SECRET FORTS http://secretforts.com A COLLECTION OF GOOD THINGS Thu, 19 Feb 2015 17:23:46 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 HOME IS WHERE YOU PARK IT. http://secretforts.com/2013/10/13/home-is-where-you-park-it/ http://secretforts.com/2013/10/13/home-is-where-you-park-it/#comments Sun, 13 Oct 2013 14:08:05 +0000 mrforts http://secretforts.com/?p=18404 Continue reading ]]>
Whether you do or don’t know Foster, it’s pretty easy to tell what type of guy he is. One a the good ones. For the past two+ years, he’s been criss-crossing the country, living the dream and documenting every moment of it. What began as #vanlife on IG has spun out into a book, the funding for which he’s established a Kickstarter.
Head over and support the effort.



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THE FALL THREE : JEFF THROPE, COLD SPLINTERS. http://secretforts.com/2013/10/09/the-fall-three-jeff-thrope-cold-splinters-3/ http://secretforts.com/2013/10/09/the-fall-three-jeff-thrope-cold-splinters-3/#comments Wed, 09 Oct 2013 13:36:00 +0000 mrforts http://secretforts.com/?p=18313 Continue reading ]]>
The dude. Jeff Thrope. Cold Splinters. High plains drifter. Outdoorsman. Doer of many a mysterious thing. Walker of the walk. My friend Jeff’s Fall Three.
photo x Emiliano Granado


1) Sullivan County, NY : I’m living in a 1940′s farmhouse in Sullivan County, NY this October, just two or three miles from Yasgur’s Farm in Bethel, the site of the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival. (I’m sure most of you are privy to this, but if not, those infamous three days of Peace and Music were actually held an hour and a half west of the festival’s namesake, Woodstock, NY. Confusing, right?) It couldn’t be more beautiful up here this time of year and I’m thinking I might never leave. Speaking of which, anyone looking to sell a cabin?

2) Ugly Apples : It’s apple season right now and most of the apples we’re eating come straight off a tree we’ve found on a quiet country road. (See: Free apples.) I’m not used to eating fruit this damaged looking, but I swear, the uglier the apple, the better it tastes.

3) Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live, 1966: The Royal Albert Hall Concert : This has always been one of my favorite Bob Dylan “things,” but it’s taken on a whole new life while blasting in my ears on morning runs down Ranger Road. First disc is acoustic, second is electric. He’s just as good at both, but the plugged-in version of “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” might be all you need. I know that Dylan skipped out on Woodstock to play the Isle of Wight, but hell, he sounds just like autumn smells.

+1) Pointer Overalls : I wear these everyday. Not much else to say about that, I guess.

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THE FALL THREE : CHRIS BLACK, DONE TO DEATH PROJECTS. http://secretforts.com/2013/10/07/the-fall-three-chris-black-done-to-death-projects/ http://secretforts.com/2013/10/07/the-fall-three-chris-black-done-to-death-projects/#comments Mon, 07 Oct 2013 13:47:56 +0000 mrforts http://secretforts.com/?p=18303 Continue reading ]]>
Lifestylist. Media evangelist. Maker of Words for Young Men. Mastermind behind Done to Death Projects. I’m speaking of Chris Black. Below, Mr. Black’s Fall Three.


1) Clarks Wallabees : I had not worn a Wallabee since high school, but I just got a pair in chestnut suede and have been wearing them everyday. Add yellow socks for the full Wes Anderson look.

2) Palm Springs : I know it’s far from NYC, but Palm Springs is one of my favorite places to escape to once the temperature drops. The houses are beautiful, the sun is always shining and the vibe is just the right amount of weird for me.

3) Mazzy Star – “Seasons of Your Day” : The new Mazzy Star album “Seasons of Your Day” is really good. It took them 17 years to release it but it picks up right where they left off in 1996. “Opiated folk rock” at it’s finest.

+1) “Daily Rituals: How Artists Work” by Mason Currey : This book chronicles the daily rituals of creative legends like Andy Warhol, Charles Darwin, John Updike, Jane Austen, Franz Kafka, Thomas Wolfe and Jean-Paul Sarte. The (sometimes crazy) habits of these great minds make me feel a lot better about my self-imposed, strict life guide lines.

