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Red Velcro, Skipping Vortices, and Heavenly Sandstone: Riding in Sedona, Arizona

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Red Velcro, Skipping Vortices, and Heavenly Sandstone: Riding in Sedona, Arizona

With cooler temps approaching, I really wanted to circle back around to our late spring trip to Sedona. Colin and I bugged out for a bit, camping just outside of town, riding bikes, 4-wheeling, and enjoying the local cuisine. While this isn’t necessarily a “Guide to Sedona” nor will it dive into history, both colonial and indigenous, it is meant to spark a desire to ride in this veritable mountain bike theme park.

Quicksand, Camaraderie, and Existential Optimism in Canyon Country – Spencer Harding

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Quicksand, Camaraderie, and Existential Optimism in Canyon Country – Spencer Harding

Quicksand, Camaraderie, and Existential Optimism in Canyon Country
Words and photos by Spencer Harding

Sometimes you plan a trip months in advance and mother nature decides that the normally dry ground you planned to ride your bike will now be a raging soupy brown milkshake of a river. 

Sometimes you help a random couple push a broken down vintage Jaguar in the middle of nowhere in the rain. 

Sometimes you get stuck in waist-deep quicksand in said raging soupy brown milkshake river and have to yell for help until your friends come to rescue you covered in cockle burrs. 

Sometimes you ride your bike even though the map says you are underwater in Lake Powell. 

Sometimes you decide to drag your bike and raft upstream for some damn reason.

Sometimes your overnighter was shorter mileage-wise than an average grocery run. 

Sometimes in desperation, you make a pipe out of the darndest things and then eat it.

Sometimes you realize maybe you should have left the damn bike at home this time.

Sometimes you decide to go for a leisurely ride to see pretty fall colors on the way home, which turns into a two hour long hike-a-bike ending with Y’all running from a snowstorm.

 

And finally, sometimes none of these things matter because the people and places around you are so dang beautiful…

____

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Enjoy the Weekend!

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Enjoy the Weekend!

Some people will think this image looks like hell, others heaven, and for them, this winter’s content here on the site has a high bar to reach after last year’s desert exploits. Regardless of the outcome, I’m looking forward to it! Out of curiosity, has anyone taken on this loop after seeing our post from December? Over the next few weeks, the temps will be dropping even more!

Anyway, ENJOY THE WEEKEND!

Sand Traps and Mishaps in the Argentine Puna

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Sand Traps and Mishaps in the Argentine Puna

Sand Traps and Mishaps in the Argentine Puna
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

There are few things in this world that excite me more than a faint checkered line on a map, meandering through wide open spaces.  As I’ve come to find out over the previous month, Northern Argentina has quite the collection of them.  While my completionist tendencies want to pull me in all directions, down every last trail, there are really more than one could ever explore in just one trip.  Often these tracks are meticulously sculpted into a bone-shattering washboard.  If not, they’re plunging you through pits of ankle-deep sand.  Either way, they’re always filling your eyes with sights unlike any other in the world.

The Radavist 2018 Calendar: September

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The Radavist 2018 Calendar: September

This is the ninth layout of the Radavist 2018 Calendar, entitled “Spires” shot with a Canon 1DXmkII and a 100-400mm lens in Searles Valley, California.

“We’re trying something a little different this month, celebrating the end of summer with an abstract landscape in both the desktop and mobile calendar. These tufa spires were formed as gas exited an ancient lake bed 10,000 to 100,000 years ago. Roughly 500 of these spires litter the landscape, with some reaching as high as 140 feet. The resulting landscape is straight out of a Hollywood SciFi flick, which, coincidentally has landed these iconic forms in many movies.”

For a high-res JPG, suitable for print and desktop wallpaper*, right click and save link as – The Radavist 2018 Calendar – September. Please, this photo is for personal use only!
(*set background to white and center for optimal coverage)

The mobile background this month is also from Searles Valley Click here to download September’s Mobile Wallpaper.

Sean Hipkin’s Tumbleweed Prints Available Now Online

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Sean Hipkin’s Tumbleweed Prints Available Now Online

After much online demand, Daniel from Tumbleweed has listed these beautiful, acid-free archival paper-printed desert prints on the Tumbleweed Online Store.

“Here is a limited edition 16”x24” high-quality print on archival paper with artwork by Bay Area artist Sean Hipkin. Prints will be shipped in a poster tube, and shipping cost is included in the price of the print”

Scoop one up at Tumbleweed.

Mojave Mobbin’ on the Palm Canyon Epic Trail

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Mojave Mobbin’ on the Palm Canyon Epic Trail

The Mojave. Mountain bikes. There are actually very few places where the two overlap both at any official or extensive capacity. Which is strange, seeing as how the sheer scale of the Mojave Desert in California can be lost while looking at a map. There has to be a trail network worth riding in there somewhere! It takes up so much of Southern California! In my experience, this scale is only decipherable after attempts to explore, document and traverse. Otherwise, you’re just looking at expansive land, with a few mountains scattered throughout.

There’s a lot that Southern California got wrong, but setting aside expanses of unadulterated high Mojave Desert is one thing it got right. Riding bikes through said landscape, only to culminate in a city filled with big box architecture, sports cars and golf courses supplies the much-needed reflection to further appreciate these experiences.

That’s the Palm Canyon Epic; one big juxtaposition, or macro juxtaposition if you will. From Piñon, Juniper, Chaparral, and Sagebrush to Cholla, Agave, Barrel, and Beavertail, the flora and fauna you experience on this ride is unlike anything I’ve ridden before. I’m always on the lookout for desert experiences on the bicycle and let me tell you, the feeling you get while looking for a place, or a route to ride, is equivocal to the vastness experienced while actually there, pleasantly pedaling. Or hell, even pedaling in pain can be fun too. This route has it all.

Luckily, on this ride, there were eleven of us, making for a truly unique excursion into the wide openness that is the southernmost tip of the Mojave Desert.

A Quote from the Desert Oracle

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A Quote from the Desert Oracle

One of my favorite zines and podcasts, the Desert Oracle, recently dropped this gem of a quote and I couldn’t help but share, especially in light of the current political climate. It really makes you think…

“The human argument for setting aside vast stretches of the American desert as parks and preserves and wilderness and plain open space always includes the importance of unspoiled vistas. As the only real difference between Las Vegas and Death Valley is that we made a strategic decision to fill one with casino hotels and insurance company headquarters and neighborhoods while leaving the other more or less intact for the mutual benefit of humanity and the plants and creatures and ecosystems in such a mostly wild place.” Ken Layne, Desert Oracle, #016.

Follow @desertoracle 🙌🏻

Three Mule Team: Bikepacking in Northern Death Valley – A Prospector’s Tale

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Three Mule Team: Bikepacking in Northern Death Valley – A Prospector’s Tale

We are three prospectors and this is our creed:

For over a hundred years, Death Valley has had its minerals extracted by machine and mule. Not just for gold and silver, either. Prospectors scoured the mountains for borax, antimony, copper, lead, zinc, and tungsten, packing out their load by mule. We are modern day Prospectors, however, we are not seeking riches, yet experiences, of which will be beaten into our soul by miles of washboarded and rocky roads. Our mules are our bicycles and we’ll take only photos, leaving no trace, taking nothing from this land. It’s given enough over the decades and its scars are still visible on the surface.

There’s no death in this valley, but life, at a micro scale, so nuanced that without the pace of the bicycle, might be passed over, unnoticed.