Written by Neal Poland on . Posted in Events, Seattle, Stolen, Volunteer, Washington No Comments

As some of you awesome readers of GMG know, I am a long time volunteer with the Seattle-based non-profit Outdoors for All Foundation. One of the thing our organization does is to team up with the Wounded Warrior Project to provide equipment and support for scenic bike rides and other outdoor activities here in the Pac NW. Many of our wounded vets travel from as far away as Puerto Rico to enjoy the backroads and trails of Washington, Oregon and Idaho on bikes provided to them by the Wounded Warrior Project. They are provided to vets who are unable to travel with their own personal rides or who cannot afford to purchase their own bikes.

Recently, some jackwagon stole two of our bikes from a parking garage in Seattle’s Ballard area. They are Trek 1.1 sizes 50 and 54cm. White with red and black accents. They have both Wounded Warrior Project stickers and Outdoors for All stickers on them.

If you see either of these bikes around, please contact the proper authorities.

Thanks to KOMO news for helping us get the word out.


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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.


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


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


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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On the Cheap: Nitto Randoneer…..Randonur….RANDO BARS!

Written by Neal Poland on . Posted in Reviews No Comments


One of the few complaints I have about the Raleigh One Way I inherited is that the stock bars are 1) way too narrow 2) are somehow shaped too much and too little like track bars at the same time. Raleigh somehow managed to create the world’s least comfortable road bar on the market. After a couple of years riding the bike stock, I found that the only comfortable position on those bars were found when I rode no handed. But, I suffered because I liked the way Raleigh built the bike to look like a classic, and I wanted to preserve the aesthetics.

Then I took a spin on an actual classic touring bike that was built in the same decade that I was born in (I won’t say which decade, but let’s just say that it was post hippie pre-yuppie). The bars on the old bike had these weird looking humps and flares instead of traditional flat bar tops. My brain told me these were just some useless old technology that has since gone the way of friction shifters, cotter pinned cranks and unsealed hubs.

Once I placed my grubby hands atop the foam covered weirdo bars, I was convinced that not everything from the ’70’s was total crap. In fact, I was now convinced that the ’70’s were THE absolute end-all-be-all shit. In fact, I’m listening to Barry Gibb and his brothers as I type this article from the back seat of an orange Pinto.  According to the Gibb clan I should be dancin’.

But gangsters don’t dance, we boogie.

The design basics of the Nitto Randonneur bars harken back to the days when Tour riders swigged wine from bota bags and rode fixed gears. The tops of the bars feature a small flat area that sweeps up before sweeping down and out into a pair of generous drops, all of which somehow create perfectly comfortable hand positions no matter where your hands are placed. Case in point, I’ve never been able to comfortably ride in the drops of any bars on any bike I’ve ever owned for more than a few minutes. But I can ride for hours at a time in the drops of the Nitto Rando bars. Added bonus, the flared drops of the bars offer generous amounts of leverage for when you want to emulate your favorite Tour doper and climb or sprint from the drops. Nitto’s trademark quality produces a handlebar that is stiff and strong (I unfortunately put the bike down on the Nitto’s maiden voyage, so I can confidently say that these things are tough) for years of comfort for your Palmela Handersons.

At around $50 a set, the Nitto Rando bars are a wallet friendly upgrade for anyone who wants to be comfortable on long rides…or short rides. They’d probably work well for medium distance rides, too.

Just don’t feed them after midnight.

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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.”

10393568_10203924414444529_8351267471148815253_n 10750468_10203924416684585_8138978821645992097_o


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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


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.


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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