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THE FALL THREE : MAX WASTLER, ALL PLAIDOUT. http://secretforts.com/2013/10/04/the-fall-three-max-wastler-all-plaidout-4/ http://secretforts.com/2013/10/04/the-fall-three-max-wastler-all-plaidout-4/#comments Fri, 04 Oct 2013 14:15:22 +0000 mrforts http://secretforts.com/?p=18279 Continue reading ]]>
Why break from tradition. So in that spirit, it is Max Wastler who is first up, once again, for the fourth annual Fall Three Series. Great friend. All around great guy. Author of All Plaidout and one half of Buckshot Sonny’s, this is Max Wastler’s Fall Three, 2013.
photo x Carolina Mariana


1) Bang Bang Pie Shop Biscuits. Lately, not a day goes by without thinking about these fluffy, salty, warm, and downright delicious biscuits. I’ll take them over any dessert, even pie, any day.

2) Rosemary Roast Chicken. This is the year I take my friend Blake’s advice and learn to properly roast a chicken. I am proficient in the kitchen — following along with a cookbook, what have you — but I’d like to teach myself to roast a chicken perfectly by eyeballing it. That’ll change, and I hope by the holidays to have perfected the art of the roasted chicken.



3) Skiing Colorado with Winter Session in My Dad’s Vuarnets. Recently had these repaired by a guy in Minnesota, and can’t wait to hit the slopes this year with my pals Roy and Tanya at Winter Session.

4) Penrose Brewing. Heading out to Camp Wandawega this weekend for another Good Beer Hunting x Buckshot Sonny’s guy’s weekend. As much as I’m looking forward to jumping into the frosty waters of Lake Wandawega, I’m most looking forward to that first shivery sip of the frothy suds from upstart brewery Penrose out of Geneva, Illinois.

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B-ROLL : THE HILL-SIDE AW13 OUTTAKES. http://secretforts.com/2013/09/25/b-roll-the-hill-side-aw13-outtakes/ http://secretforts.com/2013/09/25/b-roll-the-hill-side-aw13-outtakes/#comments Wed, 25 Sep 2013 13:26:13 +0000 mrforts http://secretforts.com/?p=18226 Continue reading ]]>


I have had the pleasure over the years to work on a number of special projects with the brothers Corsillo (most of which have been fairly well documented here) and so in keeping with that streak, a few weeks back, I had the chance to tag along with the guys from The Hill-Side and photographer (and all around good guy) William Gentle, aka Backyard Bill, driving all over the great borough of Brooklyn as we selected, arranged and shot the always-great, latest collection from The Hill-Side.

The idea for this book, and a departure from books in the past, was to subtract the human form while maintaining a very strong sense of the human element by shooting in the homes of good friends and compatriots from all corners of Brooklyn. With a bit of a “Where’s Waldo” thing happening, in some photos, the pieces from the FW13 collection take a moment of looking for amid their settings and in others, the pieces themselves become the obvious focus of the shot. All of which, in sequence, make for an interesting way both to see the collection in a different context as well as getting a fascinating view into the varied lives of those who took part and the spaces they call home.
And in that spirit, an enormous thanks to all those who allowed us to invade those very personal spaces for a few hours.
Available now at Hickoree’s of course and fine retailers coast to coast and beyond.












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THE TRENCH BOOT 2.0 http://secretforts.com/2013/09/24/the-trench-boot-2-0/ http://secretforts.com/2013/09/24/the-trench-boot-2-0/#comments Tue, 24 Sep 2013 18:40:10 +0000 mrforts http://secretforts.com/?p=18263 Continue reading ]]>
When OSB‘s George Vlagos set out to create the Trench Boot, based off an old beat up pair of GI’s boots from the 40′s he’d picked up years before, it turned into a design process that would span five years, countless tweaks and modifications and plenty of wear testing. To hold just the right shape, and not satisfied with what was available, an entirely new last, the Elston, was created embodying the spirit of the Windy City and named after the street on which the citys’ own venerable, 107 year old Horween Leather is located. That resulted in the popular addition last year of an OSB staple, the trench boot, until now, only available in natural. Now, almost a year later and after request upon request, comes the trench boot in beautiful, rich brown Horween Chromexcel.

