Cooper Creek Trail Review


Cooper Creek Trail Route:

Written By Andy Lovell

Pictures contributed by: Andrew Beishline, Ezz-Eldin Hassan, Andy Lovell, & Adam Newsom

Cooper’s Creek is a challenging overnighter taking you through the Chattahoochee National forest through some of the best that the area has to offer. A great introduction to bike packing, this route takes you deep into the woods without ever being to far from civilization while leaving little options for re-supply. Thick wilderness and ferns line the route with many options for side trips and countless trails that beg to be explored. 


Starting from the Jake Mountain Parking lot, the loop takes you through the Blue Ridge WMA past lakes and streams over tough gaps and down killer descents on your way to the Cooper Creek WMA. Cooper's Creek is one of Georgia's larger wildlife management areas spanning more than 30,000 acres. This area holds some of the last old growth pockets of forest in Georgia with a few Tulip Poplar trees measuring a circumference of 18 feet! The second half of this route will take you down some of the most pristine country roads to be had finishing off with one more leg burning climb and hand numbing descent.

his route is doable on a bike with at least 32mm tires but it will beat you up a bit. There is a little single track on the route but some of the roads are quite gutted and rutted. Bigger the better in my opinion. 2.0 or above would give you some much welcomed cushion. Few folks have done it with 40mm tires and had no issue. 

Food is scarce on this route. There is one store at about mile 21 that will have basics like chips and candy bars. Don’t expect much more. There are times that the store has not been open at all. Pack what you need for the entire 2 days and use the store as a chance for a Strawberry Crunch and a corn dog if your lucky. 

There are a ton of spots to stop and filter water along the route with only one spot for potable water. A Sawyer mini would do you just fine. 

Camping is also plentiful along the route. The beauty of adventuring through WMA’s is you can camp anywhere you’d like so long as its not posted other wise. There are plenty of awesome free sites down along the river and at Rock Creek. Right at the half way mark is the Cooper Creek Recreation Area. These are $8 a night sites with picnic tables and fire rings. Potable water is available and two pit toilets as well. The creek runs right through the camp sites which makes for a great spot to take in a swim and listen to the water rushing by at night. 

Fishing is great all along the route. Pack your rod and take the time to stop and throw a line or two. The area between Rock Creek Lake and the fish hatchery is a prime location to catch some trout or just to take a dip in the lake. Great fishing can be found all along Cooper Creek as well. 

Take the time for a side trip to the Taccoa Swinging Bridge and Sea Creek Falls. They are right off the route and are worth the extra miles. 


Southeast Tracklocross Finals

The 2018 Southeast Tracklocross Finals descended on Ellenwood, Ga. a few miles outside of Atlanta. Qualifiers from Florida, Louisiana, & Georgia, with track bikes in tow, ripped through 6 laps of the 1.3 mile course laid before them.

Photo Credit: Andy Lovell/Jay Ritchey

The 1st race of the day was the Open ‘Rung what cha brung” category. Some racers nrought the rukus, others brought precious cargo:

 Photo credit: Ezz-Eldin Hassan

Photo credit: Ezz-Eldin Hassan

 Photo Credit: Jay Ritchey

Photo Credit: Jay Ritchey

Open Category Results

  1. Eric Stewart-New Orleans, LA

  2. Jacob Cronan- Atlanta, GA

  3. Shared Chanel Zeisel-Atlanta, GA/Greta Cappelmann-New Orleans, LA

 Photo Credit: Sharif Hassan

Photo Credit: Sharif Hassan

After a break and few beers the Tracklocross Finals were looming, and the course readied for the destruction of the track bikes brave enough to weave and wind through it’s steep climbs, and frisky descents. The Men’s and women’s finals were merged together and riders were ready to rip!

photo credit: Jay Ritchey

 Photo Credit Jay Ritchey

Photo Credit Jay Ritchey

Gallery Photos: Andy Lovell




1st: Joseph Chapman (Atlanta, Ga.)

2nd: Eric Stewart (New Orleans, LA.)

3rd: Molly Russell (Atlanta, GA)


1st: Molly Russel (Atlanta, Ga.)

2nd: Erika ( Florida)

 Photo Credit: Andy Lovell

Photo Credit: Andy Lovell


1st: Joseph Chapman (Atlanta, Ga.)

2nd: Eric Stewart (New Orleans, LA.)

3rd: Taylor Mills (New Orleans, LA.)

 Photo Credit: Andy Lovell

Photo Credit: Andy Lovell

 Photo Credit: Jay Ritchey

Photo Credit: Jay Ritchey

Big thanks to all the racers that came through and our new friends from all over the Southeast who brought all the stoke for the weekend.couldn’t have made this possible with out our Sponsors Loose Nuts Cycles, Thomson USA, Southern Brewing Company, & Montane Sparkling water for helping us set off the 1st Southeast Tracklocross Finals with fury, looking forward to next years festivities!

Rigs of Atlanta Tracklocross

The Southeast Tracklocross series is upon us with racers from Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and Georgia all rallying at the chance to make the finals here in Atlanta. The ATL crew came correct on there rigs, so we though we'd showcase some of our favorites. Be sure to check out the finals October, 13th 2018 at The Ellenwood CX ranch in Ellenwood, Ga. 

All Photo's by Andy Lovell

 Molly Russel's State Warkhawk switched to a flat bar, new fixed wheel by Loose Nuts Cycles. 36x18 gearing on Maxxis Raze Tires. Mega fun to rip around! Molly took 3rd overall and 1st Womens.

Molly Russel's State Warkhawk switched to a flat bar, new fixed wheel by Loose Nuts Cycles. 36x18 gearing on Maxxis Raze Tires. Mega fun to rip around! Molly took 3rd overall and 1st Womens.


