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The Frozen Road – Full Length!

Here’s the full-length video from explorer Ben Page…

“Self-shot and edited whilst cycling around the world, this short film charts my winter journey into the Canadian Arctic as I completed my bike ride up the American continent. Compelled by Jack London’s assertion, that ‘any man who is a man can travel alone’, I sought an adventure of perfect solitude. Yet, as I came to realise, the harsh truths of travelling in such a formidable environment were a long way from the romantic images I’d held of this land. The Frozen Road is an honest reflection on my solo trip; of the wonder, terror and frustration I experienced when riding through the unforgiving emptiness of one of the world’s ‘last great wildernesses’.”

The Origins of Arctic Exploration –  Bjørn Olson

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The Origins of Arctic Exploration – Bjørn Olson

The Origins of Arctic Exploration
Photos and words by Bjørn Olson

March 1998 – Behind me, a strong and gusty north wind stung my legs. On a rock-hard snow trail, I bombed over the frozen sea ice of Norton Sound, effortlessly. My modified mountain bike with Snow Cat rims and two and a half inch wide tires was shifted into the highest gear. With each gust, the fine crystalline snow swirled around the trail in hypnotic patterns, blowing past me and over the polished glass surface of the exposed sea ice. In front of me and to the right sat a lonely and distant mountain cape. To my left was the shallow arc beach of the Norton Bay coastline, several miles away.

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The Frozen Road

Ben Page takes us on an intimate journey into the Canadian Arctic:

“Self-shot and edited whilst cycling around the world, this short film charts my winter journey into the Canadian Arctic as I completed my bike ride up the American continent. Compelled by Jack London’s assertion, that ‘any man who is a man can travel alone’, I sought an adventure of perfect solitude. Yet, as I came to realize, the harsh truths of traveling in such a formidable environment were a long way from the romantic images I’d held of this land. The Frozen Road is an honest reflection on my solo trip; of the wonder, terror and frustration I experienced when riding through the unforgiving emptiness of one of the world’s ‘last great wildernesses’.”

The Surly Pugsley Gets a Facelift

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The Surly Pugsley Gets a Facelift

Classics never go out of style, they just get a facelift from time to time. As is the case for Surly’s Pugsley, the veritable, do-it-all fatbike. The Pugsley 2.0 is filled with new features to make it an even more bicycle touring-capable bike. Be it sand or snow, or just really slow on roads, the Pugsley is designed to take you where you want to go. Even if it’s just the bar… See actual technical information at Surly’s blog and head to your local dealer to see it in person.

Cake and Cuyuna with Brenda – Spencer Harding

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Cake and Cuyuna with Brenda – Spencer Harding

Sending it Safely in Cuyuna with Brenda
Words by Brenda Croell and photos by Spencer Harding

Edit note: It came to my attention quickly that the original wording of this article, in my attempt to be playful and transparent with the fact that this was a weekend with my partner whom I adore, I undermined the hard work that Brenda and other Minneapolis WTFs have put in for their community. I asked John to take down the article in that form. Brenda has rewritten the article to better respect their community and women in cycling at large. – Spencer

Cuyuna is everything I love about the Midwest packed into 300 acres. What we lack in elevation we make up for with flowy singletrack through aspens, pines, and descents towards crystal clear lakes. The trails are so immaculately maintained you would have never guessed this place was used for anything else except mountain biking.

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.

The Radavist 2017 Calendar: December

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The Radavist 2017 Calendar: December

This is the twelfth layout of the Radavist 2017 Calendar, entitled “Scoot Scoot” shot with a Canon 1dx and a 24-70mm lens in Saline Valley, California.

“Kicking up dust is inevitable in Death Valley, why not have a little fun doing so?”

For a high-res JPG, suitable for print and desktop wallpaper*, right click and save link as – The Radavist 2017 Calendar – December. Please, this photo is for personal use only!
(*set background to white and center for optimal coverage)

The mobile background this month is from the Inyo National Forest Click here to download December’s Mobile Wallpaper.

A Death Valley Prospector’s Pack Mule: Dylan’s Obsidian Fatboy

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A Death Valley Prospector’s Pack Mule: Dylan’s Obsidian Fatboy

The most straightforward definition of Obsidian comes from Wikipedia: “Obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic glass formed as an extrusive igneous rock. It is produced when felsic lava extruded from a volcano cools rapidly with minimal crystal growth.” In parts Owens Valley and Death Valley, Obsidian is just another ground substrate. As lava fields collide with alluvial fans, causing the land to spill out over and through roads, this mineral litters the landscape, capturing sunlight and distracting even the most focused eye.

