Baja Divide Presentation: The Bicycle Shop Dimond at 7PM on Wednesday, April 20th in Anchorage, AK

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Update 4/24/16: Thanks to everyone that attended this event. We enjoyed an informative evening with nearly 100 guests, including descriptions of the Baja Divide and the planning and equipment required to make a successful tour of the route.  Thanks to The Bicycle Shop, Dimond for hosting the event, as well as Revelate Designs, Advocate Cycles, Bikepacking.com, Surly Bikes, and Meriwether Cycles for support. 

Join Nicholas Carman and Lael Wilcox at The Bicycle Shop on Dimond Blvd. to learn more about the new Baja Divide route, including details of the routebuilding process, maps and images of the route, and a discussion on how to prepare for a successful tour of the Baja Divide.  With help from a number of friends, we mapped a nearly 2000 mile off-pavement route from San Diego, CA, USA to the southern tip of Baja California at San Jose del Cabo, BCS, MX, scheduled to be published via a new website this summer.  This exciting new bikepacking route crosses an international border, travels both coastlines of the Baja peninsula, through every mountain range in Baja, and even includes a short boat ride across Bahia Concepion to a little used dirt road on the far side of the bay.  Encounter remote Spanish mission sites with cool water shaded by date palms, classic tracks from the Baja 1000 moto race, forgotten beaches, and rough mountain roads.  The complete route is a big adventure that requires some experience and planning, which we will discuss at this event.  What kind of bike to ride, how to pack, how much food and water to carry, are tubeless tires really necessary?  A short presentation with images will be followed by a Q&A.  Our loaded Baja bikes will be on display.  As always, ride a bike to the event for a chance to win some cool stuff from our sponsors.

Also, Lael will be leaving town at the end of the month to ride to the start of the Trans-Am Race, so come say hi and bye before she skips town.

Join us at The Bicycle Shop on Dimond Boulevard in Anchorage, Alaska on Wednesday April 20th at 7PM.  Doors open at 7, talk starts at 7:30.  There is a Facebook event page if you want to let us know you are coming.  This event is sponsored by Revelate Designs, Advocate Cycles, Bikepacking.com, and The Bicycle Shop of Anchorage.

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Prints from the Middle East, For Sale

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For sale are over a hundred small prints from our time in Israel and Jordan, mostly taken on or near the HLC route in Israel. There are scenes of camels in the Judaean Desert above the Dead Sea, images of Lael racing the HLC, portraits of Israeli bikepackers, scenes from Jerusalem, and lots and lots of incredible dirt roads and trails from all across the country. A series of larger images from the same set are also available. Smaller images are 4×6″, larger images are 8.5×6″. Individual postcard sized (4×6) images are available for $10, three for $25. Larger images are $25. Contact me if you’d like more. Additional donations would be greatly appreciated. Add $1 for international shipping.

Please leave your request for images (number of images, content) and your mailing address in the comment field at the time of donation. Select to “Leave a note to the seller” when you confirm the payment. Payment via credit and debit cards is simple and secure; or, transfer directly between Paypal accounts. Contact me directly at nicholas.carman@gmail.com if you have any additional questions. Feel free to request the content of the images your receive, such as camping or singletrack, and we’ll do our best to find a good one for you. We fly to Vegas on Monday, and ride out of town at the end of the week.  Act now!

As we pack our things in Alaska and regroup after a summer of working and racing, I found this shoebox of prints from our “Bikepacking Night in Israel” event this spring. Lael and I are greatly moved by the images and memories and want to share these physical prints with friends of the blog. Check out my HLC route resources at Bikepacking.com and Bikepacking.net. Tour the HLC route at any time, or sign up to race the HLC in April 2016.

Donate to fund Lael’s two Tour Divide rides this summer and help support her racing into the future. We’re hoping to be touring for a month in Arizona this fall before settling into another season of work in Texas to pay for her summer of riding. We’d like to be touring again in the spring, internationally, although Lael is already dreaming up some big race plans for 2016. Help keep this blog healthy with your donation. With limited support from a few companies, everything that happens here is sponsored by the work we do in the off-season, at restaurants, bicycles shops, and elsewhere. Thanks to Revelate Designs, Intelligent Design Cycles, The Bicycle Shop of Anchorage, and our friends at SRAM for helping Lael through 8600 miles of fast touring and even faster racing in the last three months. Her equipment worked marvelously, without exception.