Chris Bartlett's vanilla chromo Felt Fixe Frame that's been built up in as many ways possible since 2010, stock fork w/ riser bars, track drops, road drops, pursuits; first dirt/gravel build. Swapped All-City Nature Boy fork in 2013 with 3sp sturmey archer fixed gear hub, had to braze on rear canti bosses and cable stop; current build is medium length mountain risers, front mtb v-brakes, 42:19, 172.5 cranks, 30mm Kenda kwicks (don't sleep on cheap kenda rubber). This my go-to bike period because of its versatility and how fun it is to ride no matter the terrain. The steering is twitchy with street track frame geo and 45mm cross fork, skinny tires and short gearing make it easy to stay spun off pavement. Also fixie tricks are a kinda fun


Jonathan Agee's 50cm Kilo TT purchased in 2012 or 2013. It's seen commuting, group rides, and an MS150 before being put out to pasture in favor of Japanese steel. Brought it out of retirement with a smattering of parts, 45x19 gearing, and 28c tires for tracklocross. The oldest parts (seat and the BB) are from 2008. Out of the 4 track frames I have, it has the largest clearance and I wouldn't be bummed if I bent it.


Eric Nicoletti's Bianchi pista, c. 2000, flat black. I put the cheapest CX fork I could find on it, chrome.  Stole a cheap wheel off my sisters bike the morning of the race. I should ride this thing more. Nico took 2nd overall and 2nd Men's.


Jason Started with a stock All-City Nature Boy Reynolds 853 complete bike. Swapped cranks for late 90’s Dura-Ace track 165mm and 46 tooth chainring. Threw on an old Specialized Roman saddle. Got some Chromag OSX bars. We The People grips are my favorite touch. Had Loose Nuts Cycles build a Phil Wood disc fixed up up to a DT Swiss R460 db rim. Avid front disc brake. Shimano SPD XT pedals. 19 tooth All-City cog on back. 


Gike's 2001 Bianchi CUSS, the third of 11 SS’s they produced, with the guidance of Sky Yeager. (3 steel, 8 Aluminum. Mine is aluminum). Came stock with a Cars-R-Coffins sticker, Paul Hubs, RaceFace cranks (which I snapped a drive side crank arm on a nasty climb up the backside of Mt Telemark during a Chequamegon Fat Tire event). I built a fixed wheel for this badd girl in 2004 and its been this way most of the time since. One of our favorite rigs of the race!


Opie didn't even get to wipe the  TNGA dust off before hitting the Traclo-course with his All-City Log Lady with Paul hubs laced to 700 wheels. Tires were 700x33 in the back and 700x42 in the front. Running 36x?? for gear ratio. Risers for my handlebar set up. Opie took the top overall in the qualifier.


Spindlero Sharif's long distance dirt destroyer is a custom built track frame from a
former Atlanta bike builder, Seth Snyder. Built 3 years ago with heavy gauge Columbus tubing with plenty of clearance for 35+ knobby cross tires and a high bottom bracket for jumping shit. I’m rolling on Phil Wood hubs, laced to H plus Sons SL42s with Challenger Dunes 33s to the
ground. For longer gravel, I run 47 x 15 for Tracklocross I’m running 46 x 19.

Topo Designs Climb Shorts

Recently, the Spindleros have been expanding the brands we carry as well as our retail space to include a cafe with a kitchen full of pop ups and a sundry of pies and pastries from Tinkertown pies. Though we always allocate time to ride, gathering our scattered thoughts on paper has been a bit difficult. Luckily, we have amazing friends willing to put our recent brands through the ringer.

Recently, Chris Scott Smith from the Toecutters, a bikepacking and touring crew, took some notes on his tried and tested Topo Designs Climb shorts. We had the privilege to shoot him and extreme model and filmmaker, Jay Ritchey for the review to coincide with his recount. Enjoy this in all its glory!

Topo Design Climb Shorts

two rads.jpg

I’ve always been on a constant search to find a pair of pants or shorts that feel comfortable while riding a bike. I have certain requirements and needs, unfortunately everything has fallen short.
My requirements are simple enough. Something sturdy, made out of material that can withstand miles in the saddle and has deep enough pockets while showing off my gams. The last requirement being the most important. See, for me, I see all these shorts designed for cyclist, mountain bikers and tourers and my main issue is that they always end either just on the knee or perhaps a little longer than the knee. The problem is, with every pedal-stroke, I hate that constant feeling that you are wearing shorts as the hem kind of drags on your knee. To me, that just isn’t comfortable and it’s another area for possible hot spots. Plus I’m pretty sure fashion trends in men’s shorts are going the way of shorter shorts.  Now, there are commuter shorts out there or even touring shorts but in my search I just haven’t come across anything that doesn’t wear out over a short amount of time, stitching coming apart or fades after a couple miles in the saddle.

Enter the Topo Design Climb Shorts. The climb shorts were designed for scrambling around rock cliffs because of the high range of motion they provide. If you are like me, you aren’t dumb enough to climb to stupid heights clinging for your life on the side of a mountain and prefer to stick to a leisurely jaunt on two wheels… on the ground…..where it’s safe.

I found these shorts after seeing them on a friend. He let me borrow his (as most teenagers do) and I found them liberating. The shorts are made from a cotton and Lycra blend. The Lycra is only 2% but it gives these shorts a nice stretch in the legs while pedaling. They feature a button pocket and a zipper pocket which will ensure your wallet doesn’t fall out while heading the bar.

In the saddle, they don’t give me that bunching which causes uncomfortable fabric rub in the seat of my buns. Also, they fulfill my most important requirement of being short so everyone can admire my powerful stallion legs.

There are several other features on these shorts that are beneficial to cyclist making these more versatile than the climbing they were made for. Since the shorts have a more traditional form fitting fit but the gusseted crotch not only allows for more range of motion for those pedaling legs but helps against wear and tear over time from long rides. The side hand pockets are deep to keep your cellphone safely in your pocket.

One thing Topo is also known for is the built-in cinch belts on their pants and shorts. Riding around town or on tours, most of your favorite pair of shorts require the use of a belt. Anything with a large belt buckle can tend be too bulky riding around. The cinch belt simplifies the experience allowing for pulling up, hooking the T-lock fastener and heading out the door. It also allows you to hike up your trousers and and cinch em tight without having to stop.

They come in several, non-offensive colors but the red belt gives them a pop. Even though they come in darker colors, after several hundred miles and almost a year later I haven’t noticed much discoloration or fading in the seat of the pants. These pants are awfully tough, as well. I have yet to experience any tears or threading coming undone.

