Sklar Bikes Factory Team Does The Colorado Trail
Photos by Adam Sklar, words by Sam Atkins
A particular genre of plans are hatched in the depths of cold, dark Montana winters. Call it cabin fever, call it seasonal affective, call it whatever you like, but after months of cloud-choked skies, icy winds, and trails buried under feet of snow a cerebral switch flips. Dreams of green and blue flicker, illusory echoes of hoots and laughter brought by the thrill of wheels rolling over dirt ring in the subconscious. So when a group of old friends reached out last January to suggest we reunite to bikepack the Colorado Trail, I couldn’t say no.
Each year, as temperatures drop in Southern California, desert lovers flock to the surrounding sandy regions with hopes of discovering not only something new in the landscape but within themselves. Anyone that says there’s nothing interesting about the desert isn’t looking close enough, especially in the winter months. This vast landscape undulates through the valleys and rises up to the mountains as if piercing the clouds for much-needed water. Water that not only brings life to the local flora and fauna but enables traffic of the wheeled variety to traverse the many washes and sandy roads snaking their way like a sidewinder through the land. Roads that in the summer are thick with sand, making them difficult to even cross by foot.
Many of these roads are the remnants of a once burgeoning mining era in the Eastern Mojave, where people struck it rich in the mountains, via tunnels that were dug by hand and blasted by explosives. Many of these tunnels still exist today, just as they did in the gold rush era, as intravenous passageways to the desert’s precious minerals. Exploration here is something that could easily take a lifetime, especially when considering the temperatures in the summer reach the point of “completely unbearable” daily. (more…)
Ride the Snake… River
Photos byTy Hathaway and Julia DeConcini, words by Ty Hathaway.
As we are heading towards Wyoming, Julia turns to me and says “this book says you can float the Snake River and it looks pretty cool.” Sounds good to me, let’s do that. This trip is all about this, this right here, we see something we are interested in and we do it. This is a luxury we are both very thankful for and are lucky to have in this moment.
We pulled into Jackson, worked our way through the hellish traffic, dodging National Park tourists, making the reality of where we were very apparent. A damn National Park town. Now don’t get me wrong, Jackson and Teton are very beautiful but shit, the crowds, and traffic are horrific and gave me flash backs of LA. This is not why we are here, this is enough to make me want to just keep driving, but alas I fought the urge, and well let’s face it, I wouldn’t make it too far in this traffic. (more…)
An Unexpected Glimpse into Peruvian Culture
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson
EDITOR’S WARNING: This gallery contains content that may offend the lovers of fluffy animals. There are slides in the gallery which give you plenty of warning to turn back. Keep in mind, this is part of the Peruvian culture, so please maintain an open mind.
My final stretch on the Peruvian Divide Route started like much of the rest. Incredibly quiet roads lined with as much spectacular scenery and as many furry friends as one can possibly handle. Bobbing and weaving between storms (without much success), and drifting in and out of the occasional small village filled with welcoming locals.
As far as bikepacking/dirt touring routes go, I can’t really think of a more complete experience. Where the Cordillera Blanca to the north wins on pure scenery, the Divide easily wins on way-off-the-beaten-path dirt road riding (if that is your thing). This makes for easier wild camping, and even more interesting interactions with locals who simply don’t see tourists around with any kind of frequency. (more…)
The history of Derby is riddled with ups and downs. In 1874, it began as a tin mining outpost, on the East Coast of Tasmania, employing lots of Chinese immigrants who began building mines and excavating land in search of this precious mineral. Prosperity came with a booming tin industry and in the late 19th century, the population of Derby topped 3,000. That might not sound like a huge number, but keep in mind the people living in Derby were served by and worked for the tin industry.
In early April 1929, heavy rains caused the tin mine’s dam to burst. Consequently, the Cascade River flooded the town, killing a dozen or so people and wiping out most of the buildings. Eventually, the mine re-opened, but never reached the same output, forcing it to close in 1948. For almost 70 years, Derby was a sleepy town, offering no real appeal for tourists, Tasmania’s 1.3 billion dollar a year industry. Then, in 2015 the Blue Derby mountain bike park opened and suddenly, things began to change for this sleepy town. (more…)
An entire gallery of just a single climb? Why not. When I first saw photos of Jacob’s Ladder, many years ago, it solidified my desire to ride bikes in Tasmania. There’s something about a series of switchbacks or hairpins cascading their way down a mountain pass that is not only incredibly photogenic but a very satisfying feeling to tackle on the bike. With each corner resulting in a feeling of accomplishment, the climb always feels a bit shorter.
