Putting yourself out there and writing about polarizing topics is not easy. We’ve hosted a lot of great writing over the years, many of which inspired some great commentary and yes, change within the industry. Cinthia‘s piece on white privilege and bike racing during a pandemic really ruffled some feathers in her local racing community. For their latest episode, Bikes or Death interviews Cinthia about these effects and it’s highly worth the listen! Check it out at Bikes or Death.
With two branches under the new women’s gravel line, the Devote and Devote Advanced, Liv has developed gravel bikes in both aluminum and carbon, with clearances for a 45mm tire, and build kits that rival other offerings on the market. This video alone, set in Canyon Country, has our interest piqued but see more information for yourself at Liv.
We land in Deadhorse on the North Slope of Alaska in the evening under sunny skies and drag our cardboard bike boxes out of the single gate terminal. We’re the only passengers on the flight not starting a two-week work shift on the oil fields. The wind is ripping so fast, it’s hard to put the bikes together. We help each other. We velcro bags to our bikes and load up our camping gear. It’s cold enough that we put on all of our clothing layers. We cram days’ worth of food into every pack. The workers at the airport are kind and helpful. A woman gives us directions to the shop where we can buy a camping stove canister and a can of bear spray that we couldn’t bring on the plane. She asks us to leave our bike boxes in storage. They always save the big ones for hunters.
Last Autumn, I found myself wondering, “How do I pack for a bike ride through Narnia?”. I had just been asked to sample a small section of the wonderful Oregon Timber Trail by my friend Gabriel. I packed a grocery bag full of Voile straps, my foul weather gear, a laminated local mushroom-foraging pamphlet, and prepared to step through the magic wardrobe.
Should we join the crazy Everest fad? Zwift for 48 hours straight? What if we ride the entire Santa Monica Mountain Range? The route had to be gnarly enough to catch people’s attention, and then we could steer the gaze to the reason for the ride. To raise funds and awareness for grassroots organizations that fight racial injustices as a part of the Big Rides for a Big Cause platform.
Kittie Knox might not be a name you’re familiar with and that’s ok! Let’s learn about her today. She was a bike racer at the end of the 19th century, the first black person to be inducted into the League of American Wheelman, and pushed the paradigm at the time by wearing clothing only associated with males, like pants! Kittie fought for the rights of black Americans as cyclists, pushing for the ability for more to be allowed into the League of American Wheelman.
Head to Medium to read this great story.
When you’re done there, head to Bicycling.com for more stories by and about black cyclists.
The essay below was written for Bikepacking Roots’ Bears Ears Loops Landscape and Route Guidebook to provide bikepackers with one perspective about how the landscape in its entirety is sacred to Indigenous groups. The designation of Bears Ears National Monument marked the first time in history that a National Monument was created in response to the voices and advocacy of the Indigenous groups who call the landscape home. Leaders from the Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni, and Ute Indian Tribe formed the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition in 2015 to represent a consortium of tribes unified in protecting and promoting the cultural, archeological, scientific, historical and natural resources of the Bears Ears region. Just 11 months later, the Trump administration reduced the Monument’s size by ~85%. And in a direct affront to the request of the Intertribal Coalition, the southern unit of the reduced Monument was named the Shásh Jaa’ Unit (using the Diné name for Bears Ears). The Coalition had insisted upon the use of the English “Bears Ears” name for the Monument rather than in any one tribe’s language in solidarity and unity.
The New Yorker recently released this documentary, featuring pro mountain bikers Andréane Lanthier Nadeau, Miranda Miller, plus pro rider and Olympic ski cross medallist Brittany Phelan, examining their relationship with crashing. Check out the full article at the New Yorker.
The journal entry following my first bike trip reads: “Why does recording life events feel so vital? Because memories can’t be trusted to stay in place. Because in their wake remains the shadowy outlines of phantom feelings—forms so great and vague that we long to recall the experiences that gave them flesh and weight. Okay. Bike trip.” On the next page I taped five sheets of 3×5 pages, carefully ripped from the pocket journal that I carried with me on the bike. I did this for the sake of chronology in my journaling, so that all of my day-to-day reflections remained bound together, in order, but in leafing through the past, I enjoy the three-dimensional quality that my inserted notes lend to the entry.
Lisa Congdon is an artist, who Velocio pinged to design a collection for them. Well, the whole project looks great but their interview and process images really bring it home. It’s always great to read about lesser-known artists in this industry.
There’s a natural connection between the process in cycling and in art. Can you speak about how one might inform the other? Related, you’ve built a successful business from being perseverant and thoughtful, hallmarks of any longtime rider. What drives you in your work?
I think the same drive, discipline and determination required for cycling and other sports are required for art making. I use a lot of sports analogies when I talk about the creative process, because there are so many similarities. You have to not only show up, but you also often have to move/create even when the conditions aren’t perfect or you feel like crap. Some days you feel in the flow, others are a struggle. Practice is at the heart of getting better. Athletics has taught me so much that has moved into my art practice. I get an enormous amount of personal, intrinsic satisfaction from making art, and I know that satisfaction is a result of a lot of hard work that was difficult. And that sense of personal satisfaction is where it begins for me. But there is another layer of sharing my work with an audience, and having other people engage with my work that is also hugely motivating to me.
Head to Velocio to see more!
Now in its eighth year, the Rapha Women’s 100 challenges riders around the world to share the road and ride 100 kilometers together on the same day. 2020 may be looking a little bit different from previous years and coming together can be complicated, but there is still a way… Watch this video for some familiar faces and check out the entire Womens 100 collection at Rapha.
In 2019 Gaëlle and her Bombtrack headed out for a staggering loop around Europe, covering all it’s countries within. From the heat of southern Spain to the frozen coast of Scandinavia, while traversing the Carpathians somewhere in the middle – home to brown bears and wolves…
We should all take the time to read this article by Ayesha McGowan on Outside Online if you haven’t…
“It’s been just over a month since George Floyd was murdered in the street by the police. After eight days of marches and protests all over the world, the four officers involved in Floyd’s death were arrested and charged. That glimmer of hope for justice is too little, too late. The Black community has endured centuries of witnessing Black death at the hands of the law enforcement officials who are supposed to protect us.”
Last weekend, Lael raced the Kenai 250, a two hundred fifty-seven mile self-supported mountain bike race in the Kenai Peninsula, the only area with an extensive network for singletrack trails in Alaska.
BMX twins Lizsurley and Queensaray prove to be ‘2 in a million’ as they work their way up from local freestylers to olympic hopefuls despite their lack of training infrastructure and resources.
The Kenai 250 is a 257-mile, self-supported mountain bike race in the Kenai peninsula, the only area in Alaska with a large network of singletrack trails maintained by the forest service. The race organizer, Michael Braun, stitched together a route that connects the trails with highway miles. It’s 60% singletrack and 40% pavement. The race has been going on since at least 2013. This year, with 36 starters, it’s a record setting year for participation. This will be my first time racing it. I grew up in Alaska. It’s amazing to have the opportunity to ride and race in my home state. A couple weeks ago, Rue and I went out to tour the trails– several of which I’d never ridden. In a single day, from my bike seat, I saw a moose cooling off in a pond and both a lynx and a grizzly bear crossed my path. Alaska is still very wild. I’m really looking forward to riding through the night and experiencing this full route in one go. It would make a great multi-day tour as well.