There’s no denying it’s a bit harder to find adventure in the winter. The mountains are snowed in, the skies are gray and the ground is wet. But in Seattle you can keep your bike camping stoke high with the return of the Swift Industries Stoked Spoke series.
“A few summers back we were rolling out on bicycle adventures and hardly even unpacking between trips,” said Swift Industries founder Martina Brimmer. “We spent weeknights at the bar after work scouring maps and exchanging stories from our weekends away and getting details about where other friends had gone exploring. It hit us that a route sharing series would be exactly the ticket to keep us excited through the dark winter months. We took a lot of inspiration from the TED Talks format and added booze, a lot of flannel and steel bikes to the equation.”
Held on three evenings over the winter, each forum will include four to six presentations of maps, photos, routes and more that can inspire your next excursion. After the 5 to 10 minute talks, each presenter will host an information table where they can chat one on one with anyone who wants to learn more.
Stoked Spoke series
- December 16
- January 20
- February 17
The series is meant to highlight the best bike adventures of Cascadia and beyond, and each night will be hosted by the Rhino Room with a setup for screenings, tables for maps and booths, plus a full bar to keep the spirits high.
“Each presentation will include maps of the route, the level of challenge of the route measured in elevation gain and terrain, and offers tips on ideal gear and bicycle setups,” Brimmer said. “There has been an increase in interest to get off pavement and onto dirt in the touring scene… This new chapter in bicycle adventuring is introducing people to backcountry travel which tends to be more logistically heavy than highway touring so the more remote the destination is, the more information like resupply spots and water access become the highlight of a presentation. We encourage all sorts of terrain and travel styles, but as usual, our emphasis is on tours that are self-supported and mostly planned around camping.”
At the core of the Stoked Spokes events is getting people together in a room and promoting interaction in a way that simply can’t be duplicated online, Brimmer said.
“Reading about a trip often kick-starts my curiosity about a region or route, but if I know someone who has ridden those roads I always go right to them for tips, beta, and the opportunity to ask more specific questions, like access to fly fishing en route. Getting together as a growing community of bicycle-obsessed wanderers and explorers is so fun and really motivating. Our circle of riding companions grows with each event.”
If you have a route you’d like to share, get in touch with Jason at Swift Industries (firstname.lastname@example.org) and include the following in the body of the email:
- Name and email address
- A paragraph describing your route overview, ready to be published on the Swift Industries blog
- Name and location of starting and finish points
- Total mileage
- Duration of your trip
- Link to a digital map (RideWithGPS or Google)
- Four photos from your ride
If your route is chosen you should be prepared to put together a Powerpoint presentation and some maps and photos to help other folks find their way.
Can’t make it in person? Watch the Swift Industries blog for a recap of each Stoked Spoke events, complete with trip summaries, maps and photos. Or you can host a Stoked Spoke event of your own. Bike shops, breweries and living rooms are all great places to host a Stoked Spoke event, Brimmer said. When choosing a location make sure you consider the line of sight to the presenters and the acoustics of the space, she said, and if you have other questions don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Swift Industries’ tips for a kick-ass trip report:
- Short and sweet is the ticket to a great presentation.
- Dynamic photos keep the audience engaged and will really capture the audience’s imagination.
- Practice makes perfect: the art of storytelling is weaving suspense and humor into your trip’s logistical overview.
- Have lots of fun!