Things are moving a bit slow over here this morning after I spent the weekend in Arizona with the Silver Stallion team riding trails with kids and documenting a very busy Sunday in Fort Defiance at the Silver Stallion mobile bike shop pop-up in the Navajo Nation. Being present while this team worked all day in the sun and wind on its community’s bikes was a wonderful thing to witness, so expect some Reportage coming up next week. For now, I just wanted to say thank you to the entire Silver Stallion team for being such great hosts.
Our friends at Easton worked on a beautiful project:
“An avid cyclist, artist, and designer, Ariel conceived of The Full Circle Cycling Land Acknowledgement Project to raise funds and awareness of the land that we use every day as cyclists up in Marin County, the birthplace of modern mountain and gravel riding. This land was once home to the Coast Miwok, but their existence is seldom acknowledged.
In support of the Coast Miwok’s work to share and preserve their culture, the Full Circle Cycling Project aims to sell artwork inspired by the land, cycling, and community. Funds raised will go towards current and forthcoming projects that the Coast Miwok have established (you can find further details on their cultural learning center, and land acknowledgment statue at the link) as well as funding to assist Trips for Kids Marin to continue to make cycling accessible for all. Ariel’s ultimate goal is to help all people experience nature through cycling by supporting local programs that help bring cycling to underserved communities.
Please head to the Full Circle fundraiser page to learn more about the artwork, and to purchase a Tunitas Carryall musette, handkerchief, or print of the artwork. Easton Cycling is excited to support the work Ariel has put in to develop these connections through art, and we are proud to provide financial assistance in bringing this project to fruition so that all proceeds can benefit the community. Special thanks to the Coast Miwok Tribal Council for their support of this project.”
Head to the Full Circle Project to purchase a poster, musette, or bandana.
Coming off a week of downtime after one of the most tumultuous years of our lives has brought clarity to this annual retrospective. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect as Covid-19 gripped the global community and changed life as we know it. We looked to our new home in Santa Fe, New Mexico and the surrounding areas for inspiration, pinged our good friends for their penmanship, and listened to communities that have been underrepresented in cycling. What resulted were a lot of articles that tackled some big issues and the realization that we still have a lot of work to do.
I’ve spent the past few weeks mulling over our content and have compiled a list of some of the most meaningful and fun pieces from the past twelve months. Read on below for a selection of memorable moments from 2020, in chronological order…
PEARL iZUMi‘s Go Connection series features stories from all over and this Dig Episode two takes us to the Eastern Band of the Cherokee in North Carolina:
“Cherokee, North Carolina, is home to the people of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee. The Tribe took advantage of their land’s beauty to generate an eco-tourism economy and improve their people’s health through an active lifestyle. They have created a network of trails to enjoy the beauty of their land while riding, hiking and running. The Fire Mountain Trails is a little over 10 miles of trail purpose-built by Trail Dynamics. With wooden features, berms and jumps, any rider of any ability can get out to get connected to their natural world.
These trails have opened the door to the world of mountain biking many only thought about or didn’t know. For some, riding Fire Mountain keeps them focused on progression and improvement not only on the trail tread but in their daily lives. These trails have been a catalyst for reconnecting to generations of stories and harmony with the land.”
The Western Wildlands Route as seen from the Paria Plateau in northern Arizona, traditional homelands of the Ute, Southern Paiute, Pueblo, Hopi, and Diné Tribes.
At Bikepacking Roots, our mission includes “advocating for the landscapes through which we ride.” Indigenous peoples are an integral part of the future, present, and past landscapes in U.S. America. Thus, as advocates for a healthy, vibrant, and whole Western landscape, we are responsible for communicating and educating ourselves, our members, and the riders of the routes we design in a way that progresses Indigenous liberation from colonial trauma. With that intent, we’re announcing the renaming of the 2,700-mile-long Wild West Route to the Western Wildlands Route.
Today at 4pm CT, Cyclista Zine is holding a discussion on Instagram Live with Renee Hutchens to commemorate Indigenous Peoples Day. Here’s what they will be discussing and if you’re interested, you should check it out:
“It’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Today is about more than just honoring and respecting Indigenous people, which we should do every day. Today we explicitly question and counter the story that conquering land gives you a right to it, that Native people only exist in the past, and that the future is inevitably a colonial one. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Outdoorspeople have long been avid tellers of this story. We love to use colonial and Columbian metaphors to describe what we do. Adventure. Discover. Conquer. Explore. #NeverStopExploring, right? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Today, and every day, let’s unequivocally reject this celebration of Columbus and the 528 years of violent exploration and adventure he represents. When we hike, when we climb, when we paddle, when we cycle, when we take and post pictures, whether in National Parks or in urban spaces, we must #StopExploring and acknowledge the land’s original stewards. Language is part of the struggle, part of defining who we are and what we do, so let’s be intentional. Stop exploring and learn to fight for an indigenous future. #publiclandisnativeland⠀⠀
Follow Cyclista Zine.⠀⠀⠀
This is the first installment of what we hope to be a series chronicling our efforts to develop sustainable tourism on the Navajo nation through the establishment of meaningful bikepacking routes and accessible singletrack. In addition, we hope to build a bikepacking community starting with the youth and eventually extending to interested community members. Our first foray in this ongoing project will be a Fall bikepacking series with local Navajo youth NICA riders. This series consists of three trips; the first two being on Navajoland and the last with Four Corners Guides, out of Mancos, CO, to include packrafts.
The first in this series begins in Kayenta on Sept 26th and ends Oct 31st in Lake Powell, Utah. The planning started back in July and continues every chance I can meet up with the participants.
Here is the first of a journal I hope to keep, documenting this event.
Patagonia tackles a big discussion about outdoor recreation and indigenous people. It’s a great sign that a big brand like this is aiding in the conversation, so take a few minutes (9 is all you need) and give this one a read!
“Outdoor recreation can be a lifeline for rural economies, but the industry has also benefited from the erasure of Indigenous peoples from their lands.”
Photo by Eric Arce
There’s been a lot of discussions on what “land” means here on this website and today our friend Renee Hutchens shared her thoughts at the RockShox website. The article is a great read and I encourage everyone to give it a read.
“Kinship, or K’é reflects a deep relationship with each other spanning generations upon generations. This is the seed of our resilience. The fact that I am here today speaks to this — it means my family, like every Indigenous family, did whatever they could to survive hundreds of years of violence, forced removal, forced assimilation, genocide, destruction of our cultures, identities, our land, and natural resources. Despite all of this they ensured my existence today. But the violence of colonial thinking never ended. We live in a country that continues to render us invisible. Indigenous erasure is our modern form of racism that continues to inflict trauma on top of historical trauma. Therefore, I’m drawn to go to a place where I am seen and heard, where I can heal, re(connect) with my identity, culture, and traditions.
This place is on the land.”
Read this exceptional piece at RockShox
Much of the land in the US is named after its Indigenous owners, resulting in lakes, mountains, rivers, and even cities holding First Nations names. When Swift Industries began to develop their line, this is something they didn’t consider, so in a step towards being better, they decided to re-name some of the products in their lineup:
“Today, we are changing the names of our Elwha Pack and the Ozette Randonneur Bags from Indigenous names to those of birds of the Cascade region that are intrinsic to the ecology, histories, and cultures of the Pacific Northwest. The Elwha Pack is being renamed the Ardea Pack, in ode to the Great Blue Heron, the Ozette Randonneur Bag will be called the Peregrine Randonneur Bag for the Peregrine Falcon, and the Ozette V2 Randonneur Bag is changing to the Merlin Randonneur Bag. “
If this interests you, head to the Swift Industries blog to read more. Good on y’all for doing this.
The essay below was written for Bikepacking Roots’ Bears Ears Loops Landscape and Route Guidebook to provide bikepackers with one perspective about how the landscape in its entirety is sacred to Indigenous groups. The designation of Bears Ears National Monument marked the first time in history that a National Monument was created in response to the voices and advocacy of the Indigenous groups who call the landscape home. Leaders from the Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni, and Ute Indian Tribe formed the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition in 2015 to represent a consortium of tribes unified in protecting and promoting the cultural, archeological, scientific, historical and natural resources of the Bears Ears region. Just 11 months later, the Trump administration reduced the Monument’s size by ~85%. And in a direct affront to the request of the Intertribal Coalition, the southern unit of the reduced Monument was named the Shásh Jaa’ Unit (using the Diné name for Bears Ears). The Coalition had insisted upon the use of the English “Bears Ears” name for the Monument rather than in any one tribe’s language in solidarity and unity.
I can tell you one thing; whenever someone tells me what I should do, I almost always do the opposite. I have been that way for as long as I can remember. In some psychology class years back, I learned about the theory of psychological reactance. It all boils down to an idea that people believe that they possess freedoms and the ability to participate in those free-behaviors. When those behaviors are threatened, something within us is sparked and we react. I find myself pretty apprehensive when it comes to telling anyone what they should be doing. For that matter, I mostly, don’t care what anyone else is doing. A person’s true character comes out regardless. You are what you do.
“See that rock formation over there, and the other skinnier one in the distance?” Jon Yazzie says, “they represent the story and fate of Big Snake and Owl Maiden. Big Snake came from what is called Sugar Loaf near Mexican Hat, Utah slithering its way down, and eventually ending up coiled around Agathla Peak or (what Kit Carson called) “El Capitan.” The Owl promised to look over Big Snake until he came back to life again. Owl is frozen in sandstone looking right at big snake on Agathla Peak.” Having passed through Kayenta countless times, driving from the southwest US to Moab, or further into Colorado, these prominent volcanic plugs and sandstone towers rising iconically out of a sea of sandy fields and sandstone mesas have always caught my eye. As we rested there just a few miles into the ride, legs slung overloaded bikes attempting to absorb everything Jon was telling us about the surrounding landscape, I knew this was going to be a special weekend.
The University of Minnesota – Duluth has pulled together an exceptional profile video on Alexandera Houchin, the SS TDR record holder. Check it out!
“After living thousands of miles away and spending time zig-zagging down the Continental Divide on bike, Alexandera Houchin’s homecoming is extra meaningful. Growing up, she never saw a Native American dentist or doctor, and decided to counter that with plans to practice dentistry on her reservation. Through her example, Alexandera envisions empowering the next generation to take care of its citizens. “If you can’t see it, how can you believe it?””