Mile High Urban CX Chaos is a great fall, urban race that takes place in Denver every year. Gates Carbon Drive CX team volunteered as course marshals helping direct traffic, aid adaptive riders, and control spectators. We may have been helping by volunteering at the event, but it was truly an honor to help support the race.

From Juniors to Seniors to Adaptive racers, the event was truly a classic one. Riders had to climb steep hills (we were able to help young riders carry their bikes up the ridiculously steep hill), drop into a construction-zone pit, weave in and out of cones on pavement, and try to not spin out on the muddy, icy, snowy dirt piles. It is always great to see the young riders out there, but we were truly inspired by the adaptive riders that powered through the course not one time, but twice.

Thanks to the sponsors and coordinators for putting on a truly great race, and we want to thank everyone for allowing us to volunteer at such a great event.

Ryan McFarling directing traffic before a drop off in the Juniors race.

Ryan McFarling directing traffic before a drop off in the Juniors race.

Taylor Jung helping an adaptive rider up the hill.

Taylor Jung helping an adaptive rider up the hill.

Categories: Cyclocross
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David Graf_flying the belt

Gates-Nicolai Mountain Bike Team member–and Swiss BMX champion–David Graf ditches his BMX bike for a Nicolai Argon FAT  in the new video “Pig Rodeo.” Watch G-Raf fly the tabletops and air out his balloon tires like a supersonic swine on the trails of Lenzerheide, Switzerland.

David Graf_fat rear tire

David Graf_flying non drive side 2

David Graf_dropping in

David Graf_clearing tabletop

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In 2013, Elmar and Ellen van Drunen quit their jobs, sold their house in the Netherlands and flew to Brazil to embark on a multi-year journey from South America to Alaska. Fourteen months into their adventure the Dutch couple have pedaled 10,500 miles (17,000 kilometers) on their Santos Travel Lite bikes with Gates Carbon Drive. They’ve battled stiff Patagonian headwinds (see photo above), hauled their bikes up muddy trails, crossed 16,000-foot (5,000 meters) mountain passes, watched King penguins waddle on the coast and enjoyed fresh popcorn, which was first domesticated in Central and South America, given to them by villagers in the Andes. “We have pushed our bikes through deep sand on the Bolivian Altiplano, endured temperatures of minus 21 degrees Celsius (negative 6 Fahrenheit) and didn’t take a shower for 12 days in a row,” Ellen wrote us by email from Peru. Sound difficult? Hardly. “We are living our dream,” Ellen writes. Read excerpts from our email conversation below.


Fietsjunks Hit the Road

Ellen: We met in 2003 and began bicycle touring every chance we got, so we nicknamed ourselves “Fietsjunks,” which means “bicycle junkies” in Dutch. We cycled through more than 30 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and America (all documented on, but the dream to undertake a long-distance tour stayed with us. In 2013 we decided it was time to go. 
In his previous life Elmar was a mechanic for a bicycle touring company. I am a freelance photographer ( and used to be a communications manager for a big company.For now we are just cyclists, adventurers, dream-chasers, travelers and happy people.


Santos Travel Lite Bicycles

We had no doubt in our mind about which bicycles to ride: it must be a Santos, it must have a Rohloff hub and it must have a Gates Carbon Drive belt. 
With the experience of our previous cycling years and the fact that we’ve tested many bikes for a Dutch magazine, we know what makes a good touring bike. We like the stiffness and geometry of the bikes and we love the low maintenance of both the hub and the belt. In the 17,000 kilometers we’ve cycled there have been no issues with the bikes aside from the occasional tire puncture. The belt shows no sign of wear and tear and needs no lubrication. We wrote an article about it here.

Fietsjunks_Peruvian mud

Camping Beneath the Stars

There have been many memorable moments during this trip. It’s not just the scenery, it’s also the people we meet along the way. But, honestly, we really enjoy the silent moments in the middle of nowhere. Camping alone at the foot of a huge mountain, underneath countless stars, listening to the water lapping the shores of a lake–that’s when we are happiest, because we realize how lucky we are.

Fietsjunks_Elmar in Peruvian mts

Follow the adventures of Elmar and Ellen on and read their travelogues and see photos on Read their gear reviews and travel tips on Maybe you, too, will be inspired to become a Fietsjunk.

Fietsjunks_Elmar dirty face

Fietsjunks_rear sprocket and rohloff

Fietsjunks_Elmar and bikes



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Van Nicholas Zion advert pic

Van Nicholas is a Dutch bicycle manufacturer that specializes in designing and fabricating high end titanium frames and components. That lovely bike above is the Van Nicholas Zion Rohloff 29er with Gates Carbon Drive and Rohloff speedhub. We had the opportunity to spend time with this great bike brand during the recent Gates visit to the Bike Motion Benelux trade show. “Our mission is to create the ultimate lifelong cycling experience for every individual customer,” says general manager Ralph Moorman.

Van Nicholas only builds titanium frames because the company loves the inherent qualities of the metal. Titanium has a great strength-to-weight ratio. In other words, a titanium frame will be much stronger than a steel or aluminum frame of the same weight, which means you can make a super strong but lightweight titanium bike. Ti also resists corrosion, which is why Van Nicholas never paints its frames, preferring to simply brush and polish them to show off the metal’s luster. Better still, the company guarantees every frame for the lifetime of the owner.

Below are photos of Van Nicholas models with Gates Carbon Drive. If you like titanium and are in the market for a well designed ride that will last a lifetime, check out the Van Nicholas dealer locator and the photos below. First up is the Pioneer Rohloff flat bar touring bike.

Van Nicholas_profile

The beauty below with a black Brooks saddle is the Amazon Rohloff.

Van Nicholas 3
This drop bar touring and fast commuting bike is the Yukon Rohloff.

Van Nicholas 2
Below is another view of the Zion Rohloff mountain bike.

Van Nicholas 4

Want more? See our previous post about the Dutch “Men in Black” mountain bikers, or our Van Nich post with some information about Gouda cheese, a Dutch favorite. You can also read the review of the Amazon Rohloff in Adventure Cyclist magazine, and the Pioneer with ‘riemaandrijving” (Dutch for belt drive) in Bike & Trekking magazine (in Dutch). And for our friends in the Netherlands, please watch our Carbon Drive University videos in Dutch.


Categories: Uncategorized
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Droid app 1Droid app 2Droid app 3

You can’t play a solo on your Gates Carbon Drive belt, but you can measure the belt’s tension like a guitar hero with a new Android app. The Carbon Drive Android app is available for free download in Google’s online store and is a followup to Gates’ popular iPhone app, also available for free in the Apple iTunes store. The Android and iPhone apps allow users to measure belt tension and determine the correct belt and sprocket combinations to achieve a desired gear ratio. A third screen on the apps provides a catalog of the Carbon Drive product range.

Gates iPhone App2

The sonic frequency meter on both apps operates similar to a guitar tuner. It uses the microphone on the smartphones to measure the frequency of the belt. Simply pluck the belt like a guitar string, check the frequency and adjust the tension on your bike. Rock and Roll!

Gates App Reading


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