“Crisscrossing the Continental Divide for 2,450 miles between Banff in the Canadian Rockies and Antelope Wells on the Mexican border, the Great Divide is one the world’s most iconic long distance mountain biking routes. On this sky high trail, there’s no such thing as a regular ride. But even by ultra cycling standards, Lael Wilcox’s history on the route is a colourful one.
In 2015, Lael raced the Tour Divide – an event that follows the route – and set a new women’s course record despite having to ride herself to an emergency room en route to deal with a persistent breathing issue. But rather than celebrating her achievement, Lael set out to better it. Just two weeks later, she rode to the start from her home in Alaska, took on the trail for a second time and lowered her own record by another day and a half.
Today, the outright course record is held by the late long-distance legend Mike Hall, whose time of 13 days 22 hours and 51 minutes has stood since 2016. Inspired by Mike’s methodical approach to managing the mileage but convinced she can beat the record, Lael is returning to the Rockies with unfinished business. In the latest episode of Rapha Gone Racing, we document her latest record attempt and follow her as she runs into issues much bigger than any bike ride.”
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the Bikepacking Roots “Go Bikepacking!” event put on in conjunction with Mountain Bike the Tetons in Idaho’s Teton Valley. I was asked by my friends and mentors, as well as the co-founders of Bikepacking Roots, Kurt Refsnider, and Kait Boyle to come and ride bikes and take photos of the event. Reconnecting with rad folks, riding and camping in a new place, and busting out the camera after a hiatus of doing most of those things sounded like a great way to spend a weekend.
This summer has been a torrent of visitors rolling through Santa Fe either on road trips or bike tours and this week, we had a full house with two guests spending the night before rolling south. Andy and Kevin are from the DC area and returned to New Mexico to travel south to Las Cruces over the next nine days. On their way out of town, I took some quick photos of their setups, fully loaded with water, their gear, and some extra pizza from our dinner the night before. I know how much people love to see bikes all rigged out, so check out some quick “Fully Loaded” detail photos below, along with a portrait shot with our other special guest this week…
The Denali Highway is often referred to as one of the loneliest roads in America. It’s a bumpy, and inconvenient road that spans more than 130 miles, mostly above treeline, along the Alaskan Range. I visited the Denali Highway for a brief time years ago and that visit stuck with me. I knew I had to go back and this past summer, with my husband and a small group of friends, we did.
As cyclists, perhaps it’s our nature to see a road and want to ride it. This specific dirt road lives just outside of one of the most famous national parks in the world, and while many confuse it as the road to the park, it no longer serves that purpose. It’s host to grizzly bears, caribou, ptarmigans, and moose. It’s old, it takes a while to get to, and even longer to drive across. In the winter, the road and almost all of the lodges along it succumb to ice and snow, leaving a very small window of summertime when it erupts in color and becomes passable to cars. At about 130 miles from end-to-end, riding its length or close to it seemed just long enough to feel like a tangible challenge to us: consecutive 100+ mile days, on fully loaded bikes, and on a road, we were all curious to see from two wheels. Our ride would be a two-day out and back between the towns of Cantwell and Paxson. I haven’t done much bike touring, and none of us seemed all that excited about tent camping in Grizz country, so we booked lodging along the way.
It seemed like the second we booked our tickets, my husband Aaron, who is also the owner, and visionary at Mosaic Cycles, drafted plans for a new adventure model, The GTX. This was a bike that he’d been scheming in his mind for years: a big-tired gravel bike geared towards adventure riding and touring. Most of our trips present new opportunities for Aaron to design and build our next dream bikes. Lucky me, I just get to ride them.
Last summer, we featured The Coyote Collective’s Fastest Known Time attempt to link all the 14,000-ft. Peaks in California under human power. Now, we are proud to share their short film documenting the journey, A Study of Self.
“Hypothesis: The California 14ers could be linked up by bike in under 9 days, covering 800 miles of riding, 100 miles of running, and nearly 100K of vertical gain. In August 2020, we set out to test the hypothesis, starting from Mt. Shasta. Charlie, Jonny, and I rode our bikes, and Colin and Nick followed along in the van, filming and having an adventure of their own. We didn’t know how things would unfold, only how hard we’d worked to make it all come together, and how much fun we were having figuring it all out with our best friends. We were field testing our lives — planning out a route and diving headfirst into bikepacking. We were taking a chance on something we believed in.
Was our hypothesis correct? Did we break the speed record and find fame and glory? Check out our scientific beatdown in the first film project from The Coyote Collective, “A Study of Self: Methods & Madness.”
