Category Archives: Cycle News

a few (more) sketchy moments

goat and the Chupacabra are on a new, slightly shorter, fat-tired bike adventure. Riding the coast of Baja California (avoiding roads of course) carrying an inflatable surf mat, a surf board, and a lot of drinking water.

In company of Mat Whitehead — Australian born inveterate traveler, surfer, bike enthusiast, and former fat-long-tail bike tourist (the only other one l know of). When we met (other than on the internet) in santa cruz last year we dreamed of joining forces – he and his friend were on an extended surf/bike tour (– 3 fattire longtails together would have been something to behold…. Alas it wasn’t ment to be, but our paths crossed again in Canada a year or so later, and we decided the time had come. His bike, Hillbilly, was in Australia and he wanted to try a lighter sportier ride so he downsized to a Surly Pugsly.
We crossed the border into Tijuana today, with lots of detours wrong turns and general strangeness. Hoping to get some waves tomorrow and out into the great unknown (and off the paved track) ASAP. You can follow our adventures in the sand and sea (as goat learns to surf) on and

brand new shiny Super burly Xtracycle

The fine folks at Xtracycle have just sent us the prototype of our dreams. It seems that inspired partially by our trip (rumor is that they showed our Arizona Trail Video to the design team to illustrate the level of strength and performance they were looking for. They are currently in the preproduction design/testing phase of aptly named Heavy Duty Freeradical. And we get to test one of the first.


As you can see, they did it right. Huge thick dropout plates, truss supported rear end. Reinforced tongue, wide tire clearance, etc…


Unfortunately for us this first prototype is (was) disk only. We run V-brakes for a variety of reasons, mostly because they are simple and more reliable — more 3rd world compatible you might say. Though as excited as we were about the chance to get our hands on one of these things, we weren’t sure we could use it.
Miraculously, Joshua Thayer of Myles Bicycles came through with less than a days notice and did a beautiful job of braising on some brake posts.


Thanks to miscommunication on my part (unclear instructions to my wonderful sister Arla who was running around the bay area trying to satisfy all of our obscure bike part and gear needs before flying down to visit) Joshua wasn´t sure if we ran v-brakes (we do) or cantilever brakes. So out of the goodness of his heart, he spent the extra time to add a cable hanger, just in case.


Any way thanks to his beautiful and timely work and Xtracycle, we have a HD Freerad on the spine. And Jacob is stoked to try and ride it into the ground.

Helmets Off – RIP Ian Hibell

A hit-and-run driver in Greece sadly took the life of an extraordinary cyclist who has inspired many to pedal their way into a bit of adventure (including Riding the Spine). A true loss to the cycling community.

He took a two year sabbatical from his job in 1963, and didn’t return for ten years. Through a 40 year stint of cycling touring, he covered an average of about 6,000 miles each year, the distance from the earth to the moon. He was the very first to ride the Americas – a journey from Cape Horn to Alaska. He died at the age of 74.

A few years ago, I encountered the Youtube video of his trek across the Darien Gap and wanted to learn more. I read about a book he authored, “Into the Remote Places,” describing some of his legendary travels, but found that very few copies existed, and the ones that do run at about 100 dollars.

He innovated cycling gear like front racks to accommodate his travels off the beaten path. Crossing mangrove swamps, the Sahara Desert, and mountain ranges, he showed the world what bicycles are truly capable of.

You will be missed.

Pedal power

— A cyclist can travel 1,037km (644 miles) on the energy equivalent of one litre of petrol Continue reading