Taylor Doyle (she/her) is an ultra racer and founder of the Ultra Distance Scholarship, an initiative increasing diversity and representation within ultra distance cycling and racing. She is a self-proclaimed ‘make-things-happen’ person at the socially conscious bike-builder Stayer Cycles, and always riding her beloved UG. Taylor is passionate about sharing the joys of ultra distance cycling with as many folks as humanly possible and is particularly invested in encouraging and supporting more women/non-binary folks and people of colour to try the sport. Taylor is a Canadian writer and photographer currently loose in the UK, living nomadically and turning up at most UK-based bikepacking events and happenings. After getting frustrated by the amount of single-use plastic she was generating during her first ultra race, she decided to come back the following year and try things differently…
Cairo to Cape Town. The words tumbled together in poetic cadence. Africa’s malleable cycling route from the Pyramids of Giza to Table Mountain was my dream of a decade. Soured by the rigid nature of sponsors’ expectations, I chose a bare-bones expedition. Plans and timelines aside. To travel for travel’s sake. To sink my teeth into the truth and toss the rest by the wayside. I started from the Egyptian pyramids with just my kiwi partner, the most efficient machines ever created, and the entire African continent ahead. Southbound and on edge, we began our trans-continental cycling journey dissecting Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa.
Back in July, Josh Caffrey wrote an initial article about Erick Cedeño’s (aka Bicycle Nomad) journey from Missoula, MT to St. Louis, MO. That article covered Josh’s time with Erick in Montana, at just the beginning of his epic 1,900-mile bicycle expedition, a project where Erick had set out to retrace the historic route the 25th Infantry Buffalo Soldiers took in 1897. The continuation of that story is below and picks up in Missouri about a month after Josh leaves Erick in Montana…
The first time I caught sight of Ronnie at this past weekend’s Nutmeg Nor’easter, he was handing out welcome gifts as a crowd of riders waited for the ferry’s return on the west banks of the Connecticut River. “Get your poop bag, everyone gets a poop bag,” he exclaimed—like the bygone vendors who’d hawk peanuts at old baseball games—doling out little green compostable doggie bags between hugs and hearty salutations. I later learned 250+ riders had shown for the two-day rootsy New England bikecamping event; a far cry more than the group of five dozen that made up the inaugural Nor’easter six years hence. For me, this would be my first time in Nutmeg country!
While fully loaded touring and sleeping under the stars provide an enticing self-contained experience, there is a unique allure to the quintessential hut trip. Hut-supported routes are rare here in the U.S., but our rag-tag group of cyclotourists has taken advantage of the proximal classics, including the San Juan Hut Durango-to-Moab and Telluride-to-Moab routes. When the Aquarius Hut Trail Network was announced last year, our exploratory interests were piqued. Home to the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, southern Utah has become one of my favorite destinations from time spent riding and touring in our 4×4 in its rugged backcountry. Even so, the beauty of the riding and surrounding landscapes still bowled me over.
We have a lot of thoughts about both the route and the huts—read on for a full review of this majestic trip…
Santa Fe has a booming mountain bike community. Partly due to the abundance of trails, yet it takes skilled professionals to build and maintain those trails. For our National Forest, we rely on the kick-ass team that is the Fat Tire Society. They act as the liaison between the BLM/USFS and our public lands. Currently, the Fat Tire Society is working on a sprawling network of trails just south of Santa Fe in Arroyo Hondo. Yet, further south in the town of Glorieta, there’s a brand new trail that’s opening up on October 22nd that I have to tell you about…
A warm Saturday morning, September 10th. I arrive at the top of a long, steep dirt road in the woods of Pomfret later than I planned. Four parking attendants in neon pink shirts, older gentlemen with gray beards, greet me. Birds tweet, crickets chirp, and insects buzz in the background. Mists of gnats swarm my face. I rush to braid my hair in the reflection of the car window, clip my helmet, pull up my bib straps, zip my jersey, and tie the laces of my cycling shoes. “Deep breaths, deep breaths,” I whisper to myself, willing my jittery hands to stop shaking. Due to nerves and too much coffee, they don’t. I quickly stow my sunglasses in my helmet vents, bidons in their cages, and gloves in my jersey pocket. It’s the Repro Ride. And I go.
I roll down the hill to check in aboard El Guapo, my blue Trek Boone gravel bike. More volunteers in pink shirts welcome me behind the registration tables book-ended by red, white, and blue “Vote Yes on Article 22!” signs.
As residents of the desert state of Sonora when not touring, Radavist contributors Daniel Zaid and Karla Robles decided to pay a visit to the lush state of México further south. Daniel teams up with Nicolás Legorreta, the physicist, cyclist, and nature enthusiast behind the bike bag company Peregrinus Equipment. The two embark on an overnight tour, starting at the 15,000’+ reaches of the volcano Nevado de Toluca and making their way back to Nicolás’ home of San Simón el Alto. With a route that’s all downhill, what could go wrong?
Katja says, in Slovenia when a family has salad for dinner, they all eat from the same bowl. The bigger the family, the bigger the bowl. One person gathers vegetables from the garden– green leaves, fresh beans, tomatoes and cucumbers, onions and herbs. One person chops them up. One person dresses the salad with oil and vinegar, salt and pepper. One person tastes it to make sure it’s just right. They place the bowl in the middle of the table and everyone digs in with their own fork. There’s the usual family back and forth– who’s eating too fast, who’s picking out only the best parts, who’s pushing down too hard with their fork. When the vegetables are all gone, someone picks up the bowl and drinks the juice.
When I think of our route-building project in Slovenia for the upcoming 2023 Komoot Women’s Rally there, and all of the people that played a role, this story sticks with me.
Long tours are often lauded as being the ultimate way to tour but getting out for overnighters, here and there when the schedule allows, can be just as powerful an experience. Amidst general life busyness, photographer and pedaling-enthusiast Pat Valade makes time for a couple overnight bike campouts this summer. It should be no surprise that he packed the camera and we’re stoked to share the following doubleheader photo essay and its myriad glimpses offered into the Canadian summer.
In modern society, it seems that many of our connections are made in a world of algorithms, a superficial sphere where swipes and likes have replaced the more tactile world I grew up in. This seems intrinsically wrong; we need to be connected physically but we are increasingly isolated from one another, caught up in a world where our eyes and hands are fixed to our screens.
After a recent trip to a gravel camp in Gunnison, CO, hosted by polar explorer Eric Larsen, Hailey Moore shares thoughts on a different sort of bike camping, the riding opportunities in Gunnison county, and a route showcasing two of the region’s alpine passes.
Jutting out into the Pacific Ocean south of California, west of Mexico, the Baja Peninsula encompasses four deserts, roughly 3,000 kilometers of coastline, and the right mix of challenge and remoteness to attract intrepid travelers of all kinds. For those of the bikepacking variety, a relatively new route has quickly become a must-ride: the 2,692-kilometer Baja Divide. Those with schedules to keep may take on the Divide in sections, riding for a week or two before hopping on a bus back to where they started. And then there’s Sònia Colomo.
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.
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” 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!
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.
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!