The Ben Lomond National Park attracts all kinds of tourists, but I’d argue cyclists might appreciate the final approach a bit more than any motorists… Enjoy! No matter which way you ride it, Jacob’s Ladder is an out and back.
Many, many, many thanks to Tourism Northern Tasmania for funding this jaunt, Scott for being a model and Rob for providing the shuttle from Derby to Ben Lomond. Also, thank whatever kept me from falling 100′ to my death while I was scaling up the rock faces to find a new vista…
After a cold and wet previous 48 hours, we were keen to seek the sun in one of Eastern Tasmania’s most beautiful landscapes: the Bay of Fires. While many believe the Bay of Fires is named after the bright red lichen that grows on the rocks surrounding the blue waters of the Tasman sea, it was in fact named in 1773 by Captain Tobias Furneaux, who upon anchoring off the coast of Tasmania, saw the fires of Aboriginal people on the beaches. Out of all the landscapes we have visited thus far on our journey, this region was by far the most beautiful. To boot, we had a wonderful place to lay our heads after a day of riding and exploring the land’s many backcountry fire roads and tracks.
The Bay of Fires Bush Retreat was recently opened by Tom and Anna, a couple who have spent the past few years working in the hospitality and restaurant industry in Eastern Tas. Tom had worked for a local dinner spot for years before making a name for himself and his cooking. Through utilizing his connections and a with the help of a few contractors, he was able to slowly build out this exceptional piece of property, while subsidizing his endeavors through catering private events in the area. His vision was simple: offer a bush camp-inspired getaway with all the luxuries of a resort but with a rustic edge.
Alongside local contractors, Tom spent a few years shaping this retreat into exactly what he envisioned to be the perfect weekend getaway spot with a beauty only rivaled by the majestic coastline, only a few kilometers away. (more…)
Things don’t always go as planned. I awoke after our Central Highlands ride with what I can only describe as the worst allergies I’ve ever experienced. Or as the locals say, “pissa hay feva’ mate!” Turns out, a rather wet winter, followed by a series of storms brought on a serious amount of allergen-related illness this summer in Australia, so I didn’t feel so bad, at least not socially anyway. Still, I had a bloody job to do. We had an agenda and I was sticking to it. For the most part anyway. After all, I’ve been wanting to travel to Tassie for years to ride bikes and I was finally here… (more…)
Tasmania, or Tassie for short, has long been on the list of places I’ve wanted to visit my whole life. Even as a kid with his nosed pressed in nature magazines, the landscape, flora and fauna of this island inspired many daydreams about trekking throughout the backcountry. Over the past few years, trips to Australia came and went, never allowing the extra time to explore this island, its roads and tracks. Each time, locals would say, “mate, you’ve gotta go to Tassie next time!” Everything I’d seen made it look like an exceptional place to ride bikes and with a handful of newly-opened mountain bike parks opening, I began to make moves… (more…)
From Clouds to Cacti: Three Southern California Ranges in Three Days
Photos by John Watson, words by David Bangor with notes by John Watson
Intro: I’ll just jump into this before I let David do his thing. The idea of a multi-day road tour hasn’t popped into my head in years. These days, I want to be away from cars and people, on dirt roads, hauling my own shit. What was proposed to us with this ride was very different. We’d be taking on a lot of climbing and distance each day on road bikes but because we’d be in the mountains, we’d have to carry our food, clothing in case of inclement weather, and all necessities like tools or spare tubes. Our duffel bags, containing clothes, laptops and other on-the-road necessities would be shuttled from day’s end to day’s end. We’d stay at a hotel, a friend’s mountain top cabin, and ultimately in Palm Springs at our friend’s Air B&B listing for a few days of post-ride R and R. I have been riding road a lot lately, mostly because it’s easy to get out and get back in a few hours, but was I ready for this kind of ride? Much less, was I fit enough to document the whole damn thing with a camera and a few lenses? Check back in after David’s words and read on in the captions…
Ever since I moved back to Southern California, I have been scheming to take on a mini mountainous ride across all the Transverse Ranges of the glorious classical terrain encompassing the Los Angeles and Inland Empire basins. With all my maps and possible routes planned out, it was just a matter time until I found some like-minded people to take on such a journey. Finally, at the end of September I got a call from Sean Talkington from Team Dream, expressing a need for the exact route I had been planning out in my head for months. He put out the word and we soon had rough plan of three days in the saddle and a solid group of eight cyclists, all willing to take on a solid amount of elevation and miles. (more…)