Bina’s Tour d’Afrique – Chapter 1, What to pack?

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By Bina Bilenky

By the time you read this my husband and I will be heading to Africa for the 2014 Tour d’Afrique. We will be staff members for the four-month, 7,500-mile cycling expedition that starts in Khartoum, Sudan, and wraps up in Cape Town, South Africa. There is a lot to do in preparation for the trip including ironing out the details for the fifth annual Philly Bike Expo at the end of 2014!

If you’re not familiar, the Tour d’Afrique is a test of mind, body and bike that winds its way through 10 countries along the Nile River, past ancient temples, across the Equator, past Mount Kilimanjaro, Lake Malawi, Victoria Falls and finally to Cape Town.

Read more about Bina’s preparations here…

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Meet the Kona Freerange bikes

We’re always debating what these types of bikes should be called. They’re not touring bikes per say, but they can certainly tour. They’re less racy than a cyclocross bike. And I don’t even know what a “gravel” bike is supposed to be.

Kona has dubbed them the Freerange, and I think it’s a great name. The Rove and Sutra share a frame, but sport different build-ups, and if you’re looking for something a little more extravagant, there’s the Rove Ti, built in the USA by Lynskey.

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Review: Co-Motion Divide

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The Co-Motion Divide’s rugged looking frame is hand-built in Oregon using oversized Reynolds 725 chromoly tubing. Co-Motion’s tandem expertise is evident in the massive chainstays and the 40-spoke wheels, built using DT-Swiss 540 tandem hubs (with 145mm rear spacing for a dishless wheel) and Velocity Cliffhanger rims. The stout 44 mm-diameter head tube on the Divide is another clue that this bike means business.

The Divide rode like it meant business, too. As soon as I got her built, I zipped through the mean streets and hit the local trails. The bike felt incredibly stiff and well built. I took that as an encouraging sign for the loaded tour that lay ahead—a 355-mile self-supported tour along the unpaved Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C.

Read the full review here.

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Adventure Cycling honors Bicycle Travel Award winners

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The Adventure Cycling Association‘s nationally recognized awards program acknowledges exemplary contributions to the success of bicycle travel. There are four awards:

  • The Pacesetter Bicycle Travel Award recognizes individuals, groups, businesses, and organizations that have consistently demonstrated extraordinary commitment, dedication, and service to the advancement of Adventure Cycling’s mission of inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle.
  • The June Curry Trail Angel Award honors an individual or group encountered during a bicycle tour who made the cyclotourist’s journey easier or possible by helping the cyclist through an act of goodwill.
  • The Braxton Bicycle Shop Award honors bicycle shops throughout the nation that go out of their way to provide unique or exemplary services to bicycle travelers.
  • The Adventure Cycling Volunteer of the Year Award is our way to say ‘Thank you’ to Adventure Cycling volunteers who are helping us inspire others to travel by bike.

Click here to see the 2013 award winners

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The only way out is onward

Fatbikes and packrafts are the only way to explore a remote section of Alaska before mankind’s approach changes the landscape forever.

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By Bjørn Olson

On a late July afternoon, we rode our fatbikes off Homer Spit and onto a 176-foot landing craft, a ship loaded with cargo for transport to the remote side of Cook Inlet. Though the vessel had made this crossing many times, passengers were uncommon and in our case, a curious sight. In addition to our oversized bicycles, Brent and I carried one packraft apiece, five days worth of food, plus some minimal camping gear and camera equipment. After an exciting and sleepless night onboard the vessel we were deposited on the far shore of the inlet at 4 a.m. Waiting for the light, we watched the boat unload its cargo and then began cycling the gravel Pile Bay Road to Iliamna Lake in the early dawn.

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I was drawn, in part, to this route because Alaska is in the midst of mineral development projects that could entirely transform the landscape. Our route would bring us through a proposed, controversial, open pit copper mine—the Pebble Mine. I wanted to see clear streams full of sockeye salmon, bears and untamed landscapes, as it has been for millennia, before it is allowed to be transformed—forever.

Read the full story

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Trailer: ‘Melons, Trucks and Angry Dogs – Going AWOL’

Before Specialized launched its AWOL adventure bike, Recep Yesil of Turkey and Erik Nohlin of Sweden took prototype models across Europe in an unsupported, single-stage race known as the Transcontinental. There are no support teams, no predetermined route, and only two checkpoints along its 2,000-mile route. The rest is up to you.

Below is a trailer for an upcoming documentary about their journey. Episode 1 will premiere December 1.

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