The yearly pilgrimage to Sea Otter is always bittersweet. I go to a huge bike event, but often never actually have time to ride bikes while I’m there. Fortunately, for the last four years, I’ve been having adventures before or after the event to make up for the lack of ride time at the Marine Marmot itself.
This year Blackburn invited some media types to its “Ranger Camp.” It’s a gathering of Blackburn Rangers, the brand ambassadors for the 40-year-old adventure company.
We met in the parking lot of the San Jose airport and started loading up. Most of us media folks knew each other but this was the first time most of the Rangers met outside of the virtual world.
Over the next few days we rode up into the mountains above Santa Cruz. Camped out. Drank some drinks. Had a BB gun biathlon. Bashed around on dirt roads. Ate lunch at Pie Ranch. Surfed. Spent large amounts of time outside cell phone range. Tried out some of Blackburn’s bags and racks. Watched as a very hard working video crew capturing footage for an upcoming video.
Bike setups were as different as the riders, and showcased the wide array of possibilities with Blackburn gear. We also got to check out the forthcoming expanding frame bag, part of its Outpost line of rackless bikepacking bags.
I took my own ride, the new Zen Fabrications AR45, below. This is a terrible pic, and I somehow must have gotten too relaxed on the trip to set it up for a proper shot. I’ll fix that soon with a full first impressions post.
Its interesting seeing a company like Blackburn adapt the light and fast touring style that is becoming the norm with a new generation of riders. We’ll have a full review of the Outpost bags in an upcoming issue (and here on the web), but so far we’ve been impressed with everything.
I’ve been touring in an around the Bay area quite a few times, and it never grows old. Here’s to hoping they can keep the water on long enough for another generation of riders to experience the big trees, big beaches, and mellow vibe. Thanks for the invite Blackburn, and hope it is one that is extended every year!
Check out the full gallery of images from the trip below: