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.

 


Video: ‘Vittorio Brumotti Road Bike Freestyle’

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Former Bike Trial World Champion and 10-times Guinness World Record holder, Italian Vittorio Brumotti, has upped the ante with road bike trials videos. His new film, “Brumotti Road Bike Freestyle” is a tribute to Martyn Ashton and his 2012 film “Road Bike Party“.

While filming the sequel, Ashton’s life was transformed by an accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. “Road Bike Party 2” was completed with help from riders Danny MacAskill and Chris Akrigg.

Vittorio Brumotti is an Italian mountain bike trials rider and celebrity. In 2006 he became the Bike Trial World Champion and over the following two years he travelled to the United States to win the “blessing” of mountain bike trials legend Hans Rey.

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Brumotti has been entered into the book of Guinness World Records 10 times, most specularly for back-hopping 71 times on an exposed spire-like rocky peak some 150m high. In 2012 he claimed the record for climbing the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, by bike in 2 hours and 20 minutes. He also holds the record for the highest jump into water on a bicycle at 17m, amongst many others.

Brumotti’s original road bike trials video, “100 percent Brumotti on Road Bike – Volume 1“, was released in 2013.

See Brumotti’s new film here. 


My Manual Life

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As a student of the world and a practitioner of The Manual Life it’s about making time to do things that you love and the things that need to be done, and allowing that process to take as long as it needs to, whether you’re changing a tire, making a drawing, or fixing a toilet.

As a kid, I painstakingly recreated surf, skate and punk rock band logos in pen, marker and paint. Capturing every nuance, I transcribed them onto backpacks, skate decks, t-shirts, book covers and hand-made patches.

The thought then was “I could just make that” and so I did, spending hours getting things to look right (at least in my mind). The time it took was secondary to the want of making it correct (and cool, if I’m honest).

Somewhere along the line, probably in college, I started trading accuracy for efficiency and began trying to get things done in the shortest amount of time possible. While my teachers loved me for getting things in early, it started a trend of taking the easy “A” at the cost of growth and self-discovery.

Now, I argue with myself that, because I now have kids and a job, and a dog that needs to be walked and a hundred other things that can be seen as time bandits, that I have to do things fast just to get them done, but that’s B.S.

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Adventure Cycling video contest still accepting submissions

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The deadline is drawing near for Adventure Cycling Association‘s 2014 Bicycle Travel Video Contest, which celebrates the beauty and spirit of bicycle travel through videos shot around the world by amateur videographers traveling by bike. Submissions must be made through the contest’s Vimeo group by June 30, 2014.

“As of today, we’ve received about 20 submissions,” said contest coordinator Michael McCoy, “from nearly as many countries. We have entries from cycling videographers living in Slovakia, France, the Czech Republic, Canada, the Philippines, Nepal, Belgium, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Turkey, and the United States. This worldwide geographical spread is quite amazing, really.”

Learn more about the contest and how to enter here.


Join us for a tour of ABUS Mobile Security in Germany

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Manufacturing is alive and well in Germany, made evident by a recent tour of three ABUS lock making facilities. Several stock-in-trade ABUS products are still being produced decades after their development, while others, like the popular folding Bordo locks, are prompting the 90-year-old company to add extra shifts to keep up with demand.

Join us for a tour of the factory.


Get involved – Make a world of difference

In Bike Month in May, communities across the United States are focusing on the benefits of bicycles- economic, health, environmental. Whether someone is bicycling to avoid urban gridlock in the U.S. or trying to reach a distant school in rural Africa, bikes provide a simple solution to some of our world’s most complex problems. In this short video World Bicycle Relief showcases the hard work of individual across the country who are showing how they, one person at a time, can make a real difference. Nine-year-old Griffin Donovan, Team WBR Indiana members and Ironman World Champion Jordan Rapp are making a world of difference through the Power of Bicycles. Learn how you can get involved here.


‘The Manual Life’ artist profile – Rich Kelly

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By Rich Kelly

Some of my earliest work dates back to 1986. Abstract swirls dance across the crisp white sheet of copy paper. With the literal mental capacity of a toddler, I’m sure there was little connection between the right side of my brain and my chubby little toddler fingers. My tools were manufactured by Crayola, 64 colorful sticks made of wax.

Over the next 28 years my artistic focus shifted from trucks and monsters to detail-crammed imaginary laboratories (a la Where’s Waldo) to making paintings that looked like the photographs I was referencing. I took pride in being “the kid who could draw” in school, and with my parent’s blessing and encouragement, I went to Syracuse University to study Illustration. Finally it was revealed to me how I could apply these abilities to a career: a client would contract the use of my hands and my brain to make images, which I would then exchange for currency, a perfect plan.

Keep reading…


Video: Argonaut’s new gravel road bike

Argonaut Cycles, the one-man custom carbon fiber frame shop of Ben Farver, introduced its latest project, the disc brake Space Bike at the Rouge Roubaix. The race is 106-miles of “true grit” traversing some of the worst roads in Louisiana and Mississippi. Argonaut bikes are built by hand, one at a time, with custom geometry and layup for the ultimate in ride perfection. It was even awarded Best Layup and Best in Show at the 2014 North American Handmade Bicycle Show. This short film by Brian Vernor captures it in action.


Join Cyclofemme in the celebration of women in cycling on May 11

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Riding with the kids at our 2013 CycloFemme ride.

No matter what type of bike you ride, or how often or far you ride, CycloFemme is a day for all women cyclists. It is also a day for anyone who supports women on bikes to join the rides as well. The goal is to create a unified voice for women’s cycling by building a tribe of riders who recognize the need to empower one another and build a supportive community.

Learn more about Cyclofemme here.


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