Rolling A Fatty: Custom rear rack for a Northwoods adventure

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Words and photos by Dave Schlabowske

Last November, the night before I headed off for my Northwoods deer camp in Peeksville, Wisconsin, I decided to build a new rack for my blaze orange Schlick Northpaw hunting rig. Because I was putting it together at the very last minute, I started with a really basic rack, but left it bare steel so I could continue to modify.

My Schlick is built up with a Shimano Alfine 11 IGH and Gates Carbon Centertrack belt drive, plus a Super Nova E3 powered by an Alfine dynamo hub. Adding the rack, a pair of 45Nrth studded Dillingers and some full coverage fenders from Big O Manufacturing in Minneapolis and I had ultimate winter commuter and an incredible hunting rig. After four months of tweaks over the long winter, I think the rack is finally done.

I typically use a backpack and sling my rifle over my shoulder when I ride to my deer stand, but this rifle season, I decided to hunt a couple of miles deeper in the woods, and I wanted to bring some camera gear with me. In order to save my back, I decided to build a rear rack to haul the gear.

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Group Hug: Paul Smith, Mr. Porter and Mercian

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The 2014 Tour de France begins Saturday in the United Kingdom, and to commemorate the special event, fashion designer Sir Paul Smith has developed a surprisingly understated steel bicycle made by U.K.-based Mercian Cycles, to be sold online by mens fashion outlet Mr. Porter.

The collection is called Paul Smith 531, named after the famous Reynolds lightweight bike tubing used by Tour de France champions up until the early 1980s; the number 531 refers to the ratio of manganese (5), molybdenum (3) and carbon (1) in the steel alloy.

Click through to see video of Sir Paul talking about his love for cycling and the making of the bike.

Watch it here.


Trailer: ‘Crisp’ – A story of survival on the Iditarod trail

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It might be the middle of summer but maybe that’s why “Crisp” looks so appealing—a documentary of the 1,100 miles from Knik Lake to Nome, Alaska, along the Iditarod Trail. Ausilia Vistarini and Sebastiano Favaro did it with only their courage and their bikes. Theirs are not just physical feats, but mental conquests.

Watch it here.


Video: Ira Ryan and Breadwinner Cycles at the Oregon Outback

Ira Ryan doesn’t just build some of the world’s nicest custom bikes—first under his own name and now as a partnership with Tony Pereira known as Breadwinner Cycles—he’s also one heck of a fast rider. He twice won the epic Trans-Iowa and when he appeared at the starting line of the inaugural Oregon Outback with a new bike designed especially for events like it, you know it was game on.

Congrats Ira on finishing the 360 miles in just 28 hours.


Hide the Lycra: Dressing for success

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Like most cyclists from the 1980s, I’ve been a steady wearer of Lycra tops and bottoms for the road, and baggies and loose-fitting tops for the dirt. A costume for a specific gig, as it were. Now, the garment game is changing, and I welcome it for several reasons, several of which evolved on the same weekend in early April.

As fate slammed our Dirt Rag editor to the tarmac during a freak motorcycle accident in late March, so too went his ability to attend a few media launches prior to the Sea Otter Classic in early April. So, I got called up from the bullpen to attend the Specialized MTB apparel launch in nearby Santa Cruz. There I experienced two things that changed the course of my ride clothing choices: poison oak, and the heavily pocketed and smart Specialized Mountain Bib liner shorts with S.W.A.T. (storage, water, air, tools) technology.

The first was somewhat avoidable (it was uncharacteristically muddy on a hot day on a borrowed bike on a new trail for me, but I digress), but the second was fate, providing an ‘aha’ moment to help me rethink traditional clothing choices: what if the S.W.A.T. bibs could be used under non Lycra uppers and lowers, providing a bit more freedom of movement and making me look less like a mutant ‘spandex’ freak to non cyclists on the roads?
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Trans-Am bike race starts Saturday

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Long distance racers are always pushing for a new challenge. Race Across America, Tour Divide, the Transcontinental—they inspire awe and certainly some intimidation. This year racers will be tackling a new challenge—the Trans-Am. Think of it like RAAM but without checkpoints or support of any kind.

There is an “official” route, but that is merely the shortest distance. It is inspired by the Trans-American trail pioneered by thousands of cyclists during the Bikecentennial of 1976. Racers are welcome to choose an alternate. The only rules regard self-sufficiency and safety.

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Festivities begin at 5 a.m. in Astoria, Oregon, and the finish line is Yorktown, Virginia, an estimated 4,233 miles.

You can follow along with riders using SPOT trackers at trackleaders.com and follow the action in the Trans-Am Facebook group.

Good luck to everyone participating! It will be an adventure to never forget.

 


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