Portrait of Yours Truly by Stephen Haynes
I get a lot of email from readers. Fan mail, really. Marriage proposals, requests for autographs, that sort of thing. But some folks ask me about their bicycles and I’m always happy to help. Click on through for some I thought I’d share:Tweet Print
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.Tweet Print
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.Tweet Print
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.Tweet Print
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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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.
Festivities begin at 5 a.m. in Astoria, Oregon, and the finish line is Yorktown, Virginia, an estimated 4,233 miles.
Good luck to everyone participating! It will be an adventure to never forget.
The third installment showcases Andréanne Pichette, Opus MTB World Cup racer and 2012 Canadian champion enjoying some California sun aboard her Opus Fhast.
Share your favorite trails on Instagram #opusbikeTweet Print
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.
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.Tweet Print
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.Tweet Print
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.”Tweet Print