Here are my gripes though:

Sizing: There are only 4 sizes (small, Medium, large, Xlarge) This is due to the fact of the cinch belt allowing for them to fit a wide range of waists. For me I had a little bit of difficulty finding the right size. I bought several of their pants and shorts and between them I found different sizes fit better. Typically, I’m a 32”-33” and thinking most of my pants fall in the medium range found the medium to be really constricting. I switched to a large and have had no problem. Since I am in the lower size of the large range, they tend to stretch a little much after use so I’m having to cinch the belt a bit more often.

Fabric: This one isn’t that big of a deal because these are DURABLE. But, the material can make it get a little hot and sweaty down unda’. After a long day these will be wet and the cash in your pocket will most likely not be accepted by any gas station attendant. They also, don’t dry incredibly fast so taking a dip and jumping back on the bike is not going to be comfortable. Topo does make another short that is perfect for this but sacrifices long term durability.

Other than these two I honestly can’t say enough. I buy most of my pants from them now. Their climb pants are amazing for cold rides and have the same movement as the shorts. Both the shorts and their pants are stylish and have a slim fit making them look great on and off the bike.


Yesterday, a young man was killed by a driver who was fleeing from a police traffic stop here in Atlanta. The cyclist was hit in the bike lane, where he so called ‘belongs’. Now this incident is a little different from the norm because the driver was fleeing from the police when he hit the cyclist and was out of the usual ‘he was not where he was supposed to be’ or ‘the driver was on their phone’ or even the standard ‘I didn’t even see him’. But what was odd, but not so different, was the response it got, when I clicked to scroll through the story, hoping it wasn’t one of my friends, I told myself the same thing I tell myself I read any local article pertaining to anything cycling related…’Don’t Read the Comments’. But of course, without fail, I did.

Many of the commenter’s did not read the article at all, just readying their fingers to type any nonsense that came to mind stemming from their hate for people who ride bikes. For example, a few wrote ‘he shouldn’t have been on the road’, ‘he deserved it’, or ‘we should ban bikes from the streets’. Aside from missing the fact that the cyclist was a casualty of a driver alluding police, these people commenting in this fashion are basically saying this man does not matter. Husband? Who cares? Father? Not important, the only thing in their minds was that this gentleman was on a machine that they believe shouldn’t be on the road, even though all the traffic laws in the world say he should.

To say a human deserves to die because he/she’s commuting by bike is asinine, plain and simple. Because a person chooses to use a different form of transportation other than a car, should that person automatically deemed DOA because of his freedom of choice? Or is it because we’re so desensitized by other deaths around the world, whether it be by war, rampant murders, video games, etc. that we just blurt out the ‘they should die’ phrase without understanding what that person meant to their self and others? Did they not make someone smile? Did they not have parents that adored him/her? Or maybe even their family who won’t get to see their father/mother/brother/sister ever again?

This guy was immediately chastised because he was on a bike, didn’t matter the circumstances, didn’t matter that the driver was fleeing police, he was on the road where he shouldn’t have been and he got what was coming to him. Just because another human being wants to ride his bike to work, to clear their heads, to get exercise, why would any one get so mad at this person to suggest his/her death? Did he make you get to work 1 minute later than you wanted? Or did she make you miss that green light only to be stuck behind another car at the next light?

Now, do cyclists obey all the traffic laws? Run red lights? Roll through stop signs? Cut cars and so forth? Sure they do, shit I do (well, except cutting cars), even though I always make sure it is safe and I don’t cause an accident, which some drivers do as well, which is what it is, but some drivers are also speeding, on their phones (A LOT), and are times very angry and impatient due to sitting in traffic or other things happening in their lives. The thing is a split second bad decision due to any of these circumstances can cost another driver or cyclist their lives.

This disregard for human life is unsettling, as a commentator on Barstool Sports calls for ‘Death to cyclists’ and even made a T-shirt for it, I wonder who’s next? The College student who can’t afford parking, a father/mother who needs to bike because they can’t afford a car, the ‘New year New Me’ who is hell bent on finally losing weight in 2018 so they start commuting by bike, or me, a father of two amazing kids and a loving wife who can’t imagine not being around for them and commutes daily.

We need to stop throwing these phrases around so loosely, these cyclists are human beings, like the man asking for change in the streets, like the child starving in Sudan, like you driving your car to work everyday. No one deserves to die in any unjust fashion just because someone ‘belongs’ there and they don’t, or because they are in your way. We can start a conversation and make our cities better for all people no matter mode of transportation they have the freedom to use, or, maybe I just need to stop reading the comments…

Acre Supply Hauser Hydration Pack

This year has brought many great new things to the Spindle. We've opened in a new location, upped our custom bag making a thousand fold and one Spindlero brought another child into this world. While we were busy building a greater foundation for the brand, some of our friends have been conquering other goals. For instance, local legal battler, Gerry Weber, chooses exotic locales to take his gear, just for testing purposes. He's kindly lent us his skills in testing Acres Supply 14L Hydration Pack. When he's not defending artists in Atlanta or suing Athens for not allowing the likes of GWAR to play, he's getting sicky gnar gnar on trails around the world. Heres is account...


In their commitment to you the customer, The Spindle recently sponsored my 350 mile mountain bike expedition into the Mongolian steepe for the sole purpose of testing the Mission Workshop Hauser Hydration Backpack.  The rigorous test-hurdles included dust and hail storms, yak dodging exercises, sandy/rocky 20 percent downhills that produced three broken ribs for other non-Spindle riders, and an inexplicable requirement that this writer get drunk on fermented mare’s milk.   The route was all off-road (save about 10 miles of tarmac), and a mix of single track, vaguely defined jeep tracks and literally no track but a GPS coordinate.  

Before we see the Hauser in action, let’s take a tour of the bag.  The bag comes in two sizes, a ten liter and fourteen liter option, but why go small when they weigh almost the same amount?  The bag is weatherproof, and well into the water-resistant category.  Included is a tool roll, which I liked, but takes up too much room in a small bag to use for that purpose.  There are three small weatherproof pockets (one of which has pull-out straps for a roll bag or blanket) and a fourth larger pocketwith easy access to hydration.  The main pocket can roll or flat as the spirit moves you, and you can attach the helmet with ease.  The bag pocket can handle a small laptop plus papers.  Six areas in all!  The bag comes in nine colors, including some camo varieties.

