Courtesy of Kona. Words by Erkki Punttila. Photos by Teemu Lautamies.
I really love exploring new places with my bike, but I also constantly hear the call of the sea – why not combine the best of both worlds? First enjoy a nice evening cruise and then hit the trails with your lights on and find a peaceful spot to camp. My boat is an old fishing boat and has a 5.4 litre truck engine from 1972 that has proven to be quite “reliable”. They are somewhat simple machines after you get to know the basics of maintenance and repair. Just like bikes. Remember your first wheel build? Slightly scary at first, but very rewarding at the end.
Into the night
On longer bikepacking trips it would be ideal to find a camp site before the sun goes down. It just makes things easier. But sometimes it’s fun to ride in a pitch black forest with your lights blazing. Your focus shifts from the scenery to the trail and its obstacles. And what better way is there to scare yourself shitless than startling a sleeping moose just a few meters from you?
A few tips for night riding
- Set up your lights before it gets dark. Then you can just turn them on and keep going.
- Know your gear. How long does the battery run on low/medium/full power?
- Conserve power. On roads you can use the low setting on your lights and then turn it up when the trail gets nasty.
- Always have a backup light source so you can continue if one fails. Probably the best option is to have a hub dynamo powered light for riding and recharging your GPS/phone/headlamp during the day. And a good quality waterproof headlamp for camp activities.
- Know where your gear is. Try to memorize all of your stuff when packing and always pack things in the same place. You can then find spare batteries or your multitool even with your eyes closed.
- Pack wisely. Having your shelter in one place with easy access is nice. I keep my tent as the first thing in the handlebar bag along with a dry base layer. Dry clothes, shelter, food, sleep.
If you are planning to get big miles in for the day your only choice is to get up early and get going. There is no way around that. But sometimes it is utter bliss not to have a plan at all. Sleep as long as you feel like. Enjoy breakfast and coffee. Get going when you feel like it and do it for as long as it’s good. Have a break, take a nap. Eat warm food, look at birds – whatever makes you happy.
Steps to a quick getaway
Set up everything for a quick start before going to sleep. I fill my Jetboil with the right amount of water for porridge and coffee and keep it on standby in the tent’s vestibule. Have all the food you plan to eat ready (but don’t do this in bear country!). Then, this:
- Make sure your alarm goes off loud as [email protected] in the far end of the tent so you’re forced to get up to turn it off
- Open the valve of your air mattress
- Get up and light up Jetboil
- Shut off the alarm
- Put on riding clothes
- Stuff sleeping bag
- By now the water is boiling. Pour it into your favourite titanium cup and add porridge flakes. Eat and scrape the sides with your spork. Pour more hot water and add instant coffee.
- Since the coffee is likely too hot, pack your stuff and roll up your sleeping mattress while it cools.
- Enjoy your coffee. It also cleans your mug from the porridge. Kind of.
- Stuff your gear into your seat and frame bag, then take down the tent and pack it along with your dry base layer.
- Enjoy your 15 minutes of fame.
Tips for big days
- Eat light and fast in the morning. Ride for about 1-2 hours, take a dump and have a second breakfast
- Have food ready on your stem bags to eat on the go.
- Eat something once per hour even you don’t feel hungry. You don’t really need a big lunch break, just keep on going and remember to eat.
- Hydration is key. I always have one bottle with electrolytes and one with plain water. On longer legs I fill them from my bladder or other source and try to keep the balance.
- Your favourite candy and something salty like beef jerky is good motivational food.
- If you eat at a restaurant or gas station during the day, don’t eat in. Order 3 hamburgers and a coke, eat one standing and continue with the two burgers in your jersey pockets. The satisfaction of eating a cheeseburger while coasting along a gravel road at 25km/h is heaven.
Every trip comes to an end unfortunately. If you have a specific goal that you want to reach, why not celebrate a bit when you reach it? A mountain top, a tough hike-a-bike, a big climb, a 200km day, whatever – reward yourself and maybe take a picture of it. Later on you won’t remember all the details of the suffering, but you will feel the sense of accomplishment and have a great story to tell. Just go out there and do it your way.
For this adventure, Erkki rode our Swiss Army knife, the Unit, in completely stock form. With its Reynolds 520 steel frame and single speed drivetrain, the Unit has been a mainstay in the Kona line for years and for 2017 we’ve given it some updates that only expand its versatility. Five bottle cages and room for 27.5+ wheels – which now come stock on the bike – will enable you to get out there whether you’re looking for a singletrack ripper or the foundation of a solid bikepacking setup. The powder blue Unit in the video is available in Europe, while North America gets down with matte olive green. Get all the details on the Unit here.
Sometimes it’s worth a premium to invest in the very best. Both Kitsbow apparel and Breadwinner’s bikes are some of the nicest bits of kit anywhere and, in our opinion, you get what you pay for.
