The Loop of Doom


I don’t really know what I just watched. A guy cheats death and we’re supposed to cheer and his helmet saved him? Considering a RedBull athlete didn’t clear the epic last year, this just seems in horribly bad taste from some industry bros? You can tell me if this is epic, awesome stoke or what. Here’s the backstory:

On Saturday March 19th, Matt Macduff sustained a terrible fall attempting to make his way around the Loop Of Doom. After over 3 year of research, determination and hard work, Matt managed to find everything he needed to make his project happen.

Built in a month at the Garden Route Trail Park in South Africa, the gigantic structure rises up to 40 ft. in the sky. The crash left him with 10 fractures in his right wrist and 3 fractures in his right ankle. The story behind his stunt is as impactful as the structure itself. A real story of determination. After spending a week in a South African hospital, Matt is now home in Ontario, working on his rehabilitation. Just as he started to walk again, we catched up with him to get his version of this incredible story.

In previous posts about the Loop of Doom, there was a lot of interrogations from the readers so we did our best to cover all the aspects of the project. Keep on reading to take a journey through the mind of a young man determined to leave an impact on the sport he loves.

Read the rest of the death-cheating story here, and note this year many we’ve lost too many.



Mike Hall Smashes Tour Divide Record

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While we’re out riding Brexit happened, and Mike Hall, a Brit, won 2016 Tour Divide. His time: 13 days, 22 hours and 51 minutes

He beat the previous time by 1/2 a day.

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Here’s the PR from Pivot, his bike sponsor.

Mike Hall, of Yorkshire, England, finished his Tour Divide journey in the early hours of June 24th2016 to beat the previous record by over half a day with a time of 13 days, 22 hours and 51 minutes – 12 hours and 46 minutes faster that the previous record set by Josh Kato in 2015 (14:11:37).

Since Mike’s last Tour Divide in 2013, the event has been a case of “unfinished business”, due to forest fires that forced him to detour from the official route that rendered his then potential record time as “unofficial”. Mike’s goal this year was to take the record back with authority and have it stand in the books.

The Tour Divide travels through Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, and the United States of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico (map). When complete, a thru-rider will climb nearly 200,000 feet of vertical (equivalent to summiting Mount Everest from sea-level 7 times). Completing the self-supported route is a feat unto itself, and winning the overall is an incredible athletic achievement. Route trackers showing Mike’s average distance per day as 194.1 miles and total moving time as 10:14:36, with stops for rest and refueling making up the additional time.

Pivot Cycles, Mike’s frame sponsor, were there to meet him at the finish line at the Mexican border at Antelope Wells where he finished in the early ours this morning after a mammoth 300 mile last leg non-stop from Pie Town. We caught up with Mike soon after he finished and he said spent the duration of the event relatively unaware of what was going on with other competitors in the race, as he chose to take no mobile phone and ignore the spot tracking on other riders, and focusing on his own riding. In typical Mike Hall fashion, he lead the race from the front almost from the beginning. Speaking to Mike briefly after the finish, he said, “I’ve not been connected [to the world], am feeling a bit strange not knowing what is going on”. “It’s been good to have a clear run at the course. I have given it my best effort and am satisfied this is the best time I could have done”. Congratulations to Mike for his incredible achievement!

Mike’s choice of bike for the epic journey was a Pivot Cycles LES hardtail MTB, equipped with Reynolds carbon wheels, Shimano XTR Di2 drivetrain and components, Apidura bike packing bags, and Lezyne accessories. Mike wore PEdAL ED clothing for the duration of the event.

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You can also watch Mike in a documentary about another endurance race, the Trans Am.



RIP Bill Cunningham

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When I decided to take and share better photographs on Bike Hugger, Bill Cunningham’s work informed the street style. That led to publishing mirrorless websites, and freelancing for Digital Photo, Digital Photo Mag, and Shutterbug. Today Bill died at age 87. Here’s a quote from the Times obituary. So many greats have been lost this year….

Bill Cunningham, the street-style photographer whose photo essays for The New York Times memorialized trends ranging from fanny packs to Birkin bags, gingham shirts and fluorescent biker shorts, died Saturday in New York. He was 87. In his nearly 40 years working for The Times, Mr. Cunningham operated both as a dedicated chronicler of fashion and as an unlikely cultural anthropologist, one who used the changing dress habits of the people he photographed to chart the broader shift away from formality and toward something more diffuse and individualistic. In the process, he turned into something of a celebrity himself.

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While We Were Out Riding Ellsworths

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Well, while we were out riding, Brexit happened. And, what that means to the bike industry remains to be seen. The tinkering the brits do impacts the industry, like the work of Fabric who was at PressCamp.

For now, my first impressions of Ellsworth’s new enduro bike (160mm of travel) are this is for a cross-country rider who’d likes a flow trail too. Makers like Ellsworth and Vroomen are responding to the over nichification in bike categories with models that can do everything. That’s on the mountain, road, and places in between. As Tony asked me

Is there another vehicle that a human has developed with suspension that we lock out?

No, there isn’t.The Rogue kinematics are why the bike works so well. On the mountain, we had no idea, or care, about what else was going on in the world….we just kept pedaling with an enduro bike that climbs.

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The Rogue 60 XT retails for $6500.



Golden Hour Epicness with a GT Helion

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Everything is epic these days, so I’ll let the you decide what level of epicness this experience was. Shot too long in the golden hour on unmapped, single, single track. Carried 12 pounds of camera gear, climbed 3,000 feet, and then descended without lights, riding by feel, welcoming the light pollution from Park City below as a sign civilization was near.

Sure seems like my initiation into sports photography with the Canon 1DXII is complete…. Even Marco Polo’d Nic Sims when I couldn’t see him anymore, and was worried I took a wrong turn.

My backup plan was to flag down a motorist on the highway, if I could make it to their taillights. Hoped the moose we saw wasn’t with newborns.

That’s the kind of opportunities that happen in Utah during PressCamp. You can gain new levels of epic.

If this ever happens to you, the proven technique is to follow the dull, grayish white line reflecting a few rays of light off the dirt in front of you. Then listen for the tires rubbing vegetation to stay on course.

It was like Tommy playing pinball—using senses I didn’t know I had.

Does that sound epic? Here’s the bike I rode.

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It’s the GT Helion, their expert-class niner with a 100-mm travel front and rear. It didn’t let me down, in an extreme situation, and for a reasonable spec costs under $4K.



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