Today, Brian ‘Safa’ Wagner, cyclist and filmmaker, announced in a video on his YouTube channel that he and two of his talented friends—Alex Colorito (videographer) and Taylor Dawson (cyclist)—are departing on Saturday (July 2, 2023) for a European bike adventure. Over ten days, the crew will enjoy a route that crosses the Pyrenees and includes a total distance of 1,000 kilometers and 22,000 meters of climbing. They will depart from San Sebastian, Spain—one day after the Tour de France Grand Départ—pedal over iconic cols and mountain passes in France, through Andorra, and then descend into Barcelona to complete their route.
Petor Georgallou steals his sister away as a (reluctant) partner in crime to check out the Brother in the Wild Dorset, hosted by Brother Cycles. He’s pleased to find a “field full of weirdos” and a plethora of equally unique and odd bikes and, it turns out, everyone’s nice. Stick around near the end for a lengthy discussion on the merits and cost of silver brazing, and a sampling of the bikes that made an appearance.
It’s always great to get a chance to cross paths with internet acquaintances on the road and there are very few places like the Boyacá region of Colombia that enable that, thanks to Dean and Dang’s classic “Oh Boyacá!” route. I was heading north along the track while most are aimed southbound, which found me crossing with long and short-distance tourers on a daily basis while grinding up these infamous Colombian mountain passes. I spent some miles with two UK riders and, of course, we talked gear. Read on for a recap of our overnighter around the El Cocuy National Park and a closer look at Joe’s Mason Cycles RAW Andean Tourer.
Wild horses, high mountains, glaciers, and nomads—Ana Zamorano first heard stories of adventure and misadventure from bike touring in Kyrgyzstan while riding in The Andes. The allure of adventure was too enticing and she made a pact to experience the vast valleys and high passes of the Tian Shan Mountains herself. Read on for her retelling of a trip that included loaded high-altitude touring, a glimpse into the region’s nomadic culture, and endless mountains in the distance.
Dennis Lastochkin walks, or rather rides, us through his win at the East Texas Showdown. Brainchild of Patrick Farnsworth from the Bikes or Death podcast, the early March event feels like a season opener of sorts for the multi-day endurance crowd and traverses 400 miles through southeastern Texas. Check out this from-the-saddle tale of bikepacking’s “Super Bowl.”
In late April, Ryan le Garrec rode his bike from Madrid to the start of the Border Bash Aragon, a gravel camp in the Aragon region of Spain. The event is not a race but simply a way for riders interested in camaraderie and sharing big days to meet in a beautiful place. Along with stories about a few characters he met at the bash, Ryan shares words from the organizer on the event’s intent, and Ryan’s own perspective on these “non-race” events.
As riders prepare for the 2023 Tour Divide Grand Depart, Mitchell Connell reflects on his time riding a section of the Divide with Baker Donahue and Will Reynolds, who were headed north from Antelope Wells, NM to Banff, Alberta. In this clever piece, Mitchell intersperses his retelling of the trip with the riders’ “top five” responses to a variety of prompts and, in doing so, distills down the meaningful aspects of a lengthy bike tour. What top five questions would you ask?
Founded in 2016 by Jon Yazzie and Nadine Johnson, DziłTa’ah Adventures runs bike and packraft tours from their home base in the town of Kayenta inside the Navajo Nation. While we’ve documented multiple experiences with the nascent outfitter – including Hunt’s Mesa, John’s Canyon, Yellow Dirt routes, and others – getting the business off the ground hasn’t been easy for John and Nadine. Last winter, Josh Weinberg reconnected with Jon, along with a group of photographers including Chris Burkard, Jeremy Bishop, and Murray Smith for an unforgettable tour along one of DziłTa’ah Adventures’ most popular routes to learn about what’s next for their guiding operation…
For the sixth time, the Gosh Darn Gravel Gathering popped up in the hills and hollows of Hickman County, Tennessee. Each route was jam-packed with a variety of gravel and a multitude of creek crossings. Riders take their pick of the 19, 42, 63, and 100-mile routes. The goal is not to win, but to simply have a gosh darn good time.
