It’s a Rally, Not a Race: The People Who (Pennine) Rally

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It’s a Rally, Not a Race: The People Who (Pennine) Rally

Already in its second year of glory, Rapha’s Pennine Rally has easily made its name as a worthy must-experience off-road event here in the UK. Respectfully inspired by the Second City Divide route, the Pennine Rally covers 500 kms of the best unboring, mixed and testing terrain that this (middle-ish) part of the UK has to offer. This special event runs over five days winding, climbing and descending its beauteous way from Edinburgh to Manchester.

Thanks in no small part to the magnificent Louis, the rally’s beating heart, and his socially conscious approach to its organisation, the 2022 Pennine Rally attracted a whole host of keen shredders, many of whom are doing rad things in their communities, and it shows. The Pennine Rally embodies its tag line of ‘its a rally not a race’ and the event as a result is a magnet for many of the change-makers who are working to create a UK cycling scene that is more inclusive, wholesome, and socially active.

I haven’t been hanging around in the UK for very long, but it’s clear that there is a unique scene here and it only feels right to shout about it, so I decided, as part of my own participation in the event, to photograph some of these folks, describe their endeavours and in doing so to some way capture a feel for what is going on here. Please behold and be inspired by this selection of the following incredible humans who make this magic happen.

Finding Strength Through Feeling: Insights from the 2022 Odyssey of the VOG

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Finding Strength Through Feeling: Insights from the 2022 Odyssey of the VOG

What’s your intention for the race?” Jaimie asked as we gathered with others the evening before lining up at the start line of this year’s Odyssey of the VOG, which is a 350-mile bikepacking event that takes riders through the rural farmland of the Willamette Valley, the rugged and vast Oregon coastal range, and the unrelenting gravel climbs found in the Willamette and Tillamook National Forests.

Excitement and nervousness-filled conversations about bike setups, weight, steep climbs, estimated times… are you going to sleep? Over an inch of rain was forecasted to fall the next day. Some wanted to win. Most were intrigued by the adventure. I told Jaimie, “I want to be present and enjoy while challenging myself. I want to feel it.”

Best in Class? John’s Review of the Tumbleweed Stargazer Touring Bike

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Best in Class? John’s Review of the Tumbleweed Stargazer Touring Bike

“Best in Class” is not something I would throw around casually. I often find it polarizing to establish such hierarchies when referring to subjective statements. Yet at times, a bike rolls into my temporary possession that deserves the highest of praises. I’ve been riding the Tumbleweed Stargazer for a while now and having reviewed a number of similar bikes in this space, I feel like that title is fitting, yet no bike is perfect…

Let’s check out my full review below!

A Muddy Race, A Million Buttes, and a Very Novice Mountain Biker: Scenes from a Weekend on the Maah Daah Hey Trail

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A Muddy Race, A Million Buttes, and a Very Novice Mountain Biker: Scenes from a Weekend on the Maah Daah Hey Trail

Of all the things I love most in this life, riding bikes, exploring the world, and writing about both of those things are very near the top of the list. So, you can understand my thrill when the state of North Dakota’s tourism board reached out, asking if I might be interested in riding one of the most difficult singletrack trails in America before coming home to write about it.

After a quick conversation with my wife—whose blessing was required to leave her alone with our kids (the three things steadfastly at the top of my list) for four days while I went off to the Badlands to fuck around on bikes—and a few pitches to some bike-friendly editors (at least one of which commissioned the piece you are, at this very moment, reading), it was confirmed; I would be heading out to southwestern North Dakota to ride a portion of the Maah Daah Hey Trail, which, at 144 miles, is America’s longest contiguous singletrack trail. Thanks to its steep grades, technical terrain full of all sizes of rocks and boulders, thousands of tight switchbacks, endless buttes, and rapid changes in elevation, it’s also widely regarded as one of the most challenging.

Nature is Luxury at Wales’ Fforest Gran Ffondo

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Nature is Luxury at Wales’ Fforest Gran Ffondo

Oversized white t-shirts flapping listlessly between a great white softbox Welsh sky and endless hordes of casual, sunbathing daisies. Jersey pockets bulging with hard boiled eggs and gummy bears. Hushed whispers of chain ring print, oil tattooed cyclists entering a bird hide and unzipping Leica binocular cases. Nature’s comfortable chatter pauses incrementally to listen to the doppler shifting cacophony of a freewheeling Hope RS4 flying down a caution signed gradient. The Fforest Gran Ffondo must be, objectively, the finest road cycling event around right now.

Into the Gran Desierto de Altar with La Ruta Chichimeca Bike Tour

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Into the Gran Desierto de Altar with La Ruta Chichimeca Bike Tour

The 1st of July marks the start date for the most awaited cycling event of the year. Tens of cyclists from different origins gather to dedicate the next weeks of their lives to riding a different route every day, with a rest day every week. Those who manage to finish the route will have over 4000 kilometers under their legs. We’re not talking about the Tour de France here, this is La Ruta Chichimeca!