Our Radar Roundup compiles products and videos from the ‘net in an easy-to-digest format. Read on below for today’s findings…
Sometimes we don’t understand our reasons for doing something until we’ve fully emerged. That was my lesson learned from waffling around the start and finish lines of The Big Lonely with a camera and disconcerted heart. What is this big and lonely thing that I speak of? Described in one word by the riders themselves: it’s “relentless”, “jarring”, “cold”, “delightful” – “resilience.” It’s “incomplete” and it’s “grueling”. It’s “epic”, “stoke” and “go.” For one rider it was “mom.” Most commonly though, it was described as “community” and I found this to be a curious notion. The dichotomous idea that a 350-mile self-supported ultra-endurance bikepacking race called The Big Lonely cultivated the word “community” more than any other is sort of like a metaphor for life and all the funny ways our experiences are everything at once.
In the Navajo Nation town of Kayenta, Arizona, Jon Yazzie runs a guide company called Dzil Ta’ah Adventures. Its intent is to educate visitors on the history of the areas surrounding Kayenta through guided bike trips. This particular route is one he’s been working on for a while which parallels the mighty Comb Ridge before climbing the Sandstone Backbone via an old Mormon dugway, overlooking Kane Valley where the US government drilled into the Earth, uncovering uranium for the Manhattan Project. The result would send waves of radiation through the community for decades to come…
The grass grows steadily, towering over us until we can no longer see the San Pedro Trail. My partner and I hadn’t seen anyone else that day and it was peacefully quiet. We can only hear the bees buzzing, ignoring our presence among the thicket of yellow flowers growing wildly across the trail. It was still early in the afternoon and we already had an eventful morning – dodging thorny bushes cutting both our arms and legs, navigating muddy streams covered with overgrown grass, surprising a few jackrabbits from their homes, and getting startled by two rattlesnakes lying across the gravel path.
Today is a hot one in southern Idaho, 90 degrees and rising. My partner, Skyler, and I are stopped for snacks under the few shaded bushes along a lonely dirt road.
We hear the tell-tale signs of a lonely car and a white-haired woman drive towards us. She slows down to approach us cautiously. Her window rolls down as the car stops and from inside we hear “There isn’t a road that goes through there.”
This looks like it’ll be right up YOUR alley!
“Like to ride bikes and sleep outside?
Us too lets hang out!
Bikepacking Roots is devoted to supporting the bikepacking community, and we want more folks involved. Join your fellow Bay Area bikepacking kooks to swap stories, share routes, and brainstorm ideas for what we would like to see happen in 2018.
Afterward, a few folks will be heading out for a lil s24o ride to Anthony Chabot for camping, continued conversation and seasonally appropriate beverages. BYO bike/gear/lights to the talk, we will head out right from Lucky Duck*
Bikepacking Roots is a new non-profit organization founded by long-time bikepackers with the mission of increasing the availability of and access to the bikepacking experience and the conservation of the landscapes through which we ride.
*The s24o is not an official ride/event. Ride at your own risk. Safety first. Blah blah blah…”
Check out the event’s details at Facebook!
Geology Through Bikepacking
Photos and words by Locke Hassett
As humans, we seek exploration of new places and the lessons that such exploration may bring; self-discovery, physical challenge, humility, solitude, community, and unforgettable views to name a few. We refer to this as recreation, which comes from the term “to re-create”. These endeavors are valuable, perhaps necessary, to the self. But, if we only learn about ourselves, the amount that we can give back to the world that allows us the privilege to explore can be limited. Ever so often, we must explore for reasons beyond understanding and re-create ourselves. We must explore with intention and inquiry. If the intention is set to learn not only about ourselves but about the landscape; it’s natural history and current state, we just might be able to become stewards of its future.
The Geology through Bikepacking course offered at Prescott College explores the geology, geography, and ecology of the Colorado Plateau through 3 different bikepacking trips over the course of a month. This course provides an opportunity to learn about a landscape by traveling through it. It uses the bicycle as a means not only for recreation, but for education. This is the story.
