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Snow and Sunsets in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains: Things to be Thankful For

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Snow and Sunsets in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains: Things to be Thankful For

What a year it’s been. To be honest, as the editor/owner/curator of this website, I was very nervous about how we would survive the pandemic and subsequent lockdown. So much of my work that goes into this site is about traveling to other communities, documenting shops, group rides, races, and yeah, people’s bikes. All that was put on hold and we had to resort to more bike galleries and reviews than I’m used to.

My passion comes from the aforementioned activities and while I love bikes, I love what they create and enable even more. All year, I’ve been personally battling a pendulum of moods but one thing that has been the great equalizer is a jaunt into our mountains, the Sangre de Cristo Range, the southernmost tip of the Rocky Mountains. Living on the last stop on the Colorado Plateau has its perks I suppose and a simple hour or two-long pedal in the foothills often gives me perspective that is much-needed in this year of uncertainty. It’s something I have to remind myself daily. Yesterday was a perfect example.

Golden State Skyline: Riding to and Climbing California’s Tallest Peaks

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Golden State Skyline: Riding to and Climbing California’s Tallest Peaks

The Golden State Skyline is a human-powered, self-supported linkup of all fifteen 14,000’ peaks in California, stretching from Mt. Shasta in the Cascades to Mt. Langley, the southern tip of the Sierra. Along with my friends Jonny Morsicato and Charlie Firer, followed by film crew Colin Rex and Nick Smillie, I set off to complete the Golden State Skyline on August 14. Our planned route covered 800 miles by bike, 100 miles on foot, and 100,000 feet of vertical gain, including technical difficulties up to 5.9. But life had other plans…

Super Jambo Grom Pre 200

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Super Jambo Grom Pre 200

Shit on it, vomit on it, give birth to it… that’s what it’s like organising the Super Jambo Grom Pre 200. An informal 200km gravel event on Ngarigo land, Yaouk Valley, in my home country, Australia. An event that centres all the things we have learnt this year – but also to get loose and have some well-earned fun!

Time Moves Slow: San Francisco to San Diego

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Time Moves Slow: San Francisco to San Diego

While I can’t recall when the seed of this idea was planted, by early spring our plan to escape the reality of 2020 by riding from San Francisco to San Diego was beginning to take root. The year had started upbeat as I’m sure is the case for most people at the beginning of most years, but before long it took a hard turn in the other direction. Starting with a whiplash-inducing breakup that led to moving back to my parents’ house outside of Denver; those events seem small now in the context of everything that followed. As Covid 19 swept the planet and most of humanity began to shelter in place, our collective grief and anxiety began to feel like the status quo. As the days passed at a glacial pace (that was somehow simultaneously lightning fast), the snow in Colorado melted and this idea began to sprout as the earth began to thaw. At the same time, my best friend was dealing with his own lockdown situation down in Baja. Lorenzo had moved down to Ensenada late in 2019 to open a Gelato place (appropriately named “El Gelato”) and was absolutely killing it in the gelato game, helped in no small part to being probably the only gelateria in all of Baja. But when Covid hit, it hit hard and the dusty little town he was calling home completely shut down. With nowhere to go and nothing to do, I started receiving regular text messages from him about riding away from all this bullshit.

Cool Breeze in Nutmeg Country: Crust Chapter II

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Cool Breeze in Nutmeg Country: Crust Chapter II

Sometime back in late February the event calendar for Team Brooks Cool Breeze looked like any stadium tour you’d expect for such a glamorous gaggle of athletes.  Grav’l, touring, MTB, hang gliding, street luging…. you name it, we were gonna do it.  Times were fast, relaxing, and exciting, but little did we know that even lifestyle celebrity “athletes” would have little fun in the months to come.

We Went to Say Goodbye to the Summer, but Summer Ain’t Going Nowhere: The Swift Campout Equinox Overnight

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We Went to Say Goodbye to the Summer, but Summer Ain’t Going Nowhere: The Swift Campout Equinox Overnight

After spending a long, confusing summer mostly indoors because of you-know-what, my partner Karla and I were itching to ride somewhere and sleep outside. We decided to use the Swift Campout global call as an excuse for setting up a date and we made an open invitation for the local community to join as some of our friends had expressed interest in camping by bike. I had never organized a group ride, I’m not very fond of them myself, but I thought that minimal organization could make for a memorable experience while still keeping it self-supported.

