2022 Squad Members
We are The Philly Bike Expo Squad. We are NOT just another racing team. We are a community of cyclists who are passionate about riding bikes, spreading our passion for cycling, and engaging with everyone and their mother to spread the PBE love far and wide. The Squad has done road, gravel, mountain bike, and triathlon races and events - so whatever you do, you'll fit right in. Randonneur? Mhmm. Cross junkie? Saddle up. Unicyclist? We want you. We really (really) want you. Born in 2018, we are looking for more riders who value community, just can't wait to get out on two wheels whenever possible, and want to be an ambassador for inclusivity in cycling. It doesn’t matter how fast you are, what you ride, how far you ride, even where you ride - the mission is the love of the ride and to spread that love to others.
Bina is the Owner and Director of Operations for the Philly Bike Expo. Bina was always surrounded by bikes growing up, but started cycling after her father, Stephen Bilenky made her an S&S coupled touring bike. Bina took a leap into bike touring as the assistant tour director of the 4 month Tour d’Afrique. She lives in Lewisburg PA and has a deep love for Central PA gravel roads.
Mark Yanagisawa rides out of Philly. At a young age, Mark could be found in his backyard, launching his bike off of anything that resembled a jump. After nearly two decades of swimming, Mark started cycling and racing triathlons to feed his competitiveness. Today, Mark can be found in his PBE kit, pink helmet and Goodr sunnies leading group rides, shredding trails, or racing gravel events.
Mark came on board in 2017 and is our fearless and inclusive Squad leader. Mark is a phenomenal athlete, hype man and go to guy for anything from graphics to marketing to logistics. Mark is also the co-founder of Paper Trail Gravel Travel; all-inclusive gravel trips.
“Hi, Alex here! In 2019 I joined the PBE squad with many cycling goals and specific plans. Like everyone else, 2020 and 2021 had other things in mind: canceled events, a new job, and a pandemic-mutt named Wesley . I am a road-cycling hobbyist and fitness nut. You can usually find me riding hills outside Philly at sunrise on my road bike, bouncing around the Belmont on my gravel-cross bike, or hiking with my partner and our crazy dog on the weekends. Always excited for the Philly Bike Expo, and can’t wait to meet the new squad members!”
“My name is Taylor and I use she/her pronouns. I LOVE ALL BIKES but more importantly the people bikes have brought me into relationship with. The Philly Bike Expo has been my team and family since the wee stages of my bike racing career and I am blessed and proud to have “grown up” here. I recently moved from Philadelphia down to Western North Carolina and I welcome any of my Squad mates to come join me for a ride and see what it is I love about this area so much. I hope to continue my cycling journey this year across all boundaries LOL Crits, Gravel, MTB, Road stage racing, and Cyclocross BRING IT ON!”
Kathleen “Taffy” Medley
“My name is Kathleen Medley, but I prefer to be called “Taffy”. My athletic career began in 2014 as I was turning 50 yrs old. After medaling in my first ever 5k race, I’ve been hooked on competitive racing. Due to injury, in 2017 I started cycling and fell in love with the sport. Since then, I’ve become a duathlete, Spartan, entered into the vEveresting Hall of Fame, and earned the titles: 2021 Rapha Cycling Club – NYC Overall Distance Champion, and 2021 Major Taylor National Riding Challenge Winner for Total Elevation and Biggest Elevation Ride/Women. I’ve participated in 5k races and cycling events from NY to as far south as TX. I share my love of cycling with everyone I meet and encourage others; regardless of age, to get into the sport! I’m super excited to be selected as a member of the phenomenal PBESquad for the 3rd year and can’t wait to see what new experiences 2022 will bring! I am also a member of the USATF, USA Triathlon, South Jersey Bike Crew, KRT/QRT Cycling Club, Philly Major Taylor Cycling Club, Rapha Cycling Club of NYC and a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. I enjoy spending time with my husband and adorable Shar Pei, “Pumpkin”; amazing adult children & grandchildren, singing in my church praise team, and Wowing clients with my exceptional event planning skills. Congrats to my fellow PBE Squadders! Let’s do this!!!”
