Joe Cruz, the Treeline SL Early Review

Our buddy Joe is a bike-packer of some skill and repute. Regular readers will recall that we built him a Treeline SL recently, in advance of a trip to Alaska (more on that to come). Now that he’s back, we’ve received an early review of the bike that we thought worth sharing.

JCTSL1Hey Seven, 

Though I’ve had the Treeline for over a month, I’d only ever ridden it in Alaska on frozen rivers and snowmobile trails with a full load. It was fantastic in that context, the most perfect adventure bike I’ve been on.  

JCTSL2But tonight I joined up with our Thursday Night Mountain Bike Worlds and rode it unladen. Holy s*%t: that bike rips. I pointed it down chaotic corkscrew chunky pitches and it just carves and carves. The geo is brilliant, super fast turning but so easy to throw your hips to stand it back up it seemed like cheating.  So many thanks for your hard work.  

More soon,

Joe

Evergreening Georgia

Abandoned Silo - photo - Rob Vandermark

Bike building doesn’t offer up a lot of natural holidays. We can build every day of the year (we don’t), and still have work to do. So when most folks were packing in around a table to pass the turkey and stuffing this year, we were boarding a mostly empty flight to Atlanta.

Railroad Bridge at Night - photo - Rob Vandermark

This time of year we’re looking to ride where it’s warm, where it’s mostly flat, and where you might not think to find good riding. Georgia, specifically Athens and Augusta, is something of a secret cycling gem. The locals know how good it is, but you don’t read a lot about its flowy, endless single-track or its labyrinthine red clay roads.

Along the Train Tracks - photo - Rob Vandermark

We found the Georgia woods perfect for Evergreening, free of the rootys and rocks that make our New England woods so challenging to ride. For the first time in as long as we can remember, we never felt compelled to stop. Local mountain bikers take such good care of the trail systems, and there are so few momentum-sapping obstacles, that it was only fatigue that forced us to take a break.  This kind of riding is really good for the soul, endless, twisting paths through gorgeous woodland, long, straight roads of firm, dry, red clay.Red Dirt Road - photo - Rob Vandermark

Small Island on the River - photo - Rob Vandermark

On the road, we found drivers universally courteous, and even on the edges of the cities, the mixed terrain riding was outstanding, ribboning along rivers and snaking under highways.

Under The Overpass - photo - Rob Vandermark

We flew back the Monday after the long weekend. There were, after all, more bikes to build, but Evergreening Georgia was as worthy a way to spend Thanksgiving as we could imagine.

See the Seven Evergreens here.

The Places We Go

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Because we build our bikes one-at-time, for their riders, we don’t have to manage an inventory of anything other than raw materials. That allows us to build the bikes riders want instead of trying to guess what they want or trying to convince them to buy what we have already built.

The challenges our riders have been taking on this last year really bring home to us how the way we do things allows our customers to lead us forward, to take us where they want us to go.

Mike Bybee rode from Arizona to Canada on his Sola SL bike-packing rig. Brad rode across the US, from Oregon to Virginia on his Evergreen SL, set up for loaded randonneuring. We rode in Yorkshire and on the Isle of Man. Matt Roy and David Wilcox attempted a 1000km brevet in the worst heat wave the Pacific Northwest has seen in decades. Daniel Sharp rode the Oregon Outback. Seven was at the Mt.Evans Hill Climb, in the Pyrenees and at Dirty Kanza. Sevens have been ridden through the night, through two full centuries, around Lake Michigan, through Paris and over the Paris-Roubaix cobbles.

Sometimes we shake our heads in wonder at all of it. What ends up happening is that, as much as guide Seven riders through the process of designing their bike, they guide us through the world of cycling. They show us what is possible and change our own ideas about what a bike can be.

Image: Daniel Sharp

What to Bring When You Ride Across America

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We had a lot of people write to us asking what Brad took when he rode across the country last month. It turns out that a lot of our riders are serious long distance randonneurs and bike-packers, two groups who are constantly scrutinizing every bit of food, clothing and equipment they haul on their adventures. So we asked Brad to give us the scoop on what he took, when he raced the Trans-Am Bike Race.

He said:

For a ride like this that takes in so many climate zones over such a long period of time, it is almost impossible to prepare correctly. I think the eternal question is what to bring. What do you need and what can you leave behind.  I went with what I felt comfortable with having and knowing that, if something went wrong, I could fix it, or take care of it. There was the question of how often I would use the things I brought. If I didn’t foresee using them in the space of 24 hours did I really need them? I thought about that and decided having some little extra things would go a long way.

