Josh Lipton’s Tidbit Archives

In 2001, Josh begin his career as a bicycle entrepreneur with the development of the CELLO bicycle case, a system for converting a BOB Trailer into a bicycle shipping case.  This project evolved into in 2006 which was an instant hit and lead to and which were eventually all consolidated into  In 2013 Josh moved this thriving business to Tucson.

In 2017 an outdated ecommerce platform had lead to an inability to adapt to the changing ecommerce and bicycle markets.  Over the course of 2018 and 2019 Josh worked to correct this by pivoting the business into Campfire Cycling.

Josh grew up in Flagstaff, AZ getting into cycling at an early age, racing mountain bikes.  Cycling has been a big part of his life ever since, driving ideas for business and bicycle advocacy.  Now with two young kids, Josh doesn’t get out on as many bicycling adventures as he’d like.  That said, Josh recently managed to get his whole family out on our first bicycle camping adventure.

Tout Terrain USA in Tucson  – Apr. 12, 2024

Last week I had a chance to drop by the new US Distribution for Tout Terrain bicycles.  It was great to see Wade’s operation and a bit more bicycle industry happening here in Tucson.  And who knows, we may even be offering Tout Terrain bikepacking bikes and trailers here at Campfire one of these days.  Any Tout Terrain fans out there?

Tombstone Hustle Coming Up  – Apr. 5, 2024

A little throwback to our fist circumnavigation of the Tombstone Hustle two years ago.  We came across these two very friendly dogs along the route.  As they followed us and really seemed to need our help, someone had the insight that we should check their tags and call their owners.  Their annoyed owners showed up 20 minutes later.  We got the impression that these dogs had done this before, after the owner shouted at them to get in their truck and took off with barely a nod.

For adventures like these… join us for our upcoming Tombstone Hustle April 20-21.  This one will be lead by Toby and Ellie!

Ruta Goes Deep  – Mar. 29, 2024

Ruta Del Jefe was dreamt up by Sarah Swallow as a celebration of cycling in the Borderlands of Arizona.  More than just another bike event, Ruta is a robust celebration that goes deep.

With Ruta moving to a new location in Mexico, the celebration did not disappoint.  This Ruta brought together cycling communities from both sides of the border.  And just as the first 3 Rutas focused on the social and environmental issues in Southern Arizona, this 4th running of Ruta focused on Cuenco Los Ojos and the surrounding areas in Sonora, Mexico.

The landscapes were stunning, the food was amazing and the cyclists were the most delightful.  Thank you to Karla, Danny, Sarah, the ranch hosts, the volunteers, and everyone else who made this beautiful vision into a reality!

Paracord Bike Handle  – Mar. 22, 2024

On our recent beginner campout, I noticed this cool little handle on Todd’s Salsa Cutthroat.  Asking Todd about it, it turns out it was a little knotted handle that he wove together out of paracord.  Todd often has to hoist his bag into his apartment, and with the framebag blocking the normal grabbing point, this does the trick and ads a bit of style. Checkout this video if you wanna learn how to make a Paracord Bike Handle for yourself. Sometimes its those simple little touches that really bring an impressive rig like this together.

Inaugural Colossal Cave Trip  – Mar. 15, 2024

Last weekend Jake and I lead Campfire’s inaugural trip to Colossal Cave.  The trip came together beautifully with great weather and a great group of folks. Planning out this new route presented an interesting set of challenges, the biggest one being finding the safest most enjoyable route from Downtown Tucson into the mountains.  Deciding on a midway point and some rest stops adds to the route planning fun as well.  But its one thing to plan and another to do.  The length of the route, the final 5 mile climb and the unexpected creek crossings at the end made it a bit more challenging then was ideal for a beginner’s trip.  But we made it through and overall had a marvelous time.

With the first trip under our belt, we can now really start refining.  Next year, we’ll improve upon it in multiple ways, calling the midway point the start of the beginner ride and the downtown the start of the intermediate version.  We’re also thinking about adding a third mountain biking variant.

Be Like Jake – Salsa T-Shirts – Mar. 8, 2024

We stocked the floor with the Salsa T-Shirts that Jake kept wearing to work, figuring if he was already modeling them we might as well try selling them.  Here is Jake wrenching away with this sharp looking Adventure by Bike T.

Riding Rez Gravel – Mar. 1, 2024

Last weekend Toby and I got to join our friend Elisha who was leading the inaugural Rez Gravel ride.  Elisha had joined us on several Campfire bikepacking trips, and we’d been very excited to here about his plans to lead rides on O’odham land near Casa Grande.  The ride was a wonderful gathering of folks with 13-mile, 26-mile and 66-mile options.  The rides were group rides rather than races.  Isn’t party pace what group rides should be all about? The night before there was camping, dinner and campfire talks in the beautiful North Mountain Park.  And before the ride kicked off Elisha raffled of a bike from the events main sponsor, State Bicycles as well as several prints.  Congratulations to Elisha for bringing this amazing ride together and we can’t wait to see what’s next.

