot with Argonaut Cycles, from documenting its first shop location to photographing its race team at the Rouge Roubaix and shooting bikes at various showcases. The brand has come a long way in that time and today, after three years of design, testing, and research, they are releasing the GR3, a next-gen custom carbon gravel bike.

While in Bend, OR, recently, Josh caught up with the Argonaut Cycles team for a tour of their facilities and sat down for an interview with founder and designer Ben Farver. The conversation covers the brand’s fully custom in-house carbon frame and component production methods and more. Below, find Argonaut’s GR3 introduction, Josh’s interview with Ben, and an extensive photo gallery detailing the Argonaut fabrication process!

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.

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.

TUNED: A Black and Asian Owned Boutique Bike Service Shop in Brooklyn, NY

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TUNED: A Black and Asian Owned Boutique Bike Service Shop in Brooklyn, NY

It seems like only yesterday, Tijon Randall was wrenching client bikes in the basement of his Brooklyn apartment due to COVID-19 shutting down shops across the country. Prior, Tijon was one of the mechanics at a local bike shop in Manhattan when the coronavirus pandemic was at its peak, including the one he worked at. Thankfully, Tijon’s relationship with clients was strong enough that the demand for repairs, maintenance, and builds kept him afloat as everyone was trying to figure out how and when it was safe to re-open stores and businesses again. This new reality showed that he might be able to fulfill his once-longshot dream of opening his own shop. And just like that, TUNED, a boutique bike shop in Brooklyn, New York, was born.

Developing a Craft: A 35mm Look into Chumba Cycles Production

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Developing a Craft: A 35mm Look into Chumba Cycles Production

It has been a little over a year since we relocated Chumba Bikes to our new, bigger, and brighter shop space in South Austin. We have yet to host an open house here due to COVID and trying to keep our staff as safe as possible. I approached Vince about doing a 35mm photography project to share our new shop space along with the hands that have moved Chumba forward. To showcase our new shop I shot a month’s worth of photos and compiled this gallery. I’m excited to give you a peep into our world at Chumba!

Punk Rock Stitchworks: A Shop Visit with Alpine Luddites Custom Bag Makers

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Punk Rock Stitchworks: A Shop Visit with Alpine Luddites Custom Bag Makers

“Our driveway is rough.” Those are the words John Campbell of Alpine Luddites used to describe the windy, undulating, treelined drive, freshly blanketed in seven inches of snow, tucked away in the quiet town of Westmore, Vermont. It’s an understatement — a theme that emerges as you pick Campbell’s brain about his work making ultralight and durable bikepacking bags and backpacks for outdoor endeavors.

His shop is located on a picturesque fourth-generation Vermont family farm of 1,100 acres, a place secluded enough that your cellphone welcomes you to Canada as you crest the hill of his aforementioned driveway. Around the back, past the woodshed and out toward the fields, you’ll find Campbell’s workshop. It’s an idyllic setting that easily could have been the setting for a Hudson River School painting in the mid-19th century.

Grand Rapids Urban Singletrack with Mitch Mileski, His All-City Electric Queen, and Grand Rapids Bicycle Company

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Grand Rapids Urban Singletrack with Mitch Mileski, His All-City Electric Queen, and Grand Rapids Bicycle Company

In addition to riding some amazing purpose-built singletrack in my former hometown of West Michigan this past summer (more on that to come!), another highlight was linking up with Mitch Mileski for a very unexpected type of trail riding. Mitch manages the Fulton Street location of the Grand Rapids Bicycle Co. and, having also grown up in Grand Rapids (just much more recently than me) he knows the city very well and was generous to show off a few hidden gems. I met up with Mitch early on a moody weekday morning with a typical summer weather forecast calling for a 50% chance of precipitation.

Inside / Out at WZRD. bikes

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Inside / Out at WZRD. bikes

In a dank and dark industrial basement lies the realm of a modern wizard’s apprentice, where they envision, then create their disruption. Where they derive their power and what sacrifices have been made to get to this point are a mystery, though the products of their spells are obvious: rideable works of art, built to enable transcendence for those lucky enough to partake.

While Em has been known as the WZRD. for many years, I feel like they truly began their apprenticeship when they began crafting their dreams from raw steel. Harnessing the divine intelligence of ancient magic, Em’s long-standing moniker became their expressive direction. The alchemy and creativity of the craft became their passion, but this is no average wizard.

WZRD. bikes officially launched in early 2020 with a focus on progressive geometry and progressive politics. Unapologetic about their radical ideologies, Em forges forward. At the front of the wave, WZRD. geometry is the kind of thing you’re going to see on “progressive” production bikes in years to come. That’s always been the beauty of custom, but not all custom builders have such radical ideals.