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 Smaller images are $10, or three for $25.  Larger images are $25.  Contact me if you’d like more.
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Adventure and photography from the HLC to the Tour Divide

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Lael arrived in Banff earlier this week, 19 days and 2140 miles from Anchorage, less than a month after arriving in Alaska from Israel, less than 2 months since the start of the HLC, less than a year since we left Alaska for Eastern Europe.   She will return to Alaska within a year, but twenty countries, twelve months, and 15,000 miles richer, for what it’s worth.  

Riding from the north of Israel back toward Tel Aviv last month, we prepared an evening event informally called Bikepacking Night in Israel.  I found a small printer in Tel Aviv named Panda Labs, so as to display a series of photographic clouds comprising “Three Months on the HLC”, hung from a broad section of agricultural netting.  The installation was assembled last minute, not exactly as planned, but as I should have expected it would happen when trying to plan a small art show and a presentation while traveling by bike in a foreign country.  Special thanks to Amir for offering such a spectacular garden setting in Kfar Sirkin, and for helping with all the logistics including the dusty pile of netting and box full of paperclips.  Photos were available for sale, and all HLC2015 riders were given a portrait from the event.  Klaus, you still need to send me your mailing address in Germany!

Following the talk a group of riders rolled into the nearby forest to camp, surrounding a campfire for several hours before sleep.  In the morning, the group rode back toward Tel Aviv, losing members as each found his way to home or work.  Ilan and Nir led us all the way back into the center of Tel Aviv.

Thanks to everyone that attended the event.  A special thanks to everyone that rode to the event, that camped in the forest and shared their bikepacking experience with others, that attempted or completed the HLC, and that brought beer to share.  Most of all, thanks to the trailbuilders and organizers of all the great trail resources in Israel, especially the IBT, the Adulam singletrack, and the Gilboa Mountain singletrack.  Thanks to all the camels that have beaten trails into the Negev and Judaean deserts over the years, and for the Sugar Trail.  Special thanks to Yaron Deri from Kibbutz Samar for his crew’s addition to the IBT in the past years, and for his fervent passion for long-distance mountain bike trails.  The Israel Bike Trail is a world-class resource and makes a trip to Israel especially worthwhile.  Thanks to Limor Shany for knowledge of “every stone in Israel”, and the associated GPS data which comprises the HLC track to connect Mt. Hermon and Eilat in the least direct way possible.  Thanks to Zohar Kantor for the extraordinary passion required to ignite the concept of the HLC, after returning from the Tour Divide in 2012.  Lastly, thanks to Ilan Tevet who is the premier social mechanic in relation to the execution of the HLC event and our time in Israel.  He first invited us here last October, he welcomed us on a ride around the Negev desert a week after we arrived, he has invited us into his home, to local rides, to make a public presentation about bikepacking, and to come back to Israel again some day.

Later that evening, after arriving in Tel Aviv with Ilan and Nir, we packed our bikes in boxes and caught a ride to the airport.  Within 48 hours, I was building a new bike for Lael in Anchorage.  In just over a week, she rolled out of town toward Banff.  Thanks to Eric Parsons of Revelate Designs for crafting some of the finest custom luggage for Lael, again.  The waterproof liner from my MacPack was recycled into a liner for Lael’s seatbag.  Eric, Christina, Tamra and I rolled out of town with Lael to Palmer, met by Stacy along the way.  From Palmer, we gave Lael a giant push toward Mexico.  She’s nearly halfway there, taking the week in Canmore to rest and prepare for the next phase of the ride.  Lael rode every single day from Anchorage to Banff.  In that time, I worked every single day at The Bicycle Shop, an apt and essential antidote to her ride.  We’re both working hard, hoping to be back on the bikes full-time this fall.  

