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The Frozen Trail to Thorong-La

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The Frozen Trail to Thorong-La

(note: this story took place before the pandemic)

The Annapurna circuit has been around as an established trekking route for over 40 years, but parts have existed for trade between the Tibetan plateau and the Manang and Muktinath valleys for far longer. Today it’s one of the most famous places to hike in the world, and one of Nepal’s primary tourist draws. Over the last decade or so it has become famous for the herds of backpackers and yaks that often fill the trail during the peak seasons (spring and fall), and slowly the trail is being replaced by roads to make it easier to bring supplies to these tourist-filled villages.

Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part II – The First Modern Bikepacking Race

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Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part II – The First Modern Bikepacking Race

Read part I here:  Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part I – Trail Visions Ahead of Their Time

With the ambitious origins of the Grand Loop being shared in Part I of this series, let us now dive into the impact the route had on the evolution of bikepacking, and more specifically, bikepacking races. After all, the Grand Loop Race (GLR) was arguably the first of the modern bikepacking events and is responsible for creation and evolution of some of the most popular and longest-running mountain bike ultras in the United States – the Colorado Trail Race and the Arizona Trail 300. The Grand Loop was also the first long and particularly difficult off-road route to become a notable draw for bikepackers.

Patrick from the Bikes or Death Podcast and His Chumba Stella Ti Drop Bar 29er

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Patrick from the Bikes or Death Podcast and His Chumba Stella Ti Drop Bar 29er

A little while back, Patrick from Bikes or Death reached out, saying he was going to be in Santa Fe and was hoping we could sit down for a podcast interview. Naturally, I obliged, and last night we hung out at our office here in Santa Fe and talked about bikes, photography, other randomness related to this website. I won’t give too much away but I was really stoked on how it went. Doing interviews is a great way to bond with a person and afterward, I just had to shoot Patrick’s Chumba Cycles Stella Ti. While the podcast episode won’t be out for a few weeks, I wanted to feature this rad build while it was all still fresh on my mind, so enjoy!

The Radavist 2021 Calendar: April

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The Radavist 2021 Calendar: April

“Taurus Mountains” is the fourth layout of the Radavist 2021 Calendar. It was shot with a Fuji X-T4 and a Fuji 18-135 lens in the Taurus Mountains, Turkey.

“Photographer and cyclo-tourist Ryan Wilson provided April’s calendar imagery, straight off his extensive tour throughout Turkey. Keep an eye on the Radavist for updates on his travels…”

For a high-res JPG, suitable for print and desktop wallpaper*, right-click and save link as – The Radavist 2021 – April. Please, this photo is for personal use only!
(*set background to white and center for optimal coverage)

The mobile background this month is from this same mountain range. Click here to download April’s Mobile Wallpaper.

Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part I – Trail Visions Ahead of Their Time

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Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part I – Trail Visions Ahead of Their Time

“It took 18 miles of new trail to get around that 800 feet,” Paul Koski explained to me, shaking his head incredulously. “18 miles for 800 feet! I couldn’t believe it. It took years to make that happen, but I really think it was actually a huge improvement for the Paradox Trail.”

I stood leaning against a table saw in Koski’s woodworking shop in a massive quonset hut in the tiny town of Nucla, Colorado. He was sharing stories spanning several decades of history related to the Grand Loop and the Paradox Trail. Folks like Koski rarely receive the recognition they deserve for years upon years of dedication to mountain bike advocacy. The afternoon before, I had finished riding for 53 hours straight to set a new record on the Grand Loop, and although my mind was still a bit foggy from the effort, I was excited to finally have the chance to meet Koski. Whether he realized it or not, his efforts and those of others like him in the area had literally changed the trajectory of my own life years before.

