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A Weekend Pedal Across the English Isle with Pannier

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A Weekend Pedal Across the English Isle with Pannier

A Weekend Pedal Across the English Isle with Pannier
Words by Mark Finster, photos by David Sear and Stef Amato

The folks at UK-based cycling adventure co. Pannier are doing great things. From before I ever started backpacking and touring, I’d had a romantic vision of touring around the English countryside – stopping into pubs when I needed food and rest, waving at sheep. The “usual stuff” had always prevented me from actually doing it – namely, the logistics of mapping a route and flying a bunch of gear across the pond. So it felt like divine intervention just a few weeks ago when I discovered the Route Beer Ramble – a 200km weekend group ride from London to Bristol, wrapping up with custom-brewed beers (and a brewery tour) at Cocksure Brewing Co.

I was told by Stef and Dave (Pannier head-honchos) that I’d only need to bring a helmet, pedals and cycling shoes – they’d essentially handle everything else. This removed my biggest obstacle – and as the sole international traveler, it made booking this trip last-minute infinitely do-able. Upon arrival, Stef had me fully setup with a beautiful Surly Straggler with fat gravel tires and Ortleib weatherproof bags. All the necessary camping gear (tent, pad and bag) would be ready and waiting for me upon arrival at our first checkpoint. This was really almost a bit too good to be true.

The Salsa Cutthroat is Much More Than a Tour Divide Rig

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The Salsa Cutthroat is Much More Than a Tour Divide Rig

Salsa Cutthroat, Much More Than a Tour Divide Rig
Words By Spencer Harding, bike photos by Spencer Harding, with action shots by Locke Hassett

While I was able to finagle this incredibly snazzy bike solely for the purpose of reviewing a framebag on it, I figured why not squeeze a bike review out of it as well? First things first, I’m not a huge fan of riding drop bars and as I mentioned before I’m no ultra-endurance racer, which is precisely what this bike is designed for. So, I may be a fish out of water in that regard, but I think there is still plenty of potential in this bike for us humans who enjoy riding less than 200 miles a day and more than 2 hours of sleep a night.  At face value, this bike is fast, when you point this thing down a dirt road and put some muscle into the pedals it fucking moves, it doesn’t much care for going slow.  When using a combination of the magtank 2000 and two stem caddy style bags, the bike actually couldn’t turn sharply at low speed, but this bike was designed to haul ass on the Tour Divide, not make low speed technical turns.  Lets delve into the specifications and all that jazz…

The Beauty of Fatigue: Slow (SLO) Road to Eroica – Tenzin Namdol

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The Beauty of Fatigue: Slow (SLO) Road to Eroica – Tenzin Namdol

The Beauty of Fatigue: Slow (SLO) Road to Eroica
Words by Tenzin Namdol, photos by Ultra Romance

Something happened to me while I was riding the 90-mile NOVA Coastal Route of Eroica California, I started loving the ride. A bit of a “duhhhh” moment, right? That may have had something to do with the skill and knowledge of the route-maker who has expertly joined some of the most stunning roads of San Luis Obispo County. From wineries to summits to the Oceans’ shore featuring some loosen-your-filling descents. I’m sure we could have easily found a dentist at Eroica to fix that last problem. So, not really a problem. It also helps to have beautifully cheerful people at rest stops handing you wine, chocolate-covered strawberries, and praising your athleticism. I felt so undeserving of such treatment, but that’s for me and my therapist to figure out together. Regardless, treatment like that could make a cyclist out of just about anyone.

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The Frozen Road

Ben Page takes us on an intimate journey into the Canadian Arctic:

“Self-shot and edited whilst cycling around the world, this short film charts my winter journey into the Canadian Arctic as I completed my bike ride up the American continent. Compelled by Jack London’s assertion, that ‘any man who is a man can travel alone’, I sought an adventure of perfect solitude. Yet, as I came to realize, the harsh truths of traveling in such a formidable environment were a long way from the romantic images I’d held of this land. The Frozen Road is an honest reflection on my solo trip; of the wonder, terror and frustration I experienced when riding through the unforgiving emptiness of one of the world’s ‘last great wildernesses’.”

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Simply Propelled

What an amazing story!

