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Tour of Ara

The Tour of Ara was a truly unique race, out of South Africa:

“The Tour of Ara, named for the Southern Hemisphere constellation of Ara, was a prestige race ridden mostly on South African-built steel racing bicycles in the proud tradition of the early Italian multi-day stage races. For it’s five year duration, the Tour followed a tough dirt-road route over six days through the beautiful but harsh semi-desert South African Karoo each year. It was as much a race as it was an exploration and celebration of this unique landscape and the people that live there. This 34 minute documentary follows 40 racers as they experience life-changing situations, meet locals, and face some serious race challenges – soft sand, corrugated roads, loose stones, sharp tyre-shredding rocks, rain and mud.”

Brian Baylis Painted this Insane Splatter Two-Tone Holland Track Bike

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Brian Baylis Painted this Insane Splatter Two-Tone Holland Track Bike

Our buddy Cicli Pucci rolled into the shop the other day on this Holland Track Bike, and all of our jaws just dropped. Which is actually quite normal when Pucci rolls through. He’s been painting with Joe Bell for many years now and always has the most fly of bikes, always hand-painted by himself. You all probably remember his Azuki Pro that was featured here about a year ago.

Bob Allen’s 1989 Cook Brothers Bonzo Fury DH Bike

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Bob Allen’s 1989 Cook Brothers Bonzo Fury DH Bike

I don’t even know how to start this one off. It’s such a weighted story, with so many levels. First off, Bob Allen is in the MTB Hall of Fame for his photography. Then there’s the bike we’re featuring here, the last Cook Brothers Racing frame made in their original SoCal workshop. Then there’s Bob’s own career, which is tied directly to this bike and a specific photo of MTB legend Hans Ray. Then there’s the fact that Bob had only ridden this bike twice in the past twenty-some-odd years until this week’s Supper Club Shred with Alter Cycles where I was able to grab a few shots of him riding the bike… so bear with me here!

Rawson’s Schwinn Le Tour Gateway Bike

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Rawson’s Schwinn Le Tour Gateway Bike

Gateway bikes. We’ve all had one. You know, that first bike that got you hooked on riding bikes and expanded your horizon into the world of cycling. When the fixed gear craze was sweeping cities all over the world, Rawson bought this Schwinn Le Tour while he was living in Ohio. He immediately converted it to a fixed gear, stripping the bike of all the necessary components, as per the norm at the time and rode it like that for a few years before eventually buying a road bike, then a gravel bike, and a mountain bike.

Try Before You Buy at Santa Fe’s Mellow Velo

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Try Before You Buy at Santa Fe’s Mellow Velo

“Try before you buy.” It’s not a saying you’d normally associate with a bike shop. Sure, most shops will let you take a bike on a test ride around the block or in their parking lot, but to pull a brand new bike off the shelf and “demo” it for a day, or two, or a whole month, if you so wanted to, is unique. That model was very foreign to me until I walked into Santa Fe’s Mellow Velo.

An Eroica California Bruce Gordon Chinook Road

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An Eroica California Bruce Gordon Chinook Road

… made in Eugene, Oregon.

This weekend was the Eroica California and while our story is coming tomorrow, we wanted to give you something special on this Sunday afternoon.

Bruce Gordon made a road bike model called the Chinook in the 1980’s from his workshop in Eugene, Oregon, where he worked prior to opening his shop in Petaluma, California. These bikes bear a branding resemblance to the Chinook camper shell conversions made popular in modern times by adventure-seekers looking to live their best lives on the road. There’s a certain nostalgia to the open road and summer tours on the West Coast and the Chinook frames embodied that. Clean lines, beautiful fastback stays, and thinned luglines were the Chinook’s calling cards.

On display at the American Cyclery booth at Eroica California was where this Bruce Gordon was living, in all its Campy Record glory, with pristine paint, Phil Wood hubs for a little California flair, and a pricetag to match… If you’re itchin’ for a Chinook, not the auto variety, give them a holler!