“I am a middle school math teacher living in Southern Maryland. I started off in triathlons and met my husband while riding bikes. We have now evolved to riding primarily gravel. I met the PBE squad at @unpavedpennsylvania and knew that I wanted to be apart of their team. I am an advocate for mental health and have raised over $9,000 for St Jude. I am a co-host on the podcast Mid-Atlantic Gravel Travel and Dirt and preach the importance of mental and physical health. I am excited to ride this year with new friends!”
“Hello! My name is Shannan – the hill climber! I currently live in King of Prussia and the past four years I have been Vegan. Most mornings you can catch me chasing sunrises on my bike. I started mountain biking back in 2018 which led me into road and gravel riding. Over the past four years I have met so many incredible people and had the opportunity to join PaperTrail Gravel Travel team on their McClure, PA event. I am grateful for each experience, the friendships I’ve made and bringing people together in building a thriving community.”
“I’m pumped to be back for 2022 and for the opportunity to continue to spread the PBE stoke! I love my family, Philly, riding my bike, and representing an awesome group of people. I am looking forward to tackling all roads on my new @prattframeworks frame, and riding with the PBE family. This crew and kit represents love, good vibes and unity.
I believe that everyone should feel comfortable and safe on a bike, and will do my best to always be a welcome and smiling face on the road. I can’t wait for what 2022 has in store for us!”
“I’m 36 years old from Sarasota, Florida. Most of my time I spend riding for fun while occasionally slipping a race in to keep things fresh. Whether on or off a bike, I love helping people. One of my friends dubbed me the “Ride Dad” since I’m often the most prepared. I spent the first 20 years of riding on a BMX bike at skateparks & dirt jumps. As I transitioned into riding big kids bikes, I quickly realized endurance cycling was my passion. I didn’t start by riding for hundreds of miles for days on end. It started with a 8 mile ride that left me feeling like I was king of the world. Since then I’ve wanted to share that feeling with others. In 2021 I helped a non-profit organization train an athlete with autism to ride at Gravel Worlds in Nebraska. When I’m not riding I enjoy are meeting new people, spearfishing and spending time with my wife and dog.”
“Home for me is in Allentown Pennsylvania but I am a full-time mechanical engineering student at Colorado Mesa University. I mostly race track and road and sometimes dabble in a bit of cyclocross!”
“Hello, my name is Maia Paris. I live in Forked River, NJ with my boyfriend and cat. I’m an Army Veteran and spent 10 years as a helicopter pilot. Cycling has always been my outlet and my family. While I was in the Army moving every couple years, I was always able to find a home with the local group ride. I want to work to make my local bike community a place where people feel welcome to ride and have people to help them along the way. These days I’m enjoying a simpler life, working in a bike shop, getting people stoked on bikes, and riding as much as possible.”
“Hi y’all! I’m Rachel (or RayRay to some). I have been a part of the PBE crew for 4 years now! I live and work in Philly – a bike mechanic by day, a partner, bike racer, musician, and creative dabbler by night…I’m always working on some kind of tech noodlings and hella stoked for every adventure that is to come!”
“Hello everyone, my name is Trong. By day, I work logistics and supply chain for the government. By night, I usually like to try new restaurants in the city if I am not out riding my bike. I started riding bikes as a commuter through the city after college. My true cycling obsession actually began during the midst of pandemic in 2020. Ever since then, I have lost 35lbs and my health has never been better. I believe that cycling is a great tool for anyone who is looking to challenge themselves mentally and physically or to simply go on an adventure for fun. As I continue on my cycling journey, I hope to learn more and share what I have learned with everyone. I am excited to be part of the PBE Squad 2022 and hopefully get to ride along with you all!”