True Goodyear Welt Construction. Oiled leather Waterlock soles(the soles are soaked in oil to prevent water from seeping in). Stacked leather heel with Vibram toplift. Calfskin vamp lining. $426.
And as always, like all Oak Street footwear, these bad boys are fully recraftable and made in the good ole USofA(#duh).
Available today exclusively at Oak Street Bootmakers.
Side note, if you’re in the Chicago vicinity, be sure to stop in to Independence. Where else but on Oak Street.
47 East Oak Street
Chicago, IL
60611
(312) 675-2105

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OUT/ABOUT/HERE/THERE. http://secretforts.com/2013/09/16/outaboutherethere-14/ http://secretforts.com/2013/09/16/outaboutherethere-14/#comments Mon, 16 Sep 2013 13:21:43 +0000 mrforts http://secretforts.com/?p=18097





















































































































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ON AGAIN, OFF AGAIN. http://secretforts.com/2013/08/17/on-again-off-again/ http://secretforts.com/2013/08/17/on-again-off-again/#comments Sat, 17 Aug 2013 23:44:04 +0000 mrforts http://secretforts.com/?p=18024 Continue reading ]]>
My relationship to cycling has been, over the years, the most tenuous and sadly, fair weathered of love affairs. I first fell in love with cycling and road bikes at around twelve or thirteen. Well, a road bike. Although I was fond of the beautiful celeste green Bianchi a friend had recently gotten, I was truly enamored with a turquise/yellow/grey Raleigh Tri-lite Technium I had seen Scott Tinley ride in the ’85 Ironman I think and toward which I put away every cent I earned doing the oddest of odd jobs up and down every block in my suburban neighborhood. LeMond had won the tour in ’86 followed by Roche the following year. I’d watched both on television. And I was hooked.


Tinley.

The bike, though not mine.
Well, to back up just a bit, it actually began and stems directly from, as I imagine it does for all middle school-aged boys with a need for speed, with receiving the dirt bike of my dreams in the form of a beautiful chrome Mongoose over which every detail I obsessed down to the checkered donut pads on my Oakley F1′s. After tearing around my neighborhood on it and at one point, duct taping 12″ lengths of 2″ pvc pipe to my handle bars in order to launch bottle rockets from, ala “Nighthawk”, my lust turned its gaze toward skinny tires and multiple gears.

I saved enough to put my Raleigh on lay away and would peddle my Mongoose like mad most every day of the summer over to Cumberland Transit to deposit more dough, ogle my future ride and generally irritate the shit out of whatever employee or mechanic who had the misfortune of a) having to address my whipper snapper enthusiasm b) be peppered with questions to no end and eventually c)having to tell me to get on out of there.

Finally, with a final payment made, it was mine. I soon after bought a pair of clunky (hindsight) Look clipless pedals (the first clipless in fact) I’d seen Bernard Hinault riding.

My grandmother gave me that pair of blue Sidi I had become so obsessed with after seeing Mexican climber and 7-11 team rider Raul Alcala wearing them.

(Don’t even get me started on the 7-11 team of ’86 and ’87. Totally obsessed as a kid.)


Styrofoam Giro helmets with the red/white net. Aerodynamic Campy bidons (it was the only Campy, aside from a hat maybe, I could imagine owning a piece of at that age.) Riding long distances. Alone or with friends. Summers were passed this way.
Phil Liggett’s voice and later, that of Bob Roll (himself a former 7-11 rider) would come to define each July of my early adolescence. The super-human drama. Helo shots. Camera men on the backs of motorcycles. That dude in the devil costume. I would dream of being there. Running along side Andy Hampsten. Alcala. Herrera. Irishman Stephen Roche. A soon to retire Hinault. The break out American LeMond. Patting them on the back, “Allez!”
We would kit out. Much like later when everyone I knew wore cut off cargo shorts, wallet chains and cut-down Airwalks because that’s how Hensley dressed, my friends and I would re-enact whatever stage we’d just finished watching. Zed or Carrera or 7-11 (of course) jerseys. Cannondale shorts. Red, white, blue knit gloves. Oakley shades. Giro helmets. Cat Eye odometers. And my prized blue Sidi. Up and down any and every hill. Lined up on straight aways, taking turns pulling the train like we’d watched on tv. A well-oiled, ten wheeled machine. At least, in our heads we were. To any passing motorist, we must have been something to behold and something to give wide berth to.

