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2019 Blackburn Rocky Mountain Rangers

Interestingly, it seems the Blackburn Ranger program might be ramping back up, after being canceled last year…

“In early July 2019, three Blackburn Rangers set out to ride the Colorado Trail. At a length of more than 500 miles, and with climbing that adds up to more than 70k feet of elevation gain, the CT is no small feat in a normal year. The week before they departed, Colorado’s snow pack was 40 times higher than normal following a spring solstice storm. Emphasizing “Fun Over Fast,” this is the preview of their story.”

I can’t wait to see where this is going!

REI Will Once Again Stock Giro, Bell, and Blackburn After Vista Outdoors Sells Controversial Firearm Companies

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REI Will Once Again Stock Giro, Bell, and Blackburn After Vista Outdoors Sells Controversial Firearm Companies

After last year’s cycling brand boycott following the Parkland shooting, REI dropped Giro, Bell, and Blackburn from their stores. Following an announcement that VISTA Outdoors has sold their controversial firearm companies, Savage Arms and Stevens firearms, makers of assault-style weapons, REI just announced they will be carrying the cycling brands once again:

“Today, we notified our merchants that we will resume orders with Giro, Bell, CamelBak, Blackburn and Camp Chef on the news that their parent company, Vista Outdoor, has secured a buyer for Savage Arms. REI orders of Vista-owned brands have been on hold since March 2018. At that time, Vista Outdoor chose not to engage in the national conversation about common-sense gun safety solutions that followed the tragic mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

REI does not sell guns or ammunition, and does not oppose hunting or the Second Amendment, but we believe companies that profit directly from the sale of guns have a civic responsibility to engage in the national discussion about gun safety, as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Walmart and others have done. We understand and respect that our members and employees enjoy life outside in many ways—including hunting.”

Blackburn’s Outpost Elite Lineup Features Lighter and Stronger Bags

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Blackburn’s Outpost Elite Lineup Features Lighter and Stronger Bags

Blackburn’s Outpost bags are a great option for those looking to get into bikepacking without breaking the bank, yet that doesn’t mean they can’t use some improvements. That’s where Outpost Elite comes in. Blackburn went back to the drawing board, redesigning the entire lineup with their Ranger and consumer feedback in mind and the resulting product looks great! Check out the full press-release specs below and see more at Blackburn.

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Water Cycle: Chapter 2 – Ocean, Surf By Bike

Coinciding with Blackburn’s Water Cycle: Chapter 1 – River, Fishing for Steelhead comes the second installment, Ocean, Surf By Bike. In this video, we follow Ashley Llyod Thompson, a surf shaper from Santa Cruz, California. Ashley took time away from her shaping studio to travel with her husband and son to Mexico in search of quiet surf breaks. Many of the best breaks are tough to access and aren’t on any map. Fat bikes made the most sense to enjoy these secret places. Along the way, she found some beautiful quiet moments with the ocean and with her family. These are the simple joys that life on a bike can bring.

Enjoy!

The Future for Giro/Bell/Blackburn and Vista Outdoors

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The Future for Giro/Bell/Blackburn and Vista Outdoors

I wanted to share this article with you, outlining the financial decision of Vista Outdoors to sell off Giro/Bell/Blackburn, which the company states it had plans of doing so before the outcry a few months back.

“Vista’s firearms and ammunition sales had already been soft for several quarters when the company found itself in the spotlight following the Parkland High School shooting in February. On March 1, REI, MEC and some independent retailers said they would stop ordering Vista products because of Vista’s lack of response following the shooting. Although REI and MEC don’t sell firearms, they sold Bell, Giro, Blackburn and other Vista Outdoor outdoor cooking and water sports brands.

“We have been on this path … way before any of the noise came about eight weeks ago.” — CEO Chris Metz

In an investor conference call Tuesday, Vista Outdoor CEO Chris Metz said the canceled orders had little effect on the company. Answering an investor question, Metz noted that REI represents less than 1 percent of the company’s total sales.”

Continue reading at Bicycle Retailer. Thank you for your patience and understanding in this issue.

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Blackburn: Bikefishing for Steelhead Teaser

This is the first video in Blackburn’s “Watercycle” project, focusing on how four cyclists interact with water. First up is Brian Ohlen, who took to the Pacific Coast route in search for Steelhead, but found himself engulfed by the elements. The full-length video is out September 12th.

Braving the Elements on the Oregon Ramble – Robin Sansom

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Braving the Elements on the Oregon Ramble – Robin Sansom

Braving the Elements on the Oregon Ramble
Photos and words by Robin Sansom

We all met at the EconoLodge on 3rd and Main Street in Prineville. Good adventures usually start at bad hotels, so it seemed natural to stage there before the Oregon Ramble. The Ramble is a newish event that is something like a 3-day summer camp on bikes. You bring all your camping gear to ride with friends, old and new, and experience places that you might not normally get to in your everyday life.