In this video, Tony Pereira and Ira Ryan of Breadwinner show us around their stomping grounds in Oregon and share their design philosophy.
The Zenga brothers are six young men who were instilled with the passion for free expression at a young age. Their community art projects and installations eschew the bounds of traditional art and become part of a lifestyle and a culture. Plus they build some kickass tall bikes.
Premiering at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, “Tall Bike Tour: Part 1 – Visions and Dreams,” introduces Zenga Bros upcoming documentary in which they bring their eccentric brand of creativity to the streets while traveling and living on tall bikes.Tweet Print
Remember cycling as a kid? Before we were all caught up in getting to work on time, tracking our mileage or worrying about nutrition? Or really anything at all?
It’s great to see the culture of cycling shifting back towards the unstructured fun of unknown destinations and free expression. Specialized is getting on board with its Adventure Dispatch series that blurs the line between cycling and non-cycling. It’s all a part of your life, so why worry about categorizing it?
The promise of adventure is all around us. Whether you live in Los Angeles or the Himalayas, opportunities to get outside present themselves to anyone with the right pair of eyes. For Ty Hathaway, this opportunity takes the form of the Angeles National Forest. Follow along as he shows you the City of Angeles that you won’t find in any guidebook.
Hannah Maia is a filmmaker and adventurer, no naturally when she and her partner Patrick embarked on a very special adventure together—marriage and a honeymoon—she captured all the fun and adventure. Now she has chronicled the journey along the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route in a short film called Megamoon.
You can see the complete film when it debuts on Thursday, July 9, as well as more photos, diaries and videos from the journey at Hannah’s website, Maia Media.
Philadelphia isn’t widely known as a “bicycle town,” and it can’t boast the kind of bicycle-friendly infrastructure that is popping up in larger cities like New York or Los Angeles. But according to Census figures it also has the highest percentage of bike use of any large U.S. city. So why is that? This short film from Streetfilms takes a look:Tweet Print
Now entering its teenaged years, the annual Filmed By Bike Festival has been a showcasing the work of filmmakers who celebrate the bicycle lifestyle each spring in Portland, Oregon. The works range from slick productions to intriguing and heartfelt shorts, but each one is a testament to its creator’s love of cycling.
I was honored to be asked to join the jury for this year’s festival, and got a sneak peek at some of the works that will be featured this weekend at the historic Hollywood Theatre. There’s more than just movies though: New Belgium is hosting a street party at Velo Cult, there is a panel discussion of women in racing, and this being Portland, there’s a brewery bike tour too.
More than just a local event, 60 percent of the films chosen this year are international, and the festival will go on the road for screenings around the country this summer. Filmed by Bike benefits NW Documentary, a non-profit organization that helps people tell their stories through film.
As a festival, we’ll never preach to people and tell them to ride a bike, that it’s the right thing to do, blah blah blah. But there’s no way in hell someone’s going to leave that theater without being at least a LITTLE bit inspired to ride bike. And if I can do my part to get more people on bikes, I can die a happy person.
—Ayleen Crotty, Festival Director
Buy your tickets in advance here and take a peek at what you’ll see in this trailer:Tweet Print
There are as many reasons why as there are stars in the sky. That’s the takeaway from this beautiful short video from Salsa Cycles.
It might be the middle of summer but maybe that’s why “Crisp” looks so appealing—a documentary of the 1,100 miles from Knik Lake to Nome, Alaska, along the Iditarod Trail. Ausilia Vistarini and Sebastiano Favaro did it with only their courage and their bikes. Theirs are not just physical feats, but mental conquests.Tweet Print
Composer Johnnyrandom breaks new ground with musical compositions made exclusively from everyday objects. His debut single, “Bespoken”, explores the full potential of sounds generated from bicycles and their components, transcending the role of traditional instrumentation as the accepted method for creating beautiful and thought-provoking music. The following video gives a glimpse into the creative process behind this unique composition.
- Original Music Composition & Sound Design: Johnnyrandom
- Director of Photography: Devin Whetstone
- Mastered by AudibleOddities.
- Editor: Blake Bogosian, Beast
- Graphic Design: Lisa Mishima
- Motion Design: Chris Kelly
- Colorist: Eric Pascua, Beast
- Producer: Flip Baber
- “Bespoken” on iTunes
- “Bespoken (Inverted MTB Remix) on iTunes
- “Bespoken” – A breakdown of selected sound elements
Icy Bike Winter Commuting Challenge is not designed to be a competition, more a challenge to those willing to put on some gloves and shoe covers, get out there to show what you’re made of and keep the pedals turning through the winter. Bicycle commute to work 52 times between October 1 and March 31 and not only will you’ve earned badass status, you can attend the Icy Bike Gala. Join the Facebook group to track your progress.
ChainRing Films has even made a short film about the experience, A Winter of Cyclists. Watch the trailer here.Tweet Print