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Hotdogs and Mallets: The Eugene Bike Polo Club

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Hotdogs and Mallets: The Eugene Bike Polo Club

For years the words “Bike Polo” have elicited, in my silly little noggin, some sort of barbaric mosh pit of hardcore/anarchist/fixie-skidding/male-presenting jousters, bloody-fresh shinners and maybe getting whacked by one of those croquette things being swung around like a Morgenstern circa 1490. A fight to the death on bikes. I grew up dancing ballet and racing BMX, forging me timid of sports balls and physical contact sports, in general. I had this unfounded bias that bike polo was too edgy and savage; like something I’d not ever try because of my aversion to sports where another human might hit you with a ball, a mallet, or heaven forbid, their own sweaty soul-sack. I imagined a lot of brute force and all-out thrashing: Steel bike frames colliding in explosive fashion inside of a cartoon fight cloud, mallets and balls flying from all directions, and me in the center with time standing still, going full-on Neo (The Matrix, 1999 film) from the saddle in an act of self-preservation.

I was wrong.

2022 Single Speed USA: Decorah, Iowa Edition!

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2022 Single Speed USA: Decorah, Iowa Edition!

Single speed mountain biking. It’s kinda dumb right? How hard is it to shift a derailleur, c’mon.

Let’s not sully the holy sanctity of this article with such petty things as single speed arguments (for or against). What a cliché. If you’re new here, suffice it to say there are all sorts of reasons—from cost to curmudgeonliness to cache—to ride single speed mountain bikes. Those reasons don’t necessarily make sense. If you’re a regular reader, you already know how 1-speed bikes fit into today’s bike culture…enjoy your unsullied reading.

This article is about the bond shared by single speeders and how events like Single Speed USA (SSUSA) carry and strengthen them. I also want it to be about bikes as well, as I know more than a couple of people here might be into them.

2022 Single Speed Arizona! Cave Creek Edition: Rattling it Around

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2022 Single Speed Arizona! Cave Creek Edition: Rattling it Around

What exactly is Single Speed Arizona? Well, first and foremost, it’s not a damn bike race. A cesspool of degenerates? Sure, but only for the weekend – some of these people are actually really good at adulting! One might argue that it’s a borderline cult with congregants making an annual pilgrimage to The Grand Canyon State each February to hike a bunch with our stupid bikes, commune, and praise Jah. The reality is that whether you’re escaping winter in other parts of the world, or your own reality for a whole weekend, being sun-drenched while riding/hiking bikes in February makes for a wonderful family reunion. Welcome to Arizona’s Premier Outdoor Recreation Conference.

2022 Single Speed Arizona! Cave Creek Edition: Southwest Wildlife Tour and Bike Gallery

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2022 Single Speed Arizona! Cave Creek Edition: Southwest Wildlife Tour and Bike Gallery

Following a hiatus in 2021, Single Speed Arizona (SSAZ) returned earlier this month – over an action-packed weekend – to Cave Creek. We’ll be hosting a full event report and photo gallery soon, but today we’re kicking off our coverage with a pre-ride tour of Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center and a gallery of bikes (and their riders), which is about as eclectic and diverse as it gets.

The Stooge Scrambler Review: Evolution of the Modern Klunker

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The Stooge Scrambler Review: Evolution of the Modern Klunker

Rigid bikes. The roots of riding off-road, yet now the arena of weirdos, quacks, and masochists. Mountain biking started out long before telescoping forks and complex linkage designs, but the bikes of those early days are now a far cry from the activity most consider “mountain biking”.

Of course, those weirdos, quacks, and masochists still have a place in this world, and it turns out I’m one of them. It wasn’t always this way. I used to ride and write about my experience with suspension mountain bikes as a full time job. I could go on all day about spring curves and axle paths, dampers and volume spacers, sag and suspension setup.

But, in the past five or so years, my focus has shifted. I’d rather spend a weekend riding to small places and sleeping out under the stars than shuttling the local loamers and crushing parking lot beers. And in that time I’ve come to value a mountain bike that requires less maintenance.

Having ridden a lot of high end suspension bikes, I know what it takes to keep them running tip top – and I just don’t have the facilities to do that at home, nor the money to pay someone else to do it. A rigid bike makes sense for my sometimes bi-weekly, sometimes monthly mountain bike hobby.

What It’s Designed For: Matt Acker’s Very Muddy Mid South Salsa Stormchaser SSGX

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What It’s Designed For: Matt Acker’s Very Muddy Mid South Salsa Stormchaser SSGX

As you can imagine, the Mid South was intense this year. Between the Corona Virus pandemic and the weather, the team running the race had to scramble to adjust to the ever-changing circumstances. At the last minute, our coverage team decided to pull the plug, and we didn’t get a whole lot from the weekend, but luckily Jared Harber was able to shoot Matt Acker‘s winning Stormchaser. I wish we could have also shot Hannah Finchamp and Payson McElveen’s winning bikes, but as I said, it was a chaotic event!

This bike was just about the only thing Jared shot from the weekend and while we didn’t really get a lot of other coverage, we have a few things that we’ll be sharing shortly. I really wanted to share not only Jared’s amazing photos but Matt’s thoughtful insight into his build, which he rolled into 8th position, so read on below.

