Going into the 5th year of Grinduro California coverage on this website, I really wanted to do something different and boy, did I get just that. In addition to covering Team Brooks‘ debut at Grinduro, a series of events made this otherwise familiar race a little more unpredictable. Things weren’t looking so great the week leading up to this incredible event…
Illustration by Creep
Latigo Coffee is planning a weekend of fun camping in Kernville, California on the weekend of October 25th and they want you to come along. Enjoy some live music by the campfire on Saturday evening by Amelia & Rosy. Bring a bike, trail running shoes, or just some good vibes and register at Event Brite for the event!
Brady Lawrence from Seattle was in attendance for Grinduro Scotland, where he made this recap video that really captures the vibes at these races. Who’s going to Japan and California?
If you’re looking to get off the beaten pack of European gravel routes and explore one of Central Europe’s most beautiful National Parks, then be sure to check out the Bohemian Border Bash. It takes place on the border between German and the Czech Republic. While the Bohemian Border Bash is not a race, it will provide many challenges as you navigate through sandstone pinnacles, gorges, streams, and winding gravel roads for as far as your eye can see.
Check out the full press-release and more information below and you can register now at the Bohemian Border Bash.
“For every picture-perfect tent shot on Instagram, there is an entire gallery of images you should see — but rarely do. When we share a photo on social media, we can’t monitor who it reaches, and a lack of knowledge (or worse yet, a blatant disregard for the rules), can ruin some of our favorite campsites, trails and parks. From garbage to human waste, I’ve dealt with all kinds of foul things when setting up camp, and it only seems to be getting worse.
Platforms like Instagram are directly linked to this problem, but they can be just as effective in educating people and encouraging them to behave more responsibly outside. I was thrilled to see Leave No Trace (LNT) recently share a set of social media guidelines, concerning both geotags and the message a photo can send. As lovers of the outdoors who sleep in the dirt in the digital age, it’s important to keep this discussion going — and understand how we can better preserve the places we cherish. ”
While it’s amazing that so much beauty is open for all to use, there needs to be a system of checks and balances in play. The BLM and Parks Department is understaffed, so any chance you get to clean up, pack it out, and leave it better, please do so! Continue reading this piece at Big Agnes.
One of the things I’ve learned while spending time on the road is going with your gut. When I found out Easter Jeep Safari conflicted with our time in Utah, I knew we’d have to find camping outside of Moab. A few locals told me that town was mobbed, forcing them to seek refuge in Green River while people from all over the United States arrived in the Jeep mecca to drive the trails and show-off on Potato Salad Hill. I was bummed out, since I had been looking forward to this trip for some time, but figured something new and hopefully better would arise.
That’s when it happened, in a serendipitous way, as it often does. At the Green River Rock and Mineral Festival, we were mistakenly lead to a zone called Klondike Bluffs to rock hound with the group. Turns out, our group was supposed to be rockhounding nearby, but not at the bluffs specifically. While there, I noted what appeared to be an extensive trail network nestled in the rocky outcroppings and rolling hills. This zone backs up against Arches National Park, so it had views as well. Not Moab views, but views nonetheless. There was also free dispersed camping and a pit toilet. We were there on a Saturday morning and it was packed, with mountain bikers of all sorts from families to guys with pads and full face helmets. It seemed that I found our zone.
It had been a wild 48 hours at White Pocket in Northern Arizona. At one point, we turned to each other and expressed, rather reluctantly, that we didn’t think it could get any better on this trip. What we saw was a geologist’s dream site and as a photographer, I couldn’t have asked for a better backdrop for a full day’s worth of meandering and analysis. It seems the crescendo had come and gone. Or at least that was our perception. We made our way back to civilization, via a myriad of deep, sandy roads. In order to plan our next few legs of the trip, we needed strong coffee, food, and wifi.
In this zone, there’s only one place to go for such modern amenities; Kanab, Utah.
We’re on a two-week road trip in Utah, from Kanab to Moab, exploring various places in between and riding bikes as much as we can. Expect an epic, geological, mind-blowing gallery when we get back! For now, follow @JohnProlly for some snippets along the way.
After South Africa, I realized two things. The first being my knee injury will have me off the bike for a few weeks and the second; it’s finally the perfect time for the desert. Rather than stewing at home, unable to ride and constantly being surrounded by the thing that I can’t do right now – riding bikes – I decided that a trip to the Mojave was in order. A nonprofit artist organization, the High Desert Test Sites, was doing their annual symposium in the Joshua Tree area. Cari has worked with them in the past, so I thought it’d be an awesome excuse to get out to the Mojave for a short trip.
The problem is, Joshua Tree this time of year is a zoo, so finding a camping spot on the weekend is a challenge. My rough plan was to drive out to the Cady Mountains, camp, wake up to look for Big Horn sheep and explore the slot canyons, then drive to Joshua Tree for the festivities. We’d then bail out back to the Mojave and explore some more areas I’ve got saved for just such an occasion.
Yes, those astute readers of this website will recognize this bike. Kyle photographed it at Grinduro Scotland already, along with the bikes of other builders. It was the only mountain bike in the bunch and it coincidentally won the People’s Choice award at Grinduro Scotland, which is why it’s here in California right now. Adeline makes Mercredi Bikes in the UK. Her torch time is usually spent on road and ‘cross bikes, but this mountain bike was her first, in terms of building and the first MTB she’s owned. A serious cyclocross racer, it didn’t take much for Adeline to adjust to racing this mountain bike at Grinduro, where she won. I’ve always been of the opinion that riding mountain bikes will enhance your ‘cross skills and she’s quickly finding that to be true.
