David Tang’s Tidbit Archives

David Tang has deep roots in the Tucson cycling scene having grown up in Tucson and cut his cycling industry teeth working in many Tucson shops before becoming the owner of Ordinary Bike Shop.  Most recently, before joining Campfire Cycling, David managed the cycling department at REI.  Beyond a deep and broad focus on all things bicycle retail, David ran a production company for many years and is a lover of House music and all things audio/visual.  David also is an avid traveller and recently took an amazing sounding trip to France and Spain.

David has been busy running our ecommerce warehouse here, making things hum.  David is a craftsmen of the cardboard, a tetris player of the storage shelf and a maestro of the inventory software.  David does all of these things with a keen interest and love for all of you adventure minded cyclists out there.  Order delivery turnaround time and super helpful customer service have taken a major leap forward here at Campfire under David’s watch.

Ellipti-ground score! – Apr. 5, 2024

A few months ago, Toby and I were riding home from work, and a pair of handlebars protruding from a “free stuff” pile on the side of the road caught my eye. We quickly circled back to investigate, and I was able to nab a seemingly new ElliptiGo that just needed air in the tires! I ghost rode it home, and it has now become an oddly fun neighborhood errand runner, perfect for a quick trip to TJ’s to grab snacks, or the Korean tea house nearby for a Boba drink. I’ve been brainstorming ways to mount a front rack on it, as the ultimate oddball grocery getter, but for now it carries what I can put in a backpack or hip pack, and the handlebar cup holder. Cheers to the unexpected ground score!

Cloudy Day Customs – Mar. 29, 2024

With most of the team away in Mexico for Ruta del Jefe this past weekend, Toby and I got a bit of shop time together, and put together an awesome MIM-Configurator built bike! Not only did we get to make this sweet customized ride, but the rider saved some major fold by putting it all together through the configurator. This Surly Midnight Special is a gravel-grinding, fire road-burning, head-turning dream whip! I’m always stoked to get a personalized rig out into the wild! Happy Trails! (photo: Tobias)

Tang is Gnat Backwards – Mar. 22, 2024

I love bikes, I love friends, I especially  love bike friends! Over the weekend we had a visit from our PNW friends from Swift Industries, and they hosted a pop-up event in the shop with us all day on Saturday. After the “workday” was done, we met up with about 30 bike friends for an adventure of a social ride (which was supposed to include a little bit more art, but St. Patrick’s Day revelers made getting out of downtown a priority). Along our mostly car-free cruise, we encountered a section of The Loop that had no breeze, and was the perfect condition for billions of gnats to converge in clouds above the path. It was an interesting experience, and I now know not to plan a ride through that area during mid March. The sunset was beautiful, the flowers were beginning to emerge everywhere, and the tacos and beer at Borderlands were delicious. Huge thanks to everyone that came out to enjoy a Saturday evening with us!

Payday Pieday Friday Pi Day – Mar. 15, 2024

Jake and I started a small tradition a few years ago as an homage to our love for pizza, and it manifested as Payday Pieday Friday. On Fridays when we would receive our paychecks, we would answer the ubiquitous bike shop question of “what’s for lunch?” with an impassioned order of our favorite toppings atop flat, woodfired bread. We regularly observe the two week celebration, so every other Friday, you may catch the scent of melted mozzarella embracing sauce and crust in the shop. This year’s close proximity to “Pi Day” (3-14), brought the realization that next year’s alignment of the two would coincide, and we get to experience a syzygy of pizza festivities. This year, we will be happy to settle for two minor pie days consecutively!

Spring is in the air, and the air is in the tires! – Mar. 8, 2024

We recently had a day that closely approached 90 degrees, and was welcomed by many by baring our calves and getting out on the trail. I can feel Phil’s prediction (from Punxsutawney) coming true as the days start getting longer and the weeds in my yard get taller. I’m excited to see the “superbloom” this year, and can feel the yearning of the bikes on the sales floor to make turns and get dirty. Happy Spring everyone!

26″ Isn’t Dead, But It’s Endangered – Mar. 1, 2024

This is an old friend and longtime trail companion, my 1996 Merlin XLM. It was welded by Rob Vandermark in Massachusetts during what some would say was the heyday of US produced Titanium frames. This one has over 20,000 miles of dirt under the wheels, and is the successor of most of its components from its predecessor frame, a 1995 Merlin Echo. The Echo would still be in service if its Moots YBB suspension hadn’t worn out 10 years after a rebuild in 2005. Although this bike has not reached the end of its useful life, it’s in need of a new fork (the Magura Odin is at a point of replacement) and finding a new 26″ suspension that suits my needs is proving difficult. As I ponder the possibilities of modern geometry, and larger tubeless ready wheels, I have to pause and pay homage to my loyal steed, and show it gratitude for all of the adventures we’ve been through together. Cheers!

Dunnage Rescue Cave – Feb. 23, 2024

Every product that we receive and sell comes in a box, sometimes only used for the purpose of conveying the product to our warehouse, and that is generally the end of its intended useful life. Single use makes me sad, and I try to always upcycle our cartons into useful dunnage for outgoing orders. If you’ve ever received an order for something and found previously loved cardboard, airpack, or kraft paper, it comes from a small cardboard cave by our shipping station that stores boxes and packing materials ready to live again! While I know this won’t stop our glaciers from melting into the ocean, reusing these materials helps give me peace of mind that they aren’t just going directly into the waste stream after being used once. If you order a rack, and it comes nicely nestled in a cardboard frame, just know that it has doubled its lifespan!

