Where Nebraska Ends: The Champion and the Corner
Photos and words by Parts and Labor
Making the most of the weekends, that’s what we do. Close the shop on Saturday, high-tail it to base camp late that night. The goal, have 2 nights of camping, 2 full days of riding, and well, back to work by Tuesday morning. Ain’t nobody quittin’ their job or getting on a plane to do these trips; it’s all done in a weekend. Slowly but surely, we’ve applied that template to a dozen or so trips throughout our fine state. Aside from the main objective of having a good time, we were intent on a few other things this go around. One. Run out of Nebraska. (Well, not run out of it, but rather, get to the very Northwest corner of it.) B… Err, I mean, Two. Find the largest Ponderosa Pine within the domain known as, Nebraska.
The route was hatched out of a trip that we covered last fall. We had only scratched the surface on this region, so we knew we had to find time to come back. Pine Country. That’s what it is. Well, that, and grasslands. Oh man, the grasslands. Wide opens spaces and doubletrack like you wouldn’t believe. Or maybe ya can. I dunno. Hot, dry, and windy as all get out. But it’s sure worth enduring. Trekking along the prairie, in the company of cattle and wild pronghorn, well, that’s just a neat thing. And when it’s not open pasture, it’s badlands, or rocky escarpments.
But back to the common corner. The one that rubs elbows with South Dakota and Wyoming. We were out to find it. The end, as I said. We located it via GPS, decided to throw camp within a couple hundred feet and finish the trek by hoofing up to it at sunrise. Well, there ain’t much to it. Just a piece of granite dropped years ago by the BLM, and a sign-in register. Now, if pronghorn could write, that thing would be full. But as far as I know, they can’t. Within the last few years, there are only a handful of names. Humans. Mainly dudes out fixing the border fence. Or the “damn fence” as they referred to it. We signed the sheet, stood in WY and SD for a bit, and moseyed on our way. Next up, the Pine Ridge.
Located on the high plains, the escarpment is home to, arguably, the only native pine found within the state. The mighty Ponderosa Pine. Now, we ain’t got the mature fellers that y’all have out west, but there are some decent ones. And for one in particular, the Champion, we were out to find that sucker. Situated within Monroe Canyon and along the creek, there it was, standing tall. It was a goddamn beaut’, Clark. I smelled the bark, grab a few fallen pine cones, and we were on our way and onto the climb out of the canyon to start the trek back to Toadstool. Which is where we started the trip. Objectives met, good times had, and as usual, back to fixin bikes on Tuesday.
Check out the route at Ride With GPS.
Follow Parts and Labor on Instagram and if you’re in their area, swing through Onion Velo and Ponderosa Cyclery!
Bikepacking British Columbia’s Chilcotin Range
Photos and words by Gabe Tiller
I merely whetted my appetite for the Chilcotins last year. It was a fun, albeit short trip. It was challenging in its own right, but really gave me an appreciation for Canada’s mountain ranges and how, errrr, ‘fun’ it is to drag your mountain bike through them. Regardless, in recent years the Chilcotins have become quite popular. They’re one of the few Provincial Parks to allow mountain biking and one of the few places to ride alpine terrain.
I mean: push your bike through alpine terrain. Scott from Porcelain Rocket once told me “The Chilcotins are a perfect place for a singlespeed. You’re either pushing your bike, or grabbing handfuls of brake lever. There’s very little pedaling to be had.” And he’s right. Regardless, the payoff is worth it. Once you push your bike—or more frequently the case—lift and hoist and scramble your bike to the top of a pass you’re rewarded with hordes of giant vicious biting horse flies. (more…)
With group rides in Los Angeles, ya never know what you’re going to get. As I was packing the night before for this ride, my girlfriend asked me how many people I thought would show up. My response: either 20 or 4. In my experience, the latter is easier to manage, especially when rides like this include around 30 miles of inner-city road riding, yet I have wrangled enough cats to know how to deal with larger groups as well.
While half of this ride is indeed on sealed roads, the 30 that is on dirt is some of the finest Los Angeles has to offer. Dirt Mulholland takes you in the Santa Monica Mountains and intersects miles upon miles of singletrack and fire roads. You could literally spend days riding in the mountains, provided you’ve got access to water.
Four people showed up in the morning. Four new faces, two of which were tourists, who happened to find themselves in LA this weekend. We met up for coffee and left 15 minutes behind schedule to allow any Saturday morning stragglers to roll up. Confident with our group’s size, we headed out through Hollywood and up Nichols Canyon Road, a climb that is often hectic during the week, yet at 7:30am on a Saturday was quite peaceful. With our heads down and in a paceline, we snaked our way to the dirt and that’s where the fun began.
After casually spinning through the mountains, we dropped down to the Pacific Coast Highway via Topanga Canyon HWY 27 and met up with Found in the Mountains at the Reel Inn for fish tacos, margaritas, and stories.
