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Ruta de Los Padres: Four Days Bikepacking the Sierra Madre and San Rafael Mountains

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Ruta de Los Padres: Four Days Bikepacking the Sierra Madre and San Rafael Mountains

“We’re cultivating this weekend, a few weeks earlier than we normally do. It’s getting drier every year, and harder to grow grapes in a dry farm system”. This passing statement tickled somewhere on my brain stem as Steve’s words seeped in and we all gazed up at the Sierra Madres. I wondered if the mountains too might be getting drier every year just like down below at Condors Hope, the 20-acre ranch situated at the opening of Bates Canyon, the gateway into our four-day bikepacking mission.

Two years ago, nearly to the day, my friends Erin, Campbell, Ian, and I all came down to Condors Hope to embark on a similar long weekend trip to explore and experience the landscapes, otherwise referred to as the high steep broken mountains, that had, at the time, just been reopened to oil and gas leasing by the Trump administration. We returned from that trip two weeks before the world shut down from COVID, and well, you pretty much know the rest of that story.

Atavism and Drudgery: Exploring the Contrasts in Glacier National Park

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Atavism and Drudgery: Exploring the Contrasts in Glacier National Park

​​As much as I think I’ve changed through the years, my objectives are barely different from when I was 18. I nearly dropped out of my senior year of high school to play hardcore punk across North America, shoplifting and dirtbagging mostly through the West, sleeping wherever, and existing willfully at the boundaries of society (or in defiance of them). Reflecting, I sought an antidote to modernity. An alternative to working in the shipyard until my back gave out like the young men in my town were expected to do. I wanted to forfeit that life for something uncomplicated. Set up, play, tear down, eat, sleep, drive, repeat.

The Southwest Scramble: A Bike-To-Ski Journey from Colorado to Utah

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The Southwest Scramble: A Bike-To-Ski Journey from Colorado to Utah

In spring 2021, I decided to embark on a couple hundred mile bike-to-ski journey from my home in Telluride, CO to the La Sal mountain range near Moab, Utah.

During the winter season, I’m a professional skier. Usually, I’m traveling around the globe, doing photo shoots and film projects. I will acknowledge it’s quite the privileged life, and I’m very grateful to so many who make it possible for me. The winter window is short, and when I make my career happen. So when things don’t work out during those few months, it feels like a failure and loss of a season. With a film project that wasn’t quite materializing, 2021 was starting to feel just like that I found myself just wanting to get away – from my own winter’s demise and seemingly everything else. So, I decided to pack up my skis and hop on a bike, headed towards the desert of all places, far from any normal ski hill, to hopefully disconnect from it all.

Eating and Riding Italy’s TranSardinia Trail

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Eating and Riding Italy’s TranSardinia Trail

During the final weeks of October 2021, Bec and I teamed up with new friends, Tristan and Belén to ride Europe’s longest off-road mountain bike route: The TranSardinia Trail.

A lesser-known, 450-kilometre trail starting at Olbia (Italy) in the north and flowing south, the TranSardinia follows a crocheted masterpiece of natural forest trails, dusty shepherd tracks, and jagged mountain passes – eventually finishing in the city of Cagliari. With 13,000 metres of total climbing, stunning camp cooking, a broken derailleur, and some pretty gnarly descents down baby-head strewn trails, the TranSardinia Trail kicked all our asses… in the best possible way!

A First Look at the Tailfin Cage Packs and Straps

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A First Look at the Tailfin Cage Packs and Straps

People have been strapping dry bags to their bikes since long before the word “bikepacking” joined the cycling vernacular. It’s a simple way to add a bit of storage capacity but that extra space comes with obvious drawbacks. Typically those drawbacks include bag shapes that aren’t especially bike-friendly and instability if the bags are not meticulously secured. I’m not a huge fan of my cooking kit flying into my wheel or having bags constantly shift out of position on a rough downhill, so functional and stable bags are essential to me.

The Misplaced Optimism of Summer: Riding Scotland’s Deeside Trail in October

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The Misplaced Optimism of Summer: Riding Scotland’s Deeside Trail in October

For the young men of post-war Britain, the train from London King’s Cross to Aberdeen was not unfamiliar. Hundreds of conscripts were required to board the carriages as part of their National Service. The train would pull away from the platform on a Friday night and arrive at the Scottish coastal city by Saturday mid-morning. Iconic red Routemaster buses exchanged for grey-stone buildings and seagulls. There was the novelty of a Highlands map, marked with unknown Gaelic quantities: Glens, Munros, and Gorms, and excitement for rural air, combined with blissful ignorance of the military enforced misery that lay ahead. Or so the old man told us.

Dirt by the Seaside: Bike Touring Texada Island

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Dirt by the Seaside: Bike Touring Texada Island

The ocean felt like bathwater. A welcome reprieve from the usual cringe-producing ice bath of the West Coast of BC. I eased my way in step by step, the water picking away at the grime and sweat of a full day, mid-summer ride. Alycia strode into the water with confidence, and purpose, more at ease around water than I am. I’m always worried about hurting my feet. We climbed onto the trunk of a huge old-growth tree just out of the water, a relic of the island’s history. I could see a white motorboat in the distance, drifting lazily. I tilted my head to see if I could hear the inevitable music, cheering and the yells that I imagine would be happening on a party boat. I hear nothing, only silence and the lapping of the water on the beach.

