Montana Miller

Montana Miller

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‘The Mountains Don’t Care’ – Tour Divide gear rundown

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The stuff. All the things that I’m carrying. When it’s all laid out, it doesn’t look like much for a few weeks of living off the bike. But when I’m pushing it up a mountain road, it feels like a ton.

I’ve never cared about how much my race bike weighed. I’ve always felt that the main difference between a 20 pound mountain bike and a 27 pound mountain bike is about $2,000, and the fact that a heavier bike won’t break when you hit a rock the wrong way.

But this is different. When the dry weight (no food or water) of the whole setup is pushing 50 pounds, I’ve been doing everything I can to save weight. I even bought a kitchen scale to weigh crap. And I’ve been debating the little things: do I need a wool hat if I have a jacket with a hood? Probably not. Saved 150 grams.


Editor’s note: Montana is a former intern at Bicycle Times and longtime friend-of-the-mag, so we were especially proud when he completed the 2,700-mile Tour Divide this summer in his first attempt. Read his epic account of the trip here. You can also follow along with all his adventures on his blog, The Skrumble.

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‘The Mountains Don’t Care’ – A Tour Divide recap

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I haven’t been able to sleep. Every night I wake up, thinking that I still have more miles to ride to the border.

“No, Colleen already picked you up, it’s over,” I tell myself. Then the sun comes up and my legs are rubbery.

Tour Divide was monstrously hard. I thought that I understood how difficult it was going to be, but based on my past experience, that just wasn’t possible.

I always thought “Yeah it’s a long ride, but there’s hardly any singletrack. It’s all dirt road. So it’s probably not that bad.”

I was so far off.


Editor’s note: Montana is a former intern at Bicycle Times and longtime friend-of-the-mag, so we were especially proud when he completed the 2,700-mile Tour Divide this summer in his first attempt. No stranger to big rides and crazy adventures, Montana ultimately finished ninth overall on his singlespeed Surly Krampus in 22 days, four hours and 21 minutes. You can follow along with all his adventures on his blog, The Skrumble.

Read the full story here.

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Links roundup: Traffic school, community bikes, and a new Secretary of the Interior

By Montana Miller

Bike Traffic School deflates fines on ticketed cyclists

The East Bay Bicycle Coalition in San Fransisco has partnered with the Alemeda Police Department to program to start a Bike Traffic School. Cyclists with moving offences can reduce their fines by going to traffic school. The fines are used to cover the cost of the class, making the program self-sustaining. And a partnership with a local ice cream shop allows police to reward safe riders, by giving them tickets for free ice cream cones.

From the Alliance for Biking and Walking.


One bike gets a scholarship program rolling in Cambodia

Bill and Nancy Bamberger of San Diego visited Cambodia in 2002. They were impressed by the friendliness of the people they met. Nancy’s hairdresser, who’s Cambodian, recently went home to her old village and bought a $40 bike for the community. For their 40th anniversary, the Bambergers decided to buy the village another bike. Friends found out about the bikes and wanted to help. Donations started piling up, and eventually, that one bike led to the construction of a new school and the Reach for the Sky scholarship program.

From Fast Company.


Aspen may legalize yielding at stop signs

Officials in Aspen, Colo. are considering changing their traffic law, and allowing bikes to yield at stop signs instead of coming to a hard stop. Cyclists would still be required to stop for vehicle that had the right of way, but if no cars were coming, they could roll right through. Which most cyclists do anyway, as Assistant Police Chief Bill Linn acknowledged. The law is modeled on a similar law in Idaho.

From the Aspen Times.


Transportation Sectretary Ray LaHood discusses bike share programs

On NPR’s Dianne Rehm Show, Secretary LaHood said that he’s proud of the bike share programs that have been developed in Washington D. C. and Denver. In the transcript of the show, the conversation turns to bikes at 10:20. LaHood has just announced that he’ll be stepping down from his possition. He was the only Republican member of President Obama’s cabinet.

From The Dianne Rehm Show.


Former REI chief picked to head the Interior Department

Sally Jewell has been nominated to be the new Secretary of the Interior. Because of her experience as CEO of the outdoor retailer, major bike advocacy organizations approve of her nomination. “She understands mountain biking, the importance of easy bike routes for people of all ages, and the value of the recreation tourism economy,” said Tim Blumenthal, president of Bikes Belong. The Department of the Interior oversees one fifth of all the land in the US.

From Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.
 

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Handmade Bikes in the Wild – Naked Cycles

Editor’s note: Each year we cover dozens of the most beautiful bikes in the world at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show and other local shows. But what happens to them after the display booths are disassembled and the lights go out? After all, bikes are built to be ridden, not to sit around and look pretty. So we followed up with some of the bikes and builders we’ve covered in the past to see how these works of art are holding up.

By Montana Miller. Photos courtesy of Sam Whittingham.

Sam Whittingham founded Naked Bicycles on Quadra Island, British Columbia 14 years ago. He builds everything from steel track to long wheel-base cargo bikes. At last year’s NAHBS, he showed a gorgeous stainless steel road bike. We followed up to ask him where it’s been.

Dirt Rag: Where is the bike now?

Whittingham: The stainless "road adventure" I rode to the show and displayed last year has become my daily all road bike. Currently waiting patiently for me by the shop door.

What’s the best ride you’ve had on the bike?

I’ve had a few great rides on this thing. I did the 275km Victoria Grand Fondo, a huge epic on paved and not so paved roads with mondo climbs. Also did a few logging road exploratory rides. Most recent epic all road adventure was "100k on New Year’s Day". That included single track, road, logging roads and even some beach.

What kind of riding are you doing the most on the bike? Is it being used to do what it was designed for?

Definitely being used for that which it was designed and then some.

How many hours went into building the bike, and how many hours has it been ridden?

think build time on that bike was about 30 hours, with all the custom touches. Ride time is at least 400 hrs so far, with lots more to come.

Now that you’ve used the bike, is there anything you would change?

Not really. I swapped out the Nokon housing for standard, which improved the shifting. I also did my own change to the Paul Racer Brakes so they are linear pull instead of standard yoke pull. Not quite as powerful but completely eliminates any dreaded yoke pull fork shudder

What cool stuff are you bringing to Denver?

I’m concentrating on customer bikes this year.

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