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E-Bikepacking the Dolomites: A First Time for Everything

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E-Bikepacking the Dolomites: A First Time for Everything

Belén Castelló and Tristan Bogaard have made a life bikepacking around the world. On a trip to Italy last fall Belén’s brother, Horacio, decided to join the couple on a tour through the Dolomites. On the cusp of turning 40 and with little-to-no cycling experience, Horacio was looking for an experience that would shake him up, and wake him up from his normal routine. He found that while riding an e-bike for back-to-back days in the Dolomite Mountains. Read on for Belén’s recounting of the trip and why choosing e-bikes felt like the best choice for their ride.

Bumps in the Road: From the Himalayas to Istanbul

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Bumps in the Road: From the Himalayas to Istanbul

Not everything goes how you imagine it will when you set out on a trip across the world. In my experience, the majority of the time it doesn’t. It was around three years ago, in February 2020, I was packing up some things in Kathmandu to hit the pause button on endlessly riding and head home for a couple of months to visit family after a long series of tours through southern Patagonia and Asia. I’d booked a round trip flight and left my trusty Tumbleweed Prospector behind in Nepal, with my plans set to return to the Himalayas in April of 2020 to make a route through India and the rugged peaks of Pakistan… But, as we all know, plans changed.

A couple of years later, as Nepal began loosening up its restrictions on tourism, I started eyeing my return to the Himalayas, to finally retrieve my bike and follow through with the riding plans I’d set into motion years before…

Multi-Sporting on Garibaldi Classic: The Nch’kay House of Pleasure and Pain

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Multi-Sporting on Garibaldi Classic: The Nch’kay House of Pleasure and Pain

We were one day into a three-day trip dubbed the Garibaldi Classic or “The Nch’kay House of Pleasure and Pain.” Pandemics aside, on the long weekend in September, it has become a tradition to embark on some sort of ill-advised multi-day trip involving mountain landscapes, good friends, small backpacks, and quite a bit more foot travel than would be advertised in a long-weekend bike trip brochure. The goal was to leave from our front doors, bikes loaded with everything we would need for a three-day, lightweight excursion in the mountains, curling a horseshoe around Garibaldi Lake within British Columbia’s Garibaldi Provincial Park.

The Gamble of Winter Bikepacking in Wyoming’s Gros Ventre

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The Gamble of Winter Bikepacking in Wyoming’s Gros Ventre

The peaks of Wyoming’s Gros Ventre Range might not be quite as photogenic as the towering, craggy summits of the nearby Tetons, but snaking through the Gros Ventres just west of the Continental Divide is something the Tetons lack – a substantial network of mostly-groomed winter trails. I didn’t know much about the trails, but looking at topo maps of the area, it looked impressively rugged terrain, much more so than other places where I’ve done longer rides on a fat bike. Last January, I was in the nearby Teton Valley, and looking for a change of scenery and trails, Kait Boyle and I decided to venture over to the Gros Ventres for a few days to see just what the winter riding was like.

Bicycle Touring Spain’s Montañas Vacias Route: A 35mm Photo Essay

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Bicycle Touring Spain’s Montañas Vacias Route: A 35mm Photo Essay

Created by Ernesto Pastor, the Montañas Vacias offers interested bike tourists route options ranging from 100 miles to 430 miles through the Spanish Lapland. Photographer Carlos Blanchard Nerin recently made a second voyage to the country’s southeastern region, remote in nature and characterized by countless miles of forest roads on a high plateau. In the photo essay below, he reflects on connecting to a place you thought you knew more deeply and sharing moments of beauty on the bike with friends.

A Tale of Two (Colorado) Trails: Lachlan Morton’s MTB Progression

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A Tale of Two (Colorado) Trails: Lachlan Morton’s MTB Progression

“I wasn’t going back because I wanted to go dramatically faster but because I wanted to put myself in the same situations I was in three years before and be more comfortable. I knew that the only way to do that was to try to do it fast because that requires you to push yourself to a place where you are kind of on the edge of your capability. And every time I reached that limit this time, I was comfortable, in a way. I wasn’t stressed whereas every time I’d reach that point three years before I’d just crumble.”

In 2019, Lachlan Morton rode the Colorado Trail for the first time, starting in Durango and finishing three days and 22 hours later in Denver. He went back this summer, riding the trail in the opposite direction in three days and ten hours, and chopping nine hours off any other recorded time. However, after sitting down with the EF Education Easy-post athlete, it seems that speed was a byproduct of the feat, not the primary focus. Read on for a more detailed look behind the clock, from my conversation with Lachlan about how he went from surviving the CT in 2019 to establishing a new level on this iconic route this year. 

