Only thirteen more days until the Summer Solstice and the Swift Campout, an evening of bicycle camping under the stars with friends in your city. To find out more information, head to Swift Industries.
Watching this video reminds me of riding from Brooklyn to Philly a few times, a few years back. Northeast winters are so picturesque.
A couple weeks back I shared a set of rider portraits from a trip we took out of Vancouver and across Howe Sound to the Sunshine Coast. It was a simple winter overnighter, mostly on rural roads, with a great group of friends. Geoff and Pat, who are preparing to ride the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route this summer, keep track of their rides at Steel and Rubber with route data, travel stories, and great photos.
Check out a selection of Geoff’s photos below and head to Steel and Rubber for the gallery and story!
Photos and words by Morgan Taylor.
Here in Vancouver we’ve been experiencing one of the coldest winters in decades, with more days below freezing than I can ever remember. Over the past six weeks, since firing up #coffeeoutsideyvr, there’s been much talk of packing up and getting out for some overnights. And lately, with sunset already an hour later than it was at solstice, it was imminent that the talk become action.
Words and photos by Morgan Taylor.
They told us not to ride bikes in Yellowstone National Park. Why? Mostly the roads: little to no shoulder and overrun by tourists in RVs. That’s enough to spur some questions for a potential traveler, and with a quick bit of research, you’ll find the camping situation looks dire – especially from a cyclist’s perspective. Where can you even buy food that isn’t in an overpriced restaurant? And what’s there to see beyond geysers and animals, anyway? Maybe they were right.
Words and photos by Morgan Taylor.
Montana, oh Montana. In Montana we battled the desire for stillness with the impetus to keep moving. We sat and watched animals, we spent time in new places that excited us very much, we batted away mosquitoes and fled from them. We pedaled day by day, sometimes through remote terrain, not seeing anyone else for hours or possibly days at a time. We found our way.
Words and photos by Morgan Taylor.
Bikes instead of flights. That was the idea. Stephanie and I have been scheming on this plan for quite a while – about nine months to be exact. You see, we got married back in October, and wanted to go on an extended trip to celebrate. Over the winter we threw ideas around about what kinds of bikes we could ride on our honeymoon trip, and then keep running as fun all-rounders when we were back home.
We landed on the Soma Wolverine, a bike that in its few short years has developed a bit of a cult following. What surprised me, however, is that not many people had built these bikes with 27.5 wheels. There were so few people out there doing it that I wondered whether it would work out. I calculated wheel diameters, I stuffed various wheels into Wolverine frames on trips to the city, and I eventually decided that 27.5 with a larger volume tire was our ticket. More on the bikes in a later piece, though.
As the months moved along, a plan came together to ride straight from home in southeast BC, over the two mountain chains to the Rockies, and loosely follow the Continental Divide with national parks in our sights. Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton were within striking distance. At some point we’d head west, likely to northern California to see Yosemite and the Sierras on the way to Los Angeles. None of this was set in stone, though; we simply wanted to follow our noses and local recommendations on a mixed surface adventure through the western US.
For the past 25 some-odd years, the Mount Wilson Bicycling Association has claimed Henninger Flats as the official, yet unofficial campground for cycling enthusiasts in Los Angeles. In that time, various events have brought men and women to its cliff’s edge overlook of the city to share stories and bond. The great outdoors are like that.
So when Swift Industries announced the Swift Summer Solstice Campout again this year, Golden Saddle Cyclery, along with Ray and some MWBA OGs proposed Henninger be the destination. It’d be a perfect way to introduce bicycle campers, bicycle tourers and bike packers to this age-old tradition. Think about it this way: for as long as mountain biking has been a thing, people have been bicycle camping up here!
… thanks to everyone that came out! Expect a full write-up tomorrow. Now enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Roll With It in the South: A Florida Watercolor Sketchbook
Illustrations by Chris McNally, words by John Watson
Recently, Blackburn has been premiering their Roll With It film in various places around the country. To coincide with this premiere, artist Chris McNally submitted his watercolor sketchbook from the trip for us to share here on the Radavist. These are the sketches he made while on the bicycle tour through the deep, deep south. Enjoy!
If you’d like to read Brian Vernor’s trip report, make sure you check that out too!
Jay Barre’s Bike-In Birthday Bash!
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley
A couple weeks ago I heard that the boys from Topanga Creek Bicycle were heading to Mt. Lowe Trail Camp for their Unpredict Your Wednesday event. In case you aren’t familiar with the event – TCB goes camping every Tuesday night and then does some kind of epic ride wherever they might be on Wednesday. It is basically one of the coolest things that any bike shop has ever done. I am not able to make it to these events very often because of my work schedule and/or the location mixed with my lack of car. So when I found out about the proximity of this particular Unpredict Your Wednesday, along with the fact that my buddy Jay Barre from TCB celebrated his birthday a few days before, I knew I had to be there.