I had been expelled from my grade school after 5th grade. It made me feel immediately different than the friends I had had until that point. Something instantaneous. Separate.
Once, while riding early on and only vaguely familiar with the aforemetioned Look clipless pedals, I was behind a friend as we approached a red light. Busy intersection. Nerves ablaze as I hadn’t quite become entirely comfortable with these particular pedals. As I came closer to either a full stop or sure and certain death beneath a station wagon, I struggled and with my clip not responding as it should, there was nothing to do but slowly roll to a stop. And fall over. But not before making direct eye contact with two previous friends of mine from my old school. they were laughing and pointing. It would make for a good story among students at the school that wouldn’t have me anymore.

Riding became the thing that I waited through interminable school days to do. It’s what I did on weekends. It’s what I searched the cable dial for. And then, I discovered skateboarding and just like that, my attentions waned. That lasted into my twenties.

I later came back to riding but it would be on bikes with one gear and no brakes. Mostly out of necessity, getting from point A to point B and not needing much by way of gears and not really wanting to deal with use or maintenance of them. Plus, fixed gear was “cooler”. But the old feelings came back hard, only this time channeled into these sleek, efficient and utilitarian single-geared machines. While ideal for city riding, we eventually began making the Brooklyn-Nyack ride a couple times a month. Less ideally suited depending on your gear ratio. Crawling up the rolling hills of River Road. Getting sideways glances and occasional outright laughter from the lycra-clad weekend warriors on their 3K road bikes. “Fuck em” I would think and sneer back, sweat stinging my eyes, lungs on fire. “What I’m doing, climbing this fucking hill, killing myself on a 46-16 gear ratio, is harder and tougher than these guys, legs zipping long, still in their saddles.” The chip on my shoulder balanced precariously just so.
I inherited my dad’s orange Greg LeMond Alpe d’Huez (Campy! Finally.) and converted it to fixed (regrettably, in hindsight). I bought a junkie but nice old Raleigh Grand Prix and and converted them to fixed. I tinkered constantly. Switching out part, saddles, wheel sets.
A deeper, more adult, more fully fleshed-out obsession was setting in. More frames. More wheels. More bikes. Less room in my apartment. Hours and hours spent on my laptop late into the night searching out…whatever. Youtube videos of Keirin races. Bike forums. Parts, new and vintage. Vintage jerseys. Vintage saddles. Books. Films like “A Sunday in Hell” on DVD.

It got deep. It began to spread into every part of my life. When could I ride? To where? Up at the crack of dawn to ride over to Marlow and Sons because they’d open early so we could sip iced red eyes while watching American rider and former Armstrong lieutenant Floyd Landis completely collapse and then miraculously (miraculously!) come back in such a commanding form that was to be utterly beyond belief and would later prove to be just that and even later become a complete fucking circus involving a whiskey or steak alibi and even alleged phone threats made at former tour winner and American cycling legend, Greg LeMond. It was sometime around this spectacle my interests and effections once again flagged. I felt cheated on and the fact that the cheater wouldn’t just admit it only made it all the worse and ever more heart breaking. I vowed never to be hurt like that again. I steeled my heart and swore off the Tour. Then the next year, I mean the very year after the Landis scandal, you have Vinokourov and Rasmussen disqualified. Whole teams withdrawn. And the recent (and inevitable) disgrace of seven time consecutive TDF winner* Lance Armstrong only further evinces the fundamental absurdity of the sport in its organized form.

It was early in this period that I “discovered” Rapha. July or August of ’04. At the time, a brand new, small cycling apparel company in the UK who made for people like myself, people who loved riding bikes but were loathe to get kitted out in the basement of Paragon. Clean, simple jerseys and bibs. Gloves and hats. Soft shells, stow-aways and gilets. And a nice little collaboration with the good people over at Apolis. And what would soon become their signature; black and pink. That pink. The perfect shade of it. Not too serious. Classy. Even kinda funny. As recognizably Rapha as their script logo.