The Hauser is roomy, light and comfortable.  Rarely do I use a backpack on extended bikepacking trips – the shoulders rebel.  But even packed with a (1) camera, lenses, pelican case (2) jacket and other provisions for inclement weather, and (3) a bunch of snacks: never a pained moment.  The bag felt nearly invisible due to the strapping system and perfect fit.  It was often hot, but the system separating the bag from back proved cool and far less nasty than expected. On steep descents, or dodging the various animals that crossed everywhere, the bag was fixed.  Even on a couple of oh-shit moments where death was near inevitable, the bag never sent me off a cliff or into a camel.  Yes, and one river crossing did not go so well,  but the bag’s waterproofing capabilities proved just fine for a brief dip in the river.  


The pocket system proved efficient, with just a few issues.  The main all-around back pocket is great and roomy, but remember to close it all the way, or stuff falls right out.  The camelback outside pack likely works well for that purpose, but is also your easy access to snacks and binoculars or a small camera.  I wish they had a second small side pocket.  I used one for sunglasses, but it would be nice to have another for phone which I ended up putting in a protected pocket on the inside.  Also, if they had a small add on for the belt where you could put sunscreen and bug juice, that would make sense.  While I tested the larger bag since the weight difference is small and you can never refuse extra space, The Spindle has promised a similar sponsored journey to Africa to test the smaller bag.


The Hauser has become my go-to bag for light hauling on the bike, or just rolling around town from work-to-bar-to-wherever.  The sheer comfort and practicality of the bag has replaced its larger competitors for most excursions.   


Women's KitsBow SS Jacket

Team rider, Molly Russell, really puts in the work. She's out riding on the regs, races on the weekends and leaves the guys in her dust as she gets deeper and deeper in the CX and MTB scene. This Spindlera has been putting the ladies Kitsbow SS jacket to the test and heres what she has to say:


I’ve had this women’s Kitsbow SS jacket for a solid 3 months now and I, along with all my friends, can tell you that I wear it way too much. On my commute to work, during work, social events, on the trails, during bike races…everywhere. I love this jacket.

My favorite part about this jacket is the impressive ability to be so light and form fitting while still being wind resistant, water resistant and capable of handling temps below 40 degrees. My favorite temperature to wear this jacket in, without worrying about warm base layers, is in the upper 30s. 

With a base layer added, I’ve worn this jacket during a mountain bike race with temperatures starting in the teens with snow on the ground throughout the 17 miles and it was perfect. In contrast, in temps over 40 degrees, it’s got these awesome full length zippers near the armpits that can be zipped down or up half way or completely to allow for air flow of your preference.

My other favorite part is the large back pocket with a zipper that can fit all your bike essentials. I ride with a water bottle in the back pocket when I’m too lazy to put bottle cages on my bike. It also has hand pockets that zip closed, so you don’t have to worry about anything falling out while you’re getting rad on your bike. 

The jacket features Polartec material and has super cozy fleece on parts of the inside. All three pockets have mesh material to allow for air flow. I wouldn’t ride with anything heavy or sharp in the pockets because of the mesh, but I wouldn’t really advise riding with anything sharp or heavy in the pockets, period. I’ve fallen a few times in the jacket but it’s held up really well. Though, there is a very tiny burn hole in the jacket resulting from a bonfire ember. 

The back of the jacket seems to have that just-right length to cover your butt on the bike but still look flattering on or off the bike. I generally wear a size small for tops but for this jacket the medium worked best. The only real issue I have with the sizing is that the sleeves aren’t long enough, even with the taper, to cover my arms fully while extended- but I run into this issue often as a taller person.

Overall, I consider it a wardrobe staple and highly recommend it.

Report: Dirty Pecan 2016

The Spindle Gravel team took it down to Monticello, FL on March 8, 2016 for the Dirt-y Pecan 60/100/150 mile unsupported ride. The team party paced through 60 miles of plantations, oak canopies, and of course, pecan orchards.

Monticello is a cool little town right over the GA/FL state line, we arrived late Friday evening, set up camp, and a couple of beers and whiskey shots later, it was time to rest up.  Rising up at 6 am to cook breakfast for the team was little rough, but Spindlero Ezz heeded the call for some tacos to get the gears moving, slowly after 7am you started to see cars and trucks with beautiful bikes strapped on and ready to get filthy!

The organizers rolled through and greeted everyone with a fierce battle cry, at the start of the race at 8, there was an estimated 250 riders ready to get going. Although the Spindle team lagged a little, due to Sharif’s inevitable mechanical failure, which we were just happy to get out of the way. Out by 8:30 on a gorgeous soon-to-be 75 degree day, we embarked on our fantastic voyage.



The route was less than 20% paved, so dirt and gravel were going to be abundant.  Pedaling through the farmlands between South Georgia and the panhandle of Florida was packed with stunning views and mixed terrain of which none of us have ever seen. The route was mostly exposed but portions of the trail was marbled with shade from the enormous tree limbs draped with Spanish Moss, lingering overhead. Excavated forest roads dug 4 feet deep through the wood exposed deep, red-orange GA clay that has been eroded over decades of sun and heavy machinery rolling through each groomed passage. The walls on these roads were enveloped with rich moss of bright greens and yellow shades. What we also found was a hybrid texture, a combination ofsand, GA red clay and water that could only be described as peanut butter. 

Most of us rode CX bikes and rolled through fine. Even Sharif and Ivan Ravioli (aka David Baker), had little trouble on the route with their All-City fixed CX bikes. Though Spindlero Andy's thoughts on choosing a 650b MTB deemed to be a bit of a sluggish decision. Being an unsupported ride everyone was well-prepared with their Spindle packs and frame bags loaded with snacks, fruit, and water. Helping immensely as the temperature rose throughout the day.

As we approached the finish, we scouted out a little farmers market that served up a sundry of local fruits, veggies and boiled peanuts which Spindlera Molly Russell and Atlanta Beltline Bicycle team rider, Zach Holmes, took back to camp.



