Author Archive

Ryan

Living in, and loving Alaska. A passion for human powered transportation. Beer drinker. Hell raiser. Two wheels, one love.

Holiday gifts for bike people

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Bicycle, Gear No Comments

The weather is getting colder here in Alaska and with it comes that time of year when we eat, drink and be merry. Some kids get gifts brought by St. Nicholas, and other kids get punished by the Krampus.

For those that subscribe to the gift giving side of it and have some shopping to do for the cyclists in their lives we’ve compiled a short list of presents- of a mostly practical nature.

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SSCXWC

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Bicycle, Bicycle Racing, Events, Travel No Comments

Victoria, BC. That’s in Canada. It’s called the “Garden City.” It’s the capital city of British Columbia- and is not in Britain or in Columbia. It’s really confusing. Something about history, there is a lot of it there too. Tons of old buildings that I’m sure if they were in Seattle would be torn down- modern glass and steel condos put up in their place.

With the graying of the the team (Hodala) – we’ve taken to renting a big house when we travel for SSCXWC. It means that our “responsibility buddies” make sure everyone gets home, we can drink our own kegs and well- we just like to hang out together. Hodala is much more than a bike racing team- we look out for each other on and off the bike. We had a great house on the water with a hot tub and dock access.  Turns out “dock access” doesn’t mean “water access” and Dirty Randy cut the shit out of his leg (spoiler alert: he was drunk) trying to climb onto the dock out of the Gorge Waters on our first night. This year we channeled this video and it served as inspiration for our shenanigans.

 

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Seattle before SSCXWC.

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Bicycle, Bicycle Racing, Events, Races, Seattle, Travel No Comments

After traveling nearly 3000 miles and consuming a lifetimes worth of alcohol, pizza, cheeseburgers, donuts and ice cream cake- I’ve returned home to my house on the hill in Cordova- alive.

Bike racing is hard.

This year I’ve spent less time on this blog than I’ve spent on my bike- which isn’t much. I’ve taken very few photos as I seem to break every camera put into my hands. My phone is sometimes used- but I often forget that I can use it as a camera. What follows suit is a cycle of poor blogging- each shortfall I offer compounding the next shortfall. As my memories are dragged through coffee filters and alcohol, the days meld into one and the voices words in my head resemble the marriage of a Dr. Bronners label and a can of Four Loko. For that I’m not apologetic, it’s just like that and that’s the way it is.

Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships took place in Victoria, BC, Canada this past weekend and I was lucky enough to attend with Hodala: my CX team and some of the… how can I say… most polarizing people I know. After a red eye flight out of Anchorage, I flew into Seattle at the butt crack of dawn on a Monday. Bubba picked me and the bike up at the airport and we had some breakfast and red beers as we made our way into the city. A good friend that I see too rarely- it’s always good to cross paths and catch up. He dropped me off at Back Alley Bike Repair where Ben helped sort the wheat from the chaff on my all too neglected bike. A new chainring, chain and cables were installed along with some general maintenance performed, while we drank Berzerker and listened to Puscifer. Ben and Julian at Back Alley are solid dudes that are pumped to get people riding well maintained bikes. IMG_9396 2

Matt Falwell from Manwolfs CX came out from Louisville and I got to play tour guide around Seattle- the city I called home for 6 years. Matt was one of the organizers of Louisville last year and rode a we pretty good loop together: 

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Hunting by bicycle is punk rock.

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Alaska, Bicycle, Bike Camping, fat bike No Comments

The homey Garrett, involved with Off the Chain in Anchorage- went on a hunting by bicycle trip this month along with a large handful of other co-op members. It looks like they were successful. Alaska being Alaska, I saw a couple of the hunting party members in the Anchorage airport on my way home from Interbike.

 

I’ve combined guns and bikes on a few different levels, most of the time carrying a sidearm or shotgun as bear and moose protection while on solo rides. Last fall I cobbled together a lightweight scabbard for my .22LR for hunting small animals, like rabbits and grouse. It worked well- though I’ll be doing some more to improve it’s design this year.

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For small game, my setup is pretty slick but with a heavy, high powered hunting rifle or shotgun- something more substantial would likely be necessary. I would likely just shoulder my rifle if headed out for a larger mammal, or use a rack like the folks at Cogburn have designed.

Nice work on the hunt, as well as the video. I like when the face of hunting is of real people in search of real food and a connection with the land.

