Broke Ass Racer: aka the BAR bike

Written by Neal Poland on . Posted in Bicycle Racing, Cyclocross, DIY, Seattle, Washington No Comments

Cyclocross season is coming up quickly. Next month, people will begin attending CX camps to hone their skills for the upcoming race season, which begins in September.

10733846_10204050088066291_2340075667420873788_oFor those of you not familiar with ‘cross racing, Ryan described it best as “combining the worst elements of bike riding and long distance running into one sport.” Admittedly, CX racing is, by nature, a sufferfest. You ride what equates to a road bike equipped with knobby tires over courses that may contain some or all of the following:

1) Dirt

2) Mud

3) Sand

4) Stairs

5) Barriers that require riders to shoulder their bikes and run with them.

Weather. Does. Not. Cancel. EVER.10750013_10204049976903512_5293972783870888779_o

In fact, race organizers have been working with the CIA and Area 51 to ensure that the worst weather of the year occurs between September and late November requiring  CX races to take place in ankle deep mud and freezing rain and Category 5 hurricanes. While the racing may be miserable, watching your friends suffer before or after your race, brings miles of smiles. 

10683568_10204049999424075_4987743583948998782_oThe Seattle area has two CX racing series: MFG and Cross Revolution–neither of which are UCI sanctioned. Even though non-sanctioned racing can be frustrating to aspiring pros who are chasing points, removing the UCI licensing rules and requirements opens the door to anybody that wants to come out and play in the mud on whatever bike they want or can afford.

I’m pushing 40. I sit behind a desk 5 days a week and I’m lucky to get in an hour of riding a day Monday thru Friday. My training regimen consists of riding my bike for 6-8 hours a day on Saturday and Sunday, followed by large plates of food smothered in gravy and hot sauce.

That said, I could probably take racing more seriously, but that would take all the fun out of it. While I know many a racer who has thousands of dollars in their CX race bike, why spend all that money on something that you’re just going to destroy over the course of a race season? Cross racing ruins shiny paint jobs, makes derailleurs surrender their powers (they are a French invention, after all), and turns wheels into tacos for lunch.

For a weekend warrior like me, I just can’t justify literally throwing away thousands of dollars for the sake of entertainment….unless porn stars are involved, then it’s anybody’s guess.  In all honesty, I’ve seen people on cobbled together mismatched rides decimate riders atop full carbon unobtanium steeds many, many times.

After watching my friends race for a couple of seasons, I decided to try this thing called cyclocross myself. Being a man of modest means, I found a budget ride at big box bike store Nashbar for about $400. I figured if I didn’t like racing cross, or if I wasn’t any good, I could always turn the bike into a commuter.

As it turns out, I LOVE racing cross…although, I’m still not any fucking good at it.  I raced the bike mostly stock, save for the pedals and a secondhand saddle (thanks, Rob!) for 2 seasons. Realizing that the bike was pretty much useless going into the 3rd season, I decided a rebuild was in order. I knew I wanted to upgrade the brakes and I also wanted to go single speed for added simplicity and drivetrain strength. As a beer gutted man who hovers around 180-190, when mud and hills are added to the mix, things like spokes and chains and things begin to break.

Using the power of the internet, I found clearance parts, NOS pieces from a few years prior, and rebuilt the race bike for just a few hundy. I also scoured the used parts bins at the local non-profit bike shop. Most of those hundies are wrapped up in my Vuelta wheels. They are handbuilt, but I suspect that they are built by the same kid who builds electronics at the Foxconn facilities. I’ve created these fantastic infograms below showing how I pulled off such a feat.

So now, when I finish at the back of the pack, rather than people saying, “That guy sucks AND he has a $5000 race bike. What a dick!”, people say, “Wow, that guy sucks but he’s on a shitty beater bike. Dick.”

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Photos: A Walk in the Park

Written by greghxc on . Posted in Bicycle Racing, Cyclocross, Seattle No Comments


No one will ever confuse me for a competitive cyclist, and any time someone talks about an upcoming cyclocross race, I can only think of Clubber Lang’s pre-fight interview from Rocky III:

But there is something incredible about watching riders push themselves beyond their limits, often with nothing more than pride or their own expectations on the line. This past Sunday, I got up early (my own little sacrifice, it’s ok to be in awe) to head out to MFG Cyclocross’s Woodland Park GP to capture riders facing the course, their peers and themselves. These are some of the results.



