Mark’s Orange Crush

Mark is a rider we’ve collaborated with a few times. He brings a lot of forethought and passion to his bike projects, and this was no exception.

This is Mark’s Expat S, monster cross bike, and some kind words, below.

Thanks again for your help (and Neil’s help) on the monster cross…”Orange Crush.” I’m still working rounding up a few orange accessories, but for the most part, she’s all built up and ready to ride ! I’m excited for future adventures!

Regarding the build, I decided to use a SRAM 1 x 11 drivetrain. A work colleague was selling parts, so I was more than happy to buy those from him! I’ve always loved Shimano parts, but I do really like the simplicity, reliability, and range of the SRAM single chain ring set-up.  To support the orange theme, I used the Chris King mango headset, headset spacers, and bottom bracket (ceramic…so smooth!).

I tracked down a Phil Wood orange seat post collar. And I had the head badge powder coated at a local auto paint store. The orange flame decals are a work in progress. These ones aren’t sticking very well, so I suspect they will be short lived. For wheels, I stuck with DT Swiss hubs…so reliable and easy to service. The anodized Chris King, I-9, and Hope hubs are nice, but I’m a DT Swiss fan. The hubs are laced to DT Swiss XM401 rims and I’m currently using Maxxis Treadlite tires. The cockpit is complete with Thomson post and stem, Salsa Cowbell handlebars, and Cobb saddle.

Joe Cruz in Cuba

Joe’s been on the road again. Who dreams bigger? Who seeks adventure like Joe? Here he is #evergreening Cuba over his holiday break. Text and photos, his.

Clack clatter sliding shush as they get mixed up before the round, or later the slap flourish when you put down a domino especially well played. Sounds from when I was young and sitting across of my father, he’s gone so I’m savoring this moment that we’re laughing and carrying on. Sweat coming off my elbows, bottle of Havana Club passed ‘round again. Dust midday haze heat when we rolled into town, asked after maybe something for lunch, this open sided cafeteria had run out of eggs for the pan con tortilla so we’re guzzling lime sodas instead as a break and regroup. The three guys in their 20’s saw my too long look at the white tiles, big hearts and grins like so many Cubans we’ve met, asked if I wanted to sit and play. When I got shellacked in the first round they didn’t say a thing but when it came back and I won, just raised eyebrows and cheerful teeth whistles. Linger long enough to be grateful and polite, we’ll get back on and pedal through sunshine and suspicions that the ocean is just 10k away.

Cuba of images and glimpse is chipped plaster glorious Spanish moorish buildings as if from a movie set, mazes of music, oceanside fortresses, mid 20th century Detroit curved cars, 2am salsa dancing, mojitos palm trees hand rolled cigars Fidel Castro murals. We find all of that, but riding from end to end east west we also and most of all find Cubans’ eyes glinting with reflection and pride to talk about their home and to open it a little to us.

Our route, a broken meander on the smallest back lanes, cow paths, stony hike-a-bikes, with a dose of wading and lifting sweat skin biting fly swatting. Our light fast drop bar knobby tire bikepacking rigs, January riding in t-shirts and sandals, big mileage days or cross-eyeing steep pitches. Hundreds of kilometers of rattling dirt farm roads, we’ve wild camped and set up our tents on people’s porches and in their yards and on ball fields, had water offered to us from ice filled gas cans strapped to sugar cane harvest machines. That one night 4am wide awake in our sleep sacks in a town gazebo hardly could be happier listening to the karaoke that’d been going on for hours on a Saturday night. We’ve jungle bushwhacked and sand surfed to sleep on the beach and swim in jade water cenotes.

In a month we find no singular place that is Cuba, instead fractal shards where every deeper shape contradicts the emergent ones. We know something of the history of the revolution, Hemingway’s idealized Caribbean paradise displaced, Cold War stasis or crisis communism, and we can see it on the landscape and in the impossibly flattened economy where surgeons make fifty US dollars a month and farmers make twenty five. But then there’s simultaneously something else, a lucidity and humanity in the idea—made explicit in the words of people whose daily rhythms are rural and local but for all that are also globally conscious—the idea that was told to us, we Cubans may be poor but that makes us all in this together, we help each other, no one is better than anyone else. A rancher who shares his homegrown coffee with us says that he wishes Cuba was a little more like the USA, but not too much like it.