Rudesia wears many hats in the fitness world and beyond. She started her fitness journey eight years ago with running. Her love for physical activity increased along with her understanding of its positive impact on the body. Rudesia then studied and became a personal trainer, which serves as a great benefit to herself and the clients that she serves. Over time Rudesia started to become interested in adding activities to her fitness repertoire and during the pandemic she started cycling, initially to support her mental health. Although road cycling was a thrill, Rudesia wanted more and set a mental goal of participating in a multisport activity. As a recipient of a grant for “Black Women in Sports, and Coeur Sports,” Rudesia began her triathlon journey. Swimming became an added fitness activity, and where it all fused together. Rudesia developed a love for swimming and completed her first “open water swim” in a relay with two other minority women. In search of an additional thrill, Rudesia ventured into the world of cyclocross where she feels she has found an additional competitive home. Outside of her personal fitness activities, Rudesia serves as a youth cycling coach and stretch coach for Bicycle Coalition Youth Cycling. The BCYC youth are not the only children that Rudesia supports with increasing their physical fitness, as she is very intentional with including her children in her activities. Rudesia is a member of Fast Chix Triathlon Club and is actively working to support efforts to get more women of color engaged in multisport and triathlon.
“Hi, I’m Steph! I am a Cat 2 rider out of Brooklyn. I started riding as a way to get around my college campus, but I’d been a competitive swimmer my whole life, so I was naturally drawn towards racing. I love riding because of how cool it feels to go faster and further than I could on foot, but still powered only by myself. Off the bike, I love cooking and having people over for dinner. I used to cook and bake professionally, and I love sharing recipes, talking about ingredients, and answering questions about how to fuel creatively. I’m super stoked for the season, and can’t wait to see what we can accomplish as a squad.”
“Hey-o! The name is Rachael. I currently reside in western Michigan, spend most of my time here in the winter and THEN the remainder of the year is spent out on the road trying to see as many new roads by bike (and sto-n-go minivan) as possible! You can usually find me singing whatever song I’m keeping pace to in some rad gravel event – stashing extra snacks from aid stations in soggy jacket pockets, Bikepacking with everything under the sun attached to my bike, out on long summer rides in moody weather, embracing the “party pace”on muddy roads and not taking myself TOO seriously!”
“I’m a frame builder, cat lady, and love racing ‘cx and spending long days in the saddle. I’ve loved getting to know the welcoming community here in Philly, and want to help more people find their passion and place within cycling.
I started riding bikes as a kid – sometimes in my grandfather’s Wald basket, then later on his too-big-for-me coaster brake bike. Fast forward to today where I love riding bikes (that fit!) to commute, race, and go on silly long rides with friends.
I’ll bring the team spirit, positive encouragement and compassion for all cyclists, and a dash of bike nerdery. I also wear my heart on my sleeve, and try to spread awareness of struggles that are close to home for me, such as mental health and trans and queer liberation, as well as uplifting the struggles of other marginalized communities.”
“Bikes are fun. Bikes are art. Bikes are an extension of their rider. I’ve never competed but I enjoy rides that challenge my abilities and always look forward to the opportunities another ride presents. The community is one of a kind and I feel like I’ve found a place to celebrate my own growth as well as encourage, inspire and witness the growth of others. I’m a fan of gravel and loading the bike up for a nice bikepacking adventure from an overnight to a week long roll around. I’m an advocate for cycling professionally and it doesn’t stop when I’m off the clock. Being a black man who is recognized around this activity is also important to me as to inspire other POC to experience something I did not. Being a part of the squad would be an opportunity for me to expand my knowledge, my love and my involvement in the cycling community IN the community that I love.”
“My name is Dave Kerwood and I am an Occupational Safety Professional and Photographer, living in Havertown PA. I love bicycles, coffee, and the outdoors. Looking forward to being a part of the squad and spreading the word/love!”
“Hi, my name is Luly, I’m a High School Senior living in State College PA. I love mountain and gravel biking but really any day I get to be on a bike is a good day! I have had so many biking adventures in the forests of Pennsylvania and with my family I have also had the chance to live in and explore Spain by bike. Apart from cycling, some of my favorite things are reading(PBE book club?), backpacking, skiing, and science. I am also a part of the @nationalyouthbike. To me, the most rewarding thing is building and being apart of a diverse and welcoming cycling community.”