Our Radar Roundup compiles products and videos from the ‘net in an easy-to-digest format. Read on below for today’s findings…
I love being alone all day, deep in remote and wild areas, reliant only on myself to move through the landscape, over difficult terrain, and in bad weather. I enjoy utilizing the various ultralight backcountry travel skills I’ve gleaned since my early twenties. And I feel immense joy when I can be efficient and accomplish goals. I’m also really afraid of the dark. Not so much of wild animals, but rather of wild weirdos who wander the woods and kill innocent middle-aged women. I know. Super unlikely. But I never sleep much at night while on solo adventures.
Mostly I have backpacked alone or solo aid climbed big walls. But I stopped climbing after a gnarly accident where a friend fell 100 feet and nearly died. I also quit backpacking because the annoying arthritic autoimmune disease I suffer from incapacitates me if I hike more than a few miles with weight on my back. Luckily a few years ago I discovered the horizontal world of multi-sport adventure travel.
The accompanying gallery includes photos from a few of the areas in Arizona burned by wildfire in just the past 15 months.
My friend Joe and I stood atop Spruce Mountain just below the fire tower one last time this past Friday, admiring the surrounding peaks and forests of the Bradshaw Mountains. We both live just a few miles from this summit, and we share a love for big rides in the chunky, challenging backcountry trails deeper in the range. But today’s ride was a short one, first thing in the morning. Up on that vista, my eyes hopped from one patch of brown to the next, each a cluster of dead pines and firs. The ongoing drought is having a devasting impact on these forests. To the north, smoke from the nearby 40,000+ acre Rafael Fire filled Verde Valley with an impenetrable brown haze.
This is the third part of an ongoing series:
Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part II – The First Modern Bikepacking Race
Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part I – Trail Visions Ahead of Their Time
Back in the late 2000s, I was a geology Ph.D. student at the University of Colorado and a devoted cyclocross racer. I got up early and did intervals in the dark before class and I raced around in little circles every weekend from September to December, chasing other skinsuit-clad guys hopping on and off their bikes for rather contrived reasons. I flew around the country to some of the biggest race weekends, chasing UCI points and top-20 finishes. I was infatuated with the sport until I rather abruptly became bored of those little circles.
Spanning 138 miles of the rugged landscape between Moab Utah, and Loma Colorado, the Kokopelli Trail is one of the original great bikepacking routes of the American West.
In November of 2020, Kait Boyle and Kurt Refsnider set out to explore the possibilities, testing their endurance against the current FKT (Fastest Known Time) records. Their journeys began long before the starting line, and the progression of record times on this trail is far from over.
Stay tuned for the release of Faster For Now later this spring 2021!
We’re pleased to introduce the Backcountry Bike Challenge by Ride With GPS and our friends Kurt and Kait. Check out the full press release below, particularly if you like a challenge and are looking to ride your bike off-the-beaten path…
This is the first of a two-part series on how human-caused climate change is affecting the cycling experience, why we as cyclists should care about those impacts, and what we can do as individuals and as a community to combat those impacts. Part I of this series connects cyclists to a few examples of the realities of climate change, and Part II will outline what changes we as cyclists and the cycling community can make to improve the future of our pursuit in a changing climate.
Remember all those wild Reportage reports from bikerafting in Colorado and Utah with Four Courners Guides we’ve posted over the years? Well, Doom and Lizzy have launched a fantastic project born from those endeavors and more:
“We launched the IndieGoGo Campaign December 21st (soft, unofficial for all our fans and followers). You can start pre-ordering the book now through January 29! What is The Bikeraft Guide? It’s a community multi-media storytelling project that will ultimately result in a comprehensive book on bikerafting. It will be the definitive guide on the sport, and includes a comprehensive history section, “The Pirates of Bikerafting” Anthology (a collection of stories from 15 of the world’s best bikerafters) and a how-to section, mostly by Steve “Doom” Fassbinder, but also including interviews with various experts. It will also have a safety section by the “packraft safety guy” and author of the Packraft Handbook, Luc Mehl, a repairs section by Alpacka Raft repairs manager, Ben Phillips, and a Positive Impact Ethos section contributed by Bikepacking Roots.