It astonishes us every day, we’re breathless in its self aware narrative.

Back home when we were packing our gear and zooming in on maps to link together towns we assertively couldn’t find out anything about, we reveled in the sense of horizon. Our times in Camagüey and Santiago and Viñales and Havana are splendid, but in between is where we found the thick experience of just movement and days. The generosity we meet is visceral, joyful, it’s here you are in a sliver of our lives and we’ll embrace you. And after evenings in people’s homes or in roadside shacks knocking back dubiously cold Cristal beers in the company of so many, the bright smart smile and handshakes and cheek kisses has transformed us into and through friendship. Nuria, after she took us in, insisted and fed us the most elemental delicious dinner, and in the morning as we were leaving she rubbed the skin on her arms, black as coal, and she said my skin is this color and yours is different but we’re family and we can’t forget that. We won’t.

Joe Cruz is a professor of philosophy, an expedition cyclist, and an ambassador for Seven Cycles. Find his other stories and images at joecruz.wordpress.com and follow him on Instagram @joecruzpedaling.

Joe Cruz’s Tian Shan Traverse in Peak Design Journal

Seven-sponsored rider Joe Cruz‘s adventures in Kyrgyzstan got a fresh treatment from the visually stunning team at Peak Design.

From the post:

Ever wonder what it’s like to bike through Kyrgyzstan? Well, Joe Cruz (@joecruzpedaling), Logan Watts (@bikepackingcom), Joel Caldwell (@joelwcaldwell), and Lucas Winzenburg (@bunyanvelo) did and decided to find out. Over the course of 20 days they biked 613 miles of mostly unpaved terrain, ascending a total of 49,000 feet and reaching elevations over 12,000 feet. We’ll let Joe take it from here, but encourage you to check out the additional links down below to see more images and hear more stories from their epic journey. From Joe.

Kyrgyzstan is in the cloud scraping peaks of the Tian Shan-in Chinese it’s the range of the “heavenly mountain” that meets up with the Pamirs and Altai. The country is glaciers and crystal blue sunshine and mirror lakes, long lonely valleys with low grass like a golf fairway. It’s nomads who have moved their herds to high pasture in summer, living with their families in yurts. It’s breathless four thousand meter passes, scree slopes and lumpy marshland plateaus requiring river crossings. It’s roaming curious horses and the smell of sage at every star domed wild campsite. And it’s blocky central asian urban areas with Soviet era monuments and facades.

All images by Joe Cruz (@joecruzpedaling), Logan Watts (@bikepackingcom), Joel Caldwell (@joelwcaldwell), and Lucas Winzenburg (@bunyanvelo).

River City Bicycles and the Spirit of ’77

River City Bicycles owner Dave Guettler is something of a spiritual leader in our industry. He has managed, over a couple of decades, to show the way forward, to inspire people with his passion for cycling, AND to build the best shop in Portland, OR.

Dave is also a basketball fan, and when RCB invited us to build a pro-baller size bike for them as an homage to the Blazers’ 1977 championship team, we felt honored and excited.

Of course, no one does it like RCB, so they took our Evergreen S frame and finished it with basketball leather bar tape.

Check out this cool video they made about the inspiration and final build:
Pro Build Collection – ’77 Seven

From the shop:

This is the first in our Pro Build Collection film series and it’s an all-star. We build lots and lots of incredible custom bikes at River City Bicycles because, let’s face it, we love bicycles. You know what else we love – basketball! Dave Guettler, River City Bicycles founder and owner, is a fan, Trailblazer season ticket holder, and has seen many Blazers come through the store as customers. Dave wanted a bicycle in store for  the next Trailblazer, or any customer that tall, and the result is a titanium road bike built to commemorate the 1977 NBA Championship won by the Portland Trailblazers.

Seven Cycles perfectly executed a clean, stylish frame build and our service department spec’d it with top-tier components from Shimano, Enve Composites, and Portland’s own Chris King Precision Components. For the finishing touch we turned to Walnut Bespoke Leather Designs from Nehalem, Oregon who created basketball leather bar tape, tool roll strap, and pant cuff bands. Let’s go Rip City!