But it was more than just some novel garments made in black and pink. Anyone else could have done it and it might’ve just seemed fad-ish. It was the company’s ethos, their reverence for cycling’s history (even their name references a defunct cycling team from the 60′s originally sponsored by an old apéritif maker), everything so steeped in this classic ideal of cycling’s golden ages and high points. Of pain and suffering and personal struggle and glory. It was just the thing to cure me of the bad taste left by the slow motion implosion of the sport at its highest levels and the full on disillusionment that would soon follow.
And it was all I needed to know. I was hooked immediately. At that point, before they shipped regularly to the States, the small group of friends I rode with would confer, making group orders to save on shipping and import tax. And then we’d wait. And then we’d get so collectively stoked on that box finally arriving. And their packaging. The hang tags. The little bits of cycling history sewn into the small zipped jersey pocket. Those RiRi zippers. The colorways. I proudly still hold onto a neapolitan colored jersey inspired by Bahamontes prowess as a climber but lack thereof as a descender. (He faked a mechanical problem and sat eating ice cream atop the Galibier, waiting 10 minutes for the pack to catch up.) Why do I know that? Because a Rapha jersey told me so.

I dedicated even more time to riding. And when not riding, the internet was a gateway. Back when there were gates to be crossed under, discoveries to be made. Finding Sheldon Brown (RIP) was a revelation. Rivendell. Velo Orange. The Bike Snob.
Forming bordeline unhealthy obsessions with Vanilla. Hampsten Cycles. Ira Ryan. Horse Cycles. Nervex lugs. Phil Wood hubs. Brooks B-17 Imperials. Miche. Vintage Cinelli. Vintage Selle San Marco. 4130. Freeman Transport (RIP). Jitensha.
Trackstar (RIP) in the city. King Kog (still kicking) after that in Brooklyn.
I read “The Rider” by Tim Krabbé. And then read it again. And then again. (How is this not a movie?)

Pored over books on the subject. Old reprinted photos of legends and pioneers. Flahutes and rouleurs. Petit-Breton. Garin. Lapize. Bottecchia. The Greats; Koblet. Coppi. Bobet. Anquetil. Mertins. Hinault. Cannibals; Merckx.
For a number of months, I quit drinking. We rode to Nyack at least once a week. I dropped pounds like they were hot.
I was never doored. Never layed my bike down too fast into a turn. No major road rash. No broken collar bones. I never raced though would very often do laps in Prospect Park wondering how I’d fare. But I rode. Often. I had a few routes I loved and once I tired or became bored of one, I would find another. These routes took me through all parts of Brooklyn, Queens, all over the city. I would ride out in Long Island. Every and anywhere I could think to.

It reminded me of first moving to Brooklyn and how riding a bike was an adventure in and of itself. How it was by bike that I came to know the boroughs. How I would ride to Rosemary’s from Bushwick in the weirdest and least direct of ways. I would look at maps at night, figure out a better way and so on. I still maintain that if you want to know some place new, ride a bike through it (say what you’d like about Bloomberg equipping the ear bud wearing, oblivious “common folk” with fleets of bikes and setting them loose upon the streets of the city, but it’s a hell of a way to get around.) Years later, the opening of the west side path was a huge thing. Over the bridge, cross town, up the Hudson to the Cloisters. Or wherever. Anywhere.

There’s the ride through LIC, over the 36th avenue bridge to the tip of Roosevelt Island where the skeleton of the old Renwick small pox hospital still stands, creepy and defiant.

There was the time I had my first puncture and changed my first flat on a ride, because someone was spreading carpet tacks across a certain part of the path up near Harlem. I took the tire completely off its rim. Rookie mistake. Another cyclist stopped after seeing my struggle and standing over me, straddling her bike, told me “you shouldn’t have taken the tire off.” Thanks. I located the puncture, patched it up and after eventually wresting that damn tire back onto its wheel, felt pretty proud of myself. Until it went flat 50 yards up the path.

I would ride with a few friends. One, a good friend I worked with, got me further into fixed gear. We rode everywhere. Coney Island. Fort Tilden. The Rockaways. We talked frequently of attempting a ride to Philly. We’d ride into work together. We’d work. We’d drink after work together. And stupidly, more times than not, ride home. Not advisable.

Then, in ’08, I started this site. And like that, once again, my attentions migrated elsewhere. I still rode. But far, far less. I was more apt to put up a post on Rapha than to dig it out of my drawer or closet and wear it on a ride of any significant distance. Instead of getting up early to get in 30 miles, I’d sleep in, tired from staying up late the previous night looking at unattainable outerwear on a Japanese website. All of my compulsions to dig deep into the ever black well of the internet were now directed toward looking at clothes or some dumb thing or another.

