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Returning to Cuenca Los Ojos: Sarah Swallow’s Otso Voytek and Ruta del Jefe Updates

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Returning to Cuenca Los Ojos: Sarah Swallow’s Otso Voytek and Ruta del Jefe Updates

Ruta del Jefe has officially announced the dates and the new venue – March 21-24, 2024 in Cuenca Los Ojos, Mexico –  for the next edition of this adventure, education, community, and advocacy event. Cuenca Los Ojos is a protected natural area in the Sky Islands of the Mexican state of Sonora, southeast of Agua Prieta/Douglas, Arizona. Daniel Zaid and Karla Robles recently linked up with, organizer Sarah Swallow and, below, document her new new Otso Voytek, which she has been using for scouting the 2024 Ruta Del Jefe route. Additionally, Daniel and Karla share an update on the work Cuenca Los Ojos has been doing to provide the best platform for Ruta del Jefe in advance of the event’s first season south of the border…

Juanito and His “Burra”: A Fabio Duarte Touring Bicycle

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Juanito and His “Burra”: A Fabio Duarte Touring Bicycle

When Karla and I arrived at Básica Studio’s workshop in México City, one of the first things I noticed was a yellow bicycle parked on its kickstand standing a little apart from the other ones on the rack. A complete set of fenders and heavy-duty racks made it clear this bike was intended for fully loaded touring, and the letters on the down tube, F. Duarte, spelled a brand I hadn’t seen before. We soon found out this bike belonged to Juanito, one of the mechanics at the shop, and I knew I had to see this bike and this guy in action.

A Simple Solution for a Simple Problem: A Shovel Research Rod Steward Review

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A Simple Solution for a Simple Problem: A Shovel Research Rod Steward Review

Does it get much better than small makers addressing niche demands within a niche sector of the bike industry? I don’t think so. One of my favorite parts about running this website is showcasing and highlighting cottage industry bike businesses. Shovel Research is a small machine and fabrication shop that makes well-designed products that address a niche demand. One of which is its Rod Steward, a bag support designed for the Fab’s Chest by Ron’s Bikes, but as I found out on my Rivendell Bombadil, it works well with a Rivendell Sackville BagBoy bag.

Let’s check out a quick review below…

Deadfall, Cow Sh*t, and Monsoons: A Well Used Revelate Nano Panniers Review

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Deadfall, Cow Sh*t, and Monsoons: A Well Used Revelate Nano Panniers Review

In a world where traditional bicycle touring setups are seemingly overtaking strap-on bikepacking bags, micro or mini panniers make a lot of sense. If you have a rear or front rack, why not run a pannier over a lashed, structureless bag? Panniers are great for many reasons, mainly their ease of loading and stability. They don’t flop all over or rub your tires on smaller frames like bikepacking bags tend to, and if they’re packed and mounted right, they stay out of your way during the inevitable hike-a-bike. Plus, depending on how you load your rear rack, you can still use a dropper post. 

John recently took the new Revelate Nano Panniers ($250/pair) out on the Northern New Mexico CDT for four days of navigating deadfall, battling cow shit, and being trounced by Southwestern Monsoons, i.e., the true test of a pannier’s reliability!

Read on for his well-used review!

I Don’t Want Anything That’s Fast: The Bikes of Spencer Connell

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I Don’t Want Anything That’s Fast: The Bikes of Spencer Connell

Spencer and I have been riding bikes together for 15 years. Since then, Spencer developed a career building and repairing guitars in Nashville, Tennessee. Back when we were younger, we spent a lot of time hanging around our local bike shop,  Halcyon, and working on our bikes on their community stands. His bikes are deeply practical, very unique, and kind of clapped out. I’m not here to tell anyone what to do, but I wish more people built and rode bikes like Spencer. Recently I went to Nashville, and I took some time to document his bikes and ask him a few questions about his builds. Below, let’s check out what he had to say…

Bicycle Portage Handles: A Simple Design with a Big Story

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Bicycle Portage Handles: A Simple Design with a Big Story

Today we featured Brian’s Rare Earth Cycles touring bike, which featured a portage handle. This detail has resulted in a good deal of internet chatter, lauding this simple design as a clever detail for touring bikes. Brian credits Meriwether Cycles’ work for inspiring him to include one on his bike, yet Meriwether was inspired by other framebuilders of the past like Sam Braxton.

While this simple bit of tubing looks pretty straightforward, there’s a big backstory behind its use. Roll on over to Meriwether Cycles‘ blog to read all about it and find an excerpt below…

The Tour Divide on Fabric Spokes: Brian and His Rare Earth Cycle Craft Touring Bike

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The Tour Divide on Fabric Spokes: Brian and His Rare Earth Cycle Craft Touring Bike

For framebuilders, there’s no better test for their product than a long bike tour. When I last saw Brian, he had just completed the Baja Divide on a bike he built. At the time, he had just left the outdoor industry and hoped to transition into building frames full-time under the Rare Earth Cycle Craft banner.