Ajoa is a “multisport mom,” from Philadelphia, Pa. She has been a lifelong athlete; however, about four years ago, Ajoa found herself re-visiting her love for running, and over the past two years, she has developed a love for cycling. After participating in several competitive cycling events this past Summer such as a triathlon relay with the D.I.S.K. Triathlon Organization, ToAD Crit Race Series as a recipient of the Abundance Mini Grant, and a few other individual and team multisport events, Ajoa immediately felt a connection to cycling and is in constant pursuit of both self-improvement and community impact. Moreover, Ajoa was featured in the “Gear of the Year” issue of Bicycling Magazine and had a documentary created about her life using cycling as a way to combat the mental challenges of the pandemic titled “From Quarantine to Q.R.T.” Produced by Love Now Media.
Ajoa is not only representing the PBE Squad, but she also supports and is a member of LEVEL UP Cycling Movement out of Miami, Florida, Bank City Bike Club out of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Major Taylor Philadelphia. Holding true to her passion and the commitment she made after being featured by USA Cycling’s Women in Cycling Campaign, #LEADHERFORWARD, Ajoa is a youth cycling coach for Bicycling Coalition Youth Cycling, and is also launching a self-development health and wellness brand that focuses on women and girls. Her brand is focused on using the bike and other physical activities as tools to enhance overall wellbeing. Ajoa is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and enjoys spending time with her three children, traveling, and making an impact wherever she goes. @trevorraab
Industry Nine UL250 TRA
Product Review / Travelogue by PBE Squad member, Rachael Sage
A few weeks ago, I drove down to Stillwater, OK from Michigan for another shot at Midsouth Gravel since 2020. The year of rain, miles of peanut butter MUD, broken hearts over busted derailleurs, and early rumblings of COVID. The specific event marked the beginning of my affection and appreciation of hardship in the elements along with many friendships that inspired miles I rode solo through the past couple of years. For those unfamiliar with Midsouth, it’s an early spring Midwest challenge with distances ranging from 12-100 miles and a 50k run, you prepare for whatever weather decides to cross the area that day and it’s more often not, unfavorable conditions. Unexpected twists and turns of a path ahead are intriguing to me so I was stoked to get back with different tools for the experience this time around!
This year, I brought along my single speed Mars Cycles outfitted with some cotton candy Industry Nine UL250 TRA’s – 700c tubeless paired with WTB Venture 40C, switched to a 42T/18T for the ultimate head boppin’, party pace through the climbs, which can be illustrated through sound by listening to The Ill Communication album from the Beastie Boys. When I travel for events, I want to fully experience the space I am in both light and dark. The goal this year was to finish under the night sky… and THAT I DID!
My day was filled with 100 miles of orange, tan and gray surfaces. Plenty of fresh grated road with chunky, loose gravel, a little mud and sandpaper all littered with ruts, SO MUCH washboard and descents on hills boasting questionable paths through rocky mess. That mess could grab your wheel and send you wherever it directed, at anytime. All of this was mostly into headwinds with plenty of climbing! Temps ranged from 20-55 degrees and then back down to chilly again as I rode into the dark roads under the blanket of stars overhead.
In the mud, while some walked, I joined those who rode through two tracks, finding myself floating over potholes and long grass with ease. Every pedal stroke was met in quick response to move forward – regardless of the path. Through sand, rocks, mud, pavement, unpaved chunky mess, up and down countless hills, I felt strong, confident and able. Under the stars, riding along with limited light and very few riders around – I was grounded, stable, prepared for anything that might come across my path.