Glorious CDT Singletrack on the Hopewell Gold Loop

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Glorious CDT Singletrack on the Hopewell Gold Loop

With New Mexico’s pandemic protocol still on lockdown and new restrictions rolling in each week, we’ve been looking to our backyard of Northern New Mexico for quick-n-easy jaunts to break the monotony of riding the same ol’ trails in our home town of Santa Fe. Our most recent outing brought a small group of us up to the Hopewell Lake region of the Continental Divide Trail for a short but sweet singletrack ride and fire road climb through tunnels of golden changing leaves. Read on for some notes on beautiful autumn riding…

Bike-Camping Along Michigan’s North Country Trail on the Bombtrack Beyond+ ADV

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Bike-Camping Along Michigan’s North Country Trail on the Bombtrack Beyond+ ADV

The North Country Trail

Way back in the mid-80’s I was born about 30 minutes outside of Detroit, Michigan. The area I was in did not exactly lend itself to cycling becoming a hobby at the time, so I really never became interested in bikes and the outdoors until I moved to California and found the mountains as an adult. Fast forward to 2020 when my plans to ride through far-flung mountains in Asia all summer came grinding to a halt along with everyone else’s lives, I found myself back in Michigan for an unknown period of time.

Dzil Ta’ah Adventure’s Navajo Youth Bikepacking Adventure Series:  John’s Canyon

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Dzil Ta’ah Adventure’s Navajo Youth Bikepacking Adventure Series: John’s Canyon

Recently, the Navajo Nation reinstated a 57-hour weekend lockdown due to the spikes in COVID in several communities. This put a hold on our first official Dzil Ta’ah Adventures youth bikepacking series outing in Nazlini, which was originally slated for September 26th. Once the lockdown is lifted, which we hope will be soon, we will proceed as planned with the Dine Composite participants. With the postponement of our first trip, we felt like this was an opportunity to leverage the extra time and continue to shape our mentorship program and build more of my team’s dexterity with an outing in John’s Canyon, Utah, at the southwestern base of Cedar Mesa.

Learning to Love Local: Bikepacking in the Age of Covid

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Learning to Love Local: Bikepacking in the Age of Covid

March 14, 2020, seemed like a normal Saturday ride for our group of gravel enthusiasts (the “Dirty Bird Crew”). Our route guru Brian had put together another fantastic route, exploring dirt roads and trails a short drive from New York City. Every weekend, year-round, we are out exploring the (surprisingly!) high-quality dirt roads and trails in the greater NYC area. We’ve gone out in nearly every weather condition, from swimming holes in the summer, to snow rides in the winter, and even riding across frozen lakes with studded tires when it’s bitterly cold, but nothing had prepared us for the months ahead. Drinking post-rode beers there was some talk about Covid-19 and the possibility that we may be working from home for a few days. We said our goodbyes until next weekend, but little did we know this would be our last group ride for months.

A Pyroclastic Pedal: Bike Fishing the Valles Caldera National Preserve

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A Pyroclastic Pedal: Bike Fishing the Valles Caldera National Preserve

1.25 million years ago, a volcanic event occurred just 40 miles northwest of what is now called Santa Fe, New Mexico. A large reservoir of magma was emptied as lava erupted from the earth’s crust, causing a massive depression. Upon this collapse, a 13-mile wide caldera in the middle of the Jemez Mountains was formed.

This area is the Valles Caldera National Preserve and is America’s newest National Preserve. The best part about the Valles Caldera is currently, due to the pandemic, it’s open to cycling and closed to automobiles and if bike fishing is your thing, it’s also free to fish, pending a New Mexico Fishing License and a free VCNP fishing permit.

We’ve got a great loop for you to check out that crosses this expansive caldera and brings you right up to some prime cut bank fishing. Check it out in this gallery from our ride in September.

Film Rolls, Two Burritos, and One Fast Mountain Trout: Bicycle Touring the Northern New Mexico CDT

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Film Rolls, Two Burritos, and One Fast Mountain Trout: Bicycle Touring the Northern New Mexico CDT

As someone who tends to spend seven months out of the year on the road, away from home, 2020 has been a welcomed change, albeit with some major adjustments. Stay at home orders in New Mexico are some of the strictest in the United States and this forced me to look to my new home state for rides and trips. Suddenly, I found myself living at the threshold of beautiful high-country riding with endless possibilities for bicycle touring and mountain biking. To put it mildly, my relocation to Santa Fe has opened up a whole world of opportunity.

It took me a while to adjust to living at 7,000′ and a big part of that adjustment has been facilitated by riding with my fast and fit friend, Bailey Newbrey. Bailey’s accolades need no introduction here and it should be no surprise to any of you that he is an incredible rider. He’s so fast that I jokingly refer to him as the “mountain trout on two wheels.”

Disputed territory, A Visit To Akimel O’odham Land

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Disputed territory, A Visit To Akimel O’odham Land

Security in México is a topic I don’t usually talk about; in order to keep myself from falling into hopelessness, I try to focus and highlight the good actions of people. Nevertheless, it’s like a pebble that you always carry in your pocket: you know it’s there, you touch it when you reach for other stuff, and although you are mostly used to it, some days it just decides to poke your leg. Adventure cyclists in the country generally have this factor in consideration at different levels depending on region and other circumstances, so here we’ll go a little over the topic but hey, there are some happy parts in this story too, for good balance.

