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.
Ben has been regaling me with stories of putting this tandem together for quite some time, each time he was looking for one last little bit to make it all fit together. Before we met up for coffee outside the other week, he pinged me to ask if he should bring the tandem to which I responded: “Of course, coffee and cool bikes, duh.”
Camera straps. They’re the photography accessory very little people pay attention to. Let’s be honest, for standard use, pretty much anything will do, but add in on-the-bike wear or usage and suddenly there’s a lot more to them. Outer Shell has developed a pretty awesome design, with quick-cinch adjustment and a sternum stabilizer. Their newest update includes a tripod-mount anchor to increase stability and improved compatibility with all types of camera strap mounts. These straps are made in SF by Outer Shell and are in stock now in a variety of colors with a retail of $58.
Swing on over to Outer Shell to see more!
After watching today’s Leave it on the Road post, it reminded me of a piece I read last year, on Science Daily. Coincidentally, I just posted something similar on my personal Instagram account that really resonated with my followers.
If I don’t do something physical, something that causes my heart to race, my legs to ache, then it’s so easy to slump into depressive thoughts. I wonder what the world would be like if more people exercised daily and spent time in the outdoors. It’s the great equalizer…
Telling people to “get outside” is one thing, but emphasizing the importance of exercising and experiencing connectivity to the natural world is one of my main goals with the Radavist. Sure, we post a lot of gear and bike galleries, but the overarching modus operandi revolves around using that gear to further enjoy yourself while recreating in areas that allow for introspective growth.
This was such a fun assignment! I met Pat Cummins earlier this year. He’s a UFC fighter with a heart of gold and a personality of an artist, moreso than a battle-hardened, Rock ’em Sock ’em Robot. He loves riding bikes, listening to music, and talking about his plans in life, post-fighting. Pat’s the kind of guy who would rather give you a hug than beat on you in a ring for an hour. So why does he fight in the UFC?
Well, he was a wrestler in college and was looking for a way to make some extra money. Years later, he’s still in the mix, but with a new perspective on life. Oh and he rides a rigid Niner…
Head to Outside Magazine to read this whole piece!
Long before July’s sweltering heat, we were enjoying the pleasant month of March. I had been sitting on my porch sipping coffee when my friend Todd texted me, “I’m going to email you about the thing, so look out.” We’ve collaborated on many wild ideas, and Todd’s been a good friend for over a decade. I usually perk up when he reaches out about “things” because he’s a great adventure planner, so I kept a close eye on the inbox. Lucky for me, it was an email saying that all the plans were coming together for an idea we had been tossing around for quite a while; a multi-day bike camping trip to uncover the inspiration for the Coal x Swift collaboration project with artist and illustrator, Chris McNally in the Marin Headlands of California.
This year’s Tour Divide Race was one for the books, with all the controversy surrounding documentation, but as well with many record hopeful attempts being foiled. It was an amazing and exciting feat to behold on many levels. At the end of all of it, I posed three questions to our team in hopes of giving an idea of what such a project entails. If you have any other questions please ask them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them. -Spencer
Our buddy and California Golde videographer Sandy Carson has released a photo book funding campaign on Indie Go Go. The book is entitled “I’ve Always Been a Cowboy In My Heart” and it dives into the humor and absurdities of the great American road trip landscape. Check it out on Indie Go Go if you dig this video!
When Alpacka Raft approached me about shooting a trip to New York, my mind started running with places upstate I had heard so much about in the past. But, that was quickly tempered as I inquired further to find out that they intended to raft the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Tour Divide Race: Part 5
Words by Spencer Harding
We wake up with dew covering our tents and sleeping bags just on the south side of La Manga Pass in northern New Mexico. We send Lael on her way as we start our seven-hour journey to jump ahead and try to catch Chris Seistrup at the head of the pack. As we roll through the outskirts of Albuquerque it seems impossibly hot after almost two weeks high in the mountains. As we approach Silver City a massive monsoon is building up over the Gila National Forest, no chance the leaders are staying dry out there. Over a late dinner, we watch Chris’ spot tracker go stagnant and decided to wait until he rolls into town in the morning.
I’m not much of a writer, I prefer to stay behind the camera and let the photos do the talking. But what if photos aren’t enough? I like facts and I can provide those. Facts that led up to Lael’s scratching from this year’s Tour Divide. I recently posted on Lael’s Instagram that she scratched from the race this year after running into shoe sucking mud and waiting it out with other top racers. While waiting, she saw her women’s record pass by and her pink LW record dot would be almost a day ahead by the time conditions were suitable for riding. Acknowledging this, she brought me breakfast and spent the day with me and others while waiting for the mud to dry. Visiting me, her girlfriend, disqualifies her from the race. She knows this. We both do. I want to share a little more backstory. To put it out there while it’s still fresh.
Last year, Rue propositioned me about helping her document the Tour Divide race in which Lael Wilcox intended to best her previous record, I jumped at the opportunity. Later, Jay Ritchey would be added to the team to help Rue with the film they intended to produce about the race. I was tasked with focusing on photographing her attempt and the race itself. Rue has been flipping between photo and video very deftly and has some incredible images to add to this gallery. Here is the third installment of our ongoing coverage of the 2019 Tour Divide Race.
If you have ever ridden with Lael you know that she would ride a rusted beach cruiser until both tires were flat and the wheels imploded and would still be smiling bigger than anyone about it, but if Specialized is sponsoring you with bikes for races, you might as well indulge in some cool shit.
Throughout the Spring I was unfortunate in that I had to miss all of the El Grupo Bikepacking overnight trips except our final one, the big end of season trip. Colin had devised a modified Craters and Cinder Cones loop so that we could do a half loop as an overnighter. Now, most of our trips are totally self-supported, but as Colin was still recovering from his Achilles injury, he planned to drive the van and meetup to camp with us. Nonetheless, the kids still carried all of their gear, but we were lucky to have a little water and snack angel along the way.
Words and Photos by Spencer Harding
It’s easy to get lost in the dreamy imagery of bike tours to exotic far-off lands. I’m always making myself feel like everything has to look like a crazy-ass skid backlight by a Kodachrome sunset at the end of the world…but let’s be real in a world of unreal imagery.
Pepper and Sam came down to Tucson to start their trip on the Sky Island Odyssey. Pepper was in from Australia after being away from the states for many years on her way up to a new job in Seattle. Sam, running from the winter on Prince Edward Island and needed no excuse to come down and get sunburnt. Monique and I had been talking at the shop about going camping for a few weeks without any plan coming to fruition. We decided to take Pepper and Sam on a little shakedown ride into the mountains near Tucson before sending them down south on their odyssey. Colin, fresh off getting an OK from the doctor to do some light pedaling after he tore his Achilles, joined us until the route turned uphill!
Time Trial on the Arizona Trail 300: The Trail is Always Available
I started thinking about riding the Arizona Trail again while Rue and I were hiking it in November. We took a $5 FlixBus from Tucson to Flagstaff, walked one mile down Historic Route 66 and got on the trail. It took us a month to walk to the Mexican border. Walking was my mental recovery from a summer of racing. The Arizona Trail is a 789 mile hiking trail across the state. With a bike, it’s a hybrid– mostly riding, but a considerable amount of pushing too. It’s hard. It took me 270 miles of walking to start dreaming about getting back on the bike. I remember the moment– we were hiking the Gila River section and my mind started tracing the curves of the trail with bicycle wheels. And it hit me, what if I rode the Arizona Trail with a bigger, more capable bike?
Baja Divide, La Sierra Norte – Daniel Zaid
Words and photos by Daniel Zaid
In 2016 I rode my bike through the Baja California pennisula on the only paved highway, the Carretera Transpeninsular, and as pretty as it was, having to look over my shoulder all the time prevented me from fully enjoying the ride. I ventured in some dirt roads and after some very bumpy rides I thought I’d also look into getting another bike, something that could put more cushion between the rocks and my bones. Few weeks before finishing I read about the Baja Divide project; I saw a photo of the map and did the Cape Loop and thought “This is what I needed.” Three years later I’m finally able to go back again, this time though on a bike made expressly for dirt road touring: Ultraromance´s #RoseEmojiBikes aka the Warthog Wash Wiper aka “Rosita”. Also I’m joined by my partner Karla on her Surly Krampus, who has been dreaming of doing this route for months.
Salsa hasn’t had a true road bike in their lineup for some time now. Sure, they have the Warbird, which is a gravel racing road bike, but with that, comes a more stable geometry with a longer wheelbase. The Warroad is a straight up endurance road bike, with two wheel sizes and multiple build kit options. Warroad is a new platform for Salsa, designed to take on chunky, imperfect asphalt, with what Salsa is calling their “Endurance Road Geometry.”