The Monumental Loop 2.0: A Father and Daughter Bikepack

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The Monumental Loop 2.0: A Father and Daughter Bikepack

This is Melina’s first bikepacking trip. She’s been on a couple of road tours and knows how to turn a set of cranks. That said, off-road has never been her thing. In fact she can’t remember the last time she threw her leg over a mountain bike. She’s headed off to graduate school soon, and I want her to be hooked on bikepacking before she leaves. So this needs to be awesome. Naturally, I’ve turned to southern New Mexico and the venerable Monumental Loop.

Moksha Patam: Snakes and Ladders – Flashpacking Through the Tasmanian Mountains

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Moksha Patam: Snakes and Ladders – Flashpacking Through the Tasmanian Mountains

Moksha Patam is a game based on traditional Hindu philosophy. It was designed to teach players the Hindu concepts of Karma and Kama: virtue and desire. The virtues of generosity, faith, and humility are the ladders that carry you up the board, upwards towards enlightenment and to the end of the game. But if you follow the path of vices—lust, anger, murder, and theft—the snakes will pull you back to the beginning of the game. Up and down. Enlightenment and rebirth. Making it to your destination or being pulled back to the start.

Climate Change Action for Cyclists Part II: What We As Cyclists Can Do 

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Climate Change Action for Cyclists Part II: What We As Cyclists Can Do 

This is the second of a two-part series on how human-caused climate change is affecting the cycling experience, why we as cyclists should care about those impacts, and what we can do as individuals and as a community to combat those impacts. Part I of this series connected cyclists to a few examples of the realities of climate change, and Part II here outlines what changes we as cyclists and the cycling community can make to improve the future of our pursuit in a changing climate. If you only have 5 minutes, jump to the end of this article to read the action items toolbox to quickly learn more about what you can do to make a difference…

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Explore Your Boundaries: Mark Beaumont & Markus Stitz

Explore your Boundaries‘ was inspired by encouraging people to see familiar and local areas in unfamiliar ways, showing how great adventures can happen from your own front door. Filmed on a newly created gravel bike route, which follows the local authority boundary of the City of Edinburgh, and additional locations close to the Scottish Capital during January and February 2021, the short documentary from Markus Stitz and Mark Beaumont highlights the beauty and challenges of exploring places on two wheels in snow and ice.

Climate Change Action for Cyclists: Part I – Climate Change, the Cycling Experience, and Why We Care

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Climate Change Action for Cyclists: Part I – Climate Change, the Cycling Experience, and Why We Care

This is the first of a two-part series on how human-caused climate change is affecting the cycling experience, why we as cyclists should care about those impacts, and what we can do as individuals and as a community to combat those impacts. Part I of this series connects cyclists to a few examples of the realities of climate change, and Part II will outline what changes we as cyclists and the cycling community can make to improve the future of our pursuit in a changing climate.  

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Gaëlle on Tour: Whiteout

Bombtrack’s rider Gaëlle takes on touring in the winter for the latest video in their series:

“In February 2020, I spent a month cycling accross frozen lake Baikal. The cold, the ice and the snow drew me there. I can’t explain precisely why I enjoy being in these landscapes so much but I feel comfortable in these wintery places – despite the cold, the harshness and the solitude. I love the silence, the muffled sounds, the light, the seeming steadiness that I find very soothing.”

Race the Oregon Timber Trail: Register and Join in on July 10th

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Race the Oregon Timber Trail: Register and Join in on July 10th

700 miles in 5 days? Sounds crazy to us but some folks think it’s possible. Since we launched the Oregon Timber Trail (OTT) in 2016 one of the most common questions is “How long does it take?” Most folks spend 2-3 weeks riding the almost 700 miles, but we’ve heard there’s been a few in the 11 day range.

This year our curiosity has gotten the best of us—we’ve partnered with Laird Superfood and Rapha to track Fastest Known Times (FKTs) on the whole OTT route and each of the four tiers. Similar to the Colorado Trail Race, The Arizona Trail Race, and the Tour Divide; the Timber Trail 700 is a free, unsupported endurance challenge. Anyone can attempt a record at any time, though we have a suggested Grand Depart date of July 10th if you like company.