“Dreams come in many forms, unique to each of us, and ranging from the fleeting to the enduring. Our dream to ride the divide of North America begins in the Arctic and proves to be a challenging start to our nine-month journey. In the wilderness, we discover strength in our diversity and that our direction is influenced by many dreams.”

See more at Simply Propelled.

Jake’s Pacific Northwest Do-All Trek 970 – Morgan Taylor

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Jake’s Pacific Northwest Do-All Trek 970 – Morgan Taylor

Jake’s Pacific Northwest Do-All Trek 970
Photos and words by Morgan Taylor

While we can easily find ourselves lost in things shiny and new, there’s no denying the allure of a carefully curated classic being put to good use. Jake’s Trek 970 is just one of those bikes, with a build that takes advantage of classic mountain bike practicality to create a versatile and stylish bike for days long and short.

Jake’s no stranger to well-thought-out steel bikes, already having a number of sweet builds in the quiver before his 970 came together. He leans toward time-tested components, durability over flashiness, and comfort over outright speed. The 970 is Jake’s Pacific Northwest do-all bike, with wide tires, loads of carrying capacity, and inspiration taken from its home in Seattle.

Down the Ladder into Hell – Stan Engelbrecht

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Down the Ladder into Hell – Stan Engelbrecht

Down the Ladder into Hell
Words and 35mm film photos by Stan Engelbrecht

I don’t remember when I first heard of ‘Die Hel’ (The Hell). It’s the kind of thing that comes to you like a mysterious rural legend – a rumour of a tiny community of farmers living for decades in complete isolation in an impenetrable valley paradise. More than anything, I wanted to go to ‘Die Hel’. Places and people like this have always fascinated me. South Africa has for many, many years had a complex social and political landscape, and I always like to imagine that these individualist pioneers left whatever country they came from to escape some kind of governmental or religious ideology, and when faced with the same developing in their newfound home, they were driven further into the natural world. To live simply, in peace, with nature as their surround.

Boiz in Knitters: Get Weird. Ride Bikes. Care Less. – Locke Hassett

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Boiz in Knitters: Get Weird. Ride Bikes. Care Less. – Locke Hassett

Boiz in Knitters: Get Weird. Ride Bikes. Care Less.
Photos and words by Locke Hassett

April in Arizona. Colors are erupting from every tree, water is still vaguely flowing in some of the washes, the nights are still cool and the days warm enough to wear short shorts. Students itch to finish the semester. Love is in the air, or maybe it’s just pollen.

When Andrew first mentioned to me that he and Wilson were planning a bike tour for the last weekend before finals, I was hesitant. But then four seconds passed and I remembered what truly matters in this life: using the bicycle as a means to avoid adulthood.

The Radavist 2017 Calendar: June

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The Radavist 2017 Calendar: June

This is the sixth layout of the Radavist 2017 Calendar, entitled “It’s Always Sunny in Spain” Shot with a Canon 1DX and a 24-70mm in Sierra de Guadarrama, Spain

“Why would I bring rain gear? We’re in Spain!” Exclaimed one of the riders on the Blackburn Ranger camp. Technically, yes, we are in Spain but we’re also at 7,000′ in elevation I exclaimed. The rain, wind and cold temperatures didn’t keep this party train down!

For a high-res JPG, suitable for print and desktop wallpaper*, right click and save link as – The Radavist 2017 Calendar – June. Please, this photo is for personal use only!
(*set background to white and center for optimal coverage)

The mobile background this month is from the Sierra Nevada. Click here to download June’s Mobile Wallpaper.

Touring the Rocky Mountain Front – Locke Hassett

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Touring the Rocky Mountain Front – Locke Hassett

Touring the Rocky Mountain Front
Photos and words by Locke Hassett

“Mel’s Diner, 9ish?” is the text I received from Cameron. The night before, he left in a frazzled state to go to the Rocky Mountain Front, and I followed the next morning. This vast expanse of abrupt cliffs where the Rockies meet the Great Plains spans much of North America, so I was glad that he specified a diner as a meeting place. We fueled up on strong coffee, plenty of biscuits and gravy, bought a map, two slingshots, whiskey, lemonade and a few cookies from the Augusta general store. A fine establishment that acts as the local liquor store, gun shop, grocery, outfitter and purveyor of homemade baked goods.