Cycling is a source of self expression for me. A space for me to celebrate my love of color, texture, design and function. I care as much about the aesthetics of my machine as I do its abilities to take on any road or path set before it. Custom ano dials in the personality to my bike as much as the frame and accessories. Being able to choose down to each spoke on the wheel is a really cool way to celebrate color partnered with design and a sense of ownership to MY own bike. The profile of the rim is sleek. The decals, modern, timeless and minimal. Being able to customize color through spokes to integrate MORE color to accent with is super LEGIT. But even more, these wheels brought an openness to the folks surrounding me. Where we could take a moment to get to know one another and cheer each other on, perhaps in our darker moments on the path.
A rainbow spinning from afar can start a conversation pretty quickly with folks out in the middle of roads like these. And if anything, the greatest lesson I’ve learned from cycling is just how much my community becomes family. And my family is constantly inspiring me to become a better person and cyclist each day in passing.
Anyhow, this is the face of a person who felt at one with their bike. From the first mile, to the very last… the sound of the hubs to every compliment at SAG stops and new friends made through conversation while eating snacks and talking bikes, my heart is so full. THANK YOU to the folks at Industry Nine for general badassery. Engagement is key. Sound is key. Color is key. All of the things that are DIALED on these wheels! And even better, they were gracious through every poor line choice I may or may not have taken.
The lands we rode and ran were on the land of those of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and Osage, Kiowa, Kickapoo, Wichita, Quapaw, Pawnee and Seminole Nations. I am grateful to have ridden these roads in thought of those here before me, thank you for the opportunity to grow my mind, spirit and heart.
This is Rachael Sage from the PBE Squad signing out!!!
HOPE TO SEE YOU ALL OUT THERE SOMEWHERE SOON!
PBE Squad Mixed Terrain Ride
Sunday Oct. 30th, 7:15 AM
Meet at the Art Museum Steps
Special guest! Wahoo Fitness Sponsored Athlete, Ian Boswell
Gravel with Mark and the PBE Squad on Sunday morning! 20ish miles. Road, dirt, gravel… we’ll do a bit of everything around the city! We’ll roll into Belmont Plateau for singletrack and smooth trails, before going to the SRT and connecting to the Wissahickon Trails, on Forbidden Drive and back into the heart of the city to the Philly Bike Expo finish! Bike with tires over 32mm recommended. Don’t forget to set your alarm, you don’t want to miss this! Check out the events schedule on our website for route and photos/videos from last year’s ride! #phillybikeexpo #pbe2022
Nittany Mountain Works
Product Review / Travelogue by PBE Squad member, Luly Kaye
What started as a stem sack purchase for a new mountain bike in 2019 turned into hip sacks, frame bags, backpacks, pierogi bags and so much more. My first Nittany Mountain Works bag was gifted to me in 2019 to grace my brand new Surly Karate Monkey and in the past three years it has become my top choice of biking bags for any discipline. This solar powered company makes on- and off- the bike goods for all conditions.
Most recently I had the opportunity to go on a bikepacking trip through France and Spain on the rugged European Divide Trail. With me I took a Nittany Mountain Works Stem Sack and Fastpack Lite Frame Bag in Neon Orange (great for hunting season). I used them to store my valuables and electronics like my phone, earbuds, lights, wallet, passport etc. I was worried, as anyone would be, that my valuables would be damaged over the course of the three weeks, but I also wanted easy access to these items. We experienced sun, rain, dust and everything in between and my valuables stayed clean and dry. On top of that I could grab anything I needed while on the bike, reducing the need to stop to get things out.
For day-to-day biking, the pierogi pack is hands-down my favorite bag. It allows me to go on long gravel and mountain bike rides without a backpack. I often struggled on my mountain bike to have space for food, lights, layers and other things when going out for five or six hour rides. The pierogi pack allowed me to carry the extra material tools needed to safely go out for long rides while maintaining full bike dexterity.
Daisy chains on many of their bags allow for Velcro placement adjustments meaning that you can customize the straps to your bike. As a smaller person with less space in my frame, this flexibility allows me to put bags on my bike in a way that fits comfortably. The frame bags are short enough to fit in a smaller frame and give me room for two water bottles as well as ample space in the frame bag (instead of the bottles pushing into the frame bag). The solar sewn bags are also durable and last multiple seasons of daily use.
