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Sean Conway: Europe or Bust – A Filmmaker’s View

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Sean Conway: Europe or Bust – A Filmmaker’s View

In 2017 German endurance cyclist Jonas Deichmann set the world record for cycling across Europe, fully self-supported, in an incredible 25 days. This is a 6500km journey, starting in Portugal on the Westernmost point, crossing a further 7 countries all the way to Ufa at the Easternmost point of Europe.

However, the world’s fastest cycling record is something that has eluded another endurance athlete for years. That of UK based and Zimbabwe-born, bearded adventurer Sean Conway. Sean has set other incredible records, including the first person to swim the length of Britain, and also setting a record for a full triathlon of the UK, where he cycled, ran than swam within a mile of the entire coast of mainland Britain. But a world’s fastest is something that came within his reach when he attempted the Europe crossing in 2017, the same years as Jonas’ record. Unfortunately for Sean, after just 1200km, when approaching the French Pyrenees, he had to pull out because of an injury.

Nothing but Warmth from Everyone We Met: Cycling in Ethiopia

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Nothing but Warmth from Everyone We Met: Cycling in Ethiopia

When Ethio Cycling Holidays reached out and asked if I had ever considered cycling in Ethiopia?
my answer was “No, but tell me more !”

Richard (one of the founders) showed me a few photos and told me about the rich culture and history of Ethiopia. “Wow!” I replied I’d love to make this happen.

It’s the 4th of March. My wife and I are making our way to London Heathrow Airport (Terminal 2) to begin our journey to Makelle, Ethiopia. The capital city of the Tigray region which is north of Addis Ababa. Before our flight to Makelle, we take an overnight flight to the Ethiopian Airlines hub in the capital city of Addis Ababa.

Finding Common Ground

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Finding Common Ground

I’m not at all accustomed to talking about my love for backcountry mountain biking within the confines of a stale hotel ballroom. In a past lifetime as a geologist, I gave plenty of ballroom presentations about glacial erosion, cosmogenic radionuclides, and Arctic climate change – it’s easy to get academics to connect to your words in such a bland setting. But how do a couple of mountain bikers get an audience of equestrians to connect with a shared passion for the backcountry from within the confines of a suburban cube?

Bikefishing on the Rancho Viejo Backcountry Loop with Tenkara Rods

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Bikefishing on the Rancho Viejo Backcountry Loop with Tenkara Rods

It’s no secret that the bicycle can be a vessel for linking together with other interests and hobbies. Be it pack rafting or in this case, fishing. The bicycle can get you deep into the backcountry in a relatively short amount of time, compared to hiking, and access areas autos or motos can’t go. With this mobility comes a few problems that require solving first, however. Mainly, how do you carry a fishing pole with you on a bike? Much less a fly rod? Sure, there are a lot of fly rods that pack down to a manageable size, but none are as compact as the mini, yet mighty Tenkara rods.

An Overnighter in the Santa Fe National Forest

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An Overnighter in the Santa Fe National Forest

The myriad of trails feels endless here in Santa Fe. With the town butting up against the National Forest with its multiple trail networks all interwoven, and a very popular downhill trail, tying a lot of them together, the possibilities for quick overnighters or bigger backcountry loops feels limitless. It wasn’t until this week that I tapped into its overnighter bicycle camping potential.

A Swell Time in the San Rafael Swell

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A Swell Time in the San Rafael Swell

Through the arid silence, you could hear the past rumble and scream.

The clangs and grunts and dust penetrated time, a ghost of the hurried chaos of carnotite extraction, the very earth from which we amassed the mineral components of uranium to drop the bombs on Japan. Makeshift stone huts, left behind by the miners, could be mistaken for thousand-year-old relics from the relentless winds, sun, and sandblasting of central Utah.

Learning from Los Angeles: Into the Verdugo Mountains with SRAM

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Learning from Los Angeles: Into the Verdugo Mountains with SRAM

I was an architect in my previous life. Before I began documenting cycling culture. One of my favorite architectural theorists is a fella named Rem Koolhaas. In his book, Delirious New York, he claims that “A city is a plane of tarmac with some red hot spots of urban intensity”. While the book is an examination of New York City, many have applied this observation to the sprawling city of Los Angeles.

TransCali: Bikepacking the Rubicon Trail

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TransCali: Bikepacking the Rubicon Trail

Sometimes the most gratifying journeys aren’t a product of being perfectly prepared; rather, they occur when you’re in the shit, working with the wrong tool for the job, and in spite of overwhelming odds, you scrape by. That’s precisely what took place this summer on a supremely challenging bike trip across the great Golden State.

Behind the Lens: Photoshoot in Simi Valley with Giro

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Behind the Lens: Photoshoot in Simi Valley with Giro

One of the ways we keep the lights on over here at the Radavist is I try to pick up as much commercial photography work as possible. A lot of which I won’t post here on the site but every so often, I get complete creative control and those shoots are always special to me. I will say when I do post the work here on the website you can rest assured I am not being paid to do so. I’m simply sharing because I’m really stoked on how these photos came out and this is a cycling website, right? This particular shoot covers a zone we haven’t shared much here on the Radavist, so everyone should get out and ride these trails if they have the chance! With that said, check out this Behind the Lens series featuring Giro’s new Manifest helmet in Simi Valley with Kathy Pruitt and Chris Akrigg

Longing to Escape: Barcelona Awakens After 50 Days of Lockdown

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Longing to Escape: Barcelona Awakens After 50 Days of Lockdown

When I was growing up, every night, my father would hang his next day’s clothing over the living room chair. I thought it a peculiar habit at the time.
But over the years, I learned there was wisdom in his actions.

This practice particularly helps on days when my body awakens long before my mind. There’s no precious time wasted starring at the wardrobe trying to make decisions that the mind is not capable of making. How is a brain expected to function when it has yet to leave the bedsheets?

