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.
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
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
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
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.
Snowbirding in Tucson at Tranist Cycles
Photos and words by Spencer Harding
This past March I wound up down in Tucson for some guiding work and planned some extra time to be there a little early to hangout with the nexus of bikey humans that seemed to congregating there. I happened to stop in at Transit Cycles for their monthly shop ride. The ride is co-hosted by Carl from Dragoon Brewing (find him for your first-beer-for-$1 token!) and the ride was a sporting 2 or so miles to the brewery along a bike path from the shop, my kinda ride really. It was an eclectic crowd with mainstays of the Tucson community, plenty of snowbirds from all over the country, and even a very pregnant pannier riding doggo.
Transit Cycles is nestled in the very southwest chic Mercado San Agustine on the west side of downtown Tucson. The shop is the culmination of the owner Duncan’s childhood dream to own a locally run bike shop. After bouncing around the west coast and finally ending up Tucson, Duncan opened Transit early in 2014. He was excited to offer the only place to buy cargo bikes in the city and a focus on adventure/touring bikes.
Today the shop is small but filled with many wonderful vignettes, from Mo’s personal artwork to a collection of more types of chain lube than I thought existed. The shop is currently just two employees, Duncan and Mo. A rarity in the cycling industry with a POC shop owner with a female head mechanic, a conscious decision to make space for gender as well as race. Outside of their monthly shop ride, Transit is a regular host to Swift Industries Stoked Spoke series, WTF rides, and intro bike-packing overnighters.
Next time you pass through Tucson, you know you want to escape winter everywhere else, make sure to swing by Transit Cycles and see what rad stuff is happening!
Words and photos by Morgan Taylor.
Last year when we visited Scott at Porcelain Rocket, we were doing the usual: shooting the shit about the industry, and Instagram, and all of the opinionated yammering that goes along with that. The topic of Sklar’s top tubes came up. Yes, those top tubes that curve upward, reducing standover while making for an instantly recognizable silhouette. I was suspicious.
Words and photos by Morgan Taylor.
Swift Industries has been making bicycle bags by hand in Seattle for eight years now. The first four of those years were spent in Martina and Jason’s basement, laying the foundation for a company that to this day produces each of its products in-house. When orders kept coming in, and they needed to hire help, Swift Industries moved to the space you see here, in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood.
Repeating Patterns at Porcelain Rocket
Words and photos by Morgan Taylor
Spending a few hours at Porcelain Rocket’s Canadian headquarters, I got a sense of just how much Scott Felter has invested in this business – and in the culture surrounding it. Scott began stitching bags for bikes while living in Banff, at the head of the Tour Divide Route. After a few years working out of a basement in Victoria, BC, he’s been in his current shop in Calgary for three years. On this particular day, Tim was working on a production run of frame bags for Rocky Mountain Bicycles, while Scott and I perused the layers of Porcelain Rocket’s history.