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.