In addition, this project includes our new The Bikeraft Guide Podcast, and short films in the The Bikeraft Guide enewsletter, on the IndieGoGo Campaign page, on @TheBikeraftGuide Instagram page and on the Four Corners Guides blog.
Our goal with the IndieGoGo Campaign is to raise $20-$30K through pre-sales of the book and “Perks” donated by our sponsors. This will pay for printing, distribution, contributors and editing. We’re really relying on you – aspiring bikerafters and people who love great adventure stories – to help us make this dream a reality.”
Head to the IndieGoGo to support this project!
With the news today that Bike, Powder, Snowboarder, and Surfer Magazines have been shuttered by their owner, American Media, we can’t help but feel an immense loss in print magazines. This news was shocking, as Bike Mag’s content has always been sharp, including the last entry on their website, penned by Bikepacking Roots‘ Kurt Refsnider dubbed “Solutions for Smaller Bikepackers” which offers up a lot of pointers for cyclists who don’t ride a size large frame. Head on over to Bike Mag to read all about it.
Our friends at Sim Works are throwing a raffle to raise money for a handful of organizations, with the goal of aiding in social reform. The raffle starts today, June 26th, at noon, and closes on Friday, July 3 at 5pm (PST).
$25 for a raffle ticket (per entry). 100% of proceeds will be donated to the organizations.
Also, all customers spending $100 or more in the SimWorks web store will be added to the raffle participants list, and 10% of their merchandise total will be donated to the organizations that SimWorks has elected to make financial contributions.
Head to Sim Works to buy a raffle ticket at 12 noon PST today!
We are pausing today’s content to make a statement. As a community of people who share the love of cycling and the outdoors, we need to listen to the voices of the oppressed and I feel that we can respectfully put the day-to-day content on hold to encourage each and every one of you to reach out to your communities, reach out to your BIPOC friends, and listen.
Without putting aside our daily distractions, we cannot do this.
The injustice being documented on social media right now is heart-breaking. Protests pave the way for reform. Or at least they have in the past. From the civil rights movement to the Vietnam War, this country has bound together in the past to fight for the voices unheard.
George Floyd was the tipping point for what has happened to the Black American community since slavery. His face has become the icon for Black freedom. Breonna Taylor’s brutal killing by police and Ahmaud Arbery lynching by members of his community all paint the grim reality our country needs to overcome. These names are added to the hundreds of Black Americans killed by cops.
Black Lives Matter. Say it. Say their names. No Justice, no peace.
This is a pattern that has arisen in this country and what we’re seeing today represents the last straw for our BIPOC brothers and sisters. We need to demand accountability for the police, our legislature, our city officials, our national officials, and our own communities.
The following organizations need your eyes and support:
–Reclaim the Block
-Please read their petition
-George Floyd’s family has a GoFundMe
–Minnesota Freedom Fund
–Brooklyn Bail Fund
-ActBlue allows you to make multiple donations between 38 community bail funds
–The Bail Project
–National Bail Fund Network
–Black Visions Collective
–Gas Mask Fund
–NAACP Legal Defense Fund
–Communities United Against Police Brutality
–Northstar Health Collective
–Free Them All for Public Health
–The Atlanta Solidarity Fund
–Know Your Rights Camp
The Radavist has donated money from its funding to support a number of these organizations this week. If you have the means to do so, we’d like to encourage you to do the same. If you don’t have the means to, don’t feel pressured. Do what you can within your community.
To make a difference within the cycling community, Bikepacking Roots has just announced a new grant program to help address racial inequalities related to access to outdoor experiences. The BIPOC Bike Adventure Grant will provide funding to recipients for an empowering bike adventure of their choosing and will help elevate the recipients’ voices. It’s a small step forward, but seeing as most of the outdoor industry has remained silent, we’re hoping that this will spur additional action.
The comments are closed for a few reasons, most importantly, you should be reading, learning, and listening elsewhere today. We’ll be back with content but right now, this needs to be addressed.
And as always join a protest if you feel that it is safe. Walk with your BIPOC community. Listen.