Drawn Out: a Semi-Casual Expedition Through the Lost Sierra

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Drawn Out: a Semi-Casual Expedition Through the Lost Sierra

Tucked away in a sparsely populated region of Northern California, at the northern terminus of the Sierra Nevada range lies a land of dense, rolling forests, deep canyons, cold clear streams, and jagged peaks that tower over teal, post-glacial lakes.  And weaving their way through this serenely beautiful landscape is a network of ever-growing trails, the vast majority of which can be traversed by bike.

Baja Divide: Ruta de las Misiones

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Baja Divide: Ruta de las Misiones

Karla and I were on route before Covid-19 had been detected in Mexico, but as we saw the situation develop we decided to pause our trip and go home. It feels weird to have our outdoor space reduced to a small backyard after being on the limitless open road, but we stay positive and hope you’re all safe and to see you on the road once all this passes. Stay strong and cheers!

We leave San Ignacio and after a chill ride we make it to Laguna de San Ignacio where we join a whale watching tour. On our previous segment we had seen whales spout from the coast, but seeing them dive under the tiny boat we were on was an amazing experience. Back on dry land we stop at the tiny store in town for a quick resupply, where the lady behind the counter is actively scrolling on her phone and she expresses her concern about “the new virus”. This area relies heavily on sea related activities and the main buyer is China, but because of Covid-19 all product shipping has been stopped, leaving people without part of the income they count on for the rest of the year. She’s also worried about being in a touristy spot, where most of the visitors are from abroad.

Every Fool Has a Rainbow on El Camino Del Diablo

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Every Fool Has a Rainbow on El Camino Del Diablo

Before we all realized the great changes that were in store for us due to the increasing spread of COVID-19, six friends and I set out for a 3-day bike ride on the historic El Camino Del Diablo. The El Camino Del Diablo is believed to have started as a series of footpaths used by desert-dwelling Native Americans. Today, the Camino Del Diablo is a road only a lonely few have traveled that runs along Arizona’s southern border in a remote section of the Sonoran Desert. With signatures signed, safety videos watched, permits printed and a shuttle set, the crew was ready to roll out.

Mid South 2020: the Last Gravel Race on Earth

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Mid South 2020: the Last Gravel Race on Earth

To begin, it is important to say that I am not a doctor, a data analyst, or an economist. Am I an expert regarding the growing pandemic that is becoming one of the defining events of our lives? No, I am not. I am a bike mechanic who likes to take photos. There are smarter people out there who could (or should) be writing about this, but as it is, you have me. And I find it extremely difficult—even inappropriate—to talk about this year’s Mid South without acknowledging the massive elephant in the room. For some of you, these images or just the thought of a large group gathering may be upsetting. You would be right to feel that way, and I get it. If this were any other year, it would have been a widely celebrated event, filled with love and excitement from the greater cycling community. In a lot of ways, it still was. But given that upside-down is the new normal, here we are.

Indonesia: An Island Paradise but Not as You Know It

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Indonesia: An Island Paradise but Not as You Know It

Cocktails at the beach, world-renowned surf, and luscious ride patty fields. Great food, friendly people and a getaway from the hustle and bustle that is ‘Western Life.’ Sounds like a dream right? Well, it is…BUT, what if there was more? If I was to tell you that in addition to the above, this same destination was home to some of the most beautiful climbs on the face of the planet? What if there were wild monkeys swinging from above as you rode beneath the forest canopy on roads so perfect in places, that even the best roads of the first world would be put to shame. To be honest, even in writing this I excite my own senses from within. Sami Sauri and I have just spent 10 days exploring the islands of Bali and East Java on bike and can confirm that the above oasis does in-fact exists. It’s not a magical place from our dreams, but rather a short 2.5hr flight from Perth Western Australia. Paradise does exist, but not as you know it…

Anchorage GRIT: Girls Riding Into Tomorrow

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Anchorage GRIT: Girls Riding Into Tomorrow

Traveling by bike is inspiring and stimulating. From the saddle, you have time to think and dream. It’s dynamic. Pushing the pedals pumps blood. You breathe more air. you are enveloped in nature. There is so much to experience and interpret. If you’re riding with friends, you share ideas and maybe you build dreams together– layers of big ideas, feelings, details, reality, time, reflection and how you can really pull it all off. A great idea is very different from execution. You don’t have to be the best or the most organized to do something good. And you don’t have to know every possible outcome from the start. Adventure is stepping into the unknown. It’s scary and exciting and always requires more work than you really want to put in, but you follow through anyway because you have guts and you care.

In the spring of 2017, while riding the Baja Divide, Cait Rodriguez and I hatched the idea for Anchorage GRIT.

Wayward Duck Decoys and a Few Dingdongs: Bikerafting the San Juan River

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Wayward Duck Decoys and a Few Dingdongs: Bikerafting the San Juan River

Last Fall when planning my trip to Colorado for a beta-trip with Lizzy Scully and Steve “Doom” Fassbinder of Four Corners Guides bikepacking in the Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Park, they invited me to double down for the week and do a bike rafting trip near Kayenta, AZ on the Navajo Nation. If you are like me and have literally spent hours pouring over maps and cryptic hints trying to decipher some of Doom’s trips then the obvious answer to being invited on a bikerafting trip with Dr. Doom himself was a no-fucking-brainer. I just had to prep myself to not be too star-struck. 

Baja Divide: Tour De Vizcaino

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Baja Divide: Tour De Vizcaino

Last year, my partner Karla and I rode the northern half of the Baja Divide which soon, and as expected, became the hardest pedaling we had ever done, but also one of the most fulfilling experiences of our lives so when we went home we just kept on dreaming about going back for the second half of it.