“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
‘Hunting for Monsters’ will be premiering in Homer, AK November 16, at the HOWL Outdoor Film Festival. All are welcome.
After a few days of exploring Anchorage by bike during the day, and the inside of Anchorage bars by night, we were ready to leave the city. A 300 mile road trip, an improvised campsite and a high-powered catamaran ride later we were standing in front of Ryan on his Raleigh Port Townsend at the ferry dock in Cordova, AK. “Welcome to Cordova!” exclaimed Ryan, unstrapping some beers from his porteur rack and offering them up. “We’re the first house on the left”. Breath taking views in every direction, mountains rising up out of the sound, nothing but green trees, blue waters and a postage stamp sized town. This is the Alaska I was looking for.
For the next six days and five nights we explored Cordova by bike, by foot and by bottle. We road out “the road” and the other road (yeah, there is two of them) as well as some scenic trails. One of the highlights was riding Saddlebag Glacier trail. It winds through the woods along a creek that has cut out a valley, the terrain changing several times before spitting us out on the shore of Saddlebag Lake.
It was an early flight into Anchorage, so by 10:30am we had already managed to walk through the woods and across town. We did stop for coffee (in a city that has more espresso stands per capita than anywhere else in the US), but by now we were seated at a questionable but genuine bar beers-in-hand. In the brief moments between being bombarded (or befriended) by the obviously very regular morning crowd, my host Garret informed me there would be a bicycle available for me to use.
I came to Alaska to visit my good friend Garret Spargo as well as spend some time with Ryan, the man behind GMG himself. Bringing a bike was something I had wanted to do, but it ended up being too expensive to consider. Garret is involved with Off The Chain, a bicycle collective in Anchorage. They granted me access to the shop and I was able to put in some work, and build a bike for myself to use while in town.
As those of you know who follow me on Instagram, I recently had the chance to spend some time in Alaska. Originally I didn’t think I would have a bike on the trip, but the two wheeled gods of the great north smiled upon me and I found myself hitting the ground rolling. I’ll be posting up more photos and details of the trip soon, but for now here is Ryan demonstrating the traditional Alaskan Glacier Greeting. As well as a drunk polar bear on a bike. Cheers!
If you’ve been reading here long, you no doubt understand our respect and appreciation for what Lucas does. He’s an amazing film maker- and in this short he works with Benny Zenga, another super talented director and producer. Check it out. The final leg of the Tour d’Afrique on Cinelli Bootleg Hobo bikes. Great work guys!
Bike sharing programs are popping up in major cities all over the globe, but one is a little different (alright a lot different) than the others. Spinlister is an open marketplace that allows users to rent bikes from one another. Think Airbnb but for bikes. Craigslisters and the like should feel right at home with the concept. Once you sign up to be a member (which is free and only takes a few seconds) you can both rent bikes from other users and post your own ride or rides up for rent.
Traveling with a bike can be a major pain in the ass, especially for short trips, not to mention the constantly climbing cost of flying with a bike. I haven’t had a chance to use Spinlister myself yet, but hope to soon. I am traveling to Alaska and had hoped to find a bike to rent, unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be any Spinlister users in our nations largest and most Northerly state. (Ryan perhaps you could pop the 49th state’s Spinlister cherry?) I will however be posting a “loaner” bike of mine for rent soon in hopes of being able to review how Spinlister works. More on that to follow. In the meantime friends of GoMeansGo, Back Alley Bikes, has several rental bikes posted on Spinlister HERE. So if you are in the Seattle area and looking to rent a bike check them out.
Interbike 2013. 2 days in the desert at Bootleg Canyon, 3 days at the Mandalay Bay. In that time I consumed 10 supplement bars chopped into bite sized pieces, 14 energy gels, 9 Dixie cups with some sort of recovery drink, 147 beers, 18 shots of whiskey, 1 shot of Ass Juice, 8 gin and tonics, 19 whiskeys on the rocks, 6 32oz margaritas, and 4 Bloody Susans. Even with all the liver training I do, my body hurt by the end of it.
Interbike has become something of a pilgrimage for me. My fifth year attending, it’s a time to see friends that I don’t see often, if ever, outside of this annual trip to Las Vegas. Interbike is 750+ exhibitors, representing 1200+ brands, selling their goods and services to wholesalers, retailers, and manufactures. Working Media (the reason GMG is allowed in) is present to cover the new and sometimes exciting products that are available, to help build the buzz about the coming year. This year was a little different, with the final day being an “invite-only” consumer day- where retailers could invite their top customers to check out the floor.