With beautiful views and good people surrounding us, overall it was a beautiful ride. We drank the juice and are already looking forward to dirtying up our pecans for next year’s ride!  For more info on the ride please visit the Dirt-y Pecan facebook page:

Gettin' Toasty! with American Spirit Whiskey

Some of us didn't dodge the rain on the way in to meet at the shop, but the ride from the shop to the distillery was graced with clear skies!! The ride consisted of leaving from the Spindle ( you gotta pregame whiskey with beer, right?!?) and highlighted the unfinished part of the Beltline. The trail portion on the south side of Piedmont Park is hard packed dirt and gravel but as it extends past the backside of Ansley Shopping Center, it's riding along abandoned railroads on top of plum-sized, granite stones. 

After pushing through the large, loose gravel we were rewarded with the sweet smell of mash as we rolled into the bustling distillery. Greeted at the door by Chad who graciously dialed us into the goings on of the distillery that day. The days activities included tasting their line of aged and unaged whiskeys and a new apple brandy utilizing apples from Mercier Orchard in North GA, a tour of the Distillery with hospitable owner, Charlie Thompson and S'MORES!!!! My sweet tooth and whiskey tooth were in heaven! 

After sipping whiskey by the outdoor fire pit with our judgemental palettes, exchanging anecdotes with distiller Justin Mangalitz and his Red Man belt buckle he's had since middle school (arguably longer) and a group photo we were off to explore some new construction and back down the rough terrain that we love so much.

Look for rad new releases from American Spirit Whiskey ( ) later this year and be on the lookout for our next pursuit of "Gettin' Toasty!"

Rapha Button Up

Rapha, a name synonymous with roadies, spandex, tights, and..well, you get the idea. However, they've started to sneak in a couple of commuter friendly offerings over the past few years; from sleek button ups to jeans, they've been tossing us commuters a bone here and there, and the bone landing at our feet was the Merino Button up.

The shirt has no pockets, more of a dress shirt in disguise with a basic flat front. This minimalist look is in line with Rapha's other commuter designs where they are very well thought out, straight to the point designs. Which is a nice change of pace from some other gear you'll find and keeps your wardrobe diverse.

In the past we've tested other 100% merino shirts, and over time they tend to wear holes after continuous use, not the case here, the merino has held up very well for over a year of commutes, long day rides, as well as a few hikes. The shirt gets softer as well, but doesn't sag as other merino shirts may do.

The Rapha team added some nylon on the shoulders, which beads water during a light sprinkle. If you get caught in a heavier rain, you'll at least have piece of mind when your shirt is soaked but you are warm and toasty until you reach your destination, and as merino does, it dries pretty quickly.

The shirt is solid, it's no frills, as most commuter shirts have pockets on the chest or on the lower back, Rapha keeps it simple, it's a great layering piece that does a great job of keeping your core warm, and when coupled with a wind/waterproof jacket, you'll find yourself reaching for it often in various weather.

Swrve Durable Cotton Shorts


As most cyclists have learned, riding in your run-of-the-mill cotton shorts can be fine, but after a few longer rides you can start to feel that seat start to wear, then more rides are taken and you're basically either back at the store or cutting off another pair of pants that probably didn't deserve it at the time!  This is a cyclists dilemma, Is it possible for me to continue cycling without having to: A. Spend tons of cash a year barreling through casual cotton shorts, or B. Break down and just buy a kit, and just have a change of clothes in a bag.  Well as a teacher who's life didn't go as planned and always liked throwing curve balls on pop quizzes and will ever-test your mental limits, the answer for those questions is, C. Buy Swrve durable cotton shorts.




I know what you're going to ask, "Why Spindlero, you just said cotton was a horrible monster to ride in, all you did was throw the word 'Durable' in front of it, what is this chicanery?!?!"  Well the Swrve team has developed a tough, resistant-abrasion cotton with an added 4-way stretch that allow superior movement that can handle light city rides with ease, but these baddies really shine on longer rides.

I received my pair in October of 2013, having already had the regular cotton shorts from Swrve, I was interested to see what additions/upgrades had been made.  So I met up with some buddies and took a 35 miler ride keeping it around 15-20 mph.  After a 30 minute break-in period the shorts really let loose, the stretch on these are amazing!  They'll move nicely along with your cadence without rubbing or irritating your skin, and they bounce back into form, there's no droop, no sag in these babies at all, that impressed me the most in the durable cotton material, even after owning them for this long and with continuous riding, the shorts are in the same form as they where when I ripped them out of the packaging!





Swrve has included standard additions that most of their bottoms have, the reflective belt loops for added visibility, the pen holders along both side pockets, the zip pocket, and the phone pocket under the right back pocket.  What I would like to see on these is to deepen the back pockets like the OG cotton shorts Swrve had that you could fit a U-Lock in, the durable cotton's have a pocket sized for a wallet but not really much else.  In the case of the phone pocket, while it holds my iPhone with Speck phone case just fine, I couldn't put it in there while riding, and even while standing the phone will protrude out of the top some, making it easy for those with sticky fingers to swipe it with ease.  It would be cool to maybe widen the phone pocket a little, deepening it slightly so the whole phone fits, and add a zipper/Velcro/button snap for extra security.

These shorts are really great for any conditions, except obviously the freezing cold, (unless your one of those guys that wears shorts all year long...ya crazy!).  They stand up well on those steamy hot days, they remain swamp free and comfortable while they breathe very well.  What I found surprising is how they performed in very strong rains, the shorts on the outside were of course soaked, but none of the water penetrated the material keeping me nice and dry!


But, as in a marriage, you brush the faults to the side and only look at the positives, Swrve has done a remarkable job in not only designing extremely bulletproof material, but making sure Men of all shapes and sizes enjoy them, the cigarette fit for the slimmer gents, the regular fit not only for heftier riders, but also for those with swollen quads from many years of riding, and finally the regular fit trouser shorts, which has a 9" inseam for those who like a little thigh with that biscuit!!  These shorts are not only Spindlero approved, but approved by every single customer that has come into the shop and purchased them, these are a top seller at The Spindle, we've already had people come back in not only to buy more pairs in Swrve's assortment of colors, but also speak of already riding 700+ miles in them without any sign of wear in sight!!



How can the cycling community get more Atlantan’s to commute?


