Bikepacking isn’t the slightest bit a novel or recent idea. Late nineteenth century black and white photographs of cyclists with bedrolls and framebags heading out into the countryside or on months long trips over international borders show that the bicycle has always been for freedom and exploration. If anything is new in the current enthusiasm for bikepacking, it’s firstly that specific and optimized gear is now widely available for it, and secondly and more importantly, there is a critical mass of the aesthetic sensibility to make it within the imaginative grasp of all of us.
We were a happily motley bunch, with nary a “normal” bike amongst us. Fixie Dave and I were on Bike Friday’s new All-Packa folding ATB (Dave’s was fixed gear, of course), Chris was on a Velo Orange Neutrino mini-velo with a fixed gear and pulling a trailer to haul Eddy Merckx, and Micah rode his singlespeed Surly Karate Monkey.
With summer ending and craving a last reflection: I’d been to 49 U.S. States, North Dakota was the only one missing. Flew to Williston, rode the Maah Daah Hey Trail down to Medora. The last week has been transcendent. Not a splinter of shade over the dust and palimpsest of extraction, geomorphology, western mythology. Riding solo through exquisite sadness and exultation, 150 kilometers of singletrack skimming a parallel dimension of 19th century lore and desolation, an infinity of heat or clay or cricket clouds. And then a headlong return back into corporeality on dirt roads and highways defined by oversized load trucks and hazy decoherence. Invited by heat and time to be tolerant of loneliness and grateful for the lucid fractal hallucinations it makes possible. Laying in the vanishing coolness thinking about how to make myself not think anymore, just waiting until massless photons crushed my gravity into cyclical forward existential abyss.
Rider: Brian Berry
Rider: Jack Lyons
I frequently visited Patagonia when I lived in Tucson in the 1990s.
West Virginia has a long and storied tradition of East Coast mountain biking. The pitched terrain, the remoteness of woods noisy with life, mountain tops holding up humid air and sunlight.
A landmark, a place to focus a quiet fun story, a metaphor.
This inland Maine, mosquitoes and a low rippled earth, a thickness, a null-time and none-here, a forward that feels like a happy stuck.
A summertime close to home ride with friends. Laughter and conversation both light and serious, the rolling dirt hills and hug of green in southern Vermont, visiting the smiles and textures of the place.
This project with Conservation International attempts to harness the deep and longstanding cycling culture of Colombia to highlight the need to look after these paramos.