I’ll leave you with a song I listened to quite a bit when I moved to Alaska as a vegan, in 1999. Also- save me some of the tongue!

Thanks to Brandon for the heads up on the video!

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E-bikes and cargo bikes and fat bikes oh my!

Written by Ryan on . Posted in 29+, Bicycle, Bike Porn, fat bike No Comments

Day one of Outdoor Dirt Demo. There was dirt and wind and beer and bikes and… The Elliptigo. Maybe next year they’ll come out with a recumbent, E-Elliptigo but until then- I’m out.

Fatbikes. I like them. They are fun. Apparently other people like them too, and the bike industry has been selling lots of them. I also like cargo bikes. They have come a long way in the last few years and I’m trying to get my nephews set up with one so they are of particular interest to me this year. Another style of bike that piques my interest is the folder. Not just for smug commuters anymore, the folder is a great option for those that travel, don’t have much space in their houses, or those that may link up a few different types of transportation on their commute.

After missing the show last year, I was unsure what to expect- curious what changes had been made in the program as far as vendors and more importantly, the sweet deals that they sometimes bring to the demo.

One thing that was easy to notice as soon as you step off the bus, is the growth of the e-bike. I think it’s undeniable at this point that the cycling industry will have to make room for this growing sector of bikes. Like it, or not. Town bikes, cargo bikes, even mountain bikes were cruising up the hills at 20mph, quiet as a mouse with the driver pedaling with little effort and an unavoidable smile on their face. I tested one on a cargo bike platform (which as of this writing I’m going to say that its the only e-bike I’d feel comfortaly riding, unless no one was looking.) An Xtracycle Edgerunner, it had the Bosch gear box system which is pretty great, being a true pedal assist, unlike some that seem little more than electric mopeds. Though I rode it unloaded, I can imagine that with a full load of beer, kids, or potting soil- even steep hills would be climbable, maybe even with ease.

Dirt Demo, for whatever reason, is not attended near as well as Interbike. Some shop people or media folks love it- and why wouldn’t you? It’s 2 days in the desert, riding bikes you could never afford, with lots of trails, a pump track and even a goddamn shuttle. The interest seems to be waning still, with fewer attendees, and some vendors pulling out- maybe saving themselves for the show? Myself, I haven’t taken advantage of the shuttle, and don’t go buck wild on the riding- I just like to go around and snap photos of dirty bikes.

But I digress, the focus is on the bikes. So here it goes…

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And so Interbike begins…

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Bicycle, Bike Porn, Events, Gear, Travel No Comments

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Fresh off the plane in Las Vegas for this year of Interbike, I’m sitting in my hotel typing this- enjoying a cold Budweiser in my underwear. I’m doing things a little different this year, blogging solely from an iphone 6 and a bluetooth keyboard. I’m not certain it will work well, but I spent all my money on bike parts this year, so thats what you get.

I spent a little better than a week in California- the Golden State, visiting family and friends with my better half. Bringing our bikes was clutch- I love riding in the bay, and the wife didn’t ride much when she lived in the area. She also got a new saddle- so riding her skinny tire bike has been a pleasure lately.

A few of the fun things I did include the tasting of so many great beers. And whiskeys. And coffee. So. Many.  Mikkeller Bar, Fieldwork Brewing, Beer Revolution, Trappist Provisions, Øl…. The list goes on. We rode the Iron Horse Trail in 104 degree heat. I drank coffee for a couple hours with the homey Stevil as we spoke of the changing social and economic landscape of Oakland. I bought a sweet 49ers Starter x Levi’s collaboration jacket that will becoome something else very soon. I met my new nephew, now 9 months old, that my sister named after me (the poor bastard.) I was busy.

I also stopped by Montano Velo, which is now in half the space that it was last time I visited. I met with Daniel, owner of Tumbleweed Bicycle Co. Not only is he a nice guy, passionate about cycling and riding bikes in exotic locales- he wrapped his head around a different way (than I’ve seen) to build a 4″ tire fat bike. He and some buddies recently returned from a trip to Mongolia- all riding working prototypes of this bike of his. It uses a Rohloff hub- which may make some people scream “Nerd!” right out of the gate- but it works. It works well. The idea is to keep a low q-factor, use a standard mtb bb, and parts that are (at the very least slightly more) accessible in obsure places than many fatbike parts.  

