Two years ago Backshop Bikes introduced one of the first gravel cycling tourism efforts in Trinidad, Colorado. The perception was that gravel had already matured to the point where as a category it would evolve towards a destination model akin to mountain biking. If it worked, then suddenly rural drive-by towns had a chance to leverage gravel bikes towards social prosperity. This is why we created the Explore Las Animas campaign in 2019, which included a website with community and route information. Unfortunately, it came down and I’ve been brainstorming on ways to get one back up since…
In case you missed our DUST feature last week and the video embedded within the Reportage from South Africa, we figured we should share the event’s video recap (which has also been updated in higher quality). Enjoy!
Wait wait wait? Don’t worry! The Mid South isn’t asking you to come to Stillwater, Oklahoma during a pandemic. We all know that bike racing during a pandemic is problematic. No, instead Bobby and the team at District Bicycles would like you to partake in a socially distanced event with a twist…
“We want you to go ride or run (or both!) outside, just like you had planned, but you don’t have to pack up and travel to Stillwater. We are partnering with several bicycle shops in cities and states where many of you live. We are working with each shop to create comparable 100-mile, 50-mile and 50K routes in that area. Ride With GPS will facilitate a challenge board, which any registered rider or runner can join. We will share the links for each challenge (100, 50, 50K) in March. If you’re registered for The Mid South and have at least a free account with Ride With GPS, you’re good to go. You must have an account with Ride With GPS to participate in the challenges.”
See more at the Mid South!
Shit on it, vomit on it, give birth to it… that’s what it’s like organising the Super Jambo Grom Pre 200. An informal 200km gravel event on Ngarigo land, Yaouk Valley, in my home country, Australia. An event that centres all the things we have learnt this year – but also to get loose and have some well-earned fun!
1.25 million years ago, a volcanic event occurred just 40 miles northwest of what is now called Santa Fe, New Mexico. A large reservoir of magma was emptied as lava erupted from the earth’s crust, causing a massive depression. Upon this collapse, a 13-mile wide caldera in the middle of the Jemez Mountains was formed.
This area is the Valles Caldera National Preserve and is America’s newest National Preserve. The best part about the Valles Caldera is currently, due to the pandemic, it’s open to cycling and closed to automobiles and if bike fishing is your thing, it’s also free to fish, pending a New Mexico Fishing License and a free VCNP fishing permit.
We’ve got a great loop for you to check out that crosses this expansive caldera and brings you right up to some prime cut bank fishing. Check it out in this gallery from our ride in September.
Ronnie and Namz from Ronsbikes.com have just announced the details for the Nor’Easter 2020. How does one throw an event in a Pandemic? Well… they have that figured out:
“This year is a hard one for more reasons than the human brain can comprehend— therefore, the way we will be conducting this event is a little different from years past.
First and foremost we seek to avoid any sort of large group congregation in any place that might funnel folks together. Our plan to prevent this is to have no specific event space as we have in the past; and sadly no Pizza truck from Fire in the Kitchen. You wanna eat food, you gotta bring it and make it yourself. You wanna drink beer—- same thing. You wanna poop—- dig a hole in the woods and have at it, etc.”
Head to Ronsbikes.com to RSVP for the event and read more about this event!
Logo by Sam Scipio
While it was the most violent in Illinois history, the Chicago Race Riot of 1919 still remains widely unknown to many. The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 Route Campaign honors the centennial of the riot in 2019 and is a collaboration between PeopleForBikes, Ride Spot, Newberry Library . The CRR1919 Commemoration Project to educate riders about a bitter piece of Chicago’s past while supporting a better future through Blackstone Bicycle Works’ efforts with youth on Chicago’s South Side.
-The goal is to inspire 300 riders to complete the CRR1919 route before Oct 31.
-If we succeed in activating riders and sell all of the CRR1919 Guidebooks, we will raise $7500 for Blackstone Bicycle Works, a non-profit program to expanding the educational and vocational opportunities of BIPOC youth on Chicago’s South Side and contribute to the CRR1919 Public Art Commemoration Project.
This year, riders can follow that same route thanks to Ride Spot. By downloading the mobile app and joining the Chicago Race Riot of 1919 Route challenge, riders will be guided by turn-by-turn directions to each stop along the route.
They can also download or stream an audio tour or purchase a limited edition 1919 CRR Route Guidebook for $10 with 100% of the proceeds donated to Blackstone Bicycle Works and The CRR1919 Commemoration Public Art Project.
To learn more, see the route and access the companion guides, visit CRR1919.COM.
Living at 7,000′ has its ups and downs, particularly for someone still acclimating from life at sea level for the past 5 years. One of the positives though is easy access to alpine riding. Well, easy is subjective for sure but if you only have a few hours to kill and want a quick loop that’s equal parts hard as it is beautiful and most importantly, fun, then have I got one local Santa Fe ride for you…
The journal entry following my first bike trip reads: “Why does recording life events feel so vital? Because memories can’t be trusted to stay in place. Because in their wake remains the shadowy outlines of phantom feelings—forms so great and vague that we long to recall the experiences that gave them flesh and weight. Okay. Bike trip.” On the next page I taped five sheets of 3×5 pages, carefully ripped from the pocket journal that I carried with me on the bike. I did this for the sake of chronology in my journaling, so that all of my day-to-day reflections remained bound together, in order, but in leafing through the past, I enjoy the three-dimensional quality that my inserted notes lend to the entry.