Hope Cyclery Builds: Andrew’s Rivendell Platypus

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Hope Cyclery Builds: Andrew’s Rivendell Platypus

I met Andrew years ago at a fat bike event we hosted here in Johnstown, PA. Playing polo and ripping around the parking lot on the big bouncy bikes looked like something fun to him. Until that moment, Andrew had visited several shops locally and always got the glance; you know the look if you’re outside of the “normal” scope of a cyclist, whether that’s your size, appearance, or, hell, I’ve been in the industry for nearly 20 years and I still get the look. Those eyes and words can pierce through all the stoke you may have as a larger cyclist, and make you give up before you even get to start your love affair with bicycles.

A Bicycle Tour through the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge

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A Bicycle Tour through the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge

Across the road from a sprawling old corral with a dozen or more cattle pens constructed from creosote-laden boards and discarded railroad ties stood a small stone monument. It commemorated an earthen dam, behind which was a very small but empty reservoir at the foot of a butte called Coyote Peak.

“If it were not for strongmen like Bob Crowder,” the metal plaque read, “with the fortitude and ambition to develop water in these vast desert areas, there would be no game and no livestock today.”

Bikepacking Iceland Part One: Into the Highlands on a Gravel Bike

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Bikepacking Iceland Part One: Into the Highlands on a Gravel Bike

Is bikepacking in Iceland fun on a gravel bike? That’s the one question on my mind as the plane touches down for my 5th visit to the country. With “make do with what you have” as our mantra, my two friends, Daylen, Quinton and I wanted to see if the gravel bikes we already own would be up for the challenge. I found several fat bike trip reports but very few gravel bike trip reports online, so I pour over maps, make some educated guesses, and trust I’ll figure it out as the rubber hits the road.

Ya Casi: Biking Around Guatemala’s Lake Atitlán

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Ya Casi: Biking Around Guatemala’s Lake Atitlán

Jorge’s high-pitched voice turned serious, still a few octaves higher than you’d expect: “You must have a plan. In life, in travel, in everything! Always, have a plan and always stick to the plan.” My brother, Quinn, and I looked at each other… “Wellll ya, we kind of have a plan.” We continued to bump along the dark streets toward the center of Guatemala City, looking at the empty streets go by through the window. I think we were both starting to wonder if maybe our “plan” was a bad one. Each city zone we passed through Jorge told us to be careful, explaining the dangers of Guatemala City, and warning us to be home before dark. “Two gringos locos, people know,” said Jorge, not so subtly alluding to the fact we stuck out like sore thumbs.

When we arrived at our Airbnb Jorge jumped out of the car and rang the bell of the security door. The guard buzzed him in, and we followed. The guard was young. On his desk, there was a revolver that looked as big as his hand. I wondered if he’d ever even shot it. In some ways, I hoped that he hadn’t. It was around 11:00 pm and, after a day of travel, we could feel the day catching up to us. We thanked Jorge for the ride and turned into the elevator. A few beers on the small terraces sounded good to both of us, but listening to Jorge’s persistent advice against going out past dark we decided to skip the nightcaps and go to bed. The next day we woke up to the streets below our rooms busier than the night before and the memory of Jorge’s warnings faded a bit. With no food in the house, we planned to walk to the market for some groceries and then decided we’d start to track down the key to our trip – bikes.

The Around the Rock Route: Circumnavigating the Teton Mountain Range by Bike

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The Around the Rock Route: Circumnavigating the Teton Mountain Range by Bike

I didn’t spend a lot of time planning this trip. I had tickets to Wyoming, a borrowed rental car, a new Soma Grand Randonneur (checks spelling of randonneur) with clearance for knobs, and a friend with a break during architecture school. “What route are you thinking?” Asked Will.

“Still working on that.”

This isn’t my first hastily planned tour. I pulled up RideWithGPS and found the Around The Rock Route close to where we were planning to stay for a few days. The route was developed by the friendly folks at Fitzgerald’s Bicycles, and it circumnavigates the Teton Mountain Range. The route is roughly 150 miles and is equal parts gravel road and pavement. The Fitzgerald team hosts a group ride along the route during the summer solstice, but Will and I opted to break the route into three days (to keep it gravel casual).

Fail 8: No Spain, No Gain

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Fail 8: No Spain, No Gain

Fail 8 is the latest installment in Ryan Le Garrec’s multimedia “Fail” series. Check out the related articles below for more of Ryan’s work.

Day 47 – Santo Isidoro, Portugal

My son told me the other day:
“Dad, the trees don’t use their roots only to drink, they also use them to communicate.”
When I saw these two trees, on the way back from Spain somewhere in Alentejo, I thought: “These two must have some kinda romance going on.”

A Deep South Bicycle Tour

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A Deep South Bicycle Tour

In escaping the concrete canyons of New York City, the idea of new horizons, and the promise of unfamiliar faces drew me into what became a 4,112-mile bicycle tour across the deep south and southwestern United States.

Punk Rock Stitchworks: A Shop Visit with Alpine Luddites Custom Bag Makers

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Punk Rock Stitchworks: A Shop Visit with Alpine Luddites Custom Bag Makers

“Our driveway is rough.” Those are the words John Campbell of Alpine Luddites used to describe the windy, undulating, treelined drive, freshly blanketed in seven inches of snow, tucked away in the quiet town of Westmore, Vermont. It’s an understatement — a theme that emerges as you pick Campbell’s brain about his work making ultralight and durable bikepacking bags and backpacks for outdoor endeavors.

His shop is located on a picturesque fourth-generation Vermont family farm of 1,100 acres, a place secluded enough that your cellphone welcomes you to Canada as you crest the hill of his aforementioned driveway. Around the back, past the woodshed and out toward the fields, you’ll find Campbell’s workshop. It’s an idyllic setting that easily could have been the setting for a Hudson River School painting in the mid-19th century.