Along with having a different events company put on the show, Interbike changed location from The Sands Convention Center to Mandalay Bay. The new location seemed smaller, but also ran smoother on the registration end and I for some reason found it easier to find the venue. The small venue made the inside feel a bit cramped, like exhibitors were stacked on top of one another. Mandalay is also in a less convenient location on the strip- reducing the number of cheap hotels and bars within a close walk.
Outdoor Dirt Demo:
I had some much appreciated company at Dirt Demo this year, as Felix and Kerry flew in from Seattle to hang out. We walked in the dust and drank beers in the desert while we looked at bikes. My focus on a personal level this year, was looking for my next bike which- with my move back to Alaska, is a fat bike (spoiler alert: Gon’ get myself a Fatback.) Fatbikes have seen a lot of growth recently, with carbon becoming a very popular frame material. Fatback has the Corvus, 9:Zero:7 has the Whiteout and Borealis has the Yampa. Along with new materials- there is a shift in rear spacing- with 190mm becoming pretty standard, allowing for the fattest tires currently available (4.8″ wide on a 100mm rim.) The carbon frames are using through-axles, so the actual spacing is 197mm (3.5mm extra is needed per side) Felt even had an electric (albeit aluminum) concept bike there, called the FatE.
Broke out the calipers to measure tire width and it made a couple manufacturers nervous. When I checked the Surly 4.8 Bud and Lou tires on a 100mm Clownshoe rim, they came out to 4.55, for whatever it’s worth.
The Fatback Corvus is available for pre-order HERE. They didn’t have one available to ride, but this 3-D printed version was built for mock-up, and I’m feeling confident that it will be at least on par with the offerings from 9:Zero:7 and Borealis. You may wonder why I’ve got such a boner for Fatback. For one- they are in Alaska. By in Alaska I mean- go to Speedway Cycles in Anchorage and talk to Greg, the owner. They ride here, they tour here and they race here. The changes these bikes see in them are due to the terrain and environment in Alaska. Other fatbike builders have an “Alaska Connection.” Maybe they started here, maybe they went to school here, they likely come back to visit. Also- Fatback has their aluminum frames made in Oregon. So there.
Felix found a bike he liked- the Santa Cruz Heckler.
Dirt Demo is much mellower than the inside show- fewer people and a much more relaxed feel- but it’s only two days. So come Wednesday morning- it was off to the show.
I had bold plans to Strava my travels during the day to make some sort of “Blogger Battle” but the GPS signal didn’t work too hot in the basement of a massive hotel/casino. Oh well. On top of that- I wasn’t armed with a fancy camera like Felix had (he was the cameraman for the above shots)- I may have forgotten it in Seattle after an extremely late night of pizza and beer drinking with the rest of the GMG posse. But I did have my phone- and since hey- I’m not a product photographer, I’m a blogger. I’ll just tell you what I saw, show you some mediocre photos taken with an old iphone and you can look it up later.
Sometimes there are new products at the show that really impress me. This year seemed to be the year of the fatbike- or the E-bike. I don’t really know much about the E-bikes and though they are really getting better, I think they have a way to go to really gain a foothold in the younger US market. Fatbikes, however- are the new fixed gear, it seems. Bikes become less of a “niche” when companies like Kona, Salsa, Trek, Specialized, and even Motobecane have them. They are popular for people that live near sand or snow, or just want a big ol’ whip to throw around and play on. They are getting lighter, and for $1600 you can get some 85mm carbon rims that weigh 590grams (Currently in production/available for pre-order, and yes- that is $800 per RIM) from Borealis. Also stay on the look out for some lightweight rims from Stan’s NoTubes in the spring. It will be an aluminum 80mm rim weighing in at 487grams. It should be available as a complete wheelset as well as the rim only.
For your fatbike rack- look no further than Old Man Mountain. Handmade in Santa Barbara, CA.
Revelate Designs, based in Anchorage, AK can hook you up with outfitting your bike (fatbike or otherwise) with frame bags, pogies (handwarmers) and other bike luggage.
