The stuff. All the things that I’m carrying. When it’s all laid out, it doesn’t look like much for a few weeks of living off the bike. But when I’m pushing it up a mountain road, it feels like a ton.
I’ve never cared about how much my race bike weighed. I’ve always felt that the main difference between a 20 pound mountain bike and a 27 pound mountain bike is about $2,000, and the fact that a heavier bike won’t break when you hit a rock the wrong way.
But this is different. When the dry weight (no food or water) of the whole setup is pushing 50 pounds, I’ve been doing everything I can to save weight. I even bought a kitchen scale to weigh crap. And I’ve been debating the little things: do I need a wool hat if I have a jacket with a hood? Probably not. Saved 150 grams.
Editor’s note: Montana is a former intern at Bicycle Times and longtime friend-of-the-mag, so we were especially proud when he completed the 2,700-mile Tour Divide this summer in his first attempt. Read his epic account of the trip here. You can also follow along with all his adventures on his blog, The Skrumble.Tweet Print
I haven’t been able to sleep. Every night I wake up, thinking that I still have more miles to ride to the border.
“No, Colleen already picked you up, it’s over,” I tell myself. Then the sun comes up and my legs are rubbery.
Tour Divide was monstrously hard. I thought that I understood how difficult it was going to be, but based on my past experience, that just wasn’t possible.
I always thought “Yeah it’s a long ride, but there’s hardly any singletrack. It’s all dirt road. So it’s probably not that bad.”
I was so far off.
Editor’s note: Montana is a former intern at Bicycle Times and longtime friend-of-the-mag, so we were especially proud when he completed the 2,700-mile Tour Divide this summer in his first attempt. No stranger to big rides and crazy adventures, Montana ultimately finished ninth overall on his singlespeed Surly Krampus in 22 days, four hours and 21 minutes. You can follow along with all his adventures on his blog, The Skrumble.Tweet Print
By Thomas Kurt
Two summers ago, I decided I needed an alternative to my physical conditioning routines of tennis and interval running. My son Jim is an avid rider, with a Surly Long Haul Trucker touring rig and a very light road bike which he built up from a titanium frame. It all looked good to me, and on a whim I picked up a used GT Windstream, a black hybrid model which, as best I could tell, was manufactured sometime in the late 1990’s.
I wasn’t looking to immerse myself into another hobby, and I swore I would not be doing anything more than fixing the occasional flat and riding the thing around town. Well I guess some vows are meant to be broken and soon (under my son’s tutelage) I was doing everything short of packing bearings. I’ve replaced the drivetrain, rims, brakes, handlebar, saddle, etc., to come up with a respectable touring rig which I christened The Raven.Tweet Print
Created in 2012 to embody the culture of adventure, the Blackburn Ranger program supports cyclists that the brand admires on their journeys along the Pacific Coast and the Great Divide. This year, the brand has added four new adventure cyclists into the 2014 Blackburn Ranger “Out There” program.
To continue the legacy and spirit that Founder Jim Blackburn built in 1975, the Ranger program is created from a simple and effective people-and-product-first approach with everything it touches. This no-nonsense style provides in the field product development feedback that gets fast-tracked for future innovation and also places community first. Ultimately, the program encourages everyone to ‘get out there.’Tweet Print
Bicycle Times contributor Nicholas Carman is organizing an evening event in Anchorage called “The Art of Bikepacking” on July 16 at 7 p.m. at The Bicycle Shop, on Dimond Boulevard. According to Carman, the evening will be part art opening, technical seminar, and inspirational storytelling. There will also be a special presentation with Eric Parsons entitled “A History of Revelate Designs”. Of course, there’ll be free food, beer, and stuff!
Read more about the event.
Words and photos by Dave Schlabowske
Last November, the night before I headed off for my Northwoods deer camp in Peeksville, Wisconsin, I decided to build a new rack for my blaze orange Schlick Northpaw hunting rig. Because I was putting it together at the very last minute, I started with a really basic rack, but left it bare steel so I could continue to modify.
My Schlick is built up with a Shimano Alfine 11 IGH and Gates Carbon Centertrack belt drive, plus a Super Nova E3 powered by an Alfine dynamo hub. Adding the rack, a pair of 45Nrth studded Dillingers and some full coverage fenders from Big O Manufacturing in Minneapolis and I had ultimate winter commuter and an incredible hunting rig. After four months of tweaks over the long winter, I think the rack is finally done.
I typically use a backpack and sling my rifle over my shoulder when I ride to my deer stand, but this rifle season, I decided to hunt a couple of miles deeper in the woods, and I wanted to bring some camera gear with me. In order to save my back, I decided to build a rear rack to haul the gear.Tweet Print
We always love sharing stories of American-made cycling products, and one of our favorites is Aero Tech Designs. Based just down the road here in Pittsburgh, it manufacturers cycling apparel of its own designs and offers custom work as well.
On June 15, Cathy Rogers, the founder and CEO, will embark on a fast-paced cross-country tour from Redmond, Washington to Washington, D.C., covering 3,300 miles through 12 states in 48 days. The trip is a product testing and development excursion, a fundraiser for the American Lung Association, and a lifelong dream come true.
Rogers is always seeking the best apparel innovations to improve the ride, and a cross-country tour is a great opportunity to test clothing to its limits. She will be wearing current Aero Tech designs and items from other brands sold on the Aero Tech website, as well as prototypes of new ideas Rogers and her team have been working on. Chief among her concerns are sun protection, long-distance comfort, chafe durability, and high visibility on the road. The tour group will also be sporting custom kits designed and sewn by Aero Tech in its factory near Pittsburgh.Tweet Print
Long distance racers are always pushing for a new challenge. Race Across America, Tour Divide, the Transcontinental—they inspire awe and certainly some intimidation. This year racers will be tackling a new challenge—the Trans-Am. Think of it like RAAM but without checkpoints or support of any kind.
There is an “official” route, but that is merely the shortest distance. It is inspired by the Trans-American trail pioneered by thousands of cyclists during the Bikecentennial of 1976. Racers are welcome to choose an alternate. The only rules regard self-sufficiency and safety.
Festivities begin at 5 a.m. in Astoria, Oregon, and the finish line is Yorktown, Virginia, an estimated 4,233 miles.
Good luck to everyone participating! It will be an adventure to never forget.
The deadline is drawing near for Adventure Cycling Association‘s 2014 Bicycle Travel Video Contest, which celebrates the beauty and spirit of bicycle travel through videos shot around the world by amateur videographers traveling by bike. Submissions must be made through the contest’s Vimeo group by June 30, 2014.
“As of today, we’ve received about 20 submissions,” said contest coordinator Michael McCoy, “from nearly as many countries. We have entries from cycling videographers living in Slovakia, France, the Czech Republic, Canada, the Philippines, Nepal, Belgium, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Turkey, and the United States. This worldwide geographical spread is quite amazing, really.”Tweet Print
Image courtesy of VeloDirt.com
It hasn’t even begun but the inaugural Oregon Outback bikepacking “race” is quite possibly the most talked-about bikepacking event of the year. Covering 360 miles of dirt, gravel and (probably) mud, the route travels north from Klamath Falls near the California border to the Deschutes State Park along the Columbia River.Tweet Print