#touring

tag

Down the Ladder into Hell – Stan Engelbrecht

Reportage

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

Reportage

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

Radar

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

Reportage

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

Reportage

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

Reportage

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…

Radar

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

Reportage

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.

____

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

Radar

The Grey Escape

This is too good and such a contrast to how I’ve been experiencing Scandinavia.

“A cycling documentary about a group of elderly people cycling nearly 250 miles from Denmark to Norway. Across the Western world, millions of elderly people live in care homes – often lonely, isolated and without mobility. But these elderly people are breaking free!
In particular, Marie, 96, and Finn, 81, overcome their issues and grow closer. The only problem is Marie thinks Finn is too young for her… “

Radar

A 1,500 Mile Journey For Water: California Water Cycle

California is in a drought and at this point, it’d have to rain everyday for months to pull us out (11 trillion gallons)…

“In January 2016, a team of two bicycled 1,500 miles around the state of California reminding students and local communities from where their water comes. San Francisco to San Diego, California Water Cycle toured coastal communities, schools, farms, and conservation alliances, bringing urgency to the current water scarcity in California. The duo finished their campaign along our state’s water canals, through the heartland of US agriculture, the Central Valley. With this adventure, the goal was to build community support and to foster a more water conscious California.”

See more at California Water Cycle.

South African Dirt and the Karoobaix – Stan Engelbrecht

Reportage

South African Dirt and the Karoobaix – Stan Engelbrecht

South African Dirt and the Karoobaix

Photos and words by Stan Engelbrecht

On the third morning we came across two kudus, dead, and partially eaten. During the intense drought in the area over the last months, many animals had been breaking through fences to get to this dam, only to find it completely dry. In their search for water, these kudus tried to cross the dried dam floor, and got trapped in two mud sinkholes. They must have struggled there for days, before dying of thirst and starvation. And maybe something had started eating them while they were still alive.

It was a stark reminder that the Karoo is a dangerous and remote place. This semi-desert region near the Southern tip of Africa is known for its searing beauty, but also its harsh and unforgiving environment. Get caught out here without water or shelter at the wrong time of year and it can be the end of you.

Two Hard Days on the Bike

Radar

Two Hard Days on the Bike

Ever so often, a ride goes south and I’m not talking cardinal directions. Cari and I embarked on our first bicycle camping trip this week and I can honestly say it was equal parts hard as it was beautiful. The full story is coming next week, for now check out some preview photos @TheRadavist on Instagram.

Roll With It in the South – Brian Vernor

Reportage

Roll With It in the South – Brian Vernor

Roll With It in the South
Photos and words by Brian Vernor

There’s a shocking casualness to the hallucinatory contradiction of culture that is The South. I’d seen this place in great detail as a child, often visiting family throughout Tennessee and Alabama. Though I grew up in Santa Cruz, and went to college in California, I wanted to reconnect with The South in that awkward period of life right after college, before I could say “I want to do _____ with my life.” In 1998 I had finished school, got heavily into nothing, and spent seven months playing with cameras in Santa Cruz, enough time to forget what my degree was in.

Throwing Touring Tradition out the Window with the Kona Sutra LTD – Morgan Taylor

Reportage

Throwing Touring Tradition out the Window with the Kona Sutra LTD – Morgan Taylor

The touring world is changing, no doubt about it. Steel frames are still the norm for obvious reasons, but disc brakes are now widely accepted and people are venturing far and wide with component choices that only a few years ago may have been considered imprudent.

One group doing this is the young and adventurous among us, arguably oblivious to their equipment’s lack of serviceability. Under these pioneers, bikes go into the wild with sometimes ugly, yet highly functional home-hacked solutions that get the job done. They are out there for the pure experience, pushing the boundaries of equipment that only a few years ago was considered cutting-edge technology.

Another side of this coin is people at bike companies, with access to the newest stuff before it hits the market, building custom bikes to their own specs to push the limits. It’s not uncommon to see mountain drivetrains on road frames, tires that are too big to pass safety standards, and so on. These bikes, however, rarely make it past the engineers’ and product managers’ personal collections.

When product managers spec bikes, they are held to account by bean counters making sure bikes will sell through – and that means sticking to tradition and not taking chances. I love it when companies have the guts to spec a bike in a way that’s pointed at radness rather than tradition. When I see a production bike deviate from industry norms in this way, my eyes light up; the Kona Sutra LTD is one of those bikes.