Following the Footprints of the Jaguar: Ruta del Jefe Migrates to Cuenca Los Ojos

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Following the Footprints of the Jaguar: Ruta del Jefe Migrates to Cuenca Los Ojos

Ruta del Jefe is a weekend of adventure cycling, education, community, and advocacy that has taken place in the Sky Islands region of southern Arizona, which we’ve previously reported on here, here, and here. Beginning in 2024, the event will occur in Cuenca los Ojos, a protected landscape in Sonora, Mexico’s Sky Islands. Below, this two-part collaborative story (“The Watershed of the Springs” by Sarah Swallow and “La Aventura” by Daniel Zaid) details what’s next for Ruta del Jefe along with other recreational and educational opportunities in these borderlands. 

Cute, Durable, and Ethical Cycling Bags: A Workshop Visit with Wizard Works

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Cute, Durable, and Ethical Cycling Bags: A Workshop Visit with Wizard Works

London-based Wizard Works makes decidedly cute, sturdy, and durable bags for cyclo-touring and bikepacking. Founders and owners, Harry and Veronica, are committed to producing everything in-house, sourcing materials from within the UK and Europe, and supporting their small staff with livable wages and a positive work environment. They’ve turned what was once a hobby into a robust brand, now with stockists around the globe. Following this year’s Bespoked, Josh got to play tourist and eat biscuits while getting treated to some behind-the-scenes time at Wizard Works’ new workshop in Greenwich. With their cheerful space, happy colors, and employee-first practices, this is some wizardry where you very much want to look behind the curtain. Read on for more from Josh’s shop visit!

Where The Land Empties Out: The Llano Long Route

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Where The Land Empties Out: The Llano Long Route

Miles Payton shares an overnight route on the edge of the outback that loosely traces the Llano River in Central Texas. The route’s remote nature, oft-accompanied by high heat eight months out of the year, deserves appropriate respect and preparation but, as Miles’ describes, traces some of the more unique and compelling geology Texas has to offer.  The route is a reminder that sometimes joy and exhaustion are only separated by ten degrees Fahrenheit, or the soft buffer of a cloud bank, and also that the trips that leave mixed emotions can leave you with more to ponder over after they’re finished. Thanks for sharing Miles!

Fail 12: Tomorrow Comes Too Soon at Gravel Birds Ultracycling Challenge

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Fail 12: Tomorrow Comes Too Soon at Gravel Birds Ultracycling Challenge

For Fail 12 Ryan le Garrec raced the first edition of Gravel Birds, a 750km bikepacking race in Portugal’s largest region, Alentejo. For Ryan, it was initially more about the idea of fast touring a well-curated route than properly racing the course. The region is characterized by a beautiful mix of rough hills, coastlines and small deserts inland. Its arid section, down South and just over the more famous Algarve, is often ignored by tourism yet hosts some of the most incredible hidden gems of Portugal and probably its best gravel tracks too!

Wack Packs and 4.5 Star Bathroom Experiences: A Shop Visit to Oveja Negra

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Wack Packs and 4.5 Star Bathroom Experiences: A Shop Visit to Oveja Negra

Many moons ago I was looking for a place to park my car as a shuttle vehicle in Salida before the beginning of  the second DFL the Divide trip  when a friend suggested, “See if you can park at Oveja Negra.”  A few Instagram messages later and I had secured a parking spot behind their shop in downtown Salida, CO. When we returned at the end of the trip – unkempt and raucous – we were nonetheless treated to showers and a tour by the incomparable Lane. Her tour was full of ghost stories and other fun histories of their historic building. Coming back so many years later to similar open arms is truly a lovely thing.

Zero Plastic Ultra Distance at the Pan Celtic Race

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Zero Plastic Ultra Distance at the Pan Celtic Race

Taylor Doyle (she/her) is an ultra racer and founder of the Ultra Distance Scholarship, an initiative increasing diversity and representation within ultra distance cycling and racing. She is a self-proclaimed ‘make-things-happen’ person at the socially conscious bike-builder Stayer Cycles, and always riding her beloved UG. Taylor is passionate about sharing the joys of ultra distance cycling with as many folks as humanly possible and is particularly invested in encouraging and supporting more women/non-binary folks and people of colour to try the sport. Taylor is a Canadian writer and photographer currently loose in the UK, living nomadically and turning up at most UK-based bikepacking events and happenings. After getting frustrated by the amount of single-use plastic she was generating during her first ultra race, she decided to come back the following year and try things differently…

Connecting Two Distant Corners: Cycling the Length of Africa

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Connecting Two Distant Corners: Cycling the Length of Africa

Cairo to Cape Town. The words tumbled together in poetic cadence. Africa’s malleable cycling route from the Pyramids of Giza to Table Mountain was my dream of a decade. Soured by the rigid nature of sponsors’ expectations, I chose a bare-bones expedition. Plans and timelines aside. To travel for travel’s sake. To sink my teeth into the truth and toss the rest by the wayside. I started from the Egyptian pyramids with just my kiwi partner, the most efficient machines ever created, and the entire African continent ahead. Southbound and on edge, we began our trans-continental cycling journey dissecting Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa.