#landscapes

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If Only They Could All Be Arabel: Living and Riding in Central Asia

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If Only They Could All Be Arabel: Living and Riding in Central Asia

We arrived in the Kyrgyz city of Karakol in what has become a familiar state after a stretch in the wilderness… tired, hungry, desperate for a shower, and in need of clean clothes. It’s true that civilization never feels better than when you’ve been away from it for a handful of days, and for us, the timing was perfect to reset and not think about the bike or riding for at least a moment.

The Freezing Festive 500 in Sweden – Johan Björklund

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The Freezing Festive 500 in Sweden – Johan Björklund

The Freezing Festive 500 in Sweden
Words and photos by Johan Björklund and Even Skår

If you live in Sweden and don’t want to spend a third of the year on a turbo trainer or in spinning classes you have to ride in the freezing cold. There’s no way around it. The last two years I did the 500 kilometers that are required to finish the Rapha Festive 500 between December 24-31 pretty much riding solo. This year I was happy to have a lot more company and I would say that we had some of the most memorable rides of all year over this week.

There are three rough categories of winter riding in these parts of Sweden:
1) Icy rain. Storm winds. Black ice.
2) Piles of snow. Cold as fuck. Super crispy sunshine.
3) Slush puppies. Damp all day fog. Eternal darkness.

For this Festive 500 we got to experience all of them on different days and while there’s at least one terrible factor to each condition I love them all for what they have to offer. With the risk of sounding like a show off these winter rides are some of my favorite riding of the whole year. It’s so much more than just base miles to me.

While you browse through the photos, think of that special mixed feeling of stoke and insanity when you descend a pretty much deserted rough gravel road in the middle of nowhere way too fast. Plus it’s thickly covered with fresh snow and when you look down at your front wheel all you can see when the snow is pushed away is a layer of black ice. Cue endorphins.

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Follow Even on Instagram, Johan on Instagram and at his Tumblr.

The Big Climbs of Lone Pine, CA – Ryan Wilson

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The Big Climbs of Lone Pine, CA – Ryan Wilson

The Big Climbs of Lone Pine, CA
Words and photos by Ryan Wilson

Highway 395 through Inyo County is renowned amongst cyclists in California as a jump-off point for some of the best riding in the country. All of the highest roads in the state intersect this stretch of road tucked between the Eastern Sierras and Death Valley. None loom quite like the 10,000ft+ Horseshoe Meadows near Lone Pine, CA.

A couple weeks ago when I heard rumors that Horseshoe was being cleared of snow/debris and opened for the season, the gears started turning, and I invited my buddies Jeff and Gus to get their first taste of riding in the Sierras.

The Road to Mineral King and Kings Canyon – Ryan Wilson

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The Road to Mineral King and Kings Canyon – Ryan Wilson

The Road to Mineral King and Kings Canyon
Words and photos by Ryan Wilson

A couple weeks ago I woke up at about 4:30am on a Saturday morning with no real idea where I was heading. I just knew that I packed up my gear the night before for a reason, and I was definitely heading for the mountains. I’ve done a number of Eastern Sierra trips the last few months, so I decided to switch it up a bit and head up the 5 from Los Angeles toward Sequoia and Kings Canyon, in the western range of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Sights, Shops and Signs

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Sights, Shops and Signs

It’s that time of month again. I’ve got all kinds of Randomness left over from a Recent Roll. Actually, a few Recent Rolls. There’s some LA, Pasadena, Austin, Moab and Fruita photos in here, all noted in the photo’s captions. Got a favorite? Point it out. Open up some commentary…

Tools of the trade:
Mamiya 7ii / 80mm
Portra 400 / Ilford HP5

Road Cycling in the Valley of Death – Ryan Wilson

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Road Cycling in the Valley of Death – Ryan Wilson

Road Cycling in the Valley of Death
Words and photos by Ryan Wilson

Death Valley National Park is one of those places that frequently gets overlooked as a destination for cyclists.  Probably because it’s too miserably hot to do just about anything there for a good portion of the year.  There’s also no cell service at times for 40 miles in any direction, and some of the best roads in the area are some of the most isolated in the country.  That sounded right up my alley, so I planned my first visit in November 2012, when I was looking for some new mountains to ride while the Sierras were snowed in.

Winter in the Eastern Sierra Nevada – Ryan Wilson

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Winter in the Eastern Sierra Nevada – Ryan Wilson

Ever since I started following Ryan Wilson on Instagram, I knew he had an incredible eye for roadscapes. Landscapes are one thing, but roads speak to us as cyclists. We look at the bend, the bank and the angle differently than other travelers. Being able to capture those traits isn’t easy, especially while being completely overwhelmed in a place like the Sierras. I’ve never ridden there, yet suddenly I really want to, in the Summer of course…