Hail to Tucson’s Cycling Infrastructure – Feb. 16, 2024

While Tucson may not have made it on the People for Bikes Best New Bike Lanes of 2023 list, I still want to commend and appreciate our city’s commitment to bicycle infrastructure. From our ever-expanding 131 miles of car-free path found on The Loop (which connects to camping at Catalina State Park), to frequent HAWK lights where bikeways cross major arterial roads, to the protected two-way lanes found downtown (picture from from the shop doorway); I am very appreciative of the initiatives taken to help protect cyclists in a town where the cycling weather is pretty much perfect all year long. We often rely on all of these features as substrate for our events and rides, and it’s hard to imagine living or commuting without them in place. I have anecdotally observed our cyclist population grow tremendously in the past 20 years, as more and more projects are completed, and the network of improvements have expanded and become much more than an afterthought of solid white stripes on an existing road. Cheers to the expansion of bikeways in Tucson!

Ostentatious Bar Tape – Feb. 9, 2024

While I tend to dress on the drab side (generally the same tan work pants and black or grey T-shirts), I really find it difficult not to be extra when I dress my bikes up. One of my more recent accessories on my Salsa Journeyman is my prismatic Supacaz bar tape- I purchased it on a whim after a disappointing roll that only lasted a month. At first, I was hesitant about how much flash was beaming at me from the cockpit, but it has drawn many compliments, and stayed as shiny as the afternoon I wrapped it.

It’s difficult to describe how mesmerizing it is, but it definitely keeps me entertained on the way home- the sunset really sets it off! I can only advocate for more drip if you are on the fence about whether or not to add that splash of color- it will give you inspiration every time you look at your rig!

Anticipating Father/Son Bike Rides – Feb. 2, 2024

My partner and I are (attempting) to get ready for our first child in April, and aside from the standard ubiquitous anxieties of whether or not we will have their room ready, my developing skills building IKEA furniture, and where we are going to keep all of the bottles and diapers, I continually find myself thinking “how are we going to cycle together in a way that’s fun for everyone?”

At the most recent Breakfast By Bike, I was fully stoked to see a shotgun seat on a dual suspension, with canine companion, and smiles all around. I’m really looking forward to introducing my offspring to life on two wheels!

I’m staying warm here in Tucson, Joffrey, not so much…
– Jan 26, 2024

With the polar blast that most of the country has been experiencing, many folks may find themselves empathetic to the nearly 900 mile journey Joffrey Maluski began from the Loften Islands of Norway, through Northern Sweden and Finland, and finishing in Vardø, Norway. The trip lasted 25 days, during the coldest, darkest days of the year, with the only natural light being a state of sunrise/sunset from 10am to 2pm. Most of his travels were in a constant state of darkness, rendering solar panels useless to charge his photography equipment. The average temperature was -4°F during his journey, with a bit of rain and snow to start the trip.

He did get to experience Aurora Borealis many times throughout his odyssey, and commented on the trek as “It has been such an incredible, and cold, adventure.” I’ll try to keep Joffrey in mind when we start to hit the 110°F mark here in the Sonoran Desert. 

On the 50 Year Trail – Jan 19, 2024

While I haven’t been able to get out on any overnighters lately, I’ve been getting out on local Tucson dirt to keep the cabin fever at bay.

First choice on any given weekend is the 50-Year Trail system that winds its way from Catalina State Park out to the West of the town of Catalina, nestled at the base of Samaniego Peak. It’s mostly mild green/blue singletrack, but the western and northern portions are slickrock slabs and some of my favorite pump/rhythm in AZ. There’s almost always great sunsets any time of the year, and night riding in the summer is a welcome respite from the punishing heat of our concrete jungle. There’s plenty of amazing scenery and easy sections if I’m taking out folks that are new to MTB, and plenty of toe curling drops and fast rollouts for friends that have long travel and adrenaline addictions.

If you’re in the Tucson area looking for a great all day ride or an hour quickie, this trail system won’t let you down!

Bikes and Dogs Winter-Time Inspiration – Jan 12, 2024

Two of my favorite things, coalescing on the trail.
As the holiday frenzy subsides, and the winter doldrums set in, I find myself daydreaming of a novel adventure on two wheels. 

I recently had a discussion with a customer that has ties to Alaska dog sledding, and the idea of a mush team going hut to hut in the rural tundra sounded intriguing, but lacked the bicycle component I seem to want to include with all of my outings. He brought up Bikejoring, which I had only seen small snippets of via random YouTube videos, and from friends in the PNW who have yodeling huskies pining for their canine job fulfillment. 

While my two rescue pitties are not a great fit for this job (they would much rather be curled up inside on dog beds with their dog blankets when the temperature dips below 60°F), he brought up the idea of a trip where carbon fat bikes and canines eager to pull would be awaiting for a expedition from the Golden Heart of Alaska, with a chance to see Aurora Borealis, and an appropriate use of the technical outerwear, that I seldomly get to use in the Sonoran Desert. The dogs involved may seem like they are getting the short end of the stick, but apparently, they get great physical and psychological satisfaction from mushing, and of course there pulling someone who is chipping into the effort!

There’s also quite an autumnal race scene involved with this facet of cycling/dog ownership, and it gives a family inclusive cyclocross vibe. I hope to take a trip north to experience this wild ride as soon as I can!