Rolling Hills and Snakes: AWOL on the Oregon Outback – Day 03

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Rolling Hills and Snakes: AWOL on the Oregon Outback – Day 03

When Erik and I committed to riding the Oregon Outback, we didn’t want to absolutely kill ourselves, but we wanted it to be tough. On paper, 360 miles is totally doable in three days without crushing your spirit. Hell, I think we could have done it in two and we still would have been ok but that’s not the point.

I had a responsibility. One that I take seriously and that’s documenting this trip. Granted, most of the time, I didn’t want to stop to shoot a photo, or hop off my bike, I just wanted to keep going…

Sand Pits and Rednecks: AWOL on the Oregon Outback – Day 02

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Sand Pits and Rednecks: AWOL on the Oregon Outback – Day 02

The second day of any big ride is usually the toughest. Your body just assumes it’s going to be on the defensive for an unknown amount of time and begins to push back. Usually, that is. For Erik and I, we awoke in the Silver Lake Community Park f-u-c-k-i-n-g freezing. The weather said it would drop to 45 degrees as the low, so he and I brought hammocks and 40 degree bags in the interest of space and weight.

At 4am, my phone said it was 28 degrees. A cold front had moved in.

I was shivering uncontrollably, had I known it was going to be that cold, I would have brought a sleeping pad and a tarp, both of which I’ve used to alleviate the loss of body heat that happens in hammocks at such low temperatures. But alas, you reap what you sew. We would be cold on this trip.

All our field guide said about mile 120-240 was that we’d be crossing altitude desert and would be without water for up to 80 miles. I brought an Arundel Looney Bin to hold a 48oz Nalgene, which, after making breakfast, I filled up. Along with my two large Purist bottles. We had to get moving. Fast… It was 6:30am.

Continue reading in the Gallery captions.

Railroad Spikes and Shotgun Shells: AWOL on the Oregon Outback – Day 01

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Railroad Spikes and Shotgun Shells: AWOL on the Oregon Outback – Day 01

With the success and failure of Erik and my last AWOL ride on the Diablo range, we started looking for another mission to continue the story. This couldn’t be just any camping trip, it had to be hard. Like, really, really tough and big and stuff.

Then it dawned on Erik (I was too busy to actually look for anything) – we’d do Velo Dirt’s Oregon Outback. Erik contacted me in his Swedish voice “ok mannn, we’re going to do this really fucking tough ride, called the Oregon Outback, are you in?”. Me: “Of course!” – not wanting to sound like a sissy. At the time, I was probably traveling for something and I didn’t even know what the Outback was. I just assumed it was a chill weekend getaway…

Team AWOL and My Oregon Outback Pack List

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Team AWOL and My Oregon Outback Pack List

So I haven’t made a big deal about this for a few reasons. First, I don’t want to jinx myself or my teammate on this ride and second, it’s part of a project that won’t see the light of day for a few months.

That said, I’m doing / racing / riding / surviving the Oregon Outback, a 360 miles MTB trek from Southern Oregon to Northern Oregon. Our plan is to do it in three days. Unsupported. That’s 120 miles a day on dirt.

I do rides like this often enough, maybe not to this degree, but essentially bikepacking or touring. So I thought I’d let you in on my packing list, via knolling. Check out a break-down below.

Riding the Oregon Outback on the Ren Cycles Ivan – Gabe Tiller

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Riding the Oregon Outback on the Ren Cycles Ivan – Gabe Tiller

Riding the Oregon Outback on the Ren Cycles Ivan
Photos and words by Gabe Tiller

Earlier this summer I set out for my fourth journey on the Oregon Outback. Each time I had ridden a different steed ranging from touring bike to plus bike and this round was no exception: I had the chance to borrow REN’s titanium cyclocross race machine: the Ivan. It’s an adaptable beast, perfect for those masochists who like to race singlespeed as well as Cat A/B. Luckily I was doing neither, and instead going on a 360 mile jaunt through Oregon’s famous Outback.

