Sònia Colomo and Eloi Miquel packed up their bikes and left Catalunya in January 2022. They arrived in Latin American with the plan to pursue some of the best multi-day mountain biking routes around. But, after completing the 2,800km Baja Divide, a friend told them needed to check out some of the highest volcanoes in the country. And that’s where the adventure started—they decided the only thing to do was change course and link a few 4,000m and 5,000m peaks by bicycle. They knew the logistics wouldn’t be easy, but the draw of the mountains was too great to ignore. Read on for Sònia’s recap of their human-powered bikepacking and alpinism efforts to link four volcanoes.
Unicorns and Sparkles and Rainbows: Finding Joy through Art, Ecology, and Bikes
While earning, or enduring, her Ph.D in Environmental Life Sciences, Courtney Currier began spending more time on the bike as a way to further connect to the places she was studying, and as a way to just spend time outside during the very inside days of the pandemic. In a very real sense, her time on the bike was inspiring and she began making art again. Building up and custom painting a unicorn fixed gear commuter brought everything full circle! Below, as she plans for what comes next in life post-Ph.D, Courtney reflects on bikes and joy, along with Tobias Feltus’ overview of the build process.
Gagwejikanidiwag: They Race Each Other – Alexandera Houchin and Her Arizona Trail 300 ITT Experience
For the third year in a row, I invited a small group of friends to race me on the southern 300 miles of the Arizona Trail. I ultimately challenge people to ride the route southbound and descend the trail on Mount Lemmon; why else would there be an AZT 300 if not to ride all the magnificent trail between Superior, AZ and Mexico?
Gravel in the Loops: Where the Wild Things Were
For Dylan Sherrard, riding a bicycle has provided equal parts community and escape. In his early years, the bike was the ultimate tool for expression, but as time goes by, the bicycle becomes a tool for exploring his relationship with self and a vehicle that leads him into a deep passion for photography. Read on for Dylan’s story about rediscovering his joy for riding, on humble dirt roads, a path that ultimately led him to pick up a camera.
Tacos and Touring Tribulations: Halfway to Oaxaca by Bike
Emily Bei Cheng and a group of friends spend the Christmas holiday bike touring in México. With a planned route from México City to Oaxaca, Emily reflects on why bike touring feels like a more genuine way to engage with the people and places they encounter along the way.
Off-Season Travails: An Ode to Winter Riding
As a salute of solidarity to everyone who keeps getting out on the bike through winter, Hailey Moore shares three tales of off-season travails from riding through this most testing season.
A Tale of Two (Colorado) Trails: Lachlan Morton’s MTB Progression
“I wasn’t going back because I wanted to go dramatically faster but because I wanted to put myself in the same situations I was in three years before and be more comfortable. I knew that the only way to do that was to try to do it fast because that requires you to push yourself to a place where you are kind of on the edge of your capability. And every time I reached that limit this time, I was comfortable, in a way. I wasn’t stressed whereas every time I’d reach that point three years before I’d just crumble.”
In 2019, Lachlan Morton rode the Colorado Trail for the first time, starting in Durango and finishing three days and 22 hours later in Denver. He went back this summer, riding the trail in the opposite direction in three days and ten hours, and chopping nine hours off any other recorded time. However, after sitting down with the EF Education Easy-post athlete, it seems that speed was a byproduct of the feat, not the primary focus. Read on for a more detailed look behind the clock, from my conversation with Lachlan about how he went from surviving the CT in 2019 to establishing a new level on this iconic route this year.
Hotdogs and Mallets: The Eugene Bike Polo Club
For years the words “Bike Polo” have elicited, in my silly little noggin, some sort of barbaric mosh pit of hardcore/anarchist/fixie-skidding/male-presenting jousters, bloody-fresh shinners and maybe getting whacked by one of those croquette things being swung around like a Morgenstern circa 1490. A fight to the death on bikes. I grew up dancing ballet and racing BMX, forging me timid of sports balls and physical contact sports, in general. I had this unfounded bias that bike polo was too edgy and savage; like something I’d not ever try because of my aversion to sports where another human might hit you with a ball, a mallet, or heaven forbid, their own sweaty soul-sack. I imagined a lot of brute force and all-out thrashing: Steel bike frames colliding in explosive fashion inside of a cartoon fight cloud, mallets and balls flying from all directions, and me in the center with time standing still, going full-on Neo (The Matrix, 1999 film) from the saddle in an act of self-preservation.
I was wrong.
Good Grief and Gravel: Emily Dillon’s Tribute to Her Late Father
My Garmin reads 113 degrees. With smoke blowing into Idaho from the seemingly continuous California fires, the air quality index is almost double the temperature. A brown haze obscures the landscape. Soot mixes with dust and sweat forming a dry crust on my face. In the dirt, on either side of me, lay my two companions—my younger brother and my hardtail mountain bike, fully loaded with camping gear. Forty miles into a four hundred-mile unsupported mountain biking trip through the Idaho backcountry, we take reprieve in a sliver of shade.
“Classic Mike Dillon trip,” my brother mutters, his voice thick with melted trail mix. Mike Dillon is our dad. Mike Dillon died eight months ago.
