Cjell Mone is the most decorated northbound rider on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. Next week, Cjell will head out on his 3rd trip, this time on an ITT. Cjell is a very colorful person and we thank him for that. He has been making his own bikes for some time, and just recently launched his website, Monebikes.com. We figured it would be a great time to ask Cjell some questions about himself, the Tour Divide, and his bike builds. We don’t usually ask this, but what is your name? Cjell Mone, real name: Taylor Zimmerman How old are you? 29 Where are you from? Albert Lea, MN Where do you reside now? Vail, CO What do you do for a living? Wait tables, build bike frames, recreate What was your first adventure cycling experience? A ride from Vail to MN on a dumpstered Specialized Rockhopper So, we hear you are going to attempt the Tour Divide again, and you’re starting from Vail… when is this all going down? I am planning on leaving Vail when I have all my shit together…a couple days from now. In your past two Tour Divide attempts, why have you decided to go northbound? (if going southbound this year…why?) The first year I attempted my ride started in Costa Rica, so NoBo just made sense for continuity of the journey… That was my introduction to the beauty of starting with only a handful of other folks. No fussing with other riders for supplies, bike shops, chocolate milk, etc. With the mass start in an ultra like TD, you are likely to be pulled away from making good personal riding choices. When it’s time to sleep, I sleep. When it’s time to shit, I shit. The NoBo’er isn’t confronted with passing riders every time we make a decision to stop. The grand depart in Antelope Wells is devoid of the anxiety of the mass start in Banff. What continues to bring you back to the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route? It’s a good distance, moderatly scenic. A good bike tour. It’s largly set in the backcountry, so camping is always readily available unlike a road tour where the problem of homelessness is more real. Any specific goals for this ITT on the Tour Divide? Finish. Ride a clean run. Get to Banff feeling good. Visit Kirsten at Brush Mtn. Russ at the High Country Lodge. Eat Pie. Finally meet Crazy Larry. Ride faster than I have before. Your experience with the route must help, what is one thing that you take from the first two attempts that will help you this time? Slimming down on navigational aid. REI seems less apt to accept the return of my third Etrex, so just the iphone and memory will serve me this year. Having ridden the route a few times before also helps a great deal with pacing. I always remember where I camp from years prior so getting to those points and surpassing them is a huge incentive riding year to year. What bags are you using? Big Dave Wilson from Nuclear Sunrise Stitchworks is my only real sponsor. He hooked up a full set of bags last year and those are still good to go again this year. Made my own seatbag to trim a little weight. You make your own bikes, could you tell us more about Mone Bikes? My ventures into frame building are firmly rooted in the Tour Divide. The first year I rode on a Blacksheep that I built at their factory, and since then, riding bikes under my own label. Right now I have a few bikes on order for people I know. I am ever so slowly expanding production and streamlining my process. MoneBikes.com is launching in conjunction with the ride. I will be taking deposits on a few more bikes but not trying to get ahead of myself. Recreation is religion and work is only a means to that end. Not trying to jam myself up with things that aren’t bike riding. I feel very lucky to have the creative outlet of frame building. I want to keep Mone Bikes somewhere between Gucci one-offs and full on production. My goal is to keep overhead low enough to offer truly beautiful and unique bikes to meet the special needs of each patron. Super-highend spendy rigs aren’t everyones’ style, but bikes that work great and look good and can be had for a similar price is the goal of Mone Bikes. Two years ago on the AZT route, I remember hearing about your Dingle Speed. I thought it was crazy, will you be rocking a Dingle? The AZT was ridden on the Sheep which was a two-speed dingle (4 speeds total). The two-speed shifter BB (Schlumpf) is used all the time. Just a toggle button on the end of the BB spindle, shifted with your heel, engages a planetary gear that lives in the spider of the chainring lets you shift at any time. FUN. The dingle requires you to manually move your chain over, not used much at all. The awesome part of the two speed: spinny climbing gear and taller road gear, just about as capable as a normally equipped geared bike but without the pesky derailleur/tensioner. NO CHAIN SLAP with this setup. beautiful thing. Also maintains super flickabilty that is lost in a rohloff or similar. The problems with the setup: not a SS, although fun and cool, will forever be categorized with the geared boys. Spendy! It’s a $900 (retail) bottom bracket. Damn Germans. Rare: don’t break your Schlumpf Drive out there, chances are the next bike shop will just laugh at you. It looks like your recent TD bike is built around the 29+ concept, do you think the 29+ is the perfect wheel size for the Tour Divide? YES! Folks that ride this thing are forever trying to build the fastest bike they can but neglect comfort much of the time. Big volume tires are the best way IMO to add comfort to your rig. We hear you’re making a tandem for Billy Rice and his daughter for next years Tour Divide. Have you made a tandem before? This will be my first two-seater. I am so pumped. I have become a freak for tandems over the summer, even bought one for Robin and I. Billy’s tandem is going to be trick. All parts and tubing are ordered, the torch will get fired up as soon as I return from the ride. Any other bike projects in the works? I have another couple bikes sold. Some urban stuff and a few forks. Not trying to get ahead of myself, Billy and Lina’s Rice Burner is is top priority at this point. To follow Cjell check out his trackleaders page and also check out his blog.