150 miles on the new Tarmac outside of NYC. I’m totally in love with this bike. 

At the National Gallery of Art with Claire.

New York from atop the Empire State Building

Specialized commissioned Mark DiNucci, one of their original frame builders, to design and build an anniversary edition of the steel Allez. The idea was to put 40 years of experience into each of the 74 limited edition frames to create something that’s as pretty as it is well-engineered.

I love when brands create limited edition products aimed at celebrating heritageinnovation, or charity. And what’s cooler is this month,Specialized will be auctioning all of the 74 bikes on eBay’s Giving Works to benefit World Bicycle Relief!

I’d love to give this bike a spin. My first road bike was a steel Trek 460, and I used it while I was a messenger in NYC, then to get around the Catskills where I went to college. It allowed me to fall in love with the sport, and it was probably the hardest bike for me to sell.

French Riviera

French Riviera

Claire outside the Ace Hotel. 

A selfie series to depict my experience climbing Mt. Ventoux last week!

(the after was taken about 1KM from the summit, somewhere near the Tom Simpson memorial.)

A few days riding around Provence.

How did that focus get stolen?

I leaned it up against the front window of a deli in the Lower East Side and ran in. I went to the back of the store, grabbed something, and by the time I was back at the register, someone had jumped off their bike, and traded it for mine. The whole thing took less than a minute. Then I spent the next four hours at the police station as they fingerprinted the bike that was left behind.

I’ve always been a pretty trusting person, so this stuff really surprises me. It really sucks losing something that you fell in love with over thousands of miles and hundreds of hours. There’s a sort of intimacy that is built with a bike over that amount of time, strengthened through all that suffering and joy you had riding it. Like how I would wake up groggy on a Saturday and watch it waiting for me beside my bed. I’d always be excited to get out of the bed and hear my shoe clip in as I got rolling.

A break from the usual, 20 miles till Rockaway Taco.

My 2013 Focus Izalco was stolen last week, please keep an eye out.

Native Americans earned feathers through brave deeds.

In their more wild and warring world, it’s easy to imagine opportunities for bravery and the advantage of rewarding these deeds to reinforce behavior that benefited the community, regardless of cost to the individual.

Today, violence and danger are scarce in most our lives. If we can be brave, the inherent reward in overcoming fear may be our only reward.

In spite of this, I believe bravery is as important to us now as it was to the Sioux or Cherokee. Instead of picking up a weapon, we need to put down the phone. Rather than fight an enemy, we need to face ourselves. Introspection happens in those uncomfortable, quiet moments alone. Like making arrowheads from stone, this self-examination is preparation and work that makes bravery possible.

I imagine while working rough stone to sharp, a young native american might worry about the approaching battle. In the same way, as we look at ourselves, we may begin to fear and stress the challenges and unhappiness that present themselves. Don’t run.

It takes true bravery to act for your own life: to make change, take responsibility for how we treat people, risk everything, reinvent ourselves, question institutional values, and test ingrained beliefs. Think about the feathers you could earn today, if we still had them to give.

In my own life, I’ve not always been brave, but I like to think that every act of cowardice can make me braver, if I just face it.

Deux North - Hunt 4 Trailer

It all started after a call from Specialized and something about a new bike that we would be into. 

After a few months of planning and putting together a great group, Deux North took 8 riders on a 300mi trip up the coast of California, from Morgan Hill to Santa Rosa. We tried to hit every kind of road, and get off our road whenever we could. Safe to say the bikes and riders were tested to the limit over those three days.

For me it was one of the most visually stunning experiences I’ve ever had. California has so much to throw at you. We’d start the day climbing out of fog and look out from what felt like the edge of the world, then descend into a damp, almost prehistoric forest, before bombing down alongside breaking waves, and finally dry off in the heat of grasslands. Each environment looked and felt different; that combined with an ever-changing road surface and great company made for on hell of an unforgettable experience. And that is what stuff like this is about. You don’t have to fly across the country, or even drive 8 hours north to have a great experience. You might not have to camp out in a barn, or push yourself harder than ever before, but whatever you have to do to make an experience worth remembering it is probably worth trying. 

So far, I’ve ridden about 5,000 miles this year, but 5 years from now, those 5,000 will probably become more like 500. 300 in California alongside my brother and 7 great guys. 

I’ll remember riding over the Golden Gate bridge and seeing Aaron, our filmmaker, come up from behind crouched in the back of a pick up truck grinning from ear to ear. Ten years from now, I’ll remember staring at the stones all the way up Mt. Tam’s railroad grade, then reaching the summit to notice a sea of fog separating us from the world. Even when I’ve forgotten about the effort on that final day while racing in the Grasshopper Adventure Series, I’ll remember coming around the bend near Pacifica and seeing the ocean—how it felt like I had never seen it before. I might forget how many times I crashed that bike, I’m already trying to, but I won’t forget the damp black asphalt of that sequoia forest. I’ll still be able to picture how rich that pavement looked against the deep red bark, with the smell of peat moss hanging in the humidity. I hope I can still remember how the gnats there floated in the beams of cathedral light making the whole forest fantasy. I hope the personalities present distill over time, certain traits becoming more potent, even as the memory of whole characters fade. I’ll remember the times it was just me, how after 3 days and 24 hours riding, I sat down inside my mind where I could see my legs rise and fall, the pedals turning, and my arms bouncing slightly to the rhythm of my cadence without feeling a thing. In those final hours of riding, I sat with my back resting against the inside of my head watching without a blink as the road stretch out in front of me through my eyes—which had become just paneless windows. I’ll never forget that.

Matt Hunter Going Around a Corner on his BicycleI had to make this video into a GIF… if for nothing else than to better study it.

Matt Hunter Going Around a Corner on his Bicycle

I had to make this video into a GIF… if for nothing else than to better study it.

A few perfect weekend miles with great people.