As someone who loves colors, Nittany Mountain Works makes it easy for me to customize my bike in the best ways. In biking and everyday life I am always searching for things with bright colors. The wide range of colors and customizable combos allowed me to be creative with my bikes and bring my own touch. Many of their color options are also neon, which adds an element of safety. For years I used a Nittany backpack for school with a large neon green strip down the back and reflective patches. On my commute to and from school this made me feel much more visible, especially when I stayed later for clubs or sports and ended up riding home in the dark! Of course, if you prefer not to be seen, there is a camo option too.
On top of having long lasting and convenient productions, NMW gives back to their community, donating to local events, supporting other local businesses and groups like the PBE squad. I am a member of the National Youth Bike Council(NYBC), a group that encourages youth leadership and bicycle safety. This past spring Nittany Mountain Works graciously made and donated several bags for council members. Even after the first batch was lost in the mail they remade the bags for us. When I see another cyclist with a Nittany Mountain Works bag it is such an easy way to start up a conversation because so many people support the company and Nittany Mountain Works support their community. Check out NMW bags for Central Penn (and everywhere else) shredding!
It all starts with a good bag
Nittany Mountain Works Fastpack Lite review by PBE Squad member, Dave Kerwood
Mid-ride, mile 45/80 and all I needed was the gummy worms that were in my top-tube bag. While someone who doesn’t partake in endurance gravel racing might not understand, us that do punish ourselves in such a sport realize that the instant sugar rush from gummy worms is a special treat (and sometimes necessary). Luckily, the bag I am using is my Nittany Mountain Works Fastpack Lite Frame Bag and the sweet sucralose-laden worms were only a short reach away.
The Fastpack Lite is at home on small bikes, big bikes, and even some youth bikes. With it’s multiple molle-style loops, you can use any strap to affix this pack to the bike of your choice. Some step-through style frames might need some creative repositioning, however.
My favorite thing about this pack is how it seemingly disappears between your legs while you’re on the move. As you can see below, the bag is narrow, and even when STUFFED, it maintains a tight-footprint within your triangle.
- VX21 XPAC side panels
- 400d Packcloth liner
- 1050d Ballistic nylon mid-panel
- Made In Philipsburg, Pennsylvania
- Hydration/ Electronics Port
- Replaceable hook and loop Velcro straps
- Universal mounting design
- Cargo pocket with organizer sleeve on drive side
- Elasticized internal pump retention
- Anti-sag Velcro lining the daisy.
- 4-double sided Velcro retention straps
14.5″-Long (toptube dimenson)
4″- Tall at deepest
My Overall Thoughts
Without a doubt, this bag provides everything that one would need in a top-tube bag. Easy of access is top-tier, and inside the bag has multiple compartments to store a tool, mini-pump, tire levers, and ample fuel types for riding.
I would recommend going to Nittany Mountain Works and customizing a bag to match your bike, or maybe style one with your favorite colors. You can always catch Nittany Mountain Works at many cycling events throughout the Northeast, or at the link I plugged there.
For an in-depth walk through of the bag in the “wild”, check out my video here: Nittany Mountain Works Fastpack Lite Review.
Thanks for taking the time to read this review, and be sure to check out Nittany Mountain Works and their on-bike bags. And ride your dang bike!
Equipment review by PBE Squad member, Mark Yanagisawa
There is nothing more satisfying than the sweet buzz of a precisely manufactured freewheel hub, one of six pawls individually engaging and disengaging with each passing tooth rotation, completely in sync. The noise is unmistakable and is the sound of the payoff from hard work, whether coasting down the backside of a big climb or pausing your pedal to keep traction on a trail. Yes, we are talking about Industry Nine! The magic originates from precise manufacturing at Industry Nine, locating in Asheville, NC – designing, fabricating and assembling wheelsets for every style of riding.
