We had a great time with our friends from All-City Cycles on our Get Off Work and Get Out of Town Campout. We enjoyed a casual ride from Adams Morgan to Swain's Lock. It's always refreshing to spend time by the river and escape from the city for a little. Camping on the canal is a great introduction to bike touring.
Here are some of our latest instagram favorites:
Our mechanic Jake testing out his new handmade backpack while on courier duty.
You never know what you'll run into on a ride up the towpath. Last week a series of subfreezing days made for perfect canal hockey conditions.
Where do you like to ride in the winter months? Let us know in the comments.
6 a.m. Alarm goes off….Even though I’m not a morning person, there’s no need to hit the snooze button. My blood is already pumping and I’m fully awake in preparation for what lies ahead. I sit up, chug a glass of water and put on my kit; it’s race day! My first cyclocross race to be exact…Not that I’m very familiar with the bike racing scene at all (or maybe I just grossly underestimated the difficulty of a cross race), but this did not feel like an “entry” level race at all. What a way to start my cross career: an 8 am race time accompanied by sub 25 degree weather after about 3 straight days of rain. Seriously? I’d be lying if I said I never had doubts about having my first race on this course in particular. After registering, I couldn’t even feel my hands or feet, which is probably around the same time that I first thought to myself, “what the hell am I doing here.” But I’m a fiend for competition, so I manned up and carried on with the rest of my ‘Adventure Times’ Team.
Leading up to the race, I felt confident that I would do pretty well. Even though I’m not the most experienced rider, I thought at least my athleticism would give me a good edge… Wrong. After taking a warm-up lap on the 3.1k course, it was made painfully obvious that I was just plain wrong. I just didn’t have the confidence to take on any turns with speed and to my misfortune that course was 85% navigating turns. Well, after ‘eating it’ (to put it lightly) on the warm up lap on a steep, muddy downhill called “the chute,” I lined up at the start line with the mentality of ‘okay, just finish…but not in last.’ But in case my expectations weren’t already shot, one of the officials called me out for having my number pinned upside down. I laughed it off because I was already the only racer with platform pedals, so any additional sign that I was an amateur was just redundant.
Despite all of that, the race itself was actually a lot of fun. It didn’t take long for my body to warm up and for most of the racers to pass me, so in no time I was comfortably taking the course on without getting too crowded. I was still shaken from my first wipeout so I took most of the turns pretty slow. Not to mention my tires were not even close to good enough to handle the crazy amount of mud. It’s a shame they don’t give an award for most time spent carrying your bike. I would have won that hands down since I spent a lot of time running because I’m way faster on my feet than on my bike. Either way, 35 minutes in and 3 laps later I finished, making sure not to come in last (81 out of 94 to be exact!). Finishing that race gave me a better idea of what cross is all about. Do whatever it takes to finish as fast as you can: bike, run, climb, recover from falls and haul-ass for every meter until the end. Then take pictures of the carnage with your buds and throw down an ice-cold brew. Every second was worth it. Now I see why cyclocross is such a popular sport. Now I get some better tires and clipless pedals. Now I train for more…
By Miguel Garza | Sales Associate
When we started planning for All-City's demo day in DC, there was some debate over where we would have the demo, since within the District it's pretty tough to find interesting rideable off road trails that you can make into a loop. My favorite spot, Ft. Totten, has been my go-to place to practice for cross season, but to be honest, I like keeping the little trails there a secret, and I was afraid of blowing up the spot.
But to care is to share, so it really wasn't much a debate. Ft. Totten has grassy fields with trees you can wind around, a short gravel road, and even some singletrack trails through the forest: all conditions you would find in a typical cyclocross course. And upon further reflection, its hidden-gem nature is part of what All-City is about, so Ft. Totten ended up as the perfect staging ground to test the latest dirt-friendly steeds from All-City.
And All-City did not disappoint with their new cyclocross and dirt options:
The Space Horse, our favorite all-rounder bike, got a new color: British Racing Green, which is simply goregous in the sunlight. The venerable Natureboy single speed cyclocross bike got a disc update for this season, for better stopping power and modulation. The very limited (only 150 made), and very fun JYD is new territory for All-City. It's not quite a mountain bike, not quite a street bike, but somewhere in between, and a whole lot of fun.
Of special note is the Macho King, Limited Edition. Our shop is one of the lucky vendors to recieve one of the fifty Macho Kings LTD in the world, and boy are we lucky. If you've never ridden ultra-high quality steel with a nice carbon fork, you are missing out. This is one smooth ride. And that paint job? Don't even get me started.
Wilson and myself, both All-City devotees, got all excited and All-City'ed out and rode our Space Horse and Nature Boy to the demo course.
The BicycleSPACE macho man himself, Phil, took to a Macho Man Disc to charge through the woods. Those logs didn't stand a chance.
We made some PVC barrier to further simulate a 'cross course setup. Jake, a competitive 'cross racer himself, showed us how it was done, dismounting his bike and running over the barriers without losing any momentum. Wilson won the award for most jaunty hop over the barriers, as seen above.