Looking at it now, with 4400 miles behind me, I can see what I could have done without, but I am totally happy with what I went with, too.

I didn’t bring much cold weather gear and got through two mornings 30s by layering up and riding until the sun warmed me. Cold nights I would do the same for sleeping. There were a lot of hot and sunny days, so sun coverage became more important overall than warmth, lots of sun screen and sun sleeves. I knew trying to ride with a killer sunburn would just be miserable.

I worked off a Garmin GPS, but having the maps to cross reference was great. Being able to see what is ahead of you for services gave me nice peace of mind, except when that one store was closed or, even worse, not there anymore.

IMG_2543Getting back to the question of what to bring though, here is the detail on what I packed:

2- Sea-to-Summit 5 liter dry bags.

1- Revelate Designs Viscacha saddle bag

1- Ortlieb handlebar bag

In one of the Sea-to-Summit bags I packed sleeping gear: Nimo bivy, Nimo Astro Insulated Lite Pad, Sea-to-Summit pillow, merino wool sleeping liner.

 

IMG_2534In the other Sea-to-Summit, I packed odd bits: two spare tubes, patch kit, brake pads, chain quick links, wire connectors, shrink tubing, small first aid kit, soap, baby oil, tent spikes and repair kit, cables for charging, spare batteries, and zip ties.

 

 

 

 

IMG_2532In the Viscacha Saddle Bag I packed clothing: 3 pair socks from the Athletic and Rapha, two kits, Rapha rain jacket, Rapha brevet vest, Rapha long sleeve brevet jersey, Ibex long sleeve merino wool base layer, Ibex wool cap, Drifters bandana, 1 t-shirt, 1 pair running shorts, 1 cap, 1 pack towel, 1 tube, 1 toe strap, a spare tire that i gave away,  and my Spot tracker.

 

IMG_2528In the Ortlieb handlebar bag, I packed the stuff I wanted instant access to: snacks! maps, sun screen, sun sleeves, camera and charger, multi tool, chain breaker, chain lube, knife, spork, full finger gloves that I lost trying to dry them off from the humidity in Missouri, tooth paste and tooth brush, a tube, a pen, a notebook, matches, external battery charger and wires, and some pennies I found.

 

Of course, the bike is worth mentioning. I rode a Seven Cycles Evergreen SL with a SRAM Red 22 group, Velocity Aileron rims, Son 28 generator hub front and Velocity hub rear, 700×28 Ruffy Tuffy tires, Super Nova E3 front and rear lights, Brooks Cambium saddle, Thomson stem and post, FSA bars, Garmin 1000, Time ATAC pedals, 3 King Cages and water bottles.

On the Road – Mike Bybee Rides to Canada

Mike Bybee never thinks small. His latest odyssey took him from his native Arizona north to Canada, taking in the Grand Canyon, Park City, Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Forest, Idaho, Montana and Washington along the way,  1,590 miles in total. His Sola SL and custom rack carried him and all his gear the whole way.

Mike sometimes calls himself a photographer and sometimes a blogger and sometimes a bike-packer, but what he really is, is an adventurer, a description that serves the other things he likes to do well. Other bike-packers listen to what he has to say, mostly because they recognize his passion and the size of his imagination. We are deeply grateful that he chooses to ride a Seven, because we know he will test our bike to its limits…and send us great pictures of it in action.

Here are just a few of his fine photos from this trip. Get over to his TrailChat blog for the words and even more photos.

"Heading from the North Rim into Kanab"
“Heading from the North Rim into Kanab”
"Seven Cycles Sola at Dixie National Forest. Too many trails for me to ride with the time I had. Definitely must return"
“Seven Cycles Sola at Dixie National Forest. Too many trails for me to ride with the time I had. Definitely must return”
"A mountain biker enjoying the Tidal Wave at Deer Valley in Park City, Utah"
“A mountain biker enjoying the Tidal Wave at Deer Valley in Park City, Utah”
"Start of the Deer Valley trails in Park City, Utah. This one has amazing views and is an overall easy and fast ride with great flow"
“Start of the Deer Valley trails in Park City, Utah. This one has amazing views and is an overall easy and fast ride with great flow”
"Finally got to the Salt River Pass, Wyoming on my Seven Cycles Sola. This was a really hard day - climbing up to 7,630 feet."
“Finally got to the Salt River Pass, Wyoming on my Seven Cycles Sola.
This was a really hard day – climbing up to 7,630 feet.”