The Bikes and Faces of the Oregon Outback

Dissecting my Oregon Outback photos has taken two full days and rather than dumping everything into one huge gallery, I thought I’d break it up a bit into something that everyone can discuss separately: bikes.

People obsess over setups for rides like this. From frame material, to geometry and wheel size, I saw everything.

Erik and I were on stock, straight out of the box, AWOL Comps. Erik painted his to look all crazy. Mine was just black. I had bikepacking bags and my Swift Ozette rando bag, Erik used panniers and the new AWOL rack. Most people used Porcelain Rocket or Revelate bags on their flat bar MTB.

Personally, I felt like a drop bar bicycle offered more riding options and were inherently faster than a rigid or a hardtail MTB. That said, most of the field were on MTB rigs of some sort. There was one fatbike, a few 29+ but for the most part, the rigid 29r ‘adventure’ bike platform ruled all.

A lot of these bikes were built specifically for the Outback, which is insane!

As I began sorting through all of my photos, I realized that my favorite thing about this ride was getting to know complete strangers. Watching their struggles unfold and seeing how they coped with the incredible feat that was upon us.

These Bikes and Faces of the Oregon Outback will forever remain engrained in my riding psyche. The rest of the story will unfold shortly. Until then, enjoy this Gallery.

  • AlanSchtweetzsch

    That Tonic sure is an interesting bike, glad to learn of it!

  • Tyler Johnson

    Breadwinner smash

  • b_drum88

    I’ve been seriously lusting for a Revelate saddle bag. Their design seems to be really well thought out and perfect for my commuter/everything bike.

  • nin

    Black AWOL + random orange stuff looks awesome.
    Wish you had a pic of Jan Heine’s bike.

    • It’s the same bike he always rides. To quote him “I only have one bike” – dude literally showed up with fenders and all…

  • John McCaffrey

    Kesho, Tonic and Breadwinner – three Portland brands in one photo!

  • Morgan Taylor

    Thanks for putting this set together – love it!

  • Tony

    And a cargo bike!

  • Adam Petraitis

    Holy hell. #7, that’s not a mountain bike, that’s a Dew, Kona’s $500 entry level hybrid. My shop has sold a bunch of those, but I don’t think any have been used for something like this! Major props to that person.

    • Maria

      Glad someone noticed. This is my rando ride partner’s idea of a humorous but utilitarian set up.

  • somebody_aight

    what kind of front rack are you running on the AWOL? it looks different than anything i’ve ever seen

    • the “pizza rack” that Erik designed for Specialized. Out soon. It’s a three-piece porteur that folds down.

  • Mike Hellis

    Would you geekhouse woodville have worked for this trip?

    • Yes. Perfectly. Anything bigger than a 38c tire would have been great IMO. The first day would have been rough on a 33c.

  • Felix

    For someone who works in the bike industrie like Erik, this must be innovators heaven.

    And also: SO MUCH DROOL!

  • PNT

    wow, lots of creativity!

  • Love all these shots of the bikes John. Thanks for sharing. Damned if I don’t want to drop everything, suit up and head out into the unknown now…

  • Lars

    Was Jason from Velograph carrying a small rifle with him? Or is that a BB gun just for funsies?

    • gabrielamadeus

      Just the little classic Daisy Buck BB gun.

  • boomforeal

    sooo much utility bike pron

  • Scott Rider

    John – It was fun riding with you and Erik. The unnamed rider in photo #30 is me. Cheers!

    • Word! I thought your name was Scott. My memory is shit these days.

      Solid riding with you too homie!

  • Kerry Nordstrom

    Dat Bridgestone though.

    • wyrrk

      largely original too! Its kind of awesome to see one of the original mass produced drop-bar mtbs (or, “adventure bikes”) alongside all of these more modern iterations. I particularly like the original ritchey vantage wheels (with their characteristic uneven braking surface at the weld as seen by the darkened spot near the yellow sticker) and nitto stem.

      • Kerry Nordstrom

        Good eye!

        • wyrrk

          Thanks…its like wheel patina. Imperfection leverages character. (or because my mb-1 has the exact same wheelset i’m just accustomed to looking at it, and otherwise i would have never noticed).

  • Ace Metric Cycles

    that elephant though! great details

  • Nate Kaiser

    amazing set! does anyone know how gave has his SLR mounted to his bag? looking for a solution just like that!

  • Giovanni Jimenez

    Outback Bicycle builds have just stolen my heart. Fantastic photos/bikes

  • Maria

    Kinda bummed me and my little steed missed out on being photographed. Would it be possible for me to send you a picture and get added?

  • Derek Atkins

    How many ran 1x gearing? Seems like at least two went after it?

    • A bunch did. You could get away with it on this ride for sure.

  • Jared

    Love the guys’ digicamo cycling cap…where can I get one of those?

  • Dave Dibble

    What were you and Erik running for headlights? You came up behind me in Oakland on the way to the Amtrak and I swore you were motorcycles until you pulled up alongside.

    • I had a Nightrider. Erik had a Specialized prototype that he developed.

  • Bryan Banducci

    what were most people doing for sleeping at night? lightweight tents packed into saddle bags?

  • B.A.R.27

    where are the photos?