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Iceland’s “Forgotten Coast Route” Part Two: Chris Burkard’s Daily Journals

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Iceland’s “Forgotten Coast Route” Part Two: Chris Burkard’s Daily Journals

The Forgotten Coast Route starts in the small eastern Iceland town of Djúpivogur and traverses 300 miles over mostly continuous beaches, spits, ocean islands, and sandbars, to the town of Thorlakshofn. Using a combination of fatbikes and packrafts Chris Burkard, Steve “Doom” Fassbender, and Cameron Lawson navigated a portion of Iceland’s coast seldom seen. With over 40 river crossings and covering some of the windiest and weather-riddled parts of Iceland’s coastlines, the route presented serious challenges for the team.

Below are a series of daily, first-hand accounts of the expedition. These daily journals are based on interviews with Chris Burkard and written by trip photographer Ryan Hill.

Giving Papaya in the Colombian Andes

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Giving Papaya in the Colombian Andes

After almost 6 years on the road, maybe I let my guard down just a little bit too much. Maybe I’d grown too comfortable mapping out routes in any direction my heart desired and hitting the road without much concern for my safety beyond steering clear of roads with lots of traffic. I’d take notes from locals on places to avoid, wouldn’t ride at night, and I always considered myself careful, but 6 years is a long time, so there’s no doubt that I slipped just a little.

Dignity and Truth, Part One: Bicycle Nomad Retraces the Historic Buffalo Soldiers Route from Missoula to St. Louis

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Dignity and Truth, Part One: Bicycle Nomad Retraces the Historic Buffalo Soldiers Route from Missoula to St. Louis

When I first met Erick Cedeño (aka Bicycle Nomad) I had no inkling that a day we spent together shooting lifestyle photos as part of his new role as an ambassador for the outdoor apparel company swrve would blossom into a deep friendship. Nor did I realize at the time that our friendship would take me halfway across the country to help document his ride to honor the 125th anniversary of the monumental expedition of the volunteer Bicycle Corps of the Buffalo Soldiers who rode from Missoula, MT to St. Louis, MO.

The Coronet Loop Trail: Queenstown Singletrack at It’s Finest

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The Coronet Loop Trail: Queenstown Singletrack at It’s Finest

In the 1980s, Queenstown was a small lakeside community with just a couple thousand residents. Perched on the foreshores of the majestic Lake Wakatipu; its unique mix of snowy-topped mountains, roaring rivers and stunning vistas made it the perfect summer holiday destination for nature-loving Kiwis. However, the mid-90s brought adrenaline junkies and stoke seekers to Queenstown’s shores and soon enough, the town got an ‘Xtreme’ makeover!

Iceland’s “Forgotten Coast Route” Part One: Chris Burkard’s Preparations

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Iceland’s “Forgotten Coast Route” Part One: Chris Burkard’s Preparations

Iceland’s South Coast is one of the island’s most visited zones, but its beaches are seldom seen. It sounds like an audacious claim, but with 49 rivers strewn across the island’s southern beaches, this famous stretch boasts hundreds of miles of rarely explored coastline, with access being its biggest challenge. The goal of Chris Burkard’s “Forgotten Coast” trip is to link them all in one route, using a combination of fatbikes, to travel across its black sands and pack-rafts, to cross the rivers that break up these stretches of sand.

Fish Pedalers: A Bike-Snorkeling Micro Movie by Skid Lizards

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Fish Pedalers: A Bike-Snorkeling Micro Movie by Skid Lizards

It is true in cycling and in life, that unique combinations make for unexpected outcomes. Equal parts scientific and spiritual, exhaustive and reactive- planning an epic bike ride starts with finding contradiction. Modern rigid mountain bikes meets old-school singletrack. Pedaling meets snorkeling. Average Joe’s meets filmmaking pros. Cold beer meets used-to-be-frozen pizza. Skid meets lizards.

Adventure is the alchemy of people and place. Get these right and the story will write itself. Get one right and you can always make the best of it. Get ‘em wrong and you might as well have eaten that frozen pizza alone on your couch. Luckily, we got all the chemistry just right for one magical summer weekend that we get to share forever through the wonders of streaming cinema.

Bike to Break: A Coastal California Cyclo-Surf Tour

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Bike to Break: A Coastal California Cyclo-Surf Tour

It was in the back of my mind for about a year. Take a bicycle, load it up with camping gear and a surfboard, and tour every coastline around the world looking for waves. I figured it would be a trip of a lifetime. Get in shape, surf incredible waves, take photographs and pursue a dream I thought about every night before I went to sleep.

However, I had a problem. I knew nothing about bicycles. So I needed a warm-up trip. A trip to test my knowledge and see if I really wanted to pursue this idea.

42 Deg South: Hazards to Hells Gates; A Bicycle Overlander’s Route Across Tasmania

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42 Deg South: Hazards to Hells Gates; A Bicycle Overlander’s Route Across Tasmania

Overlanding is traditionally a term that describes the forging or following of a route for moving livestock long distances from one location to another. These routes were created to send the livestock to market or to another location for feed or weather events such as floods, drought, or bush fire all common occurrences in the harsh Australian outback. This movement of the livestock along these “overland” routes in the Australian context is known as droving.

In creating this bicycle overlanding route and story I’d like to begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet today. I would also like to pay my respects to Elders past and present.

