Bikes, Bikes and More Bikes

I have been meaning to write and share this post for a while but it never came to fruition. I guess being home and sick for the past three days is making me dream about feeling good, adventure, riding bicycles and thinking about bikes.

As of yesterday, it was exactly 6 months since I left QBP, my former place of employment for the past 25+ years. One of the reasons I left was to prioritize myself and my well being and to hopefully regain my fitness. I’m happy to say that all of those things are in process and I have one added benefit that wasn’t on my original list; I have re fallen in love with the bicycle and all things bikes.

My purpose in leaving Q was not specifically to find my passion for bikes again. It was really more focused on health and well being. However, I quickly became consumed in building bicycles, riding them and photographing them. I sold a bunch of my old stuff and purchased some new stuff. I often rode alone as I worked through changes and focused on building up some fitness and mental toughness. I also had a blast riding with friends. In the past 6 months I have spent a fair amount of time on the following bikes.

  • All-City cross & gravel road bike
  • Salsa Cutthroat drop bar mountain bike
  • Salsa Horsethief mountain bike
  • Knolly Cache gravel bike
  • Ibis Ripley Carbon mountain bike
  • Surly Wednesday fat bike

I also found that selling my old Q branded bikes helped me with closure so I sold both my Salsa Cutthroat as well as my Salsa Horsethief, two bikes I really loved. I also have two new bikes ordered to come in and build sometime in 2022. I’ll reveal those as they get built.

While my fitness is taking longer than I hoped to regain, I am once again in love with the bicycle. Honestly, for me, nothing even comes close in freeing my mind and helping my body feel freedom like a bicycle does. True freedom. Nothing helps me work through challenges and problems like a bicycle does. Nothing helps me focus my energy and thought like riding a bicycle does. Nothing helps me feel better about life and myself like a bicycle does. Hard to believe, but after 40+ years or riding bicycles, I still feel like a kid pedaling my 1st, 20″ wheeled, red Schwinn around the family farm.

And with that, here are a quite a few pics from last 6 months of riding my bike. No particular order to this gallery. Just pics as they appeared in my digital catalog. Click on any of them to go to slideshow mode! Enjoy!

Gnat’s Ozark Ramble

As I write this, I am buried in work.  Not caught up on my fall home owner chores. We had our first dinner as our family unit in two weeks and only the second or third in the past 6 weeks.  Life. Is. Nuts.  But…..I find myself energized, inspired and at peace.

Why?  Aside from the obvious of my incredible family, I am feeling all these things because of last week. Last week I spent an entire week rambling through northwest Arkansas with many friends.  I spent last week out there in the world. I wasn’t in an office with days filled with meetings. I wasn’t locked to a computer.  Thanks to my incredible wife, I wasn’t at home juggling all the kid duties, pet duties and home duties.

Nope.  I was hanging out with like minded folks that I have the pleasure to know and call friends.  We were riding bikes, taking pictures, laughing until our guts hurt, wandering, rambling, drinking incredible coffee, eating fine foods, sampling brown liquids,  expanding our minds and exploring.  I planned this trip starting many months ago. It was exactly what I wanted for the milestone birthday I had just a few weeks ago.

I just want to say thanks to my family for supporting me on this fun filled week as well as all my friends that took their own PTO, took time away from their family, spent their own money to make my birthday special.  I also want to thank those friends that just couldn’t make it and sent me good vibes and support too.  We’ll see you soon and we’ll share a trail or gravel road sometime!  Love you all!

And with that, here are a few pics.  If you would like to know more about a picture or place, please leave a comment with a question and I’ll message you back.   Hope you enjoy!

Until next time friends.  More to come as I prepare for the coming year.

The Salsa Cycles Deadwood comes to life

I know this bike is over a year old but I have changed my methodology for building new bikes. No more do I throw everything together as fast as I can with a hodgepodge of parts.  Instead I pain over every detail and build it when I have all the parts, or at least very close to all the parts.