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Holy Gaiole!!! – Kyle Kelley

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Holy Gaiole!!! – Kyle Kelley

Holy Gaiole!!!
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley

l’Eroica Gaiole has always been a dream of mine. Since the early days of Tracko I would fantasize about traveling to Italy with only two things: a vintage Cinelli and a 35mm film camera. I hadn’t yet been outside of the United States and was young, dumb, and thought I could get anything done. Looking back, I probably would have forgotten to bring film. I was most definitely a bit naive back then.

The Devil in a Dress; L’Eroica Celebrates Alfonsina Strada – Tenzin Namdol

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The Devil in a Dress; L’Eroica Celebrates Alfonsina Strada – Tenzin Namdol

The Devil in a Dress; L’Eroica Celebrates Alfonsina Strada
Words and photos by Tenzin Namdol

“The act of remembering is about the future, not the past.” -Dr. Tashi Rabgey

There was a poster on the door of the Jolly Bar in downtown Gaiole In Chianti advertising a one woman play about and dedicated to Alfonsina Strada, the only woman to have competed in the Giro d’Italia way back in 1924. She was called “The Devil in Dress” by the press who sensationalized the story of a woman riding the Giro against pro racers of the time who were very well known and very male. Strada is no doubt a darling of the Italian vintage cycling social scene but completely unbeknownst to me. The play was one of the many official events organized for the L’Eroica weekend of ogling at relics that function as baseline vision for countless daydreams of bike builds, some looking much like the bike Strada rode for the Giro.

The Cub House Bike Show and Swap: 1960’s Cinelli Super Corsa

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The Cub House Bike Show and Swap: 1960’s Cinelli Super Corsa

Continuing our coverage from the third annual Cub House Bike Show and Swap…

Chuck is a lifelong cyclist. He runs and owns Velo-Retro but spent his life as a graphic designer who worked on many classic cycling logos, including the Eddy Merckx logo and others. That’s a whole different story altogether, hopefully, to be told another time. Right now let’s focus on this beautiful example of a pristine 1960’s Cinelli Super Corsa.

The Cub House’s Third Annual Bike Show and Swap… and Auto Show!

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The Cub House’s Third Annual Bike Show and Swap… and Auto Show!

When Sean from the Cub House told me his dream of putting on a bike and auto show, I wasn’t exactly sure how it’d pan out. Now, don’t get me wrong, Southern Californians love their cars and in this social circle, people love their bicycles just as much, if not more. I was worried that the cars would take center stage over the bikes, or it would get overrun with the auto show crowd. Boy, was I wrong!

The Cub House Bike Show and Swap: Medici-Built Carnevale C-Record Road

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The Cub House Bike Show and Swap: Medici-Built Carnevale C-Record Road

Today was the Cub House’s third annual bike show and swap. While we’ll look at the show itself tomorrow, I couldn’t wait to share the winning bike from the show, this Medici-built Carnevale Road bike. Now, with all bikes like this, there is a backstory. Ralph Carnevale was a major dealer of Medici Bicycles in Southern California in the 70’s and 80’s. His shop sold so many Medici bikes that the Masi-spinoff builder made a whole line of Carnevale Bicycles for Ralph.

Luciano’s Velo Playa Larga GIOS Torino – Sean Talkington

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Luciano’s Velo Playa Larga GIOS Torino – Sean Talkington

Luciano’s Velo Playa Larga GIOS Torino
Photos and words by Sean Talkington

I’m often drawn to things that are just the right amount of “thrashed”. That includes old cars, buildings, and even people look a lot more interesting with some character brought on from age. Of all the old things that pique my interest, bicycles might be on the top of the list.

There is something really honest about an old, weathered bike, and steel bikes are probably the best suited for “patina.” They’re probably the ONLY bikes that can look just as appealing after a lot of use versus a spotless new version. I seriously doubt it will be cool to see banged up old carbon S-Works in 30 years, but I guess you never know. I mean, as a kid everyone told me to save my baseball cards, so I did, and now they are worth nearly nothing. I’ve been lugging these things around for my entire adult life for literally no reason. I haven’t cared about baseball cards since I was probably twelve years old, yet I continue to drag 10,000 of them around like a 300-pound ship anchor. On the other hand, the Walkman I thrashed as a kid and secondhand Oakley Frogskins my friend Travis gifted me for my birthday are collectible. WTF!?