After a decent night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast, we lazily rolled out of town with the other 50 or so riders. On the climb up to the first camp we saw the entire variety and nearly identical tempo of the weather cycle that would visit us throughout the event: sunshine, rain, hail, cold. Although this first day’s mileage was relatively short, which gave us a little too much time to indulge in the pro bono New Belgium beers at camp, the remaining days would see many more miles and loads more climbing on everything from paved roads to bumpy double track.

From Madrid to the Sierra de Guadarrama with the Blackburn Rangers

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From Madrid to the Sierra de Guadarrama with the Blackburn Rangers

For companies like Blackburn, their environment directly inspires and influences the design of their products. From there, these designs are prototyped, vetted and put to extensive testing. Naturally, there’s only so much that can be done in-house, even in the mountains of Santa Cruz, where the brand is based. So in years past, Blackburn’s used the Ranger program to not only stoke out their chosen bicycle tourists and explorers but to help aid in product research and development. It’s a win / win situation. The Rangers get free gear and Blackburn gets to listen to their feedback and ultimately design better products. As you might imagine, the Ranger role is desirable for anyone who loves riding their bike, so every year, Blackburn holds a call for entries to recruit the next round of Rangers. From over a hundred video applicantion, four are chosen.

This year, Blackburn decided to relocate Ranger Camp from Santa Cruz to Europe. Spain was the logical choice given the time of year, weather, and accessibility for all the European Rangers. In total, two men and two women were picked, one from the US, one from Scotland, one from Germany and one from Spain. Media were present from European outlets, along with other helpers and myself, to photograph the shindig. A large group convened in a hotel conference room, in Madrid to set up bikes, talk gear and prepare for our three-day trek into the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains, just north of Madrid.

Robin’s Caletti Cycles Touring Bike

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Robin’s Caletti Cycles Touring Bike

Robin from Blackburn always brings the best bikes to Ranger Camp. Over the years, I’ve showcased his steeds, most notably the Santa Cruz Highball drop bar tourer. This year, since our route is mostly restricted to roads, rather than singletrack, Robin brought his Caletti touring bike, loaded with Blackburn bags. Although, calling this a touring bike undersells it entirely. As anyone with a tourer will tell you, these bikes become commuters and occasional trail shredders. Robin’s is no different. He commutes on it, sometimes taking dirt roads and bum trails home. This week, his Caletti will serve as his Ranger Camp bike and a city bike as he and I explore the streets of Bilbao after the Ranger festivities are over.

Some of my favorite details include the segmented fork with a sensible amount of braze-ons, the simple paint, and Robin’s clever hacks like that bell mount. There’s one other ingenious hack that I won’t even point out. Perhaps you’ll notice it…

Today we’re all building bikes, preparing for our 7am roll-out from Madrid, en route to our campground high in the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains…

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Become a 2017 Blackburn Ranger

It’s that time of year. Blackburn is seeking their 2017 Rangers with four new European routes. If you’ve been waiting for this opportunity to come to Europe, now’s your chance. Head to Blackburn to see more information and check out this video from Ranger Amanda on the Divide from a few years back for inspiration.

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Blackburn Rangers Katie & Laura in Wyoming’s Red Desert

Here’s the latest from the Blackburn Rangers program:

“Wyoming’s Red Desert contains an expansive and lonely area known as the Great Basin. Although the rolling and hills and spartan features make for relatively easy travel, the area has been long been a formidable obstacle due to it’s lack of water and fierce winds. Laura and Katie face the challenges, anxieties and . . . joys, of crossing the Great Basin during their bike trip along the Great Divide Mountain Bike Trail.”

Check out their journals, stories and photos of their entire trip at Blackburn!

Just Say Yes to Bikepacking – Jen Abercrombie

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Just Say Yes to Bikepacking – Jen Abercrombie

Just Say Yes to Bikepacking
Words by Jen Abercrombie, photos by Brian Vernor (unless otherwise noted)

“Why do I keep saying yes?” That’s the thought I had, sitting in the San Jose airport heading to Las Vegas to meet up with the folks at Blackburn to embark on a two-day “InterbikePacking” trip in the desert, organized to coincide with Interbike, the giant annual American bike trade show that attracts, in decreasing numbers it seems, exhibitors, retailers and cycling enthusiasts from all over the world. I hadn’t looked at a map and knew only the vaguest details about the trip, one of the most concerning being that there might be a kayak involved. I wouldn’t say I’m exactly an expert on the bike, but compared to my proficiency in the water I’m Greg LeMond. I also heard there would be sand…a LOT of sand. None of this was making me excited, but when asked if I wanted to go, I just said “yes”.

Radar

Blackburn’s Roll With It Book + Movie

Bikepacking and bicycle touring are great ways to explore new or old environments and experience the unexpected. Over the years Blackburn has been working on various types of gear to make your journey more enjoyable. Their latest ride movie, entitled Roll With It, is a collaboration between some rather unique individuals and now you can buy a photo book, which comes with a free download code. Or you can buy the movie on iOS, Apple TV, Roku, and Chromecast.

Head to Blackburn for more information and check out the book’s flip through above.

If you missed the galleries from Brian Vernor and Chris McNally, be sure to check those out in the sidebar…