Letter: ‘Leave the bicycle alone!’

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We love getting feedback from our readers, and believe me when I say we read every email, postcard and handwritten letter. I especially appreciate the handwritten, because it takes more time and contemplation to communicate one’s thoughts.

After taking over as editor in late March, I had some decisions to make. First, we wanted to maintain the same general vibe the magazine has exuded since its inception in 2009, while introducing some new sections. One of these includes reportage on the electric bicycle scene, one that—like it or lump it—is newsworthy and not without merit.

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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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Book Review: “Tiny Homes on the Move”

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In 1968, Lloyd Kahn worked as Shelter editor for the “Whole Earth Catalog”. In 1973 he published the oversized book “Shelter”, which eventually sold 250,000 copies. Ten years ago he published “Home Work: Handbuilt Shelter”, the sequel, and in 2008, “Builders of the Pacific Coast”. Recently, Kahn published “Tiny Homes on the Move”, and we received a copy.

The 224-page book is rich with color, and not just the Roy G. Biv kind—nomadic life in the 21st century looks mildly familiar in a Lord of the Rings sort of way. The book features 90 ‘tiny’ homes, either floating in the water or rolling on the road. We felt a sort of kinship coming off our recent ‘Chasing Grins’ issue, and devoured the 1,100 color photos and rich descriptions of the families and individuals who’ve decided to live a rather unconventional—but intriguing—life away from the cliche. Bicycling is about freedom, and “Tiny Homes on the Move” takes freedom to a whole new level.

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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.

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In Print: How We Roll – ‘The Best Laid Plans’

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By Thomas Kurt

Two summers ago, I decided I needed an alternative to my physical conditioning routines of tennis and interval running. My son Jim is an avid rider, with a Surly Long Haul Trucker touring rig and a very light road bike which he built up from a titanium frame. It all looked good to me, and on a whim I picked up a used GT Windstream, a black hybrid model which, as best I could tell, was manufactured sometime in the late 1990’s.

I wasn’t looking to immerse myself into another hobby, and I swore I would not be doing anything more than fixing the occasional flat and riding the thing around town. Well I guess some vows are meant to be broken and soon (under my son’s tutelage) I was doing everything short of packing bearings. I’ve replaced the drivetrain, rims, brakes, handlebar, saddle, etc., to come up with a respectable touring rig which I christened The Raven.

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Love folding bikes? Apply to become a Dahon Explorer

Since 1982 Dahon has been designing and building folding bicycles that have taken people on two wheels to places that they never thought possible. Now the brand is looking for a few of those Explorers to become ambassadors of the folding bike lifestyle to inspire others to take a trip short or far. Now through August 20 anyone is welcome to apply. Those selected will receive Dahon products to promote online.

Print Learn how to apply here.

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In Print: Chasing Walter Greaves (for 45,000 miles)

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By Léo Woodland, Illustration by Rich Kelly.

It’s been held by General De Gaulle’s chauffeur, by a professional, by several amateurs… yet never, so far as I know, by an American. It’s the record for the greatest distance covered in a year. And 75 years ago this winter the record was broken by the oddest man of all, and certainly the most disagreeable.

Walter Greaves had reason to think little of the world. For a start, he had only one arm. But he developed his grievance into such an unpleasant personality that one member of his old club told me he didn’t dare reflect on the old record-breaker “for fear of what I may say about him.”

The idea for a one-year distance record was born in the days when bike companies advertised the reliability of what they made. Working men bought bicycles and they wanted them as indestructible as themselves. What better proof than a bike that had gone further in a year than any before?

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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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