The AWOL x Poler Zine

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The AWOL x Poler Zine

A few months ago, Erik from AWOL and I planned on doing a ride, not just any ride however, we wanted to do the Oregon Outback. 370 miles from Southern, to Northern Oregon, all at altitude desert? Hell yes! Little did we know, that ride would kick our asses. Well, my ass anyway.

Before Interbike, we had a party at the Poler store in Portland, where we launched these zines and patches. If you’re in Portland, you can still buy one at the Poler store, but for those of you who aren’t there, you can now pick one up here. The zine features a pattern drawn by LAND, a selection of photos from the Oregon Outback, words from Erik and illustrations by Chris Conlin.

For $15 shipped in the USA, $20 shipped world wide, each zine comes with a patch and all proceeds will be donated to an organization of my choice…

Check out more previews below but SORRY SOLD OUT!

The AWOL x Poler Touring Bike and Panniers are in Stock

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The AWOL x Poler Touring Bike and Panniers are in Stock

Check out the Poler Adventure post on the Oregon Outback

Well, the AWOL x Poler touring bikes are hitting the shelves of your local Specialized dealers today. Ordering is simple: contact your local dealer and order direct. The bikes will arrive within a week. Select international countries will also be able to order the bikes, call your local dealer to confirm. Poler is selling the panniers in their webshop as well.

See more specs and photos below.

Erik’s Awol x Poler Outback Tourer

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Erik’s Awol x Poler Outback Tourer

You’ve seen this bike before, you just thought it was a one-off paint job. Back when Erik rode the Transcontinental Race, he used a Poler Camera Cooler for a bar bag, prompting Benji from Poler to reach out to Erik – Benji pays attention to what’s going on in the cycling world… For instance, these panniers have been in the works for a while.

After a quick visit to Portland, Erik and Benji schemed on something for the AWOL project for Poler. The great thing about these AWOL bikes is their versatility. 1-trakk rippers, around-town, bar bike, touring bike, dirt touring bike, dirt-drop brap machine. They do it all, including the 370 mile trek across Oregon for the Oregon Outback.

We knew we wanted to do a big ride to *shoot the bike, but weren’t sure where, when or how we’d do it.

When the Oregon Outback was announced, Erik reached out to me and I said yes, not knowing what I was getting myself into. It was a hell of a ride and afterwards, we stayed with Benji and began discussing the bike’s launch.

Next week, these bikes hit dealers. On the 6th of September to be exact. MSRP, availability and other information is on the way, or you can just call your local Specialized shop. Prior to the launch, on September 5th, I’ll be having a gallery show at Poler’s new storefront in Portland with an opening reception. Aka, a party. More info on that to come…

For now, check out some details in the Gallery!

*Believe it or not, this is the same bike that Erik rode during the Oregon Outback. I had to painstakingly photoshop out all of the Poler insignia. Front lamp and saddle bag not included! Comes with panniers and front pannier rack.

The Bikes and Faces of the Oregon Outback

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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.

Looking Forward to the Chris King Swarm in Bend and the Lost & Found

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Looking Forward to the Chris King Swarm in Bend and the Lost & Found

Over the next two weekends, we’ll be hitting two events: the Chris King Swarm in Bend and the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship’s Lost & Found. Both events have a strong community tie-in for the type of riding we pursue over here, as well as a strong support from various brands and personalities. We hit the road tomorrow and from that point forward, you can expect coverage from Central Oregon and the Lost Sierra. See you on the road and if you’re going to these events, be sure to stop and say hello!

Call it a Comeback: Specialized Brings Back the Sequoia and its Versatile Design

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Call it a Comeback: Specialized Brings Back the Sequoia and its Versatile Design

The Specialized Sequoia was first designed by Tim Neenan in the early 1980’s. Later, Jim Merz improved upon the design of this versatile bicycle. While the 1980’s steel Sequoia had a certain panache, the aluminum models of the 2000’s somehow lost their sex appeal. Maybe it was the industry at the time, or maybe it was the “hybrid-looking” silhouette of the bike, but whatever the reason, the Sequoia died out in the 2000’s. In its time however, the steel Sequoia from the 1980’s received a cult-like following.