Recently, Mayor Kasim Reed proposed doubling the miles of bike lanes to Atlanta’s infrastructure in 2014, pushing to keep his goal of making Atlanta a top 10 city for commuter cycling by 2016.  We were inspired to write this post from a recent article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ( quoting Atlanta officials wanting to increase the actual cycling community from 1.1% to 2.2%.


Right now, Atlanta’s cycling community is small, but vocal in educating others in the benefits of commuting.  With advocacy groups like The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and Georgia Bikes! in addition to many volunteers pushing the government for more bike lanes and laws, the seed has not only been planted, but nourished and watered to grow without a glass ceiling in sight.  With a new Bike Share program looking to break ground this summer, many commuters hope to meet many new friends along our current routes!

From time to time we have pedestrians swing by The Spindle with an interest in getting into commuting but all have once similar question:  Aren’t you scared to ride on the main streets?  The answer for us is no, if you can gain confidence riding on main roads like Dekalb ave., Ponce de Leon, or Peachtree St., you can ride anywhere.  But that’s what it really comes down to is confidence. If you can stay to the right, avoid potholes quickly, and obey traffic laws, most drivers will notice and treat a cyclist as traffic, not traffic cones. Sometimes it is better to take main roads. They're wider, you're more visible plus it allows drivers to get used to the fact that there is a growing presence of cyclists.

It’s not only educating cyclists on the how-to’s, but also drivers.  Unfortunately, we live in a society that believes cars are the only mode of transportation that should be on the streets or the age old “Share the road” attitude where they give cyclists 3 inches from the tip of their side mirror. If they are stuck behind a cyclist, drivers must learn it is inherently dangerous to inch by us. If there is the standard 3ft space available, then by all means take it, but when the driver inches by they are putting the cyclist in severe risk.  Drivers need to keep in mind the trechorous road of the city are exponentially worse to a bicycles thin rims and we must avoid potholes just as drivers do. Even more so because they may not only have to pay the cost of a tube, but likely a whole tire or rim and at times those repairs can be costly.

Now, I know some drivers are reading this saying “Well, what about the cyclist who buzz through stop signs, or traffic lights?!?!  They’re causin’ a hulabaloo on their bikes, are they trying to set us back?? What is this the 1850’s?”  Ok, so maybe they don’t talk like that, but I do from time to time!  But they’re right, I see a lot of cyclists flying through lights all the time for absolutely no reason. Once I was driving to Grant Park and 2 cyclist ran a red light while I had a green light, I was going about 35-40 and was literally inches from killing one of them.  I definitely took the time to bark up the guy, in the end all he said was “jeez, I’m sorry” in a very sarcastic tone, what riders don’t tend to realize is that if they get injured or even killed by a driver when they don’t obey traffic laws it causes serious trauma for the driver that could stay with them for the rest of their life.  If we want respect on the roads we need to earn it as well.


We've had our fair share of run ins with angry pedestrians and drivers. The best thing to do is to keep calm and refrain from cussing up a storm. Some people understand reasoning and rationale, but others will take all their aggression for cyclist out on you. People like this are difficult to please and as much as you want to punch them through the face, you must walk away. Not to be a coward, but for people to realize that not all cyclist are maniacal. Sometimes we make mistakes but the result of our mistakes can possibly be our lives.

Police training on bike laws has definitely increased and needs to continue growing. As cyclist, stories and experiences with police have become more commonplace. And since recently being pulled over for lack of lights or traffic violations, we still appreciate the recognition. With cyclist becoming more cognizant of traffic laws, officers should acknowledge and protect at risk cyclist from aggressive drivers. If an officer sees someone driving recklessly close to a cyclist, then that driver should be ticketed severely.  This will spread the word quickly once drivers realize that endangering a rider will get you a hefty fine and hopefully get bike fatalities to nil (oh to dream!).  I believe PSA’s by advocacy groups would help tremendously, along with public forums in all counties to educate drivers and riders alike.

But what can we do to help to increase commuters here in Atlanta?  Most importantly open conversation is key, if you are a daily commuter, talk to your coworkers, friends, and family that live near their jobs and try and persuade them to ride their bikes.  You can point out the health benefits as well as the cost savings commuting by bicycle entails.  Take them on a ride on the beltline, start slow, then take steps onto neighborhood roads, and then once their comfortable, main roads.  Maybe influence your company to offer incentives for those who cycle to work?


Communication with new riders is extremely important, even experienced riders are always finding better routes and educating themselves on the rules of the road.  When rules are learned by new riders they then pass it on to others who they influence to commute, and so on and so on.  This way, they become more active in the community and vocalize our need for better, safer cycling infrastructure for their city.

In addition, social rides like The Mobile Social, Civil Rides, and Critical Mass are great ways to get a new rider comfortable with their surrounding while meeting new people.  Plus, bikes are cheap!  They can run from $50-$5000 based on whatever your needs may be, we definitely recommend you building one up so you can learn the ins and outs of bicycles and can make quick and easy fixes while out on the road.  Learning how to change a tire or make adjustments to your bike in the middle of a ride can save you time and money.


We look forward to seeing you all out on the road soon!

What are your questions/opinions?  Do you live in another city and have any suggestions? Leave your comments below, we’d love to start a conversation!!

Outlier Button Down Pivot Shirt



Generally with commuting shirts, most companies will add a touch of Lycra or Spandex to the otherwise cotton shirt to add a little flexibility to the rider. Outlier went on the other end of the spectrum on their 100% cotton Pivot Shirt with some solid tailoring making for a great fit. Make a dress shirt for riding, with no added fabrics, and voila!  The Outlier Patent Pending Pivot Sleeve is born.



The Pivot is a sleeve that is not stitched in with the shirt, it's a part of it, coming from the bottom all the way to the cuff of the sleeve.  When riding, there is no bunching up on the shoulders or feeling of tightness as you lean on the handlebars giving you a wider range of motion.  The pleats on the back shoulder blades also allow for a great range of motion, the perfect shirt for those business casual meetings at the climbing gym. The sleeves are made long so even on colder days, those wrists aren't feeling even the slightest of cold air ( but also don't look like they're all bunched up on your hands like wearing your poppa's gear out to a business meeting).  We bought the long version of this shirt, so while you are tucked in on the ride to the office, you won't arrive with half or all your shirt hanging out of your trousers, it stays put.