Crossing any foreign country alone is a daunting quest. In shaky moments I turn to my heroes, the women who boil their fears until they evaporate into courage. Legends like Robyn Davidson, who famously walked her camels across the empty Australian outback to the Indian Ocean and wrote about it in her book “Tracks,” whose pages revealed the mayhem and mystique of solo desert expeditions. Upon reading her account, I envisioned my own voyage across the country. Where Davidson chose camels, I chose a bicycle.
Heatwave induced mirages are nothing outside of the norm in one of Earth’s harshest desert environments. Many times while cycling Australia I caught my thoughts drifting back to Africa, on my first monumental bike voyage from Cairo to Cape Town. The similarities of the two lands were palpable: Australia’s outback terrain akin to sand dunes of the Saharan Desert, and Down Under roadhouses seemed close cousins of remote Sudanese cafeterias. In both places the feeling of complete surrender to mother nature’s extreme weather arsenal was nearly identical, and total. Nevertheless, an unmistakable boundary separated how I approached the two journeys: a traditional touring outfit in Africa versus a lighter bikepacking setup in Australia.
After a string of injury, Denver Luttrell rediscovers the freedom of bike touring and the mysticism of natural spaces with a multi-sport trip through the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Arizona. Read on for his reflections on lessons learned through injury alongside his thoughts and film photos from the trip!
I was leading the pack towards the tail end of the first annual Dirtbag Cycles Rambler on Vancouver Island. We were riding through the last singletrack section of the 90-ish km ride, and only I knew what was coming. After a quick 90-degree turn off the main trail, the forest opened up into a powerline clearing with about a half-kilometer descent. I heard behind me someone say “Oh shit, here we go!” and then all 15 of my fellow riders started hooting and hollering. I let go of the brakes and took off, reassured that the experience I’d been planning for the better part of a year had ended up being exactly what I hoped for.
You never know when life is going to take a dramatic turn. On the cusp of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, Ryan le Garrec set out to explore a route linking the Portuguese capital, Lisboa, to a border town in Spain, Badajoz. On his way, he found nothing much else than the blissful privilege of getting bored on a bike. In his FAIL 9 film, he reveals the poetry, the emptiness, and the loneliness the road can expose, yet completes the ride with a renewed sense of gratitude for the freedom to roam after learning of the irrevocable events being waged further east.
Emily Bei Cheng and a group of friends spend the Christmas holiday bike touring in México. With a planned route from México City to Oaxaca, Emily reflects on why bike touring feels like a more genuine way to engage with the people and places they encounter along the way.
Looking for a touring route in South America? Ryan Wilson‘s your guy. How about Central Asia? Yep, he’s been there too. If you’re stewing on a trip, or just looking for a little visual inspiration, check out this greatest hits round up from Ryan’s travels featuring his eight favorite bike touring routes around the world.
We were chilling in a hostel in Kathmandu, enjoying warm showers and the internet when I realized this Coronavirus situation was getting serious. In a few days, Ryan Wilson and I had packed up, booked tickets to wherever we considered home at the time (aka with the parents, as we were both on an open-ended bike trip), said goodbye, and flew out. It turned out to be a wise decision, as in the next weeks the world would go into hibernation.
And so I found myself swapping the tent for my childhood bedroom. In lockdown. My surroundings had never felt so tight. Mapping out routes was still not boring though. And since I found myself living in Greece again after almost ten years away it became evident that this was the perfect time to plan a multi-day bikepacking tour through the Greek mountains: The Pindus Traverse.
Fresh pulls of espresso waltz through a cold September morning, dancing alongside a particular brand of nervous excitement. It’s a certain hum I’ve come to understand as unique to the start of bikepacking trips and the suckers who choose such endeavors as their vacation. Strangers who will become good friends in a few short miles clear the frogs from their throats to answer early morning queries about their hometowns, bike set-ups, and handlebar tchotchkes over hot breakfast burritos and steamy lattes slung by Autobahn Coffee as we all wait for the start of the Salsa Cycles Ochoco Overlander.
The Huracan 300 ain’t no trip to Disney World. Born from over 15 years of local land protection advocacy and route development, this 370+ mile bikepacking event showcases the finest, and sometimes forgotten, backcountry of central Florida. After making the voyage to the start line four times, Andy Karr writes about the routes’ rugged appeal and how it came to be.