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The Adventures of Paisa the Colombian Mountain Pup

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The Adventures of Paisa the Colombian Mountain Pup

I was just starting to get into the flow of life in Colombia. Waking up in the morning in a small village to seek out whichever local bakery had the most people flowing in and out to grab breakfast. Hitting the road while the air was still cool.

The evening before, I had rolled into the tiny old town of Toche to a chorus of agitated dogs looking to announce my arrival. Back 10+ years ago this town used to be a particularly dangerous place due to its remote location making it attractive to folks trying to avoid the law, but these days it’s mostly just home to a small number of Llaneros (cowboys) and their animals.

Early the next morning, I rode through the town’s totally empty streets. I stopped to take a photo as a friendly pup that I’d seen the evening before came running up toward me with a lot of excitement in its step, though she never came too close. Just watching what I was doing from a safe distance.

After a stop in the shop, I pedaled my way up the start of the day’s long and steep climb to “Alto de La Línea”. This was a stretch of road I’d been looking forward to for a very long time.

Dirt by the Seaside: Bike Touring Texada Island

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Dirt by the Seaside: Bike Touring Texada Island

The ocean felt like bathwater. A welcome reprieve from the usual cringe-producing ice bath of the West Coast of BC. I eased my way in step by step, the water picking away at the grime and sweat of a full day, mid-summer ride. Alycia strode into the water with confidence, and purpose, more at ease around water than I am. I’m always worried about hurting my feet. We climbed onto the trunk of a huge old-growth tree just out of the water, a relic of the island’s history. I could see a white motorboat in the distance, drifting lazily. I tilted my head to see if I could hear the inevitable music, cheering and the yells that I imagine would be happening on a party boat. I hear nothing, only silence and the lapping of the water on the beach.

The Around the Rock Route: Circumnavigating the Teton Mountain Range by Bike

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The Around the Rock Route: Circumnavigating the Teton Mountain Range by Bike

I didn’t spend a lot of time planning this trip. I had tickets to Wyoming, a borrowed rental car, a new Soma Grand Randonneur (checks spelling of randonneur) with clearance for knobs, and a friend with a break during architecture school. “What route are you thinking?” Asked Will.

“Still working on that.”

This isn’t my first hastily planned tour. I pulled up RideWithGPS and found the Around The Rock Route close to where we were planning to stay for a few days. The route was developed by the friendly folks at Fitzgerald’s Bicycles, and it circumnavigates the Teton Mountain Range. The route is roughly 150 miles and is equal parts gravel road and pavement. The Fitzgerald team hosts a group ride along the route during the summer solstice, but Will and I opted to break the route into three days (to keep it gravel casual).

A Year with the Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo

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A Year with the Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo

Finding the right tent for a bike trip is always tricky. It’s all about striking the balance of size, weight, livability, storm-worthiness, and durability that fits you and your plans.  

Before heading to Turkey, I knew I wanted to try to eliminate full-sized panniers from my setup, which meant leaving a few things back home and downsizing a few other pieces of gear to make that possible. The tent was one of the first items I looked at since my Tarptent Stratospire 2, while super bomber and massively spacious, is not the smallest option when packed, and probably a little overkill for this trip.

That’s when I landed on the Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo. On paper, at $250 (minus stakes, pole, and seam sealer) and sub-1kg all-in, the Lunar Solo ticked an awful lot of boxes in terms of size, space, and cost, so I gave it a shot.  After a year and countless nights in the mountains of Turkey, the Andean Puna, and the forests of Michigan, I’ve come away impressed.

Everything Ryan Wilson Packed for His Turkish Bike Tour and Six New Favorite Pieces of Gear

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Everything Ryan Wilson Packed for His Turkish Bike Tour and Six New Favorite Pieces of Gear

Narrowing down my setup for Turkey was a bit tricky compared to some of my previous trips. In particular, because half of my gear that I was using in Central Asia was stranded in Nepal on lockdown, I’d have to try to piece together a rig using older equipment I had lying around as well as a handful of new additions to round it out.

To start, I picked up a Surly Bridge Club.  I originally had intended only to have it as a do-it-all bike while I was home, but when I found out I was heading to Turkey, I was intrigued to see how an off-the-shelf $1150 bike with entry-level components would fare compared to higher-end setups like my 44 Bikes Marauder and Tumbleweed Prospector. I’ll post my full thoughts on the Bridge Club soon, but in the meantime, here is my full kit list along with six pieces of gear that stood out in the Taurus Mountains.

