The Southeastern Appalachians are filled with a lot of my favorite things. It’s considered the salamander capital of the world. There are more than 160 native tree species (there are only 50 in the state of Colorado), but above all else, my favorite thing in these hills are my friends. Over the winter a few of us came together and reflected on last year. What could we do to help grow our casual cycling community? We figured that these hills have a lot going for them, but there wasn’t a good swap meet, and that’s a problem worth solving.
Tennessee might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think about gravel, but the roads west of Nashville will have you saying “gosh” and “darn” more than once over spectacularly challenging and varied terrain. Gosh Darn 5 welcomed over 240 riders and offered four rugged routes ranging from 16 to 100 miles.
How I ended up writing this review of the LeMond Prolog is a bit surreal.
I’ve lived in Knoxville, Tennessee for the past ten years, where I’ve managed to carve out a career in the nonprofit bike space at Two Bikes Knoxville. About a year ago, my pal Matt Zingg and I started a nonprofit bike shop called Two Bikes, which has kept us pretty busy. I still get out on rides a few times a week, but my cycling is largely practical these days. I ride to work, to get groceries, to go to the community garden.
I mention this because whenever I read a review I always want to understand the perspective of the author. I’m really passionate about bringing folks together to have fun outside and about resolving the inefficacy of America’s transportation system. Bikes tick both of those boxes for me, so I really like bikes.
Knoxville is home to more than 100 miles of mountain bike trails within the city boundaries, and seemingly endless farm roads within just a few miles of downtown. Two Bikes takes off on a taco ride to La Esperanza in their latest video…
When I organize a ride you should know what to expect: 8-10 mile an hour pace, lots of breaks to session cool features, take pictures, and definitely eat a lot of snacks. I aspire for all my rides to basically be glorified picnics.
I met Mitchell many years ago while riding opposite directions on the Tour Divide and since then we’ve kept in loose internet contact. Mitchell and Matt are launching a new shop in Knoxville with an amazing goal and I wanted to share it with everyone:
Howdy, we’re Mitchell and Matt, two regular people who ride bikes. We also happen to be starting a non-profit bike shop in the Historic Old City district of Knoxville, TN. We’re calling it Two Bikes and our mission is to give away a bicycle for every one we sell.
To make this happen we rely on donated bikes – and bike parts – which we refurbish and sell for reasonable prices. The shop will also serve as a hub for the fast-growing and diverse Knoxville cycling community by offering public repair stations, mechanics classes, a taproom showcasing local beer, a resource library and – when things return to normal – an event space.
We believe in the transformative power of bikes, not just as a means of exercise or a social object, but also as a tool for personal mobility, freedom and autonomy. From the latest carbon space bike to the modest be-fendered and basketed commuter, we hope you’ll agree that with each bicycle the world becomes a more wondrous and positive place. As such, Two Bikes is committed to lowering the barrier for entry to this brighter world by providing access to affordable bikes and to creating a more inclusive and egalitarian culture through honest, unintimidating service.
We’re documenting the process of starting the nonprofit online too. If you’d like to follow along, the best spot is probably Instagram.
During the pandemic, bike shops have seen a surge in business, and with this growing popularity of two-wheeled machines, we’re stoked to see non-profits benefiting from the bicycle boom. Mitchell and Matt recently opened Two Bikes, a non-profit in Knoxville, TN. For this week’s Readers’ Rides, we take a look at Mitchell’s Rivendell Hunqapillar, with an interesting backstory…
Oftentimes, we find the best bikes for us at the most random times. Andrew shares his build of this beautiful FW Evans with us on this week’s Readers’ Rides!
Two years ago, my wife and I bought our first place in our hometown of Franklin, TN and the space dictated we’d have enough room for one bike each. Since then I’ve been building swiss army bikes with varying degrees of success, usually overkill, and it’s only been in the last few months I’ve been completely honest with myself about what the bike will encounter…
“I never felt I belonged. I never belonged in my whole life, even as a little kid. I was just different and so I never really found my place till I moved to Nashville…” -Dolly Parton.
From the very first moment you step into Halcyon Bike Shop, you will feel at home. Although it’s not so much like being at a parent’s house. It is more like being at your favorite dive (that arty one on the edge of town), sitting in the booth you always sit. You know the one! It’s in the back corner next to the largest window in the joint with a couple of slashes in the red vinyl backrest. It’s a place where you immediately let your guard down and talk to whoever sits across from you for hours.