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Back 11.15.2017

Bikes of Zipp – Ivy Cline’s Getaway Ride

All photos by Joe Vondersaar

Ivy Cline didn’t learn how to ride a bike until she was 9. Even then, it was more about utility than passion. Her family had a vacation property on Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and a bike was an easy way to get into town. 

These days, however, the bicycle plays a Great Lake-sized role in her life. In her career, Ivy works as a SRAM aftermarket data coordinator for its Zipp and Quarq brands. She sees cycling as a pathway to independence, adventure, and empowerment. Her biggest riding partner is her husband, Rob. 

For this Bikes of Zipp, we’re featuring Ivy’s Surly Straggler equipped with Zipp 303 Firecrest 650b Tubeless wheels, Zipp Service Course bars, stems, and seatpost, and SRAM Force 1 components. We talked with Ivy about her bike and her love of cycling:

How did you get into riding?

I didn’t really get into riding until I met my husband. He was a pretty avid rider. He kind of said hey, I just found this extra tiny mountain bike, you should give it a shot. We went and rode, he exclaimed that I was a natural, and it just all went from there.

How often do you ride together now?

I ride a ton with my husband; we actually thank each other for it. We’ve been together for almost 6 years now and we’ve gotten to a point where we can go out and do these big rides that are usually planned really last minute. We’ll get back and it’s like, ‘thanks for going on an adventure with me.’ We’re both really supportive of each other when it comes to riding, even for our silly social rides.

You refer to your bike as a gravel bike. What is your definition of gravel riding?

Minimally maintained roads, access roads… up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula we ride a lot of fire roads and logging roads, a number of them just randomly dead end and you have to backtrack. I say gravel is just unpaved roads, double-track, anything that gets your bike a little dirty.

What is the appeal of that kind of riding?

I love being out in nature and being in the woods. Being away from the asphalt and the concrete is a big part of it. I do like the aspect of covering more ground (rather than technical mountain biking). I like going from Point A to Point B or going to a destination, which a lot of times with single track you’re doing a run or a trail or a loop. It’s not as much from Point A to Point B unless you are heading out bikepacking; gravel is just a little more accessible than that for me.

One of the things that made me fall in love with cycling was the self reliance and the ability to get on a bike and you’re relying just on your own strengths and determination to get you somewhere. You don’t have to worry about putting gas in the car. You don’t have to worry about relying on some other mode of transportation. It’s really empowering to do that, especially with a lot of the women riders I know, that’s a big part of why they ride. 

How have you seen women’s involvement in cycling change in recent years?

One of the common things you hear when people talk about women’s specific cycling is to “pink it and shrink it”, so seeing more and more brands turn away from that and focus on the actual geometry and performance of products… short top tubes, gear that is high quality, that sort of thing, I think is really important. Also, seeing the industry step away from the “podium girl” culture really helps promote respect for women in the sport.

Tell us about this bike build.

I had admired this frame for a while. It’s the 2015 Surly Straggler with the ‘Glitter Dreams’ metallic purple paint scheme. My husband actually got it for me as a Valentine’s Day present; the frame and fork.

I built this as an all-around, do it all bike. I really wanted a 1x drivetrain. I wanted the simplicity of 1x and that super-wide gearing to tackle the kinds of rides we wanted to do, so I put the 10-42 cassette on it. I planned to be riding it down in Southern Indiana where there’s actually some elevation. Obviously, to have disc brakes with hydraulics, it’s been awesome. I have also set it up so I can run it with front pannier racks and mountain bike fenders for bike packing and touring.

What is your favorite riding position on the bars?

Generally I’m on the hoods. I’m very rarely on the drops. If we’re rolling flat for a while I get up on the top of the bars. But 90 percent of the times I’m on the hoods.


Can you tell us about your headtube badge?

This was another birthday surprise from my husband; he had the badge commissioned by Jen Green who does all the awesome badges for Black Sheep Bikes as well. My Straggler already had a few cat references so this headbadge was the glorious topper on the cake.

Why was it important to ride 650b?

I was first attracted to 650b because I’m 5’ tall and smaller wheels on a smaller frame made sense to me. When I first built the bike I was running 27.5 SRAM Roam 50 aluminum mountain bike wheels with 41c tires. The advantages became apparent when I started riding in more elevation. I was able to keep a larger chainring, but having a smaller wheel effectively “geared down” my bike. Not to mention, I can run a massive tire with low pressure, which gives me traction on loose gravel.

Wheelset: 303 Firecrest® 650b Tubeless

Handlebar: Contour SL® Short and Shallow, 40cm c-to-c

Stem: Zipp Service Course SL, 80mm

Frame: Surly® Straggler 650B

Groupset: SRAM® Force 1

Cassette: XG-1199, 10-42t

Brakes: SRAM Force 1 HRD

Chain: PC 1170

Chainrings: SRAM Force® 1 X-SYNC™, 40t

Bar tape: Zipp Service Course CX

Bottle cages: Zipp Alumina

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