Spring Break in Hanksville, Utah

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Spring Break in Hanksville, Utah

Nothing triggers the wanderlust quite like daydreaming about a springtime road trip to the desert while you’re still stuck in the endless throes of a long, cold winter. The real yearning sets in as you mindlessly scroll the Gram, where every post seems to somehow find a way to reference that thing that’s missing in your life. The real trick, of course, is to transcend all the daydreaming and the scrolling, to put an actual plan, with your actual friends, actually into motion. This past winter, as we began to see a tiny light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, convening a small group of friends in the Southern Utah desert felt like the best way to emerge from that long period of collective isolation. Our crew has a long history with the annual springtime trip to ride bikes in the desert, so finding a couple willing accomplices wouldn’t be too difficult, especially after the stay-home sacrifices we’d all made for so long. Like the faint glow of a distant lighthouse on the horizon, the revived annual desert trip became the beacon of hope and group adventures toward which we were all now pointing our bows.

Rapha’s Snow Peak Collection

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Rapha’s Snow Peak Collection

In the outdoor space, few companies provide products as resilient as they are good-lookin’ as Snow Peak. Their titanium cookware lasts forever and their compact camping solutions have proven to be excellent allies on bicycle tours so it makes sense that Rapha would pair up with Snow Peak on a capsule collection, live now at their site. Sure, if you already have this gear, you don’t need to be bothered but if you’re a fan of Rapha and are curious about Snow Peak’s legacy, this is for you. I’ve been using the new Kanpai bottle for hot and cold-brewed coffee and its worked a treat.

See the collection at Rapha.

Dangle Supply Reinvents the Titanium Dangle Mug

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Dangle Supply Reinvents the Titanium Dangle Mug

Dangle Supply, makers of the almighty DangleBong™️, recently revisited their roots and re-designed the titanium camp mug. You know, those camp mugs everyone dangles off their rear saddle packs? These newly-designed titanium cups are 400ml 420ml in volume, 85mm in outside diameter, and 90mm high (get it?). These are priced at $49.69 and are in stock now at Dangle Supply.

A Discussion About Wilderness: Backpacking and Fly Fishing in Northern New Mexico

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A Discussion About Wilderness: Backpacking and Fly Fishing in Northern New Mexico

There is a case for wilderness in the American West, which is defined in the Oxford dictionary as “an uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable region.” The problem is, this classification was written by colonizers and erasers of indigenous history. Humans have long inhabited these areas, before the Spanish or the Pilgrims infiltrated these lands, long before it was called New Mexico.

This topic is a heated one. Organizations like the Sierra Club lead the way in this classification, establishing rules about who can or can’t visit these lands: for instance, cyclists. I’m not here to talk about whether or not bikes should be allowed in areas classified as wilderness, so let’s step back a bit and discuss what that word, wilderness, means in the context of the original inhabitants of the Americas.

Go Fast Camper’s New SuperLite Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

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Go Fast Camper’s New SuperLite Hard Shell Roof Top Tent

While we’ve all been staying local, our minds are out on the road. Summertime is for road trips and part of that experience is camping along the way. At least for us. While ground tents get the job done, it’s hard to deny the allure of sleeping anywhere you can park your car in a roof top tent. Be it at the trailhead, bike races, or at a basecamp for hub-n-spoke rides or bicycle tours, lightweight, easy to deploy RTTs are taking over. Go Fast Campers have just announced the lightest tent with the biggest interior and thinnest, most compact design on the market.

The SuperLite is just 80lbs, which is light enough for one person to install. It has a massive sleeping area of 50″x90″ thanks to the wedge design and features panorama windows on three sides with a screen option. Best of all, when it’s closed up, it’s only 6″ thick, so you can still pull into garages and carports.

Pricing starts at $1299. The SuperLite is available now for pre-order with an estimated fulfillment beginning in November 2020 just in time for holiday travel. Hey, let’s hope 2020 has some weeks of salvageable travel!

Drawn Out: a Semi-Casual Expedition Through the Lost Sierra

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Drawn Out: a Semi-Casual Expedition Through the Lost Sierra

Tucked away in a sparsely populated region of Northern California, at the northern terminus of the Sierra Nevada range lies a land of dense, rolling forests, deep canyons, cold clear streams, and jagged peaks that tower over teal, post-glacial lakes.  And weaving their way through this serenely beautiful landscape is a network of ever-growing trails, the vast majority of which can be traversed by bike.

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Latigo Campout: Kernville Oct 2019

Our friends at Latigo Coffee hold annual Campouts in the areas around their operations on the Central California Coast. Last year’s event took them to Kernville, a veritable gravel and mountain bike mecca, for some riding, running, swimmin’, good times, music, and of course coffee! Check out their vibes-heavy video.