… and we’ll be back on Tuesday. Enjoy the long weekend!
Out of all the places in California, Owens Valley and its surrounding areas are my favorite. You’ve got the High Sierra to the west and Death Valley to the east. Unfortunately, this late in the year, spending time in Death Valley limits you to the air conditioning confines of your car, or Telescope Peak and its extreme elevation and in the High Sierra, this year’s snowfall of epic proportions still has many of the roads and hiking trails closed. With limited options for altitude, Cari and I decided to explore the valley floor after my week in Chico. Once my work “obligations” were finished, I picked her up from the Sacramento airport on Thursday afternoon and made the traverse into Owens Valley.
This June 24th and 25th, on the night of the Solstice, the Swift Campout returns and you can sign up now, for free at the website. Head on over to read about route planning, gear recommendations and to view people’s photo contributions from previous year’s events.
Editor’s Note: When I lived in Austin, Texas, I wanted to bring my friends who were accustomed to racing a training on a weekend outing of camping and riding dirt roads. Since this time of year in Texas, the parks are often crowded, I decided that Super Bowl Weekend would be ideal, since everyone in Texas would be glued to their televisions and not driving their RVs to campsites around the state. Over the past few years, the ride has continued, further morphing into this year’s Seattle-Austin exchange program… Check out the first Super Bro Weekend photoset in our archives.
Part I: Central Texas Excursion (Code name: Vitamin D)
In the past few years, a tradition has formed in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, where the adventurous souls of Beat The Clock Cycling go out to explore the far edges of the cycling universe. This year’s edition brought with it a special layer of stoke. Through a conversation between delegates from Seattle-based Swift Industries and Austin-based Beat The Clock, an idea began to percolate. The delegates were discussing a future trip up to Washington when the idea of a cycling exchange program was born. For the Northwesterners, the pull of the warm Texas winter was too much to resist, and it was decided that the Cascadia contingent would join forces with the Texans. This idea turned into Super Stoke Weekend, where the visitors could experience firsthand what the Texas Hill Country had to offer. Anticipating a sprightly and somewhat daunting 300 miles of mixed surface riding for the weekend, the Seattle crew began an intense training regimen of weekly randos/taco cleanses.
Today, Kyle and I are packing up the ‘Cruiser with mountain bikes and camping gear to spend a week in Utah riding the trails of St. George, Hurricane and Gooseberry with the boys from Angry Catfish in Minneapolis. We’ve got content coming in through the Radar and Reportage, so stay tuned!
An Unexpected Glimpse into Peruvian Culture
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson
EDITOR’S WARNING: This gallery contains content that may offend the lovers of fluffy animals. There are slides in the gallery which give you plenty of warning to turn back. Keep in mind, this is part of the Peruvian culture, so please maintain an open mind.
My final stretch on the Peruvian Divide Route started like much of the rest. Incredibly quiet roads lined with as much spectacular scenery and as many furry friends as one can possibly handle. Bobbing and weaving between storms (without much success), and drifting in and out of the occasional small village filled with welcoming locals.
As far as bikepacking/dirt touring routes go, I can’t really think of a more complete experience. Where the Cordillera Blanca to the north wins on pure scenery, the Divide easily wins on way-off-the-beaten-path dirt road riding (if that is your thing). This makes for easier wild camping, and even more interesting interactions with locals who simply don’t see tourists around with any kind of frequency.
I love well thought-out campware and while sometimes they can get a bit cumbersome, this new Full Windsor product looks really well designed. Check out more on the Muncher at their Kickstarter.
Romantic Bicycle Touring: A Primer
Words and photos by Ultra Romance
You can witness all the beauty there is to see in this fine world: Yanni live at the Acropolis, the Venice beach boardwalk, or simply the Sistine Chapel, for example.
While encountering these wonders alone is undoubtedly inspiring and majestic, these enchanting destinations and undulating waves of road in between are enhanced roughly 70-80% of the time when the experience is shared. Add in the romantic element, and that analytic bumps up to roughly 86%, yet fluctuates down to 20% at times. That’s still pretty good!
With the popularity of bicycle touring on the rise in recent years, and justifiably so, the amount of “I’d rather be doing that” inspirational social media content has increased exponentially. It doesn’t take a masters degree in internet browsing to stumble across countless photos of glossy eyed 86% happy couples posing for duck face selfies with their laden touring rigs amidst a backdrop of the romantic unknown.
I must admit, I have gazed at these photos before, incurring wide eyed dreams of one day waking up in the dirt beside a real, tangible lover. Instead I continued to keep company with the likes of my ol’ faithful laminated 8×10 of Matthew McConaughey, propped up next to my inflatable pillow at night. Even still, I continued to tell myself “Bené, you’re tall, strikingly handsome, muscular, your hair is #1, and you have two amazing Instagram accounts… don’t get greedy, you can’t have it all!” And so I was settled into my ways. Just me and my McCaughey laminate, rubbing woolen elbows with the world and it’s mysteries.