Lael Rides Alaska: Alaskan Island Time

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Lael Rides Alaska: Alaskan Island Time

We continue our Lael Rides Alaska series with a beautiful story from a series of rides on some of Alaska’s islands. Check out more from this series in the ‘Related’ column below when you’re done reading this entry. Enjoy!

Staring at maps in 2017 on my mission to ride all of the major roads in Alaska, I was drawn in by a few remote destinations with more extensive road networks, specifically Nome, Kodiak Island, and Prince of Wales Island. In that summer, I made it to Nome and rode the three roads out of town— to the native village of Teller, to the river that leads to the historic gold mining town of Council, and to the active mining road that ends at the Kougarok River for a total of 230 miles.

The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 Ride

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The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 Ride

Logo by Sam Scipio

While it was the most violent in Illinois history, the Chicago Race Riot of 1919 still remains widely unknown to many. The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 Route Campaign honors the centennial of the riot in 2019 and is a collaboration between PeopleForBikes, Ride Spot, Newberry Library . The CRR1919 Commemoration Project to educate riders about a bitter piece of Chicago’s past while supporting a better future through Blackstone Bicycle Works’ efforts with youth on Chicago’s South Side.

-The goal is to inspire 300 riders to complete the CRR1919 route before Oct 31.
-If we succeed in activating riders and sell all of the CRR1919 Guidebooks, we will raise $7500 for Blackstone Bicycle Works, a non-profit program to expanding the educational and vocational opportunities of BIPOC youth on Chicago’s South Side and contribute to the CRR1919 Public Art Commemoration Project.

This year, riders can follow that same route thanks to Ride Spot. By downloading the mobile app and joining the Chicago Race Riot of 1919 Route challenge, riders will be guided by turn-by-turn directions to each stop along the route.

They can also download or stream an audio tour or purchase a limited edition  1919 CRR Route Guidebook for $10 with 100% of the proceeds donated to Blackstone Bicycle Works and The CRR1919 Commemoration Public Art Project.

To learn more, see the route and access the companion guides, visit CRR1919.COM.

Crossing the Big Empty: Confessions from Chris Burkard on the Trans-Icelandic Bikepacking Route

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Crossing the Big Empty: Confessions from Chris Burkard on the Trans-Icelandic Bikepacking Route

Editor’s intro: I’ve long been inspired by the work of Chris Burkard, particularly his work in Iceland, so when I saw he had taken up bikepacking and was about to embark on a crazy tour across Iceland’s interior, I reached out to see if he’d be willing to share his story. Read on below for an intro by Chris and an interview…

Desert Pack: A Group of Women on a Solo Mission – Bikepacking the San Rafael Swell

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Desert Pack: A Group of Women on a Solo Mission – Bikepacking the San Rafael Swell

The hot desert sun beats down on us. Sand whips around as the wind picks up speed. We follow a narrow path that hugs the base of prehistoric cliffs with contrasting sandstone layers, each representing a different geological epoch. Birds fly in and out of small “huecos”, holes carved into the rock high above. Glove Mallow flowers sway in the wind. My friends Franny Weikert, Torie Lindskog, Suzy Williams, and I are approaching the steepest climb of our bikepacking trip through the San Rafael Swell in Utah. We’re weekend warriors and set aside a few days to bike the route. We fled to the desert in hopes of a break from the stress of our everyday lives. What we thought would just be a 3-day bikepacking trip and a chance to make some new friends, turned into an unexpected adventure full of memories we’d never forget.

Lose Yourself with Andréane Lanthier Nadeau: One of the Fastest in the World!

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Lose Yourself with Andréane Lanthier Nadeau: One of the Fastest in the World!

While I was driving out to meet Andréane Lanthier Nadeau, all I could hear in my head was Eminem’s Lose Yourself, “If you had one shot or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it?” I know that’s a little dramatic, right? But maybe not…I knew Andréane and I would only have a few runs to shoot, and after hearing Nikki Smith speak at this year’s Frostbike, explaining how important it was to show real people, people of all walks of life, people of all different colors and genders doing their craft, not just standing with their bikes. I knew this was important. I also knew that ALN, short for Andréane Lanthier Nadeau would crush it, but I was skeptical of my talent behind the camera. I needed to nail what few photos I would be able to take because she was leaving for her home in Canada the next day and wouldn’t be back in Southern California for a year. So yes, I literally only had one opportunity to show y’all how ALN is one of the greatest mountain bikers I have ever ridden with and spoken to.