I would go through mini-phases. Ride a lot. Not ride at all. So on. So forth. And then, last summer, it happened. On one of my favorite routes, a quick 14-ish miles from South Williamsburg to Red Hook and back. Furman street, below the BQE, a dead straight away connecting Dumbo to the Hook. Easy to just pound away at 20+ mph. Ahead of me, a livery mini van goes for a quick three point U turn. Somewhere in point 2, he’s perpendicular to me. I yell. Zero time to stop. Stand up in a short skid. I think i can just edge around him. He locks eyes with me, his wide and panic stricken, mine the same I’m sure, and keeps pulling forward. I go face first into the side of the van. And that’s the extent of what I remember until someone was picking up and handing me my bike, hat and sunglasses. Spitting blood. Bell, rung.

Not the worst bike wreck on record, sure, but enough to put me off it for a good while. Rattled. And enough to put my teeth through both my top and bottom lips. The insides of my mouth, tore up pretty terribly. My face, dentist-like numb for two weeks. It’s healed up now but not without a healthy lump of scar tissue like a tiny knot that presses against my bottom teeth at all times. I wasn’t wearing a helmet. Again, not advisable.

At some point some years ago, I started surfing. Got on that bandwagon, longboard, single fin and all. The thing that kids who grew up out east have a really tough time swallowing. The magazine editor or phtotgrapher, neo-bohemian, post-yuppie set coming in droves, invading Ditch Planes in land rovers and Defenders, new and old.
But the thing of it is, Who doesn’t want to suit up and paddle out and try to step on a few? And if you’re someone with the means to be able to do that, and in style no less, than by all means. If you’re reading this here, than you’re someone who likes good gear. The author does too. The connection here is; you can go down to Pilgrim or Saturdays, get yourself La Colombe and throw down a guap on a super beautiful board and dope gear and feel pretty cool doing it. And that board looks good on the roof of your car and cool leaning up in your bedroom. But if you don’t use it, than yeah, the kids are right. Fuck you. You’re a poser. A kook. You’re a barney. Whatever that side of the argument is.


Or you can circumvent whatever weird vibes and whatever embarrassing feelings you have about being a grown up in a really tight wet suit and looking like a baby trying to take its first steps. Only in water. And on a shaped piece of 9 foot glassed foam. Cause that’s gonna happen. No matter how much you think that because you grew up skateboarding and since quitting, have taken up snowboarding and that will help you surf like Dane Reynolds. (Speaking from experience, it does not.) And you’ll either let that get to you and find/engineer excuses not to get out there again. Or, you’ll find some sort of peace with it, stay way inside and eat shit 100 times in white wash. And you’ll fucking love it. Beers afterwards will never taste as good.

You’ll maybe experience that feeling of spotting a set rolling in, really digging for it and then, that sensation when your rail sets and the damn thing just seems to want to go on its own. You may even get up for a second or two. And then, you’ll forever chase that feeling and relish in the retelling of it for weeks to come.

There’s faking everything up to it but there’s no faking surfing. But the doing is half, if not more, of the battle. The doing is the great equalizer. You can find that place where you become one with nature, but ultimately its still you against it. You against yourself. You’re out there, alone with only your thoughts and the sun and the sea. It’s a good place and a good way in which to become very realistic with yourself. About your ability. Your limits. The shape your in. The shape you should and want to be in. There’s no way around that. The sea, it’ll kick your ass without even trying. Just paddling out sometimes is enough to make you paddle right back in and empty your stomach right there on the beach.

Riding a bike is really no different in that there’s just no faking it either. There’s no way to escape just how much, or little, you are physically capable of. What you have in you available to give toward a lengthy climb or a harrowing, winding descent. Where your limits are. What’s beyond those limits. The point at which your legs go to jelly. When you can’t catch a deep breath and your lungs burn like an oven.
And you can drop plenty on all the gear; pretty three thousand dollar race bike, car rack, pedals and shoes, computer, Rapha head to toe. You look the part. But will you ride? Really ride. Your bike and kit maybe now far exceed your needs or ability. And maybe it will just lean against a wall looking pretty more time than not. Plus you look ridiculous. You’re wearing spandex for Christsake. You feel like a total kook. Will other riders be able to sniff you out? I mean, you’re wearing spandex. And shoes that make you walk funny. You’ll get dropped immediately. Your average speed, your RPMs, your heart rate…all either to low or too high.