“In the early 2000’s, Bicycling Magazine asked several industry luminaries what they thought the best bike ever built was. Grant Petersen, founder of Rivendell Bicycles, nominated the 1983 Specialized Sequoia.” Adventure Cycling, August 2003.

Fast forward to modern times. The cycling industry is enamored with the outdoors. Bikepacking, touring, bicycle camping and S24 rides are all the rage. Hell, even Adventure Cycling is celebrating the Bikecentennial this year! All the brands have taken a stab at designing the best-suited bike for the aforementioned activities. While Specialized wasn’t by any means the first to the party in terms of “adventure bicycles,” they have staked their claim to the movement.

The Radavist’s 2014 Year in Review

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The Radavist’s 2014 Year in Review

This year was a whirlwind. I think I traveled somewhere around 220 days, jumping the pond a few times and yes, spending lots of time in California. But what was the pinnacle of the year was the rebrand from PiNP to the Radavist. The pinnacle because it meant more contributors, more photos and ultimately, more, good content.

Without the contributors to this site, it wouldn’t have been such a successful year. Those guys really killed it.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s start from Day 01…

The Radavist’s Top Beautiful Bicycles of 2014

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The Radavist’s Top Beautiful Bicycles of 2014


The stick that held up the bikes in this Gallery…

I shot a lot of bikes this year. In fact, I shot more Galleries this year, than any other two years combined. From April 1st’s launch of the Radavist, until last week, the entire team worked hard on bringing a full photo gallery just about every weekday, sometimes twice. Pulling in those metrics took some time, but rather than limiting this year’s selection to just ten, I found the following bikes to be all within the same realm.

Some of these bikes never dropped a chain in terms of year-long momentum, still churning in pageviews and social media chatter to this very day. Surprisingly to me, a few were completely stock bikes. These were all chosen for their Facebook likes, social media engagement, comments and overall traffic. I feel like there were a lot of bikes that were flops as far as traffic was concerned, but I wanted to be fair in selecting the list.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s back up a bit.

We began the year with a few big stories, all leading up to one of the busiest weekends of the year, NAHBS. After record-breaking traffic, the world of Beautiful Bicycles culminated in the 2014 NAHBS Drive Side Gallery. From there, it was onto traveling for stories and documenting Beautiful Bicycles along the way… We’ll start off in Prescott, Arizona for the Whiskey Off Road.

Specialized: The Flux Bike Lamp

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Specialized: The Flux Bike Lamp

A couple of people asked about the lamp that’s on Erik’s AWOL x Poler tourer. Earlier this year, when we rode the Outback, it was his sole light source for when the sun set over eastern Oregon. It’s best described as a “super-wide and super-bright beam.”

The Flux uses a Cree LED with a patented reflector for bright and wide light, much like you’d find in the automotive industry.

Powering the Flux are internal rechargeable 5200mAhr Lithium Ion batteries and there are three nighttime modes with power resulting between 1,200 and 400 lumens. You’ll get 1.75 hours at 1,200 and 6 at 400 lumens and it’ll recharge from zero to full in just four hours.

The Flux will hit shelves at your local Specialized dealer shortly.

That Hurt Like Hell

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That Hurt Like Hell

28 hours of moving time, 60 elapsed hours, 13mph average, 15,300′ elevation, 368 miles later and Team AWOL is done. We finished the Velodirt Oregon Outback, self-supported, fully loaded on Sunday, 45 minutes ahead of schedule. I rode the last day with a bum knee and a crooked back. It was three days of highs and lows, with a constant headwind.

… but we did it. Expect a whole torrent of photos and posts once I recover and return home to Austin.

Thanks for the support on Instagram and your patience while the site has been inactive.

xo