This one took a while and will replace my old blue Fargo Titanium. It’s just right. I still have a second set of wheels to build as well as custom frame bags to get, but here’s the build.

Frame/Fork: Salsa Cycles Deadwood size large with carbon Firestarter fork

Headset: Cane Creek 110

Rear Derailleur: SRAM Rival 11

Crank/BB: SRAM GX1 w/SRAM BB (replacing with Chris King)

Cassette: SRAM GX 10-42 11 spd

Chain: SRAM 11 speed…Cant remember which model

Brakes: SRAM Force Hydraulic

Shifters: SRAM Force 11 1x

Bar: Salsa Cowbell, 46cm

Stem: Zipp Service Course

Seatpost: Eriksen Ti setback with black caps

Saddle: Brooks B17 Carved

Bar Tape: ESI bar wrap

Hubs: DT 350

Rims: Whisky Parts Co

Tires: Maxxis Chronicle 29×3″ Tubeless

Pedals: Time ATAC

Cages: King Cage Stainless

Bottles: Angry Catfish

Feedbags: Revelate Designs

Seatbag: JPAKs Gravel Pack

More pics to come. Maiden voyage today and got the little bugs and tweaks out. Time for some serious fun. Here’s just one shot from today.

Ben’s Custom Pofahl

I haven’t shared much here on the blog about my current bike set up lately. Partly because I am in transition and have several new bikes in process. But partly it is because I have been stable for the past year with the following rig.

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This Fulton painted All City Macho King frame, Whisky fork and custom Paul Disc brakes is for sale. Contact me at G N A T at L I V E dot C O M if interested. It is a size 55 (56.6 TT).

But…I did find some time to ride with a good friend, Ben. Those following along here at the Gnat blog for a while know I’ve been riding with Ben for a long time. In fact, I could do an incredible photo series about our morning rides if I took the time to go through the archives.  Ben is a lover of wool, meat and fine bicycles. He has quite a collection and his newest rig and creation is nothing short of astounding.

This bike is Ben’s second Pofahl. His other is a custom made drop bar fatbike. It’s a stunner too. I have pics somewhere but here is one of him riding it a few years back.

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I wonder if this is what riding on other planets is like?

Ben currently works for Whisky bike parts and prior to that worked for Salsa Cycles. Prior to joining us at QBP, he owned a really successful specialty retail shop that put out some incredible bicycles.  This bike is a culmination of many years of thought and experience. My favorite feature is the permanently mounted, front rack (which is a an old Salsa Casseroll rack).  I look at that front triangle and can’t imagine the gear Ben can pack in there (he’s a pack rat!).  Of course it has Whisky’s new carbon, 50mm wide, tubeless, 27.5 rims.  This bike is simply gorgeous and deserves to be seen so I figured I’d post it up here.   Enjoy.  Click on any pic below to go to slideshow mode.

 

But….while both Ben and I love bikes, they aren’t just for collecting. Here’s one quick snap from that morning ride.  What a bike and what a morning. Thank you Ben!

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A Day In the Country

I have hit 4 straight weeks of riding early Friday AM. Honestly, since I changed jobs 3 years ago, that is a record. Sad but true. On this day it was glorious. Perfect. Beyond my expectation. Just me, my bike, my friend and the country. We also did the Rawland route in Goodhue County. It is my personal favorite route in the area. It has it all. This day was good for my mind, body and spirit. It showed me I can still put in some good hard miles every now and then. We made quick work of the route and I was back working in no time.

I chose a different path on the images. Even though the sky was perfect blue and the morning sun was warm, I chose to go really harsh blacks and over exposed whites with these images. I liked the clarity in the long shadows.  I may do a second set sometime from this ride in color, but I don’t know. These just worked for me.

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OK….I will leave you with final image in color. I don’t usually mix and match but this one really only works in color and it’s works in contrast to these with it’s color explosion.  We earned that blueberry loaf.

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