At the centroid of the wheel is the hub, which is expertly designed and machined, with 3 pawls and 20 teeth on the Torch resulting in 60 points of engagement and a whopping 6 pawls and 115 teeth on the Hydra for a crazy responsive 690 Points of engagement. These hubs engage almost instantly when you put down the power, and are robust and reliable. The hubs are engineering masterpieces and the icing on the cake is the creativity that comes with anodized colors, for virtually endless custom combinations.
There are many technical reviews for Industry Nine Wheelsets and I’d encourage you to give them a read (link to some here), as they breakdown the specs of each wheelset – but here, I want to share my personal experience with the AR25, i945 and a Hydra M60.
I remember my first time riding i9 AR25 Torch wheelset like it was yesterday. From the outside, the gold hub and single gold spoke among black spokes accented the 44 Bikes Huntsman’s finish perfectly, aluminum rim and the iconic torch road alloy direct thread spokes. But on the inside, the Torch hub and wide xD cassette (10-42T) offered me responsive and reliable power transfer. I was getting the best road & gravel – all road – combination. On the road the ride is smooth and absorbs all of the road chatter. At a stated weight of 1545g, you can hardly notice the wheels making a difference descending or climbing. On gravel I rode these wheels to a mechanical free finish at unPAved 2019. The AR25 with WTB Resolute 45s shined on the gravel roads of Bald Eagle State Forest, shedding and quelling the rocky and muddy road under me. The wheels withstood it all, even my reckless driving up and down “the difference”. These wheels are simply perfect for all-road conditions. They have taken me on countless road rides in Philly, gravel adventures, and raced without issues at Keystone Gravel, Middle Creek Gravel Grinder, unPAved, Kermesse Series, Monkey Knife Fight and Lu Lacka Wyco Hundo!
After my positive experience with the AR25s, I sprung for an upgrade to the i9.45 carbon wheelset with Torch hubs. The rim profile was the selling point for me, with extensive testing in the wind tunnel to fine tune the shape that delivers aerodynamic performance climbing and descending while being able to run a 40mm tire on it. Why did I care about aerodynamics? It was because in 2021, I was gearing up for my first Unbound 200 mile gravel race in Kansas! With hopes to slice through headwinds, sail tailwinds, roll fast and carelessly, Industry Nine was the only option! The i9.45 wheelset had WTB Raddler 45s mounted and took a beating from the sharp flint stone stirred up from the 2000+ riders on course, the relentless chatter from the gravel roads, steep and fast maneuvers on the “Little Egypt” section and up and down the rolling hills. Don’t be fooled, the riding in Kansas is not flat, and the i9.45 was the perfect choice to battle and conquer the terrain. Also, the fine folks at i9 were at the Unbound Expo and did a courtesy wheel inspection and tune-up on the spot so I was race ready! Back home in Philly, I have been riding the i9.45 year round outdoors on gravel, road and trails. The wheelset has taken a beating, and seen over 10,000 miles in a year – and has not given me any trouble!
On my mountain bike (yes I have a mountain bike – Revel Rascal to be exact), it has a set of ENVE M60 laced to i9 Hydra hubs, and let me tell you the hubs are sweet. I always wondered who would need a Hydra hub – for the noise? or performance? What I’ve come to realize is that the answer is both. When riding trails in Philly (or anywhere), if you’re not pedaling, you’re coasting. And when you coast on a busy trail, the extra “buzz” compliments my audible “rider back”, “on your left”, “just me”, “thank you” perfectly. People (and dogs) hear the noise from afar and instinct kicks to step aside for an approaching bike. From the performance, the hub engages immediately when you put down the power, there is no dead zone in the pedal stroke. I have found this particularly useful when approaching an obstacle like a slippery rock garden climb (like at Kitchens Lane). In my preparation to ride it, I build speed, and coast over the first set of rocks, and when I want to get a half pedal in an area of traction and to keep speed, I can do just that! The direct input, without delay or lag, is extremely predictable, which is essential for technical riding. It is hard to explain the benefits that can be gained from a Hydra hub, and it is really a case of “believe me” and “you have to ride it to feel it” situations.
