I had been holding back on these notes for about a year now because I felt that calling it a “review” sounded like too much. The audience here is used to deep comprehension reviews and it’s very intimidating to put it in the same category when my experience with bicycles is reduced to the five I’ve owned in my adult life, this one included. So instead this is more of a short story about a bicycle, with hints of technical information where it feels required.
For anyone as uninitiated as myself in Minnesotan lore and legend, the Boundary Waters is a immaculate sprawling maze of lakes in Northern Minnesota that share a border with Canada. I can’t remember who, but someone a few beers deep around a campfire eulogized about the boundary waters for quite some time, since then its hung in the back of my mind to check it out if the chance ever arose.
It’s the quarantine and perhaps it’s a by-product of all your new-found free time, or perhaps it’s a lifelong goal you’ve always wanted to pursue. For whatever reason, you want to become a MTB photographer…
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.
After a helluva a time getting through all the Tsunami craziness at Grinduro Japan this past fall me and the Salsa crew finally got back to Tokyo. The rest of the posse had to take off around 4 am the next day, leaving me with about half a day in Tokyo to myself! Bené and Patrick had invited me to swing by Blue Lug for a pop up they were having to showcase there oh so éspecial new Ultradynamico Tyres. Having seen the amazing custom builds coming out of the shop for years I was excited to see what the shop was about.
Where did you ride? With whom? Did you get caught in some snow? We’d like to open up the comment section to any photos you took of your long weekend rides and we’ll pick some winners to send some care packages to. You’ve got all week to do so! We’ll look at the number of “up votes” each post gets to decide on some winners.
We’re camera bag nuts over here so when an interesting model comes out, we feel a certain obligation to share it. Shimoda’s Axtion X bags are designed for active lives, with well-thought-out details, great colors, and ergonomics to boot. Check out their Kickstarter but if you like what you see, hurry and back it, since it only has a few more days left.
With Grinduro spreading its wings across three continents this year, landing on the western side of Japan at Madarao Kogen with Salsa Cycles this fall. A resort mostly known for its deep powder and tree skiing welcomed some early season visitors as over 300 cyclists descended upon the ski town. The resort’s main chalet served as the staging ground for the expo and meals for the event. With the threat of Typhoon Hagibis on the horizon, the largest Typhoon to hit this region of Japan since 1958, people were nervous about the viability of the event. The storm was forecasted to reach the resort and produce very heavy rains and strong winds midday Saturday, right during lunch between the two planned rides for the day. With safety and ride-ability in mind, the organizers decided to swap the afternoon ride to the morning and add a segment. This was the more dirt/singletrack focused portion of the day which I don’t think anyone was bummed about. At 19 miles the route still has over 3000 ft of elevation gain.
Going to a bike shop has never been a drop off-and-pick up deal for me. I do not own a car, so ever since I started riding, going for a repair meant I’d ride/walk my bike and hang about in the shop while the mechanic took care of whatever needed attention. This developed into a habit: lurk around at bike shops every time I went to one, which was received in different ways depending on the place I’d go to, since I’d want to see and learn from what was being done while at the same time try not to annoy the person working, a balance hard to achieve.
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!