Castin’ Lines: Mountain Bikefishing in Victoria, Australia

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Castin’ Lines: Mountain Bikefishing in Victoria, Australia

‘Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride’ is one of those famous quotes by John F. Kennedy, famous perhaps for the wisdom that it carries, more than for the person who said it.

All those who have recreationally ridden a bicycle should know that Kennedy was right. However, the ex-president didn’t realize (and possibly neither many of us) that something that may be compared to and even surpasses that addictive pleasure is to combine pleasures.

A bicycle is a freedom machine that allows us to carry out different activities while simultaneously enjoying the bike itself. It is up to each one of us to choose those activities that generate the greatest pleasure. For example, in my case, a good bike packing trip combined with a fly fishing session does it for me. What in this world could compare to this pleasure overdose? A new adventure was being cooked.

Kevin’s Bearclaw Beaux Jaxon Titanium Touring Bike

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Kevin’s Bearclaw Beaux Jaxon Titanium Touring Bike

That feller up at Bearclaw Bicycle Co is doing some really amazing things. The whole catalog is composed of some paradigm-shifting designs and a crowd favorite is the Beaux Jaxon. If you dig drop bars and chonk tires, that’s the frame for you. Throw in a titanium segmented fork and you’ve got a dream machine. Kevin Hinton is a tattoo artist here in Santa Fe. He also runs his Adventure Bikepacking Instagram account as a side project, which hosts overnighters, and tours in the area.

Originally from Los Angeles, Kevin cut his chops touring all over California, specifically in the desert, taking on the Stagecoach 400 multiple times. This particular loop goes from high pine country down through Anza Borrego and into San Diego before climbing back up to the pines. The Anza section is particularly sandy, so when Kevin built up this dream bike, he had some specific requirements and took that list to Sincere Cycles for the build…

Teacher rides Tour de Los Padres and Fundraises for San Marcos Foothills

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Teacher rides Tour de Los Padres and Fundraises for San Marcos Foothills

Hallie Silva is taking on the Tour de Los Padres this year and is running a fundraiser to help raise awareness for the area. Hallie reached out with some details of her effort, including some organizations she’s currently fundraising for:

“I’m a teacher in Santa Barbara riding the Tour de Los Padres this year as to bring awareness to, and fundraise for the San Marcos Foothills Preserve. This public space is the ancestral home of the Chumash and one of the last remaining access points for front-country wilderness in Santa Barbara, and right across the street from the junior high I teach at. This access point is being currently threatened by corporate luxury home development. 

I’m currently collecting donations that will go directly to two local organizations:

Seeds to Forest Defense, an autonomous group of Chumash, BIPOC and white allies protecting the land who center Indigenous ecological knowledge. They also work to provide resources such as lawyer fees for the indigenous folks who were arrested in ceremony while protecting our public lands. 

The second organization is Save the San Marcos Foothills Preserve, led by Channel Islands Restoration, whose mission is to purchase the undeveloped property next to the San Marcos Foothills Preserve at fair market value, to protect it forever as public open space, and to restore the native habitat. You can learn more at their website, https://www.savesanmarcosfoothills.org  “

If you can and would like to help out Hallie’s efforts, you can donate to her cause. Right now, she’s $1,000 into her $3,000 goal. Expect more to come from Hallie in the near future.

 

The 2021 Brother Cycles Big Bro Goes Boost and Receives a Yellow Paintjob

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The 2021 Brother Cycles Big Bro Goes Boost and Receives a Yellow Paintjob

Brother Cycles’ Big Bro rigid mountain bike is a favorite among trail riders as well as bikepackers and for 2021, it got a bit of a refresh. The obvious change is this new yellow paint job, while the drivetrain has gone boost-spacing.

Now the Big Bro comes in 12x148mm rear spacing and 15x110mm front. The rest of the specs remain the same as the 2020 model.

You can now pre-order the new Big Bro at Brother Cycles.