Bicycle Sculpture Relocation – Feb. 23, 2024

Earlier this week, the stars finally aligned for getting Jake, Toby and David to help me remove our old bike rack/sculpture from the former location of Campfire Cycling and  I hadn’t been able to find a good spot for it at our new downtown location.  But the owner of the old building let me know we needed to move it, forcing my hand to relocate it to my backyard. 

This bike rack was made for the us in our Flagstaff days by our former bike trailer fabricator Stuart Henderson.  Checkout what Stuart is up to now with Fortissimo Collective.  Beyond being quite the eye catching sculpture, it has an infamous past.  The day we arrived to Tucson, moving the business from Flagstaff, it was grabbed from the side of the building.  Mike McKisson shared the story and the local TV news picked it up which fortunately lead to its return.

KofA Cocoon – Feb. 16, 2024

With rolling storms and changing forecasts, we finally landed on a plan to ride Kurt Refsneider’s KofA Bikepacking Route, though we changed the starting point and direction to better suite coming from Tucson.  It was a remote and rugged ride, without resupply and filtering water as the only option throughout.  While the climbing profile didn’t look that daunting, the ride had some other challenges in store for us.  On Day 1, we got a late start having left Tucson early in the morning after our Thursday night panel discussion at the shop.  We headed straight into the toughest section with lots of rollers and soft sand to slow us down.  That night we got a good rain which fortunately stopped before the sun rose.  On Day 2 the road surface improved, however we spent most of the day grinding away into a steady headwind.  We also put in our longest day, making up for missing miles the first.  That headwind got the best of me.  I was ragged when I got to camp and once I set up my tent, some form of exhaustion overcame me and I was done for the evening.  This photo is of the beautiful campfire Henley made that I didn’t enjoy as I recovered in my cocoon.  By the next morning, Day 3, I felt back to normal and we all had an easy 30 mile day rolling back to the cars.

Wet Weather Bikepacking Prep – Feb. 9, 2024

We’ve been checking the weather incessantly for the last few days with our 3 Day Advanced Bikepacking trip coming up this weekend.  First we rerouted changing from the Gila River Ramble to a route near Patagonia.  With a cold and stormy Saturday on both those routes, we’ve decided to head west to ride the Kofa Wilderness Area, which promises drier weather and with its lower elevation, warmer temps.  In anticipation, I decided to apply some waterproof spray to my 15 year old Shower’s Pass Rain Jacket and Pants.  They still worked fairly well but with the potential weather I wanted them at there best.

The Team at Breakfast by Bike – Feb. 2, 2024

This week we got back into our monthly Breakfast by Bike routine.  For 2024 Toby has been organizing Breakfast by Bikes to some interesting, new places.  For this first one we coordinated with Trenton of the Drawing Studio to meetup in their garden area.  We arrived to a nice little setup of tables chairs and a campfire, our first Breakfast by Bike with a Campfire (Thank you Trenton!)  Toby and Trenton did some extra special pancake art with colored batter and sprinkles.  And Ellie got in on the action at the end using the remains of the colored batter in this cosmic swirl pancake.  I think this was our biggest BbyB yet with around 30 folks.  Looking forward to the upcoming schedule!

Tuba Reminscing – Jan 26, 2024

Campfire’s trash can holder, AKA the Wandertec Tuba, was perched up doing a wheelie the other day and it got me reminiscing on this cargo trailer manufacturing project started 12 years ago now.  Stuart Henderson and I worked together to design the Tuba in Flagstaff. And Stuart manufactured around 50 Tubas as well as 300 or so Wandertec Bongo Cargo Trailers.  Limited sales and other business challenges lead to the eventual winding down of bike cargo trailer manufacturing for Campfire’s predecessor,  But this remaining Tuba lives on as a helpful tool in bike shop life not only holding our trash cans, but utilized for all sorts of tasks around town, even transporting bikes to UPS before we had a regular pickup.  I’ll leave you with this video about the Tuba.

AZT Overnighter – Jan 19, 2024

I had the chance to join a band of editors lead by Joe Cruz on a portion of their Southern Arizona bikepacking trip.  While their trip started and ended in Tucson, I just had the time to break away for the weekend.  I drove down to Patagonia, AZ and rode up to the AZT, riding about 10miles south on the AZT before finding the group at camp.  The next day was more AZT riding, but a coming storm changed plans and rather than riding to Parker Canyon Lake and then to Lochiel, the group decided to cut a day off the trip and bee-lined back to Patagonia.  It turned out to be the right move as they avoided the death mud and only had to endure one rainy night before getting back to Tucson.  And we had a hoot in Patagonia, arriving for a fun Saturday evening performance at the Patagonia Lumber Company.

Roughest Part of our New Beginner Bikepacking Route to Colassal Cave – Jan 12, 2024

A couple of weekends ago, I went out for an early morning ride of our proposed route from Campfire Cycling to Colassal Cave Mountain Park for our beginner overnighter. Much of the route is along bike paths.  This mile or so section along Kolb is just a wide shoulder along a busy road.  There are some other sections without bikepaths, most notably the final stretch along Old Spanish Trail.