Recreational Climate Refugees: A San Juan Season Opener

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Recreational Climate Refugees: A San Juan Season Opener

Mega drought. It’s no secret that the southwest US, with its ever-increasing population straining what little resources are available, has found itself in the midst of a great reckoning with a lack of consistent rainfall and snowpack which traditionally sustained its communities for thousands of years. As I began typing this, I could count on one hand the days which have had precipitation this spring, including a brief, but much-celebrated storm the prior afternoon. A combination of normal, historical shifts in climate, anthropogenic climate change, and a booming population have put an increased strain on our delicate ecosystems. This strain is evidenced by a longer, more intense fire season and a rapidly increasing aridification, once mostly evident at lower elevations and now climbing its way into Ponderosa stands; amongst many other examples.

Bikepacking the Rainbow Rim Trail on The Radavist x Mosaic GT-2X Bikes

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Bikepacking the Rainbow Rim Trail on The Radavist x Mosaic GT-2X Bikes

Arizona is one of the most remarkable states in the lower 48. From saguaro-covered mountains to forests of ponderosa pine, the ecotonal shift across the state’s expansive footprint is only bested by the geologically awesome Grand Canyon. That’s part of the appeal of the mighty Arizona Trail, right? To see the state in its entirety from top to bottom. While the AZT might not be for everyone, there’s another trail system on the rim of the Grand Canyon that is perfect for those looking for a truly unique and characteristically Arizona experience via a quick overnighter or even a day ride.

Once we had samples of our Radavist Edition Mosaic GT-2X bikes, I wanted to put them to the test and do a proper shake-down overnighter somewhere memorable and beautiful. Pulling together this project was quite the undertaking with supply chain issues still running rampant. Our trip kept getting pushed back into the summer months. It was edging on being too hot to tour our original route, so we looked to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and found a true gem of a ride, perfect for a weekend of sleeping out under the monsoon skies…

Fall ‘n Ketchum: Late Season Singletrack with Sturtevants Sun Valley Mountain Guides

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Fall ‘n Ketchum: Late Season Singletrack with Sturtevants Sun Valley Mountain Guides

Daytime high temperatures in the Phoenix valley where I’m currently sitting are hovering around 108°. Like every summer around this time, I’m reminiscing about trips I’ve taken to escape the dreaded summer Sonoran Desert heat and planning opportunities in cooler climes again. One standout experience, which continually creeps into my planning and scheming, was a ride during a road trip last October with my buddy Cameron Lloyd and a couple of his fellow Sun Valley Mountain GuidesKeeley and Andrew – in Ketchum, ID. We had an epic time riding some of the area’s most ripping and scenic singletrack, so continue reading below for a recap with this great crew!

Vancouver to Cape Breton: Robin Todd’s Solo Bikepacking Trip Across Canada

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Vancouver to Cape Breton: Robin Todd’s Solo Bikepacking Trip Across Canada

Robin Todd, 57, wants you to know that you can do big things, and that a grilled cinnamon bun will help significantly at the end of a long rainy day.

Last fall, Robin bikepacked alone for 6,800 kilometers (4,225 miles) from Vancouver, British Columbia to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. She’s always been an adventurer, but this journey across Canada was done in part to prove that age isn’t a factor when it comes to adventure, especially for women.

Bicycle Touring from Lake to Coast on New England’s Lost Railroads

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Bicycle Touring from Lake to Coast on New England’s Lost Railroads

There’s this truly magical culture of bike touring in Europe. You can go town to town and point to point on B roads and double tracks, stopping in at the local pub for a cold beer and a place to lay your head. The same culture doesn’t exist in the same way in the US — towns are too far apart, lots of paved roads, busy traffic thanks to decades of car-centric infrastructure and culture, among other reasons.

But there’s a little-known exception to that rule — northern New England. I moved here from New York in early 2020, along with the rest of Brooklyn, and was instantly taken by what locals call Vermont pavé, or miles and miles of dirt roads and unmaintained town highways that dot the state. It didn’t take long before I was plotting long-distance routes and multi-day bikepacking trips that captured as many of these roads as possible and adding them to the bucket list.

I Love It When a Plan Comes Together: Bikepacking in the Pyrenees

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I Love It When a Plan Comes Together: Bikepacking in the Pyrenees

“I love it when a plan comes together.” That catchphrase that Hannibal Smith used in the eighties sitcom, The A-Team, could perfectly be the motto that has guided my professional career. I’m used to organising shoot productions, managing large teams, and to the volatility of people when working together. In my personal life, I have only recently learned to enjoy changing a route, any last-minute changes, and the excitement of improvisation. Therefore since I am by now used to plans going awry, I’m also well versed in re-routing them. Hence everything that happened on this bike tour around Val d’Aran didn’t lead to frustration.

A Goodday Romp with Rain Dog During Crested Butte’s Mud Season

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A Goodday Romp with Rain Dog During Crested Butte’s Mud Season

Having been a resident of western Pennsylvania for my entire existence has given me a supernatural view of real mountains. I understand that they are real, but part of me doesn’t grasp how something so magical and awe-inspiring is there for us to become a part of whenever we choose. Perhaps having grown up in a society where things like the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus were so embedded in our childhood has permanently skewed the collective vision of what is real instead of an illusion. Even when I’m touching the snow or granite rock, the concept that it is me, in the physical form present, and not a dream or a postcard, takes a fair amount of internal dialogue to accept the reality.

Swift Campout 2022: An Alpine Solstice Celebration

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Swift Campout 2022: An Alpine Solstice Celebration

For eight years running, around the time of the Summer Solstice, Swift Industries has put out a rallying cry for cyclo-touring enthusiasts the world-over to strap some bags to their bikes, head out for a couple days of pedaling and sleep on the ground. It’s a call to go out and have a memorable experience. The collective Swift Campout was this past weekend, but with some free time surrounding the actual Solstice, my partner Tony and I decided to ring in the best season for bikecamping a little early.