My dream was to ride all of the major roads in Alaska and I did in 2017. I’m fourth-generation Alaskan. It’s where I got into endurance riding on my mom’s Specialized Ruby in between bartending shifts in 2014. Examining the map and fitting in the biggest rides I could on my two days off led me to the goal of riding them all, imagining what the 2D map could look like in real life and why the roads existed in the first place. Three years later, I had a wide open summer and I was ready for an open-ended adventure. Four thousand five hundred miles took me past Wiseman to the north slope at Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean, through Chicken to Eagle on the Yukon River, to the three hot springs north of Fairbanks, into Denali National Park and across the Denali Highway to Paxson. I used The Milepost, the local guidebook that chronicles every mile of Alaskan road with conditions and services. If the road is listed in The Milepost, I had to ride it. About two-thirds were paved and a third, high-quality dirt.
It’s no secret that the bicycle can be a vessel for linking together with other interests and hobbies. Be it pack rafting or in this case, fishing. The bicycle can get you deep into the backcountry in a relatively short amount of time, compared to hiking, and access areas autos or motos can’t go. With this mobility comes a few problems that require solving first, however. Mainly, how do you carry a fishing pole with you on a bike? Much less a fly rod? Sure, there are a lot of fly rods that pack down to a manageable size, but none are as compact as the mini, yet mighty Tenkara rods.
I was an architect in my previous life. Before I began documenting cycling culture. One of my favorite architectural theorists is a fella named Rem Koolhaas. In his book, Delirious New York, he claims that “A city is a plane of tarmac with some red hot spots of urban intensity”. While the book is an examination of New York City, many have applied this observation to the sprawling city of Los Angeles.
Like all of us, Tommy had some downtime caused by an unprecedented Pandemic, and the first huge global disaster. He put together a montage of old clips that seemed to work together to reflect how he feels about cycling, the environment, land use, and community.
Cocktails at the beach, world-renowned surf, and luscious ride patty fields. Great food, friendly people and a getaway from the hustle and bustle that is ‘Western Life.’ Sounds like a dream right? Well, it is…BUT, what if there was more? If I was to tell you that in addition to the above, this same destination was home to some of the most beautiful climbs on the face of the planet? What if there were wild monkeys swinging from above as you rode beneath the forest canopy on roads so perfect in places, that even the best roads of the first world would be put to shame. To be honest, even in writing this I excite my own senses from within. Sami Sauri and I have just spent 10 days exploring the islands of Bali and East Java on bike and can confirm that the above oasis does in-fact exists. It’s not a magical place from our dreams, but rather a short 2.5hr flight from Perth Western Australia. Paradise does exist, but not as you know it…
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
The world offers itself to your imagination,
Calls to you like the wild
geese jaguar, harsh and exciting
Over and over announcing your place
In the family of things.
-(modified) Mary Oliver “Wild Geese”
The weather matched the event in challenging the assumptions of what a desert landscape or a gravel race should be for most of the riders of the Ruta Del Jefe this year which was hosted at the Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch in Elgin, AZ. The imagination of a desert as a dry and sunny landscape dotted with saguaros, prickly pears, and cholla was expanded for those who held that thinking. Home to the Madrean Sky Islands ecoregion that includes the Santa Ritas, Whetstone, and many other mountain ranges, this area is a treasure trove for those who eat gravel for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sky Islands refers to the unique interplay between the low lying desert grasslands and the dramatic wooded mountains that become islands in the sky for their residents. Natt Dodge introduced this concept as “mountain island in a desert sea” back in 1948 which was then cemented by Weldon Heald’s book Sky Island in 1967. In the lowlands, this area is home to many unique varieties of grasses who abundantly glow their sunshine and straw colors to her visitors.
Credit: 906 Adventure Team. Cable, age 9, carving out his legacy.
(It’s a good day; it’s a bad day)
Shakespeare insisted that a name held nothing significant; in fact, a name is but an arbitrary designator. A rose, “by any other name would smell as sweet.” If the rose weren’t called a rose, we would still swoon over the sweet smell. Poor Juliet, the owner of a smitten young heart, failed to see everything that exists in a name. In my case, at thirty years old, I still carry my maiden name. Instead, I like to say it’s the name I’ve made for myself; I don’t see that changing any time soon. I grew up in the trailer park across the street from the General Motors Factory in Janesville, Wisconsin, and attended Jackson Elementary school. It was there I celebrated Andrew Jackson as a glorious president; Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act of 1830. What’s in that name? A legacy of brutality*, I say.
*Yes, this is a reference to the 1985 album by the Misfits. Hybrid moments is one of my favorite songs of all time.
We had set aside that Autumn weekend months earlier, just after having briefly met at a bike race called Lost and Found in late Spring. Matt was planning an extended bike commute through my town and asked to camp in my backyard. I told him sure, I have a fire pit, so it can really be like camping, but I’m going to barnacle onto that trip because it sounds fun. This trip took on many different names, with the goal to write some mockingly weird shit about it, and this one stuck: Tour of the Barnacle: The Chronicles of Holding On. The Barnacle Tour fell through, and a story that will not be told passed between then and this, but hell, we decided to stick to doing some exotic bike trip that weekend.
With the long weekend approaching here in the United States, many coastal Californians will head inland and upland to seek the cooler temperatures found along the Tahoe basin, via US Highway 395. This zone has always been curious to me when traveling to or from various races or other events. Having ridden plenty of singletrack in the area, I’m always down to try something new, especially when it has a bit of story behind it. Last year, after our Highway 50 MTB trip and before Grinduro, I linked up with my friend Brooke and her friend Kate to ride the Sierra Canyon Trail, just outside of Genoa, Nevada.