And there was some other, non-fatbike related stuff that was cool too. Some of the stuff that really stuck out:
- Feedback Sports has their Rakk Stand, the Velo Hinge (my favorite of their new stuff), the Velo Column and their Pro Truing Stand (which also has a disc brake rotor gauge.
- Fyxation is gearing up fixed gears, by selling their SixFix. It adds a derailleur and six speeds to your track end bike. Now people are converting fixed gears! It will come as a $300 kit including rear wheel, 6sp cassette, shifter and derailleur.
- Blackburn is doing some cool things with a redesign on their racks, making some new lights (like the variable power, self adjusting Central Front Light), and is working with pannier security with their Interlock rack and bag combo.
- Velo Orange has a new frame in the 29×2.1″ Camargue (named for an ancient French horse, known for it’s ruggedness.) They’ve also got what their calling “Crazy Bars” a 22.2 handlebar with 23.8 horns. They’re making a Grand Cru front bar bag- $200 and made in Baltimore. Also digging the Pass Hunter- basically a rando with cantis.
- Smith is doing good things in the helmet department with the Forefront. Available in 11 colors (Wow.) it should be available in March and retail for $220. It uses Aerocore® design, made with Koroyd™. Lightweight, “30% more impact resistant than EPS, it’s lightweight- has an optional light/camera mount, is goggle compatible, washable, antimicrobial, their “performance glasses fit nicely in a groove above the visor (which is removeable.) The material is pretty cool, it looks like a bunch of straws glued together, allow for good ventilation.
- Gripstuds makes screw in studs for the DIY’er. Not a bad (or cheap) option for those that want to customize their tires, shoes, whatever. They’re about $1 per stud, but really, you don’t need a whole lot, and they are carbide, and much lighter than making your own studded tires with screws.
- Swrve makes awesome stuff. They’ve been making lots of things in the US, but it seems like some production is moving elsewhere… Check out the new Durable Cotton Trousers, and a beautiful Selvage Denim Work Apron.
- Slip Not Chains seem a good idea if you don’t want to commit to studs and would be better in snow (but probably not as effective as studs on ice)
- Brooks had some cool stuff like their Cambridge Rain Cape ($160,) Their VEGAN Cambium Saddles and the Brooks MT21 ($70)
- Lezyne had a couple new things- notably, the new Digital Floor Drive pumps. What I like about Lezyne is that their tools are designed to be rebuilt when broken, not thrown away. Even the new digital display will be backwards compatible with their Floor Drives- if you’d rather look at a digital display- swap it out. Also cool is their Porta Shop tool kit.
- King Cage. Titanium and Stainless bits for carrying liquids and things on your bike. They had a really cool handlebar flask that has two shot glasses onboard. It’s in production. They’ve also got the bar bell- a bell that’s a shot glass. Ron at King Cage might even drink more than I do…
Whether you love it or hate it, Interbike does something for the bike world. It’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times. I see people I like and people I don’t- because after all “Just because we both ride bikes, doesn’t mean we’re friends.”
Parkcycle, a social green space on wheels. That’s what John Bela of Rebar group and Till Wolfer of N55 had in mind when the conceived ‘Parkcycle Swarm’. consisting of four small mobile parks, the project explores the possibilities of the public sculpture, while at the same time raising awareness of cycle-power and green space trough a participatory activity. ‘Parkcycle Swarm’ invites city dwellers to pedal the mini park lands throughout the city of Baku. ‘Parkcycle’ has been specially commissioned for PARTICIPATE: Baku Public Art Festival 2013, which continues until September 17th. So if you find yourself in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan be sure and take one for a spin!
More information & photos here: Parkcycle on Designbloom.com
It’s that time of year again. March 17th in LA. The Wolfpack Hustle puts on the Marathon Crash Race. It’s really become a large event over the years- with racers coming from all sorts of backgrounds. Could Seattle support something like this?
“Thousands of racers will ascend on and crash the Los Angeles Marathon race course in the dead of the night to compete in one of the most toughest urban cycling races known to man. Chrome has partnered with Red Bull to bring the Wolfpack Hustle Unified Title Series to the next level of urban racing. This is just the first stop of the three race series that will span over several months including a LA Crit, and the 6th St. sprints. Only one man and one woman will be immortalized as winners of the official sacred dog tags which will prove their endurance, speed, and power.”