Henry Gold: Enabling Expeditions Around the World

Henry Gold, founder Tour D’Afrique. All photos courtesy Tour D’Afrique.

Most people facing unemployment at the age of 50 would turn towards the safety and comfort of what they know to get back on their feet. When Henry Gold was in that position, he decided to lead a four month bicycle expedition from Cairo, Egypt to Cape Town, South Africa and organize a race on the same route despite having never bike toured or raced a day in his life at that point. Gold thought his adventure was going to be a one-time thing. Instead, it gave launch to his bike touring company, Tour D’Afrique. Twelve years on, the company offers 10 expeditions and races on six continents. I spoke to Gold about his history working with NGOs around the world, the African bike-manufacturing project he tried to start that helped inspire Tour D’Afrique, the joy and challenges of leading multi-month bike expeditions, and much more.

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Eszter Horanyi: The Power and Goodness of Bikepacking

Eszter Horanyi and Scott Morris at the start of their 4,000 mile Continental Divide Trail ride. Photo via topofusion.com.

The Tour Divide is a 2,745 bikepacking race from Banff, Canada to the Mexican border in Antelope Wells, New Mexico along the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. When Eszter Horanyi set the women’s course record of 19 days, 3 hours in 2012, she did so by averaging over 140 miles each day and sleeping just a few hours each night. Doing so on repeat for the better part of a month is a brutal challenge that pushes athletes to their mental and physical limits. It turns out Horanyi is really good at it. Over her years of bikepacking racing, she’s held or still holds records on the Tour Divide, Arizona Trail Race 300, Colorado Trail Race, Arrowhead 135, and plenty more. She stopped racing in 2013, but continues to explore mountains and valleys and remote roads by bike. I spoke to Horanyi about her entry into mountain bike racing, her bikepacking racing “career,” the self-empowerment the comes from adventuring alone, the growth of bikepacking, and more.

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Stephen Hyde: The Wandering Road to Cyclocross Stardom

Stephen Hyde. Photo via JAM Fund cycling.

Last cyclocross season was Stephen Hyde’s best so far. Riding for Jeremy Power’s JAM Fund team, the 28 year old notched several big wins, a 6th at nationals, and his first spot on the U.S. world’s team. It seemed like the fulfillment of an athlete’s lifelong dream. But Hyde’s a relative latecomer to professional cycling and his path to the world championships was filled with winding detours. Before he ever donned lycra and lined up on a cross course, Hyde spent time as a teenage BMX punk in Florida, moved across the country by bike, worked his way up and down the east coast as a shop mechanic, and much more. I spoke to Hyde about his years of wanderlust adventuring, how he got his start in racing, getting serious with the JAM Fund, his breakout season last year, and his race career plans for the immediate future.

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Bill Davidson: Seattle’s Legendary Frame Builder

Bill Davidson in the new Davidson-Kullaway shop. Photo by Josh Cohen.

A few months ago, custom bike builders Bill Davidson of Davidson Bicycles and Max Kullaway of 333 Fabrication officially joined forces after many years of quiet partnership. One of the cool features of the new Davidson-Kullaway custom frame shop in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood is a picture window in the wall that separates the customer area up front from the workshop in the back. It allows customers to watch the pair at work building beautiful bikes. When I arrived at the shop last week, I did just that. Kullaway was behind a translucent screen welding up a frame. Davidson, looking like a blue collar scientist in his denim shop smock, was standing over a milling machine cutting tubes. Eventually, they noticed me standing there and Davidson joined me up front.

If you know anything about frame building, Davidson likely needs little introduction. He’s been in the business for over 40 years, which puts him in the company of just a handful of other American builders. When he got started in 1973 there barely was such a thing as a custom frame builder in the U.S. We sat down at his new shop to talk about his long career, learning to build bikes in the 70s, the evolution of the frame building business, his new venture with Kullaway, and more.

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Clarence Eckerson Jr: The Revolution Will Be Televised

Clarence Eckerson Jr. is founder of Street Films. Photo courtesy Clarence Eckerson Jr.

I’m pretty sure my introduction to Street Films was “Hal Grades Your Bike Locking.” In it, a brash, dread-headed bike mechanic named Hal Ruzal walks around New York City grading people’s lock jobs (mostly Fs) and explaining how they could do better. The point was not to show how dumb New Yorkers are about protecting their bikes. It was to educate people about the very real threat of bike theft. Education is the point of all of the nearly-500 Street Films that have been produced since its launch in 2007. They show the best of biking, walking, transit, and street design (and occasionally the worst) to help people learn improve their own communities and lives.

That Street Films is driven by positivity and a desire to educate is little surprise given how cheerful and positive its founder Clarence Eckerson Jr. is. Through the course of our phone interview, his answers were constantly punctuated by laughter. In between laughs, Eckerson told me about Street Films’ history, his life as a filmmaker and streets advocate, the critical intersection of advocacy and mass media, and much more.

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