My experiences have been nothing short of exceptional both in people and product. Every engagement with the Industry Nine team is positive, inclusive and educational. I am stoked on the quality, reliability and performance that Industry Nine offers, and that they are proudly made in the USA!
Shop review by PBE Squad member, Miko Quisumbing
Much love to the Velojawn Bike Shop! With the merger of the PBE Squad and the Pro Women’s Race Team, the whole team had access to the amazing services and energy of this awesome neighborhood bike shop, located in West Philly.
A little backstory, in 2020 when races and events were cancelled, I needed an outlet to ride and a way to stay sane as a hospital worker during the pandemic. I reached out to Mark and Bina as a new member of the PBE Squad and they loaned me the unofficial PBE Squad gravel bike. I discovered my love of going off-road and this bike allowed me to commute to work, ride in any weather, and at the same time get lost in Belmont and the Wissahickon!
Now that it is getting ready to be passed on and shared to the next gravel adventurer, it was a no-brainer that I would bring the bike to Velojawn for a full tear down and build up. The staff was amazing to work with, performing a free assessment and communicating as needed throughout the whole process. I never had to guess what work needed to be done and when my bike would be ready.
By supporting Velojawn, you also provide support for the Bicycle Coalition Youth Cycling Program, and support a black, female and latino owned shop aiming to expand cycling through employment opportunities, mentorship and coaching. Check them out at 3946 Lancaster Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19104 and get your ride ready for the Spring!
Wolf Tooth Components
Product Review by PBE Squad member, Mike Bentz
Hey, hey, Mike here to talk about some product. This year there have been a handful of things I’ve brought on 99% of my rides, while all of em are awesome in their own right, it’s always the “you don’t need it til you need it” item that steals the show when it finally gets the spotlight. For me this was the Wolftooth 8-Bit tool, a 3 part multi tool with 15 functions that’s neatly sandwiched together magnetically. I specifically chose the 8-bit kit Two; the One comes with a rim dent remover tool while the Two comes with a rotor truing slot and an 8mm flare wrench. The latter seemed more practical for my needs.
So I threw it in my Nittany Mountain Works bag and did some biking, naturally. The most common bit I used was expected – the hex bits, the tool offers 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 mm bits. From tinkering with seat post height and adjusting bar angle mostly, if you know me I’m always messing with my Salsa Fargo 😁. Always nice to have hexes, they’re tucked into the plier and master link tool 1/3 of the product. Additionally, the pliers provide flathead and phillips head bits, torx t10 and t25 bits, a spoke and valve core wrench and to top it off storage for extra master links. Very useful, right? If you follow me on the gram you may remember me posting about using the chain tool on the East Coast Greenways NYC-PHL ride. We had left Princeton and just hit the D&R canal when my buddy’s chain popped- a you don’t need it til you need it moment and thank goodness we had it! Got up and rolling to Philly for cheesesteaks in no time.
We aren’t done yet! The pliers are one slice of bread in this Wolftooth sandwich, the middle layer is a tire lever which holds the previously mentioned rim dent and rotor true tool. For sure have used the tire lever, fortunately I only had one flat this year but I have a bad (for my wallet) habit of wanting to try every tire in existence so tire swaps were frequent. It’s a sturdy lever that provides plenty of leverage for the toughest tire beads.
To top off this thing we have a a chain break and utility knife that houses an extra razor blade (incredibly useful for a myriad of reasons), a slot for a spare valve core, bacon strips and a tire plug inserter. Quite the buffet of toolage to discover in this just shy of 15cm long package. It’s 171g weight weenies – 171g of worth it.
I haven’t used the majority of the features this tool provides yet but the ones I’ve used have been as effective as anything I’ve tried before. I also leave on my rides with a sense of security knowing I have the tools to self service my bike trail side if need be! If you see me out and about ask me about it, check it out and then go get you one. Thanks, Wolftooth!