Category: Bikepacking

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Grasslands, Buttes, and the Maah Daah Hey

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.

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A Bikepacking primer

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.