The cyclo-tourist world lost a legend recently. Iohan Gueorguiev‘s videos from his world travels are iconic and have inspired many cyclists across the globe. He passed recently, prompting CyclingAbout to make this tribute film. Ride in peace, Iohan Gueorguiev…
For me, riding a bike has always meant three things; experience, adventure, and escape. From childhood, it’s given me the opportunity to experience new, it’s given me the freedom to explore, to embark on adventures near and far, and it’s also given me a much-needed escape from my battles with mental health. Cycling has also introduced me to a community of amazing people and this for me is perhaps the greatest benefit of riding because they never fail to enrich the three reasons I love the bike.
F-Stop, makers of some of the best camera bags on the planet, have this new Welded Navin Pouch, perfect for fixing it to your bike, rack, or even pack. These camera holsters protect your gear from the elements and can hold a DSLR/mirrorless camera with a 70-200mm lens.
Height: 13 in / 33 cm
Depth: 9 in / 13 cm
In stock now at F-Stop.
Follow Aaron Rolph‘s 2700km bikepacking trip up the United Kingdom, taking anything but the shortest route. His self-propelled journey involved various activities along the way but when things don’t go to plan, his lockdown daydream ends as a hospitalised nightmare. A year on, time has passed yet nothing had really changed, follow his epic adventure from the Scilly Isles to the Shetlands.
8Bar Bikes’ newest model to hit their extensive catalog of gravel and adventure bikes is the Tflsberg steel adventure bike. It can be built up as a flat bar or drop bar bike, takes up to a 29×2.2 or 27.5×2.8 tires, features a robust and gusseted chassis, and can fit a 500mm ATC suspension fork for added comfort. If you like touring in the desert, the Tflsberg has plenty of cargo bosses too.
There are too many details to list, so hop over to 8Bar Bikes to check it out in detail.
We are Manivelle, a framebuilder based in Strasbourg, France. Here is our build for the “Concours de Machine” 2021.
“Concours de Machine“, WHAT’S THAT?
The “CDM” is a historical event of the small French framebuilding world, born early in the 1900s, the golden age happened between 1934 and 1949 including Jo Routens and Rene Herse’s work. The Concours disappeared for a long time after the industrialization but is back to life since 2016.
I rolled into the small village of Çamalan. There was a lone shop at the main intersection of town that had a steady flow of locals driving up in their cars. Typically they’d grab bread from the cupboard outside, maybe some Ayran from the fridge, and (most likely) a few packs of cigarettes. These are the Turkish staples.
It was almost dark and I had no clue where I would spend the night. This is a fairly typical situation for me at this point. I’ve grown comfortable with the feeling. That’s not to say it can’t be stressful, but when you’ve felt that uncertainty dozens of times before, it gives you more confidence that you’ll be able to make it work out somehow.
In the early 1840s, John C. Fremont undertook several exploration missions for the U.S. government. The Oregon Territory was disputed and claimed by both the United Kingdom and the U.S.A. Just to the south, California was still a part of Mexico. Fremont’s mission was to assess the American West and determine how well it was defended by these other nations. Of course, all this land was already—and still is—Indigenous land.
There’s a place to get soup at the halfway point. We’ll stop there. They might have some dried fish and rugbraud to pack for dinner– traditional Icelandic bread; dark, dense, and sweet. In the past, the locals dug holes and used the heat from geothermal water to bake the bread. We pack a sandwich to go, throw a leg over the top tube and let the wind carry us down the way. When the wind is your friend, there’s no feeling like it.
In July 2020, a group of five friends had planned an epic tour of Europe, but plans changed. A new tour was cobbled together in a week, and the new destination was set: Scotland. The group would ride the famous North Coast 500, a legendary route along the rugged Scottish coastline, and then onto the Highlands. ‘NORTH COAST’ chronicles the reality of touring through harsh conditions, relentless weather and the challenges faced with a country fresh out of a pandemic lockdown…
“Oh, shit is that a skunk? I’m pretty sure that’s a skunk”. This sentence can always cause a moment of trepidation on any trip, multiplied in this case by the tough day of pedaling we just had. When my partner Alycia uttered those words, we were already a few hours past the time we both would have preferred to stop for the night, and dinner was a distant memory. Alycia’s DSLR had recently hit the eject-from-bike button and taken an un-dignified crash through the dirt and rocks.
The table has a basket of homemade hot rolls; some with dried fruit, some with seeds, all with a bit of salt. There are two loaves of hot fresh bread, wrapped in towels and a plate of cheese– local paprika and pepper sheep’s cheese, brie, gorgonzola, sliced Havarti with labels for different percentages of fat. There’s sliced ham and salami, hot scrambled eggs with herbs, bacon, and butter. There are sliced cucumbers and tomatoes, red bell pepper and pickled fish, a plate of fresh fruit– slices of melon, pineapple, grapes, apples, and oranges, all perfectly ripe. There’s thick Icelandic yogurt, a carafe of coffee, and containers of juice. There’s cereal and milk and homemade jam.