Land Run 100 Rides: Austin from Austin’s Chumba Terlingua

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Land Run 100 Rides: Austin from Austin’s Chumba Terlingua

The Land Run 100 draws people from all over the world, including Texas. Austin drove in from Austin, with his brand new Chumba Terlingua, ready to roll 100+ miles single speed. With no rain in the forecast – #RIPmud – he packed in a big tire and got ready to ride the rolling hills, through the red dirt countryside.

While there were many exceptional builds at the event, I have to say, this was one of the most original I saw. With Onyx Racing Hubs, an Absolute Black ring, Paul Klampers, Hope Rotors, WTB Riddler tires, matching spoke nipples and a mean, race fit, this bike looked as good in motion as it does sitting here.

Austin, great to meet you, pardna’, tell the grackles I said I miss them!

____

Follow LandRun 100 on Instagram

Radar

The Harabas Single Speed

This video came in from the Philipines, where a shop there released a limited run of the Harabas single speed frame, designed to be ridden with slicks or knobbies, free or fixed. I really dig the reverse mig welding sequence. That’s a first for sure. Check out some photos of these frames on Instagram.

Blue Lug and Rivendell’s Frank Jones Single Speed

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Blue Lug and Rivendell’s Frank Jones Single Speed

To commemorate Blue Lug‘s 10 year anniversary – congrats guys! – Rivendell teamed up with them to design a single speed. You might recall their Quickbeam single speed, and the Frank Jones is a relative to that bike. Blue Lug made 55 of these frames and Rivendell took in 25. There’s a lot more to be said about this collaboration, which will come at a later date once a certain someone builds theirs up, but I wanted to give all of you a heads up, in case you missed out on a Quickbeam back in the day.

Oh and if you’d like to see more photos of Blue Lug’s build, head to their Flickr!

Junk Yard Doggin’ Around Los Angeles one Morning

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Junk Yard Doggin’ Around Los Angeles one Morning

All-City’s Junk Yard Dog, or JYD for short, is a do-all, hobo trail cuttin’, curb jibbin, bar or delivery bike, built with burliness in mind. I’ve seen various permutations of this bike floating around in my travels. Some people build it up as a delivery bike with a porteur rack, others a drop-bar monster cross like in Kyle’s case.

Kyle‘s had this frameset for a while now and the potential build always centered around the Salsa Woodchipper 2 bar. Those bars, paired with White Industries, Paul Mini Motos and Bruce Gordon Rock n Road tires results in one mean, yet fun around town bike.

On my last day in Los Angeles, I went on a ride with Kyle (who modeled the new All-City Big Gulp Kit) as we left from our favorite pre-ride spot, Intelli Coffee on Sunset and made our way through bum trails and city overlooks.

Check out photos of the quick jaunt as well as the JYD bike-check in the Gallery!

Jonathan’s Singlespeed Rock Lobster Cross Bike

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Jonathan’s Singlespeed Rock Lobster Cross Bike

Purging bikes isn’t fun, unless you can sell it to a friend, or in this case, a co-worker. One of the higher ups at Mellow Johnny’s recently decided to part with his Rock Lobster singlespeed cross. It was practically new and just so happened to fit Jonathan like a glove. Best of all, Jonathan finally found a place for all those turquoise Chris King bits he had been saving.

Singlespeed builds are ridiculously beautiful, especially when they have a color combination like walnut brown and turquoise. Relying on the ever-so-stoppy, Paul Mini Motos and Pacenti SL23 hoops with Tubeless WTB Cross Boss tires, this thing will be good to go next season…

But as we all know, cross bikes are much more diverse than that. We’ll be seeing more of this beauty in the coming months, I’m sure of it.

Radar

Adam Craig’s Limited-Edition Giant TCX SLR SS

This is why Adam Craig will probably win SSCXWC in Kentucky this year and no, it’s not the bike. It’s his training! You see that Four Roses? Dude means business. Although being in the bourbon mecca might put a damper on those roosts!

Vicious Cycles SSCX

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Vicious Cycles SSCX

In the world of cross bikes, there’s something just inherently honest about a single speed race machine. It’s gotta be the big, knobby tires, cantilever brakes, unicrown fork and no-nonsense utilitarianism, right? Wrong. It’s pink and it’s a Vicious Cycles! This bike in particular is over 10 years old and it has been raced extensively over that time period. It’s been wrecked, loved, hated, spit on, puked on (maybe?) and it’s still alive, begging for more. When I was at the Bicycle Sport Shop Six Shooter, this was one of the first bikes that caught my eye.

See more in the Gallery!

Ty’s Pink Seven Mudhoney SS Cross

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Ty’s Pink Seven Mudhoney SS Cross

People look great on pink bikes. They’re not as ostentatious as red bikes and evoke a certain “fun” energy, especially when they’re pedaled by Ty from Golden Saddle Cyclery. Riding with that dude is always rad and it doesn’t hurt when you get to check out this steed from all angles (including launching into the air).

The Seven Mudhoney is a no-nonsense cross machine. Built from Seven’s Origin™ butted steel, it’s light, responsive and best of all, can be thrashed with ease. Just add some bike control…

Check out more photos in the Gallery!