His hardtail was one of my favorite bikes I documented this year until I saw his Tour Divide bike…

Everyone’s Nice at Brother in the Wild Dorset

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Everyone’s Nice at Brother in the Wild Dorset

Petor Georgallou steals his sister away as a (reluctant) partner in crime to check out the Brother in the Wild Dorset, hosted by Brother Cycles. He’s pleased to find a “field full of weirdos” and a plethora of equally unique and odd bikes and, it turns out, everyone’s nice. Stick around near the end for a lengthy discussion on the merits and cost of silver brazing, and a sampling of the bikes that made an appearance.

Kumis and Glaciers: Stories From Bicycle Touring Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan Mountains

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Kumis and Glaciers: Stories From Bicycle Touring Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan Mountains

Wild horses, high mountains, glaciers, and nomads—Ana Zamorano first heard stories of adventure and misadventure from bike touring in Kyrgyzstan while riding in The Andes. The allure of adventure was too enticing and she made a pact to experience the vast valleys and high passes of the Tian Shan Mountains herself. Read on for her retelling of a trip that included loaded high-altitude touring, a glimpse into the region’s nomadic culture, and endless mountains in the distance. 

Cooking The Baja Divide: How To Survive On More Than Cold Bean Burritos

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Cooking The Baja Divide: How To Survive On More Than Cold Bean Burritos

A magnet for riders all over the world, the pull of the Baja Divide is strong. The promise of oceanside single-track, larger-than-life cacti and endless fish tacos calls people like a siren’s song to this small desert peninsula. At times, the route is backcountry heaven: a playground to wander and roam. At others, it’s a living hell: full of rutted roads and deep sandy tracks that push the physical and mental limits of even the most seasoned two-wheeled tourists.

With an official Facebook page, umpteen WhatsApp groups and countless trip reports ranging from FKT’s to first dates, there’s a tone of information already online. But amongst the endless tubeless chatter and hydration hysteria, there’s a distinct lack of information about the FOOD—until now. Sam Rice and Bec Norman share some tasty camp cooking tips from their trip down the peninsula…

An Early Look at The Monē Bikes Hachita Prototype All-Rounder: A Sincere Cycles Build

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An Early Look at The Monē Bikes Hachita Prototype All-Rounder: A Sincere Cycles Build

Cjell here with a quick report from the field on my latest prototype bike model, the Moné Hachita. I’m still dialing in the details but have released a few protos into the wild. The new/forthcoming frame featured here was just built up by my friend Bailey Newbrey. For those unfamiliar, Bailey is the owner/operator/janitor/DJ of Sincere Cycles in Santa Fe.

The new bike is one we’re working on over here at Monē. The current Monē line-up has a slack/playful hardtail with very big tire clearance, a drop bar with very big tire clearance, and a gravel bike with just big tire clearance. In many ways, these thru-axle, disc-braked bikes are superior to this new bike. In all ways, really, save one: ultimate retro compatibility.

FAIL 9 The Dull Bits: Finding Poetry While Cycling from Lisboa to Badajoz

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FAIL 9 The Dull Bits: Finding Poetry While Cycling from Lisboa to Badajoz

You never know when life is going to take a dramatic turn. On the cusp of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, Ryan le Garrec set out to explore a route linking the Portuguese capital, Lisboa, to a border town in Spain, Badajoz. On his way, he found nothing much else than the blissful privilege of getting bored on a bike. In his FAIL 9 film, he reveals the poetry, the emptiness, and the loneliness the road can expose, yet completes the ride with a renewed sense of gratitude for the freedom to roam after learning of the irrevocable events being waged further east.

Archive Re-Up: Allan’s Rivendell Hunqapillar Dirt Tourer

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Archive Re-Up: Allan’s Rivendell Hunqapillar Dirt Tourer

When we lost our 2015 image bucket back in 2018, it was a huge bummer, but over the past few months, I’ve been digging out hard drives and re-editing some photos, in the hopes of filling in the bigger holes. With this real winter we’ve been having, I’ve had a bit more free time to take a deep dive into the archives, and today, I’m sharing the Rivendell that set the hook for me: Allan’s Rivendell Hunqapillar Dirt Tourer.

Check out the most recent Archive Re-Up: Allan’s Rivendell Hunqapillar Dirt Tourer

I should also note that my intent here is only to upload lost photos, keeping the text and formatting intact.