This shirt is also extremely versatile in styling and wear.  The covered pocket is a great fit for your phone so you can turn up the speakers on your ride in without worrying about it bouncing out. It can be coupled with N.Bidlake or Makers and Riders business slacks for a hard day at the office, then switched out in the evening for some Swrve Jeans or Cadence Trousers for drinks with friends or that hot date you've been anticipating all week!!


For me, this shirt is very comfortable, I wear it for work, weddings, and the occasional rebel-rouse.  In buying the "Long" version of the Pivot L/S my opinion is that it must always be tucked in,  if you like to wear your button ups untucked then just go for the "Short", wearing the longer version drapes over you bottom and honestly looks a little sloppy hanging out.  But as always, Outlier has done a superb job on their product, finding the best materials and coming up with a fantastic design for riders of all walks of life and styles. And did we mention its made in the USA ;)


Levis 511 Slim Fit Commuter Jeans


We have been eying the Levi's Commuter jeans for a good bit. A mainstream company pursuing the not-so-mainstream market of bike commuters? Our curiosity had peaked, jeans are a major staple in any American’s wardrobe, but for people that bike everywhere, this icon is in rotation more often than not. I've blown through countless jeans and these may prove to be the better class of denim. Once purchased, I immediately put them on and went for a quick ride to get a feel for what they were all about; I first noticed they were a bit more stretchy than other jeans I owned, which is awesome for riding, they are more fluid in their movements while pedaling, unlike regular jeans that tend to be a little stiff.

The next day was a big test, Critical Mass (a large group ride through the city on last Friday of the month promoting bike advocacy), usually these rides aren't terribly long but this one went on for 20 miles. So at the end of the trip from home>critical mass>taco feast>home it was a 30+ miler in these jeans and they did great.


Execution is just ok though, the Nano-sphere water/dirt resistant coating was an instant disappointment, I knew that by the time I washed these that the scotch guard would fade quickly, so before I did that I jumped on the bike for a quick 2 mile ride in a light, steady rain. By the time I reached 1 mile the jeans were considerably 1.5..drenched, so I wouldn't count on them if I get caught in rain let alone a downpour. I sat in them for about two hours and they dried OK, but if you're at a bar or party, not sure if you want to be mingling with some heavy pants. On the plus side the Sanitized odor-resistant coating seems to work pretty well for daily use for the time being.

Levi's has built and tested the commuter line on the streets of San Fran, they have several added features that apply to the cyclist. The 3M reflective tape on the outer seams is a great safety touch and the reinforced crotch has held up quite well, so far. The lock loop on the waist band is a great feature when accompanied by an over-the-shoulder style messenger bag, but if you wear a belt (which usually serves the same purpose as the U-lock loop) the added fabric becomes a bit cumbersome. Also they have added a raised back, there's nothing worse than supporting the crack epidemic in this country, flashing that butt crack while cruising through the city especially when it’s raining. Without fail there's always a handful of drops that want to slide right between your cheeks, so that addition is an incredibly well-thought out feature along with deeper back pockets for any small tools you may carry, which definitely comes in handy when carrying your other daily ammenities.

Although in Hotlanta's humid heat, the added fabric keeps your nether region quite swampy, cooler weather use would be more applicable. But they look damn good, fit very well and I know this because while I was writing I got a few winks and whistles from a few construction workers, "Settle down boys!" I say, yes.. settle down indeed. In the end, we here at The Spindle believe the Levi’s commuter jean is a great alternative to a biker’s everyday jean. We'll be sure to let you know when the crotch blows out! We've heard 8 months so far, 3 down.....

To check out more of Levi's Commuter line, click on the link below.


Have a great ride!

Illadora Mindy Skirt


Most fashion forward female cyclists know that there will be times when they will want to wear something other than jeans, maybe there's a gallery opening or a date with their beau to a nice restaurant.  Some will feel they'll have to break down and hop in their car for a night on the town, but as we see the commuter cycling community grow, we find companies that are more geared to the dressy side of this fashion.  With companies like Outlier, Iva Jean, Vulpine and Vespertine focusing on good looking, well-made clothing for women, we found a new company, Iladora, based out of San Francisco is focused on producing female specific cycling line.  So for the next two weeks, The Spindle will be featuring Iladora's whole line of commuter apparel.  For this week, we had our Spindlera, Caroline Templeman, rock through The Mindy Skirt:


#bikebeautiful – I couldn’t agree more with Iladora and what a great inspiration for a women’s clothing line.  I am all about skirts in the summertime on or off the bike so when I came across The Mindy Skirt, I was super excited.  I love the color and slim fit, it is flattering, stylish and easy to wear with many different tops and shoes.  The fabric has a great four way stretch so you are never limited in movement and keeps its form well after hours of riding.


The skirt has a longer length and a drop-tail for coverage in the back so all your unmentionables are safe from public viewing.  I am 5’9”, so I don’t mind the longer length of the skirt but I can see some shorter women having a hard time fitting this skirt without hemming it shorter which can’t be easy with the special contoured hem.  The fabric is a synthetic blend so it naturally has a slight water resistant character, so don’t worry if you are caught in a rain shower.



Other features include, a hidden zipper pocket, which is nice to have but you realistically couldn’t keep much in it because the location is right at the hip where your leg bends to pedal.  The invisible side zipper is nice but has an extra interior button on a flap of fabric which, in my opinion, isn’t necessary and adds a bit too much extra fabric at the waist.  The skirt sports a high waist, with an even higher rise feature in the back.  While I appreciate the function of this feature, I also find this the downfall of the skirt.  The waist has so much material and is so high-waisted that it isn’t flattering to wear a shirt that is not tucked it.  In my opinion, the rise in the back is just too high, loosing style and making it down right hot in the summer time, but would fare well for the fall/winter/early spring months.


The skirt also tends to ride up pretty easily when off the bike so I find myself pulling down on the skirt often to readjust.  Overall, I like the color, fabric and fit of the skirt with the exception of the waist. I can see the skirt holding up well to lots of use and washing, making it a good, affordable purchase for the style conscience bike rider.