During numerous points on our trip, Obsidian fields distracted us from our pains, our cold hands, and hungry stomachs. We scoured the grounds, finding unique pieces, to hold up to the light and gaze in awe, only to place them back where they had decided to fall in the first place. Dylan took this practice very seriously, and in return, often wandering out into the depths of a shrub field only to shout out “check this piece out!” I felt it the perfect mineral to represent his murdered out S-Works Fatboy.

So, what’s so special about this bike? Honestly, not much. It’s bone stock, features a manual-shifting “bail out” chainring and was the lightest “fully-loaded” bike on the trip. Dylan borrowed the bike from a friend, upon realizing that fatter was just simply better for the terrain. He packed it out with the essentials, along with a few choice creature comforts – like walkie-talkies – and the entire time, rode it like it had an e-battery…

A Death Valley Prospector’s Pack Mule: Erik’s Desert Sand Fatboy

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A Death Valley Prospector’s Pack Mule: Erik’s Desert Sand Fatboy

On this expedition, we – Erik, Dylan and myself – were prospectors… 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 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.

Last Friday we embarked on a 100 mile journey through Death Valley National Park. The route was familiar to Erik, who attempted it years ago, but in reverse, with a band of other explorers, who fell victim to this great desert. Returning this round, Erik had a new found respect for this land, as well as much-needed reconnaissance by yours truly. My report: we should ride the biggest tires we have access to. This would soften the blow from the rugged roads and allow us to move with elegance through deep sand.

On top of that, literally, would be our provisions for four day’s worth of riding in the High Desert. This meant we’d need lots of water, lots of food, and warm apparel, on top of the standard backcountry emergency items. Packing all this in on a bike that’s destined to climb well over 10,000′ in its journey is no easy matter, yet the three of us took our own unique approach to outfitting our Pack Mules.

Saddle Drive 2017: Salsa Mukluk Carbon GX Eagle

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Saddle Drive 2017: Salsa Mukluk Carbon GX Eagle

We’re here in Tahoe at Northstar for QBP’s Saddle Drive!

The Salsa family of fatbikes didn’t change much this year, aside from more kit offerings and what I would consider a great bang for your buck, in terms of a full-fat expedition rig. In this family tree, the Beargrease is the more nimble of the two, yes, even for a fatbike, making it the ideal race machine. Yet, for expedition-style riding, or bikepacking, the Mukluk reins supreme. This year’s model has four pricepoints, ranging from the balleur Mukluk Carbon XO1 Eagle build for $5,399, down to the alloy Mukluk NX1 for $1,799. Resting between those two kit options is the Mukluk Carbon SLX 1×11 for $2,699 and this model, the Mukluk Carbon GX Eagle for $3,499. The paint remains earth-toney and muted this round, but these build kits, especially the GX, offer versatility to a go-anywhere expedition rig.

There’s more to come from Salsa next week and in the near future, unfortunately, with so many of their bikes under embargo, we’ll have to wait until September to see more.

Strange Context

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Strange Context

After Ranger Camp, I had a few days before an engagement in Scotland, so Robin from Blackburn Design and I took a road trip, stopping in Bilbao for an evening and then in Southern France to visit our friend Greg. This afternoon, after catching up on emails, we took Greg’s e-fatbikes on a ride to the beach and up to this WWII bunker on the beach. I gotta admit, I never thought that sentence would come from my fingers on this website. Ha!

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Tramontana

What is “Tramontana?”

“…is a journey through human ancestral fears and primordial virtues of the fire, the natural element that, since the dawn of time, allowed it to defeat the dark, the cold, the isolation and the wild beasts. A tribute to the human wild side that gets lost in the origins of our story.”

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Break the Ice

After being in Death Valley yesterday, this makes me feel so cold but yes, it looks like a lot of fun.

2017 NAHBS: Moonmen 8 Lumens Tukt Fatty

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2017 NAHBS: Moonmen 8 Lumens Tukt Fatty

Oh, you think being tukt doesn’t matter? Maybe you’re just scared, fearful of a tight, short rear end on your bike. This Moonmen fatty is hella tukt. Using NASA technology, 8 Lumens figured out how to make the chainstay 16.75″ long, slamming that wheel as close to the bottom bracket shell as possible, making manuals and wheelies easy, completely smashing the fat “bikes are slow” stigma.

Other notes include that killer cockpit, with a BMX-inspired stem and bars and that insanely-rad chain tensioner machined into the chainstay.

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Hunting for Monsters

2013’s Hunting for Monsters is now online to watch for free. Previously it was only available as a rental from Vimeo. Enjoy the full-length above for free!