I’ve wrestled with all of these thoughts. Still do time to time. Fuck me. I’m a total kook. A total poser. Some, any reason I can’t go surfing. Ten reasons I can’t go for a ride. And as a result, I’ve missed out on a lot of really good moments that could have been shared with good friends and in the best of settings, either on land or sea. And I’ve missed out on just doing it and getting better with each go. Whether stronger or just more comfortable. But in recent years, I’ve experienced a shift. Whether from getting on in years or something far less definable. More organic and glacial. Maybe not worrying so much about being cool. It’s the doing that’s the thing (Nike hasn’t firmly planted that tag line into our collective brain for no reason). No matter how quickly I get winded. How many times I go right over the nose and face first into the sea floor.
Just the doing is the thing. I’ve become very realistic about my abilities. I accept that I will look ridiculous at times. That it feels silly donning lycra for a solo ride. But there comes that point where you either continue to do it or you let all that expensive stuff sit there, looking cool in your bedroom.

I recently bought a road bike. My first in 25-ish years. I deliberated for months. Which one. What do I need? What’s too much. Sure, I would love a Ritte or a Stoemper. A Moots or Beloved. A Bilenky or a Lynskey. But do I need that? The answer is no. Perhaps one day in the future, once I cross some indefinable mental threshold and feel I’ve put enough miles down to deserve something on that level, I’ll get on a wait list for something bespoke. But until then, I’m happy to ride a bike that does the job I demand of it with quiet efficiency. Comfortable with that. It’s not a head turner. Plenty of entry level road riders like myself ride them. But it’s sturdy and can move. Steel. And it’s that beautiful, classic celeste green. So I’m happy. For now.

In 2007, Rapha, which by that point had gained a large and devoted cult following (myself included) amongst bike riders most everywhere, gave a name to a select group of builders and riders from the east and west coasts and points in between.

Rapha Continental. The ethos of which being a direct extension to that upon which the company was built.






Everything Rapha does is informed by its passion for the glory and suffering that lie at the heart of the sport. From rides to events, from exhibitions to products, Rapha brings riders together to share this passion. We know that every ride can be an adventure, its own epic story. Rapha Continental began as an antidote to the clinical aspects of road racing. It was conceived as a more creative expression of road riding, with the belief that you don’t need to pin a race number on to experience the pleasure that comes from tough rides. From the start, the Continental has been about exploring the road less traveled, discovering those things you only find out on the open road with your fellow riders. It’s about that sense of camaraderie that comes from sharing the effort and the adventure of meeting new places and people along the way.
- from Rapha’s site






Their most recent video, as they are nothing if not prolific in beautifully documenting their rides and routes, is a Pacific Northwest group ride, their largest to date, winding through Washington state and Oregon (and if that doesn’t make you want to get up and go ride, I don’t know what will) and a prefect summation of what Rapha Continental is essentially all about. A core group of riders, an extended cycling club, some old friends, some new. Putting down some serious miles. Suffering alone and together. Pulling and pushing. Finding those less traveled roads. Some leading nowhere. Post-ride beers and some well deserved grub.

Go ride your bike. Simple as that.
Thanks to my good friend Max Wastler of All Plaidout for editing/reining this thing in a bit.

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OUT/ABOUT/HERE/THERE. http://secretforts.com/2013/08/13/outaboutherethere-13/ http://secretforts.com/2013/08/13/outaboutherethere-13/#comments Tue, 13 Aug 2013 12:36:16 +0000 mrforts http://secretforts.com/?p=17915















































































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NOT DESIGNED BUT ENGINEERED. http://secretforts.com/2013/07/31/not-designed-but-engineered/ http://secretforts.com/2013/07/31/not-designed-but-engineered/#comments Wed, 31 Jul 2013 17:24:27 +0000 mrforts http://secretforts.com/?p=17902 Continue reading ]]> Here at Secret Forts, we are unabashed and long time fans of Engineered Garments and Mr. Daiki Suzuki, so with the recent showing of EG SS14 at Nepenthes NYC, seems only fitting to highlight two recent videos on the subject, The first by Manabu Gaku Inada. A study on the design process and “engineered” namesake quality of each garment.

And the second, the end product. The eerily silent recent runway show for EG’s and FWK Spring/Summer ’14 collections.

Now, along with anticipating EG FW13, you’ve got this to begin wrapping your head around.

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