Topanga Creek is open on Tuesday so it made the most sense to meet above Mt. Lowe Trail Camp, off Mt. Wilson Road, and drop down into camp rather than riding from the city. After setting up camp I asked if anyone wanted to head up to Inspiration Point with me and was surprised that so many of the people with us had never been. We took a quick moonlit ride up there before returning to camp to kick back, have a few beers and tell stories until we couldn’t hold our eyes open anymore.
There’s an old saying: “wherever your relationship is going, it’ll get there faster on a _____ ride.” Whether it’s a bicycle tour, mountain bike, group, or tandem ride, new relationships often encounter stress that can either solidify or deteriorate your bond. Acknowledging this, I planned out Cari’s first bikepacking, or rather bicycle camping trip together with a certain degree of trepidation. Knowing Cari’s background of extensive backpacking, I planned out a quick, but somewhat difficult ride for us to undertake in the Sequoia National Forest.
Let me backpedal a bit here and give you a brief synopsis of Cari’s background. In her 20 years of backpacking, she’s undertaken a series of difficult multi-day trips throughout the Western United States. She’s hiked Whitney, Half Dome, Rae Lakes, Lost Coast and various other undertakings that are far from beginner. When she and I first started dating, she had a commuter bike but other than riding around Los Angeles, she had very little experience, especially on dirt. I explained the premise behind bicycle camping, touring and bikepacking, with the differences in each outlined. “You basically carry everything you need on your bike, rather than your back, and you can cover more ground on various terrain…” She seemed to gravitate towards bikepacking since the idea of dealing with cars isn’t all that appealing to a backcountry explorer. I agreed and began planning.
Initially, I had one ride planned in the Eastern Sierras but this time of year meant it could still be snowing at 10,000′, so I began looking a little further south before landing in the Sequoias – one of my favorite parts of California.
… for the next few days, but don’t worry, there’s tons of content rolling in. I’ll be back on Thursday but in the meanwhile, follow @TheRadavist on Instagram!
Great job, guys!
“From solemn overlooks to raucous gourmet meals over bonfires, the two days of Ride Alive meander like the routes they follow. Groups clamor up hiking trails and paddleboard en masse. Rie Sawada is moved by nature as surely as she moves through it.
Many people talk about whether they prefer beach vacations or trips to the mountains. Some like both. They each offer their own sense of scale, their own forces of nature to cooperate and collaborate with. The tides are moved by the moon’s gravity, as we climb and descend mountains, we’re moved by the earth’s. To choose land or sea is to miss the point. Only by considering the whole can we truly appreciate the parts.On Ride Alive, participants work individually towards a common goal. Communal campouts at the end of a day of individual exploration, a convivial toast to adventurous solitude. ”
See more at Terasu.
I was long overdue for a work-related trip…
After packing my bags and my bike into a box, I boarded a plane for one of my favorite cycling destination cities in the US: San Francisco. Let’s backtrack a bit first though. In SF, it’s essential to stay with friends, if you have any that live there. Luckily, I have a few and one couple has been my go-to host home in recent trips: Erik and Sofia from the Great Escape.
When I asked Erik if I could crash with him while I was in town, he obliged and then invited me on a impromptu camping trip the Saturday I arrived into town. My flight got in late, so as I was packing my bike, I loaded my Porcelain Rocket bags with the gear I’d need for a sub-24 hour jaunt into some Marin hills.
Some dirt, some coffee and summer solstice. The #SwiftCampout ride in Austin tomorrow is gonna be a blast. Check out some other rides happening across the globe at Swift Industries.
Lauren and I have done plenty of camping and she’s done her share of cycling around town, but we’ve never gone on a bicycle camping trip together. Yesterday morning, I was surprised to hear her ask if I wanted to get in some tent time before I headed out on the road again on Friday.
So last night, I packed up some bags, a tent, my trusty Lodge cast iron skillet and food for two meals. We headed out to the closest state park in the area: McKinney Falls. The route there is pretty easy, even loaded down with a bunch of gourmet food, wine, a hatchet and a skillet. I took it slow and coached Lauren through the climbs, we stopped for photos and tried our best to ignore the impatient rush-hour traffic zipping past. The weather looked nice, with bright blue sunny skies. It didn’t rain this go-round, but it was still quite enjoyable…
I didn’t think this mandated a whole gallery, so check out a scrolling story below.
People have asked me this more than just about anything else when it comes to bicycle camping: tent or hammock? Before we dive right in, I want to clarify that those aren’t the only options. You can also use a bivy or just a sleeping bag on a tarp. I’ve done it all and over the years, I’ve dialed in what I would consider a great system for selecting which will work for you.