Based in Victoria, BC, at the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Em’s designs are inspired by their own relationship with the environment as much as the shortcomings they see in production bikes. We’ll get a bit deeper into the numbers side of Em’s bikes tomorrow, but suffice to say they like their reach long, their bottom brackets low, their seat angles steep, and their head angles slack.

Inside / Out at Myth Cycles in Durango: Not Your Imagination

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Inside / Out at Myth Cycles in Durango: Not Your Imagination

Just past the Animas River and tucked into a neighborhood back alley lies a modified garage holding one of the newer secrets of Durango. There is no signage, no storefront, no Google Maps locator. Nope, your only hint at what lies behind these doors is a subtle triskelion logo on the side door. This is the headquarters for Myth Cycles, the most recent continuation of handbuilt bicycles in Durango, Colorado.

The World’s Fastest Human is Naked (Bicycles)

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The World’s Fastest Human is Naked (Bicycles)

Over the years Stephanie and I have visited some out-of-the-way frame builders, but Sam Whittingham’s Naked Bicycles is one of the more out-there. Pedaling our camping bikes on the ups and downs of Quadra Island, an eclectic community of 2,700 people off northern Vancouver Island, we’re reminded that this is a two-speed kind of place – where the only gears you need are your easiest and your hardest.

The road narrows and the hills become even steeper, and we eventually come upon a gate, with a kind note asking us to close it after entering, for there are horses inside. We put Denver on his leash and grind the final few hundred metres to Sam’s shop, a quirky metal-roofed building with lots of windows, reflecting the even-more-whimsical shape of his house on the other side of the driveway.

If people make the effort to get here, Sam makes them feel at home. He arrives on the porch with a smile, and invites us in to his frame building shop in the woods.

Crust Bikes And Casa Verde, A Coastal Collaboration – Jarrod Bunk

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Crust Bikes And Casa Verde, A Coastal Collaboration – Jarrod Bunk

Crust Bikes And Casa Verde, A Coastal Collaboration
Photos and words by Jarrod Bunk

While wrapping up after Philly bike expo I casually said to Matt from Crust Bikes that I had hoped to make it out to Belmar to check it out, just like that there was an invite for a chill-out-grill-out and a Crust Bikes World HQ tour.  I left Philly and headed east to the coast. I’ve never been to Belmar, and my myopic view of Jersey was distilled through the lens of Newark, which is over industrialized and by comparison to Belmar, anything but beautiful.  Founded in 1889 Belmar, which translated from Italian means “beautiful sea” is a lush coastal community with close proximity to surf, shredding, and solace in the coastal hinterlands not far from where Crust is located.  So central is Crust/Belmar that in just a short drive you’re in NYC or Philly, should you need your fix of city life.

Inside / Out at Horse Cycles

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Inside / Out at Horse Cycles

Inside / Out at Horse Cycles

Photos by Ian Matteson, words by Kevin McClelland from ENVE

The Idea for this bike and trip transpired from a casual conversation at NAHBS in Hartford.  I approached Thomas from Horse Cycles at his stunning booth filled with some of my favorite bikes at the the show and we began talking about the yet to be released ENVE Gravel Fork and Gravel Bar. Thomas quickly started to show me photos of his freshly built cabin in Upstate New York surrounded by a beautiful landscape littered with some amazing gravel roads. That was the moment I knew I wanted to get out to New York for some riding with him and I knew I wanted it to be on a Horse Frame.

Paddles n’ Puppies: A Visit to Alpacka Raft HQ

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Paddles n’ Puppies: A Visit to Alpacka Raft HQ

Paddles n’ Puppies: A Visit to Alpacka Raft HQ
Words and photos by Spencer Harding

I’ve been fawning over Alpacka rafts for years but have yet to obtain one. I have used the shitty Klymit one, which resulted in my raft flipping while holding my camera at the end of a rapid. I learned the hard way that there is only one true name in the packrafting game: Alpacka Raft.

Last year my friend Molly (see our last trip for more cute photos of her and Sprocket) got a job working at Alpacka Raft HQ in Mancos, Colorado. Mancos is a quaint town nestled right between the full-on Rocky Mountains and the eastern edge of the Colorado Plateau. Ever since she got the job I had been waiting for an excuse to stop by and check out the factory. Turns out Mancos is not even close to being on the way from Salt Lake City to Denver (to meet up for this year’s DFL the Divide trip) but was well worth the detour.