The ride home is always interesting. If you’re visiting LA as a cyclist, it’s a great way to see the places you’ll probably never want to visit again. This includes: Beverly Hills, Melrose, Rodeo Drive and most of Hollywood. As we zig-zagged our way back to the east side, I found it funny how our caravan of cyclists were keeping pace with luxury cars, busses, motorcycles and other vehicles, once again proving that the bicycle is always the best form of transportation in a city.
Transportation and a vehicle for socializing along 60 miles of fun on a Saturday morning.
DFL the Divide: A Group Tour Celebration of Adventure Cycling’s 40th
Words by Spencer Harding, photos by UltraRomance, Mark Reimer, Locke Hassett and Spencer Harding
It all started over beers in Colombia last fall. We had just crossed the pass over Nevado Del Ruiz and we were on our way to Medellin and of course we got to talking about what the next adventure was gonna be before the one at hand was even over. Kurt really wanted to get to Missoula for Adventure Cycling’s 40th celebration and he thought we should ride the section of the tour divide from Banff to Seeley Lake. I was pumped because I missed riding that section with him a few years back. The plan was set, get to Banff on July 5th and get to Missoula by July 15th. (more…)
There doesn’t have to be a fire to have our mountains scorched all summer here in Los Angeles. “June Gloom” didn’t come this year, not in June, nor in July and come August, the overbearing warmth cast from afar by our sun has certainly required our vegetation to abstain from hydrating.
It is however the desert. We’re just lucky enough to have the ocean to cool everything down each night. Yet, the lush green mountain tops we had all winter have certainly changed their hue. Yellow flowers made way to yellow plants and those intense purples and greens we had shifted to red, leaving our tracks and trails lined with red, yellow and green. Now if you look out across the landscape, it looks like everything has been anodized Rasta like some MTB skewers from the 90’s. (more…)
The Beginning: From Peru’s Desert Coast to the Cordillera
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson
I started trying to scheme up a way to make this return trip to the Andes happen while I was sitting in the Lima airport last November, waiting for my return flight to California. With the most significant cost involved being purely the cost of getting there, and with all of the opportunities for riding throughout the entire range of the Andes, I knew I had to make this an open ended trip. (more…)
Editor’s intro: I met these two randomly a few weeks ago. They stopped into Golden Saddle while they were in Los Angeles and I took them up into the Verdugo Mountains at sunset one evening. They had been on the road for a week or so, soaking in California’s mountains and bikepacking around various trail networks. For me, seeing photos and reading, albeit brief, words from visitors to this great state is always entertaining. So, without further adieu…
Words by Thomas Larsen Røed, photos by Hans Petter Hval and Thomas Larsen Røed
Up, up and up. The gravel road leading us from South Lake Tahoe towards Star Lake is ridiculously steep. And straight. Defeat is inevitable. With loaded bikes we have to resort to pushing. We’ve flown into Oakland from Oslo, thrown the bikes in a rental and headed for the mountains. We’re not on a bikepacking mission from A to B, but instead using bikepacking as a trick to get the most out of our 14 days in California. (more…)
Practice makes perfect. After a string of late starts, mishaps and consequently even later evenings, our group pushed through the sleepless nights, finally hitting the road before 8am. It took a while, but so it goes in brevets like this. 2100km in 177 hours is no walk in the park, yet it doesn’t have to be a panicked sprint either. There’s a balance to be achieved and oftentimes, it takes a bit of on-the-bike rehearsal. (more…)
At a certain point in brevets like this, it becomes a game of catch up. You’re either catching up on sleep or mileage. Think of it as a scale. On one end is hours slept and the other, mileage ridden, with events on the road either adding to, or subtracting from the balance. In our rider’s case, mechanicals on the third day made for a long night in the saddle. (more…)
In the world of brevets, or randonneuring, Paris Brest Paris is probably the most infamous, with its total length of 1200km and massive rider roster. However, if you travel further north in Europe, something more sinister awaits. The Sverigetempot is a ten year old, officially-sanctioned brevet, totaling 2100 kilometers. It begins on the Sweden and Norway border, in a small town called Riksgränsen, which can barely be categorized as a town, it’s more of an outpost. From there, a small group of riders have either 144 hours or 177 hours to make it to the southernmost point of the country, Smygehamn. Along the way, there are checkpoints, or control points, at which point the riders will have to have their brevet cards time-stamped at designated places as proof of their mileage. There are other rules, such as there is no roadside assistance allowed and the riders are to be self-supported. While the organizers will transport a bag from the start, to the finish, every entrant must carry their clothing, food and water on their bikes. The countryside offers many hotels and hostels for shelter, so luckily, no camping equipment was necessary, allowing for lightly-packed bikes, with one thing in mind: efficiency. (more…)