I Learned to Fly… On A Mountain Bike: Wende Cragg Documents the Birth of Mountain Biking
As a kid, I wanted to fly. Like Superman. The recurring dream never materialized but the fantasy took flight when I met the mountain bike. The history of the early mountain bike is often seen through the lens of a handful of guys who modified their old Schwinns back in the mid-1970s. However, as the lone woman participating in those early riding adventures, I snapped a few photographs along the way, capturing the age of innocence often associated with those seminal days. A small group of trailblazers, pioneering a new course of action riding these old relics, would soon change the future of cycling.
Swift Campout 2022: An Alpine Solstice Celebration
For eight years running, around the time of the Summer Solstice, Swift Industries has put out a rallying cry for cyclo-touring enthusiasts the world-over to strap some bags to their bikes, head out for a couple days of pedaling and sleep on the ground. It’s a call to go out and have a memorable experience. The collective Swift Campout was this past weekend, but with some free time surrounding the actual Solstice, my partner Tony and I decided to ring in the best season for bikecamping a little early.
Sink Into the Earth: Lael Wilcox Rides the 827 Mile Arizona Trail
On April 12, 2022, Lael Wilcox set out to ride the 827-mile Arizona Trail faster than anyone had before. She completed her ride in 9 days, 8 hours, and 23 minutes on April 21. This is her story.
Note: Lael’s time is not recognized by the AZT Race administration which prohibits media coverage. The current official records: Men’s – Nate Ginzton – 9:10:44; Women’s – Chase Edwards – 10:18:59
An Exercise in Agency: Hailey Moore Reflects After Her Ozark Gravel Doom Route ITT
My mom worries about me when I’m out riding my bike, for multiple days at a time, alone. By the way, I turned 30 in March. She says it’s not that she doesn’t trust me, it’s other people she’s worried about. And while she’s never outlined this explicitly, I’m sure the fact that I’m an only daughter—not an only son—also plays a role. But, to her credit, she’s getting more comfortable (or, better at hiding her discomfort) with the idea of me pursuing solo endeavors. This time around, when I called her from the car to let her know I was en route to the Ozarks to attempt an Individual Time Trial on the 380-mile Ozark Gravel Doom route, instead of a flat-lined, “…what?” I heard her pause, then—on the tail-end of an exhale—say, “Okay.”
Pedaling Through Trauma: How Chase Edwards Set the 800-mile AZT Record While Healing from a Mental Health Crisis
Ahead of me, the Arizona Trail snaked into the forest, disappearing behind the shadow of ponderosa pines, and re-emerging in a stretch of marsh lit by a sliver of moon. I dismounted my bike and plunged off a muddy bank onto a log submerged in stagnant water. After seven scorching days racing through southern Arizona, this riparian zone on the rugged southeast flank of the Colorado Plateau offered a reprieve from the harsh Sonoran desert, but without the constant pricks and jolts from agave, cholla, and cat’s claw to center on, my mind wandered where I didn’t want it to go.
It was November 2nd, or maybe 3rd, depending on whether or not the clock had struck midnight yet. I didn’t care. This time last year, I was deep in the relentless clutches of psychosis, and moving my body outside, no matter the time of day, made wrangling with grief and humiliation easier.
FAIL 8: No Spain, No Gain
FAIL 8 is the latest installment in Ryan Le Garrec’s multimedia “Fail” series. Check out the related articles below for more of Ryan’s work.
Day 47 – Santo Isidoro, Portugal
My son told me the other day:
“Dad, the trees don’t use their roots only to drink, they also use them to communicate.”
When I saw these two trees, on the way back from Spain somewhere in Alentejo, I thought: “These two must have some kinda romance going on.”
A Deep South Bicycle Tour
In escaping the concrete canyons of New York City, the idea of new horizons, and the promise of unfamiliar faces drew me into what became a 4,112-mile bicycle tour across the deep south and southwestern United States.
Waaseyaa: It is Bright – Alexandera Houchin, Her Life, and Her Chumba Cycles Stella MTB
Waaseyaa: it is bright, is light (as in the day), is radiant; it is sunny
It’s been a hard couple of years. Compounded self-doubt, emotional and physical abuse and income insecurity had me clinging to any bit of life I had within myself. I hadn’t really comprehended how I had gotten in that position in the first place. I remember years ago talking to someone who confided in me that she was in an abusive relationship. I’d been stone-cold in clarity when I told her to leave the fucker. She revealed that it was more complicated than that and, at that moment, I pitied her. Years later, I found myself in the same predicament; I was ashamed both for the lack of strength I had to leave my boyfriend and for my inability to listen to her. I’ve spent the last two years feeling like a swollen shell of myself.
The Inaugural Colorado North South: My Initiation to Bikepacking Racing
Earlier this year, Hailey Moore set out with a small group of riders in the first North South Colorado Bikepacking Race, a self-supported race event on mixed terrain – from Fort Collins to Alamosa – through the Rocky Mountains. Continue reading for Hailey’s immersive trip report and photos from along the route.