Lots of orange blurs through the park. The Macho Man Disc and its various iterations, The Macho King, and Macho King LTD, were the crowd favorites.
For most of our demo riders this was their first taste of cross, and at the end of each lap they were breathing hard and smiling harder. Nothing but good times in the woods.
One thing I really love about the All-City bikes is that they have internally-routed cabling for the rear brake. Not only is it an aesthetically nice touch that gives the bike a cleaner look and distinguishes it from similar bikes, but it makes shouldering the bike a little more pleasant. In cyclocross, you end up shouldering your bike quite a bit, so for 'cross a clean top tube makes a big difference.
Who says steel bikes can't be snappy and responsive? Not Grace: Grace was so stoked by the nimbleness of the Macho King she couldn't stop talking about it all night. If someone wants to make her year, they'd get her a 46 Macho King. Just sayin'.
Another nice touch that sets All-City apart: signature singlespeed track dropouts featuring the iconic Hennepin Bridge of Minneapolis.
Thanks to Adam from All-City for bringing the demo fleet to DC; we had a blast getting all aboard the 'cross train!
We're thinking about making cyclocross rides at Ft. Totten a more regular thing. Interested in doing some weekly cross rides? Let us know in the comments.
The P Street Trolley Tracks was where we started our first #adventuretimes ride. As avid cobble goblers (#steelisreal) we decided the P street trolley tracks were the place to start. In Georgetown there are the remnants of the Cabin John trolley system, or the original H Street Streetcar. The Georgetown trolley tracks we're installed in the 1890's, and only retired from service in 1960. Pretty sweet little bit of history to start our Friday adventure!
Steep cobbles ahoy! My All City Macho Man disc had no problems with the steep cobbles, Kevin, seen here getting low and pro, had to be careful with his cantis though (can't stop, won't stop). Disaster was averted, we impressed a couple tourists and headed to our destination, a retired trolly trestle.
Here's the trestle! Look how fast I'm going, I'm blurry! We had been talking about visiting this trestle for a while and I'm stoked we finally visited it. Being from the San Francisco, Yay Area I have a soft spot for anything trolley related, and being a male raised on Thomas the Tank Engine anything train-ey makes me happy, so this pushed all sorts of buttons.
Not content merely gawking at the trestle we wanted to scramble to the top, portaging our bikes--hey, cross is coming! The ascent was a little sketchy, boards+nails, rusty rebar (I'm convinced rusty rebar will kill me someday) and a lot of random detritus.
The run up was totally worth it. We found a tree that was growing around an old Schwinn! Just like that famous internet picture! We have our own treebike, #BikeDC!
The ride to the trestle was shorter than anticipated so we decided to zip down to the towpath and log a few extra miles, you know, for the Strava (In all seriousness, if you want to peep the route click here).
Kevin and I were pretty smiley because, a) we were riding for work b) the towpath just does that to you, everytime I think I'm getting bored of the C&O I'll ride it with friends and have a blast, and c) we're riding our All-Citys, so we're hella #partybrand.
The ultimate goal was to get rad before showing up to the shop for our shifts. Obviously that happened, as you can see from this photo of Kevin, catching some sick air, towpath style. Just look at Kevin's face. Much concentration. Many stoke. So air.
This C&O jump is way better, one can totally send it. I made sure my elbows were out--for ultimate braap-age. Seriously, I love the All City Macho Man, it's such a blast to ride, I'm definitely looking forward to purchasing a Macho King when they are available. Until next time, #bikeDC, go have your own adventure times!
This is my purple Surly Troll single-speed, baby fat bicycle. Built to the lowest standards (exempting the frame, natch). Built tough-- my Troll is perfect for mountain biking and definitely at home in the snow. Riding the unplowed Met Branch Trail is the Troll's dream.
She's equipped with Soma hubs laced to Weinemann 65mm rims with pink and orange powder coated spokes, "The Pig" headset (one of our favorites here at BicycleSPACE, the thing is bombproof), 32t Surly Chainring on a old Deore crank with an FSA bash guard, Avid BB5 up front, BB7 in the back, 16t & 18t cogs (this baby fat only masquerades as a single speed!), Pedros "Trixie" tool for any unforeseen trail issues, and a Bern beer opener thingy attached to the fork.
For grips I went for my cheapo favorite, ESI Orange with a SpaceOr bar. My wheels got Kenda Slant 6 26x2.5 tires with Q-tubes and Gorilla tape. For pro braking power I used Jagwire ripcord cables and housing. As for the rest of the little bits I've got a Velocity bottle cage, Single Digit 5s, Shimano UN55 bottom bracket, Aztec 160mm and Clarks 180mm rotors, Salsa flip lock, Salsa stem, Bontrager seatpost and a Specialized saddle.
Goes to show you can make a sick bike on a budget. My troll thing definitely lives the surly life.
By Kate Schrock, Assistant Service Manager