Am I the only one here that cringes every time I hear the word gravel? It’s been a common word in my world for a few years now, and believe me, I hear the word a lot… but I just can’t embrace it. The word gravel still brings to mind all-day slogs across flat/windblown prairies on the type of surface that’s devoid of traction yet still slowly and steadily saps your spirit. In other words: somehow, somewhere it firmly lodged in my brain that “gravel” is the antithesis of “fun.”
Drop bars have always had a special place in my heart. Don’t get me wrong, I love mountain bikes. That feeling of flying down swoopy singletrack and rowdy trails on a mountain bike is truly hard to beat. But there is one thing that can beat it… Flying down flowy singletrack and rowdy trails on a drop-bar bike. Now that can get exciting!
February 28 – March 8, 2021
Arrival in Yuma, Arizona
The Impossible Route team arrived about as prepared for it as a groom to a shotgun wedding.
We planned on paper, but this was the Mojave Desert and Death Valley; and they would definitely hold some big surprises.
Matt has submitted a Readers’ Rides post before and this week, we’re featuring his “Unicorn” Soma Wolverine build, which he’s documented in detail for your enjoyment below!
Wahoo Frontiers takes to one of California’s most breathtaking places, the Lost Coast:
“In this first episode of season two, Ian Boswell, Peter Stetina, and Colin Strickland meet up in California for a bike trip that explores the Lost Coast. This is not just an adventure, it is the new training camp for these privateers. What do you do when you need your competition to get better so you can beat your competition later? Ian, Pete, and Colin find out as they tackle the Lost Coast each seeking something a bit different and each riding away with fresh perspective and motivation for challenges ahead.”
See the route links below…
I walked into the shop and was greeted by an animated guy covered in tattoos. While talking to him, I noticed he was locked onto what I was saying. Paying attention to every detail or timid question I asked, he was ready to help me. Understanding that I was new to mountain bikes, he took the time to deconstruct explanations of the mechanics of a mountain bike. No matter how silly I felt asking a question or calling something by the wrong name, he was quick to politely correct me to ensure I was informed. As we walked through my bike’s features, I could tell he was extremely knowledgeable. Without any hesitation, he was able to explain things, while simultaneously working away. He was in a flow state of mind at this point and there wasn’t much that was going to take him out of it. This ability only comes with an expertise that is unmatched.
Last year I was visiting the BTCHN’ Bikes shop to shoot some process photos for the Sierra Explorer project and got stopped in my tracks as soon as I walked into the door by a different frame in a stand. This frame was totally unlike any design I’d seen before, and there was so much hard thought and problem-solving that went into making it a reality that I couldn’t even open that door of my brain and had to just stay on target with the bike I was actually there to shoot.
For today’s Reportage, we linked up with Bay Area artist Ariel Wickham Earnhardt to discuss her artwork, her riding, and her role in the Full Circle Cycling Project video we posted earlier this month, which supports the Coast Miwok’s work to share and preserve their culture, by selling artwork inspired by the land, cycling, and community. Read on below for an interview and a look at Ariel’s local rides…
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.
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.
Our friends at Easton worked on a beautiful project:
“An avid cyclist, artist, and designer, Ariel conceived of The Full Circle Cycling Land Acknowledgement Project to raise funds and awareness of the land that we use every day as cyclists up in Marin County, the birthplace of modern mountain and gravel riding. This land was once home to the Coast Miwok, but their existence is seldom acknowledged.
In support of the Coast Miwok’s work to share and preserve their culture, the Full Circle Cycling Project aims to sell artwork inspired by the land, cycling, and community. Funds raised will go towards current and forthcoming projects that the Coast Miwok have established (you can find further details on their cultural learning center, and land acknowledgment statue at the link) as well as funding to assist Trips for Kids Marin to continue to make cycling accessible for all. Ariel’s ultimate goal is to help all people experience nature through cycling by supporting local programs that help bring cycling to underserved communities.
Please head to the Full Circle fundraiser page to learn more about the artwork, and to purchase a Tunitas Carryall musette, handkerchief, or print of the artwork. Easton Cycling is excited to support the work Ariel has put in to develop these connections through art, and we are proud to provide financial assistance in bringing this project to fruition so that all proceeds can benefit the community. Special thanks to the Coast Miwok Tribal Council for their support of this project.”
Head to the Full Circle Project to purchase a poster, musette, or bandana.
On November 1st, 2018 I rolled out to cover 1200 miles of the old Butterfield Overland Mail Route from San Francisco to Tucson, AZ. For almost a year prior the headlines had been dominated by news of things happening along America’s southern border. Child Separations. Immigration Caravans. National Guard deployments. On social media channels the rhetoric from all sides, which had already been getting increasingly strident, ramped up to a fever pitch. Normal conversations spiraled completely out of control. I found myself caught up in it all, furious at family members, friends, and strangers alike.
First things first, close your eyes and take 5 seconds to visualize what comes to mind when you think of Catalina Island… What do you see?
A group of familiar faces embarked on a 100-mile bikepacking trip up the Sonoma Coast in a collaboration between Monster Children and Giro.
The Golden State Skyline is a human-powered, self-supported linkup of all fifteen 14,000’ peaks in California, stretching from Mt. Shasta in the Cascades to Mt. Langley, the southern tip of the Sierra. Along with my friends Jonny Morsicato and Charlie Firer, followed by film crew Colin Rex and Nick Smillie, I set off to complete the Golden State Skyline on August 14. Our planned route covered 800 miles by bike, 100 miles on foot, and 100,000 feet of vertical gain, including technical difficulties up to 5.9. But life had other plans…
Reinventing the wheel is literally what the cycling industry is all about. Every year hundreds of companies take their shot; so it’s rare when one unique design stands out, especially when that product is competitively priced.
We have all been on rides that, at some point, require us to dig deep. But we still find a way to get that last bit of energy out of our bodies. We fight, we endure. And on the other side of these rides, we emerge stronger. We need to make the same commitment to anti-racism that we do to become stronger on the bike.
While I can’t recall when the seed of this idea was planted, by early spring our plan to escape the reality of 2020 by riding from San Francisco to San Diego was beginning to take root. The year had started upbeat as I’m sure is the case for most people at the beginning of most years, but before long it took a hard turn in the other direction. Starting with a whiplash-inducing breakup that led to moving back to my parents’ house outside of Denver; those events seem small now in the context of everything that followed. As Covid 19 swept the planet and most of humanity began to shelter in place, our collective grief and anxiety began to feel like the status quo. As the days passed at a glacial pace (that was somehow simultaneously lightning fast), the snow in Colorado melted and this idea began to sprout as the earth began to thaw. At the same time, my best friend was dealing with his own lockdown situation down in Baja. Lorenzo had moved down to Ensenada late in 2019 to open a Gelato place (appropriately named “El Gelato”) and was absolutely killing it in the gelato game, helped in no small part to being probably the only gelateria in all of Baja. But when Covid hit, it hit hard and the dusty little town he was calling home completely shut down. With nowhere to go and nothing to do, I started receiving regular text messages from him about riding away from all this bullshit.