    
  
 The bikes were loaded heavily for the trip and ridden over 1000 miles, few if any paved. All worked well. Though the final frames will have minor aesthetic changes, along with cleaner welds- you can expect a pretty neat bike that will accommodate a number of wheel sizes (it also uses an adjustable bb,) front suspension, a Rohloff and feel good on the trail. I hope to hear more about Daniel and Tumbleweed Bicycle Co soon. I mean-the website is a .cc like Rapha is, so it must be good, right?

But now I’m in Vegas and the real work starts. Desert heat, an overwhelming number of brands and people trying to get their goods to the masses. The beer drinking. The shitty food and 1 mile long blocks. Underbike. Even a goddamn cargo bike syposium. I’m going to need a vacation after the next 5 days.

But yeah- if you like to make party and you happen to be in Downtown Las Vegas on Thursday, the bad decision makers will be attending Stevil’s annual shit show that is Underbike. 

  
  There will be music and hopefully the bar doesn’t run out of beer (which has happened just about yearly.)

So that’s about all that’s fit to print. I’ll try and do a daily thing with some stuff that appeals to me but then again, I’m nothing- if not unreliable.

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Ales for Trails in Seattle!

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Advocacy, Bicycle, Seattle, Washington No Comments

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This Thursday in Seattle, you should go drink beers at Brouwer’s in support of Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance and the building of more trails in the Northwest.

They will have beer from Oskar Blues BreweryGoodLife BrewingNew Belgium Brewing and Fremont Brewing Company, and Hopworks Urban Brewery nand all proceeds will go directly to Evergreen for ongoing trail work. So, come meet the Evergreen folks, mingle with the beer folks, and join them in celebrating and supporting a great cause!

More info at the Brouwer’s website

Or on the Facebook page for the event.

 

 

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Beyoncé and the working girls struggle. 

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Bicycle, Gear No Comments

I sometimes need to remind myself that I work with as many hours in a day as Beyoncé does.

This blog takes a back seat to many things in my life. Things like working to pay the rent and buy bike parts, beer drinking and sometimes even riding my bike. That’s just how the cookie crumbles. 

I get emails sometimes. Sometimes they’re about products or events or questions about this or that. Since I’ve been stoker on the tandem for a little while, I’m going to run through a few of the things that came across my desk. This is a video heavy post- one that has things to do with bikes, beer, dad bods and some good ol’ fashioned death metal.

First I’d like to share this- this beautiful trailer that Iggy put up on Facebook and I didn’t see until the wife showed it to me. It looks like an art movie- which might be better than most bike movies. Some of it has subtitles, so it means you’ll get smarter by watching it as well. And it has bmx riding.

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Simplicity has a price.

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Bicycle, Bike Porn, Portland 2 Comments

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Many of us have a simple bike that we use to get around town. A townie, commuter, grocery getter, bar bike, cruiser- it can go by many names, but the goal is usually a bike that fits in a niche that our others don’t. Well the folks at Speedvagen (Vanilla Bicycles) have made what they dub the “Urban Racer” and it is supposed to fill a void that no others can.


For the starting price of $4895 you can get your own in a couple months too.

Yeah. You read that right. Four thousand eight hundred and ninety five US dollars.

I’m sure it’s a fun bike. Like any bike is fun. Just for a frame of reference, you can also get this 1976 Corvette Stingray in Portland (where the Urban Racer is handmade) for less. $395 less. That $395 could then be put into some sweet airbrushing on the hood, some cocaine or maybe even a leather jacket from the mall.

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Don’t get me wrong. I love skidding as much as the next guy, but I can do that on just about any bike. As far as utility goes, this bike doesn’t do it. As far as an “urban racer” goes, this a near $5k alley cat bike seems about as useful as tits on a bull.

But people will buy it. And that’s great, I guess.

Other perks of the urban racer include:

  • Handmade in Portland
  • Pictures took by a famous red head (not Shawn White)
  • Chain guard
  • Coaster brake
  • 650b wheels

I want to get behind this bike- really I do. I just can’t. I can’t afford to. I’ve built coaster brake bikes from my parts bin and used shit I found used for about a hundred bucks. And they were fun as hell. Sometimes a bike like this helps me put it into perspective.

Do I need a $5000 bike with 2 speeds and “shredability?” No.

Does this bike suck? I highly doubt it. Vanilla and Speedvagen aren’t new to building bikes- they make beautiful works of art. And this may be just that. Art. A price tag for a collector.

Though it may be fun to ride- this go around I’m going to vote: Corvette. And you can drive it home- because your Speedvagen will take a couple months to be completed.

 

 

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