DFL the (Baja) Divide – Spencer Harding

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DFL the (Baja) Divide – Spencer Harding

DFL the (Baja) Divide
Photos and words by Spencer Harding

I went into the Baja Divide grand depart expecting it to be more of a social occasion than a bike tour. I’ll admit, despite the plentiful resources provided on the Baja Divide website, I barely looked at the maps and descriptions of the route. All I knew was that there would be a bunch of really wonderful people there that I wanted to hang out and ride bikes with. So I piled my car full of chubby bikes and wonderful humans and headed south to San Diego.

Exploring Northern Tasmania by Bike: the Central Highlands Loop

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Exploring Northern Tasmania by Bike: the Central Highlands Loop

Tasmania, or Tassie for short, has long been on the list of places I’ve wanted to visit my whole life. Even as a kid with his nosed pressed in nature magazines, the landscape, flora and fauna of this island inspired many daydreams about trekking throughout the backcountry. Over the past few years, trips to Australia came and went, never allowing the extra time to explore this island, its roads and tracks. Each time, locals would say, “mate, you’ve gotta go to Tassie next time!” Everything I’d seen made it look like an exceptional place to ride bikes and with a handful of newly-opened mountain bike parks opening, I began to make moves…

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Montana Fire Tower

Our National Forest’s fire lookouts can provide ideal refuge for cyclists looking to take on a large tour, or even a few loops in their vicinities.

Where Nebraska Ends: The Champion and the Corner – Parts and Labor

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Where Nebraska Ends: The Champion and the Corner – Parts and Labor

Where Nebraska Ends: The Champion and the Corner
Photos and words by Parts and Labor

Making the most of the weekends, that’s what we do. Close the shop on Saturday, high-tail it to base camp late that night. The goal, have 2 nights of camping, 2 full days of riding, and well, back to work by Tuesday morning. Ain’t nobody quittin’ their job or getting on a plane to do these trips; it’s all done in a weekend. Slowly but surely, we’ve applied that template to a dozen or so trips throughout our fine state. Aside from the main objective of having a good time, we were intent on a few other things this go around. One. Run out of Nebraska. (Well, not run out of it, but rather, get to the very Northwest corner of it.) B… Err, I mean, Two. Find the largest Ponderosa Pine within the domain known as, Nebraska.

The route was hatched out of a trip that we covered last fall. We had only scratched the surface on this region, so we knew we had to find time to come back. Pine Country. That’s what it is. Well, that, and grasslands. Oh man, the grasslands. Wide opens spaces and doubletrack like you wouldn’t believe. Or maybe ya can. I dunno. Hot, dry, and windy as all get out. But it’s sure worth enduring. Trekking along the prairie, in the company of cattle and wild pronghorn, well, that’s just a neat thing. And when it’s not open pasture, it’s badlands, or rocky escarpments.

But back to the common corner. The one that rubs elbows with South Dakota and Wyoming. We were out to find it. The end, as I said. We located it via GPS, decided to throw camp within a couple hundred feet and finish the trek by hoofing up to it at sunrise. Well, there ain’t much to it. Just a piece of granite dropped years ago by the BLM, and a sign-in register. Now, if pronghorn could write, that thing would be full. But as far as I know, they can’t. Within the last few years, there are only a handful of names. Humans. Mainly dudes out fixing the border fence. Or the “damn fence” as they referred to it. We signed the sheet, stood in WY and SD for a bit, and moseyed on our way. Next up, the Pine Ridge.

Located on the high plains, the escarpment is home to, arguably, the only native pine found within the state. The mighty Ponderosa Pine. Now, we ain’t got the mature fellers that y’all have out west, but there are some decent ones. And for one in particular, the Champion, we were out to find that sucker. Situated within Monroe Canyon and along the creek, there it was, standing tall. It was a goddamn beaut’, Clark. I smelled the bark, grab a few fallen pine cones, and we were on our way and onto the climb out of the canyon to start the trek back to Toadstool. Which is where we started the trip. Objectives met, good times had, and as usual, back to fixin bikes on Tuesday.

Check out the route at Bikepacking.com.

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Follow Parts and Labor on Instagram and if you’re in their area, swing through Onion Velo and Ponderosa Cyclery!