The cold. Oh, the cold. Never before had I experienced 10º temperatures at night and 70º during the day. There I lay, in chrysalis, asleep in my bivy thinking to myself, “this is miserable.” That was two years ago, at the foot of the second tallest sand dunes in North America, nestled between the Last Chance and Amargosa Mountains in Death Valley National Park. Needless to say, it took a while for me to want to tour this unforgiving place again. There’s something transformative about touring in the Mojave Desert. The dryness, the elevation, the sand, the silt, the wind, the washboard roads; insurmountable obstacles really bring out the truest human condition, that Lovecraftian urge to get out and test one’s limits. Push it a little bit further and come out the other side. Had I known that this love for the deserted, the dusted, and that grandiose dolomite was merely biding its time as I shivered uncontrollably in my bivy sack two years ago, I might not have been so absolute in my cynicism. It was time for emergence.
Behold. A steel bicycle that lasts a lifetime and pushes through the trends, accepting new builds and uses with ease, with finesse, and most importantly, with style. Do you remember Erik’s Di2 Alfine 11 Peacock Nuke AWOL? That photoset was fire back in 2014 when we originally posted it. While propped up on a hillside in Bernal Heights, an incredibly scenic neighborhood in the US’ most scenic city, Erik and I lamented how this whole “adventure” stuff was going to take off, big time. The AWOL was the first bike Erik designed for Specialized, which is raced the Transcontinental Race on and little did he know that just five years later, the brand would put a bullet in this peacock project.
This is the eleventh layout of the Radavist 2019 Calendar, entitled “Weathering” shot with a Canon 5D and a 24-70mm lens in Palm Springs, California.
“After we shared this photo from our trip to Palm Springs with the Mojave Desert Land Trust, we got a lot of messages on Instagram and emails requesting it be shared in a desktop-friendly format. Well, it just so happens to coincide with the Radavist Calendar for November. Enjoy!”
For a high-res JPG, suitable for print and desktop wallpaper*, right click and save link as – The Radavist 2019 Calendar – November. 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 the same location. Click here to download November’s Mobile Wallpaper.
This is the tenth layout of the Radavist 2019 Calendar, entitled “Sandstone Sunset” shot with a Canon 5D and a 24-70mm lens in Bryce, Utah.
“Bryce Canyon and the northern region of the Colorado Plateau has been home to the Paiute since 1200 A.D. and before them, the Fremont and Anasazi (a weighted name with indigenous propaganda roots) since 200 A.D. Not much information is out there regarding the creation of Thunder Mountain. Sure the National Forest service made the trail, but did this area have previous navigation lines? What we do know is that indigenous peoples have long called this part of the Colorado Plateau home and it has great spiritual energy for the First Nations even today:
“Before there were humans, the Legend People, To-when-an-ung-wa, lived in that place. There were many of them. They were of many kinds – birds, animals, lizards, and such things, but they looked like people. They were not people. They had the power to make themselves look that way. For some reason the Legend People in that place were bad; they did something that was not good, perhaps a fight, perhaps some stole something….the tale is not clear at this point. Because they were bad, Coyote turned them all into rocks. You can see them in that place now all turned into rocks; some standing in rows, some sitting down, some holding onto others. You can see their faces, with paint on them just as they were before they became rocks. The name of that place is Angka-ku-wass-a-wits (red painted faces). This is the story the people tell.” – NPS”
For a high-res JPG, suitable for print and desktop wallpaper*, right click and save link as – The Radavist 2019 Calendar – October. 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 Bryce. Click here to download October’s Mobile Wallpaper.
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.
Tomas Quinones was at the right place at the right time with the right equipment and saved an elderly man and his dogs from dying from exposure in the Oregon desert.
Ryan, who did that killer Bikingman Oman story, has been releasing 1-minute long teasers from his forthcoming project, “Elephant.”
Today we’ve got a feature from Ryan Le Garrec featuring the BikingMan Oman and one of those riders featured is Josh Ibbett. Here’s Josh’s own account.
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…
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
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.
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.
XPDTN3 takes to the magical deserts of Morocco for their latest project.
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.
The new and improved Rapha Brevet line got a shakedown test in the Argentinian desert. Check out the full story at Rapha.
Kirt Voreis takes to the desert for some pastel freeriding and a few tips from a lost prospector…
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.
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.
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