Makers and Riders Trench Shirt


Trying to ride around looking like a pro? Makers and Riders have been producing great functional commuter apparel for professionals. We've been watching this Chicago born and bred company since it was once called nonetheless andwere diligent about getting these products in our store due to their quality, versatility and style.

This 3 season wind Shirt/Jacket is on point for you all weather riders. The material is amazing and works flawlessly. After meeting up with Johnathan, the founder of M&R, he explained the shirt is made out of an Italian fabric used in Burberrys outerwear line. Silky to the touch, its tough and durable enough for the elements. This shirt is great for more formal occasions and it quickly becomes a topic of conversation, in a good way. The articulated shoulders are great for mobility and ventilation. The expanded vertical seam down the center of the back adds to the breathability.

The functionality of the Trench Shirt/Jacket is the focus, Great ventilation and pockets for days!. Three to be exact, but each is on point. They all zip and keep contents fairly dry. The 2 side pockets can fit more than an iPhone for all you galaxy users but the chest pocket is perfect for a iphone. Great to have while blasting tunes from your phone on a gloomy, drizzly bike ride.

The tag on our version of the shirt says Nonetheless. On the M & R version, some great improvements have been made. The collar stays flat, as opposed to this versions curling and the sleeves have been made a bit longer, keeping those wrists warm.

On cold days, its best to wear this with a good insulating layer. The shirt is a great shell, keeping wind and rain out and heat in but cold air makes the fabric cold to the touch. Great for cooler days allowing air flow throughout the buttons and vents while the fabric keeps you cool.

This is an all around great shirt. Not just for riding but traveling and keeping all the important items on you. Pockets fit extra cards or cliff bars and don't get in the way when you saddle up or sit in a booth for dinner. And nothing makes me happier than a shirt I can clean with a wet towel. Yea, we get it, we're a mess.

Swrve Bamboo Shirt


One of the main problems of riding on hot summer days is that you usually make it to your destination dripping sweat, and since you've stopped peddling, your body heat rises and you start pouring even more sweat..and you're acquaintances won't be too keen on sitting close to you while you cool down and your cotton shirt dries up (which generally takes an hour if not more!).

Swrve has come up with an answer to this dilemma with a line of short and long sleeve shirts made with bamboo fabric.  These shirts are incredibly soft, they feel better than that cotton shirt that's been in your standard rotation for years.  The shirts are naturally, 4x as absorbent as cotton and wick moisture much quicker, which keeps it from clinging to your body like a synthetic fabric. Bamboo fabrics are a natural insulator, keeping you cool in the summer and warm in the winter and make great base layers.


For the summertime, these shirts wick away moisture from those longer afternoon rides when all it takes is riding for 10-15 mins before your body waterfall lets loose.  But once you reach your destination the shirt takes about 10 minutes to dry up, so you can get to schmoozing at your local watering hole.


While cruising around in New York earlier this year, I went out to grab a bite at the food truck gathering in Madison Square Park on 5th ave and 25th then to meet friends at a pub a few miles down the road. En route, ominous clouds overhead opened up on me in my L/S  crew neck version of Swrve's Bamboo shirt and Outlier's Slim Dungarees ( ). I figured for testing sake, I'd walk to the pub in the brief, 10-15 minutes of heavy rain. The shirt had soaked it all up like a sponge, weighing in heavy and sagging. After the brief downpour, I ducked into an alley, rung out a good pint or so out of the shirt and continued walking in the sunshine. Literally within minutes in direct sunlight, the shirt felt comfortable and dry again. I was extremely impressed! So, no need to fret when a downpour catches you off guard, you can wring out the shirt for a quick dry.

Another benefit to bamboo is that its odor resistant, so you can rest assured even after it dries up, that lingering stink won't stop you from chatting up that hottie you've been waiting to approach.


These shirts are cut specifically for riders in mind, they are a bit longer than normal shirts to keep you warm in the winter and cover your backside up.  There's no seams in the armpit which allows for smoother, fluid movement. Bamboo fabrics are durable, ensuring  you'll own this shirt for the long haul.  Swrve has the fit designed for both men and women, they come in both crew and V-Neck styles with the sizes ranging from XS-XL so people of all sizes and shapes can enjoy this amazingly comfortable shirt!!

Sombrio Womens Flannel

Here at The Spindle we've been working dilligently to give you reviews of the latest and greatest products coming out for the daily commuter. But so far we've only been able to give you opinions on the latest men's gear..well..because we're men, so we decided over a month ago we needed a woman's touch. So one of our dear friends and cyclists Caroline Templeman swooped in to save us from Captain Cavemandom, here is her review on Sombrio's Women’s Silhouette Riding Shirt:



I have to say that being a woman and looking for stylish but yet functional commuter bike clothes can be harder than one would think. After taking the boys at Spindle's recommendation, I checked out the Sombrio website, a company from Canada that has been making high quality mountain bike clothing for years, but recently they have been tapping into the daily commuter market designing fashionable, street-worthy clothes but with some function to it for an active lifestyle , and they even make women’s clothes too, JACKPOT!

So, I quickly jumped in and was immediately impressed with their wide range of offerings from gloves, tees, shorts and all kinds of jackets. One of the shirts that really caught my eye was the Silhouette Riding Shirt. A stylish plaid shirt with a nice feminine cut and snaps down the front. The website was very helpful in describing the cut, which is on the generous side, so ordering the right size is easy. The shirt is plenty long, even for me at 5’9”, and is great for layering a shirt or tank underneath it. I would definitely recommend going down a size if you are wanting a tighter fit and don’t want to layer.


The fabric has a nice stretch so leaning over and extending your arms fully is no problem at all and there is even a mesh underarm panel to keep you cool. The front pocket is made to the perfect size to fit my phone so I can listen to music as I enjoy my ride. The shirt definitely has some weight to it which is great for cooler weather and breezy days. My favorite part was that I can take it off, stuff it in my messenger bag and pull it out hours later and the shirt is barley wrinkled at all! The shirt has held up well after many washes, since it is a blend of cotton, polyester and spandex, it barely shrunk at all and the color hasn’t faded a bit. I am certainly eager to check out more of Sombrio’s clothes especially considering my plaid shirt hangs and waits patiently for me in my closet until the sweltering hot, southern summer days have passed.