(Lots more after the break…)

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

Cyclocross season in the Pacific Northwest is coming to a close for the most part- much to the chagrin of my mud covered, drunken team mates. Myself, I only made one race in Anchorage, and none in Seattle or anywhere else. I hope that is different next season. It seems that cross has been gaining popularity day by day, and it seems like a great thing. How could it not? There are races for all age groups and skill levels, the community is generally friendly and it’s more spectator friendly than many other disciplines of cycling. Though you can get into cross with any bike you have laying around, eventually you’ll want to upgrade. Say hello to Civilian.


Always on the lookout for US made products, I’m liking what I’m seeing here. Based in Portland, owner Tyson Hart is making a competitve and versatile bike available to the masses at a price that

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You’ll never make it out alive.

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

It’s 8 o’clock on a Saturday night and I’m contemplating whether or not I should get my shit packed and head to Louisville on Monday for SSCXWC.  Probably not a great idea, which likely means I’ll be there- Hodala willing. They have bourbon there, right?

Much to well dressed bloggers dismay, beer will likely be spewn.  Like my mom always said “Sometimes you just gotta be a man and shit in your pants.”

Here’s some Playmobil toys riding bikes.

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Gevenalle Derailleurs for your CX bike

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Bike Parts, Cyclocross, Gear No Comments

Gevenalle is based in Portland, Oregon and they love cyclocross.  Now they’ve got two derailleurs to complement their CX shifters.

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The aptly named BURD (Blatantly Upgraded and Rebranded Derailleur) duo is an affordable option for those that need a workhorse in the mud, sand, blood and tears that cyclocross brings each fall.

Available as a braze on front derailleur or a 34.9 clamp (31.8 with included adapter,) it weighs 84 grams, and is bottom pull.  It’s a shorter cage, making it stiffer than a road derailleur.  Some folks might opt to use it as a chain guide, which Gevenalle fully supports. 9 and 10 speed compatible.

It retails for $49, and if you wreck it, they’ll re-build it for $20, including shipping in the US.

Gevenalle (made up from two Dutch words: ‘GEVEN’ which means ‘GIVE’ and ‘ALLE’ meaning ‘ALL’) is the rebranded Retroshift, who’s CX levers are a smart and burlier alternative to road levers and brifters.

That is of course if you prefer gears to beers.  Good on ya Gevenelle. Keep on keepin’ on.

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Introducing Wraith Fabrications

Written by greghxc on . Posted in Bicycle, Cyclocross, Gear, Road 1 Comment

Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 4.17.15 PM
Checked my inbox this morning to find this sexy snap from Adam Eldridge’s new project Wraith Fabrications. Wraith is launching a line of hand-made, stock-sized frames made here in US. It looks like Adam is hoping to bring the philosophy used at Stanridge to a frame/fork combo with less of a price barrier.

Wraith is offering both a road and cross frame constructed from triple-butted Columbus Life (and a Zona backend on the CX) tubing. The frame/fork combos run $1090, and have a limited quantity available for pre-order with a $300 deposit. Frames set to ship next month. Check out the site for sizing and details.

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Transition Bikes welcomes The Rapture.

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Bicycle, Bicycle Racing, Cyclocross 2 Comments

What can be said of this new cyclocross offering by Transition Bikes, out of Ferndale Washington.  Well, it looks an awful lot like a normal weekend of cross racing with Hodala.  But they did make a video and if you wonder what SSCX is all about, this covers most of it.  Minus the riser bars.  And add more beer.

Nice video, boys.

The bikes looks pretty good.  Chromoly frame & fork (with a rust-resistant coating,) disc brakes, run it geared or single… $600 frameset.  Comes in neon green or matte black.

Check it out at Transition Bikes

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Asylum Cycles: The Meuse

Written by Tall Bryan on . Posted in Bicycle, Cyclocross, Film/video No Comments

Check out this video from Asylum Cycles introducing their full carbon disc specific cyclocross frame. It features an eccentric BB so it can be run single speed (bonus!). You can pick one up as a complete SS, geared or as a frameset. Unfortunately for me, their “XL” size is an effective 58cm so I will be sticking to steel and canti’s for now. If you are interested in one of their bikes you should check out the Demon Spawnsorship program.

The frames are designed in Portland, OR and made overseas.

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