You know how a hashtag can fuck you? Well maybe not, but a few years ago my good friend Nic and I had this idea … we’d always been intrigued by the pans – or mud flats – of the Northern Cape here in South Africa. At the time we were really getting into riding fixed gear bikes and one day it hit us – let’s take our fixed gear bikes onto the pan! Why not? Surreal landscapes, super smooth surfaces good enough for world speed records! Sounds like a good adventure right? We did some research and found out that that year there was a South African Speedweek planned in September 2014 on the Hakskeenpan, coinciding with the launch of a planned rocket-propelled car land speed record attempt – the Bloodhound SSC. We decided to travel up in Nic’s old 1963 Porsche 356 – it seemed appropriate. Bikes on the roof, gear in the back.
It’s no secret that for the past few years, we spend a lot of time on the road traveling to bike events. We often spend 7 months on the road, visiting gravel races, MTB events, framebuilder showcases, or just checking out the cycling communities and rides in various towns all over the Western United States. 2020 put a damper on that with Covid-19 but this year I’ve been building out a desert tourer and road trip vehicle of a different sort, an HJ75 Troopcarrier from Australia. This “long van” is one of the most capable and compact RVs in the world and unfortunately, we never got this specific model of Toyota here in the States.
When BF Goodrich caught wind of a recent interview with me where I discussed desert touring… by bicycle. They had to know more. How in the world do you ride in the desert on a bike? So I sat down with them for an interview about the Radavist and what it means to “Shred Lightly.”
Guide books like this are where I get a lot of inspiration for bike rides and tours.
The piece might be common knowledge for a lot of y’all but it’s always nice to push a positive message for outdoor recreation on a large platform like that. Head over to BF Goodrich Garage to check it out.
There seems to exist a set of truisms in mountain biking: your next bike will always be better than your last, my local trails are harder than your local trails, and the fastest local rider isn’t on Strava and humbly rides a singlespeed. Then there’s the local legend, a misfit rider, the slightly anachronistic character that emerges on the trail mid-group-ride on a hardcore hardtail who rides loose and fast and with reckless disregard.
When Kona announced the Honzo ESD earlier this year it came as a great surprise. The original Honzo has remained relatively unchanged since 2012 and this new version looked like a poolhall brawler by comparison. Dominated by modern geometry, BMX inspired frame lines, and a build kit suitable for Bender himself, it was clear this was going to be no ordinary Honzo…
It’s no secret we’re fans of the desert here at the Radavist and so we really wanted to give the 2020 Swift Campout product design a shoutout due to the spectacular illustration work of artist Skyler Elzy. This desert landscape with the Swift fox just melts our hearts.
Check out the full 2020 Swift Campout lineup at Swift Industries and we hope everyone got out on the Autumnal Solstice.
Colt Fetters takes us through his gear list for bikepacking trips in the desert. As you can imagine, the desert is one of the harshest environments to tour through, so check out Colt’s recommendations here.
Before we all realized the great changes that were in store for us due to the increasing spread of COVID-19, six friends and I set out for a 3-day bike ride on the historic El Camino Del Diablo. The El Camino Del Diablo is believed to have started as a series of footpaths used by desert-dwelling Native Americans. Today, the Camino Del Diablo is a road only a lonely few have traveled that runs along Arizona’s southern border in a remote section of the Sonoran Desert. With signatures signed, safety videos watched, permits printed and a shuttle set, the crew was ready to roll out.
With all bike demos being postponed or canceled in the foreseeable future, Revel bikes have decided to sell off their demo fleet. You can contact them for some sweet deals and help keep this small company afloat.
Speaking of floating, check out their latest edit, featuring their newest rider Brady Tweedy ripping a Rascal 130mm 29er which is one of you bikes you can get a screaming deal on.
Up since the break of dawn, all day we’d been rolling on washboard roads. Yet it was hard to complain. We’d just spent a few days hiking around Ikara/Flinders Ranges National Park and it felt good to be headin’ north again. As the sun dropped toward the horizon I stopped for a bit of a feed. Dan rolled up beside me and we began to look for somewhere to camp. It was dead flat aside from the occasional patch of scrub. You could’ve pitched in anywhere but for some reason, it still felt good to choose a spot. It was then, with bikes stationary and no wind to speak of, that we were struck by the immense silence of our surroundings. This was our first proper encounter with the vastness of the Australian desert. The endless horizon. We had made it to the edge of the outback, and thousands of kilometers of dusty track lay in wait.
Join three of Niner’s gravel racers as they embark on a journey throughout the high desert in Nevada, inspired by the tales of an old prospector named Charles Breyfogle…
This is the first layout of the Radavist 2020 Calendar, entitled “Mountainous” shot with a Canon 5D and a 70-200 lens in Darwin, California.
“Layers upon layers. The magical glow that encompasses these vast lands is undeniably beautiful.”
For a high-res JPG, suitable for print and desktop wallpaper*, right-click and save link as – The Radavist 2020 – January. Please, this photo is for personal use only!
(*set background to white and center for optimal coverage)
The mobile background this month is a vertical format of this image. Click here to download January’s Mobile Wallpaper.
Tajikistan. It’s wild. It’s remote. It’s unforgiving. It’s out there.
Over eight days of breathtaking riding and spectacular scenery, we follow Christian Meier and Peter Gaskill of The Service Course on their adventure through Tajikistan, weaving through the Wakhan Valley, over the Khargush Pass, along the Pamir Highway, into the Bartang Valley and beyond. A journey into the unknown, and one that will live long in the memory. As a result, The Service Course will be hosting their inaugural Tajikistan Gravel Tour in June 2020, limited to six adventurous participants.
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.”