Settled back into Anchorage life means evening rides at Kincaid with friends, an eclectic mix of bikes everywhere I turn, and the chance to be part of a place which I nearly call home.  The week after Lael left town, I helped a family of eight prepare bikes for a tour of the Great Divide route.  The group includes three Salsa Fargos, six framebags, two BOB trailers, and one rider that is only 11 years old.  We tuned the bikes, prepared them with luggage, and boxed all of them for the flight.  As of yesterday, they had made it to Fernie, B.C. and will be rolling across the border soon.  Whitefish, Helena, Butte!– look out for my crew from Alaska.  Tour Divide riders will rapidly catch them in the first few days of the race.

I was also able to attend Dan Bailey‘s presentation at The Trek Store about his new book Outdoor Action and Adventure Photography, published by Focal Press.  The book is a detailed 300 page crash-course in the technical photographic elements of outdoor action photography, professional considerations, and suggestions for more engaging creative imagery.  This is a text book that reads like spending hours with Dan around a campfire, which Jill Homer almost called a “page-turner”, almost.  Dan has been published in many places and has managed to make a living with the camera.  Purchase a copy of the book through Dan’s Amazon portal by linking from his site, above.  The book is especially recommended for all of the local Anchorage scenery, including snowy singletrack, photo shoots of Eric Parsons atop the Chugach Mountains, and creative perspectives of Amy doing just about everything, especially trail running.

Back to Israel. 

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Yinon, if you recall the rider with the broken rear derailleur hanger that arrived on the beach in Eilat, found a more reliable steed in this 25 year old commuter.  Every one of his kids have grown up on the back of this bike.

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Alternatively, everyone was excited to rub shoulders with local cycling celebrity Chanoch Redlich, who arrives in Calgary this week as the sole Israeli competitor in this year’s Tour Divide.  In our three months in Israel, everyone would ask if we know Chanoch.  Now we do.  He is riding a Trek Superfly hardtail.  

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BYO Zba Beer, the mountain biker’s preferred beverage in Israel.

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 Lael and Chanoch, an excitable pair.  They’ll be the center of attention among the Israeli bikepacking community this June.  Keep track of the Tour Divide through the recently formed Tour Divide Israel Watch Facebook page.  Should be some fun with Google Translate to decipher the Israeli perspective.   

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Shay provided a custom brew for the HLC2015, a gift to Lael.

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Shay rode the entire HLC route last year in 15 days.  I’m told there were two exciting rides last year, Chanoch’s record-setting win and Shay’s ride.  As others stumbled two, three and five days into the event, Shay steadily rode to Eilat and shared his experiences every night, inspiring many local riders.

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Anywhere you ride in Israel, the 4Epic community is well represented.  Endurance events are not uncommon, but the HLC is still an extreme concept to many riders.  It was nice to meet new people, say goodbye to old friends, and share experiences.  It was nice to see the images, like the simple printed pictures we once shared as families.  In a country so connected by smartphones and WhatsApp and Facebook, I am happy to provide tangible media to share.

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Tangible media.

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Lael and Niv, two of the strongest riders at the HLC2015.

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Clean up, roll out, camp.

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Teaching the young ones to crack a bottle of beer with an SPD pedal, an essential bikepacking skill.

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Amidst growing suburban central Israel, there remain small wild spaces, old limestone roads, and ruins.

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And hummus, this local plate provided by the famous Gingi.  

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Rolling into town, the group dwindles.  

Dotan, the photographer, with his Surly Ogre.  He uses a Chariot trailer to transport his daughter, inspired by Cass Gilbert.

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Ophir, the tidiest bikepacker in Israel, who Lael and I nicknamed “Sylvester” on a series of rides before we learned his name.  When we told him he looked like Stallone he said, “but he doesn’t have my muscles”.  

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Singles into Tel Aviv.  For such a small country, these guys know how to make the most of it, like kids who know all the secret trails through fences, along the river, and under the highway

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Nir, the steady singlespeeder who crushed the last 32 hours from Mizpe Ramon to Eilat, poses for one last photo.  He almost resisted raising his hand to wave, his photobombing trademark.

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Tel Aviv is one of the most orderly and pleasant cities I’ve visited, much like the Netherlands, but with better weather.

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Ilan shepherds us through the city to collect spices and dates to bring home.  The small markets on Levinsky Street are a good place to start.

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The rapidly growing metro areas in central Israel feature world-class cycling facilities.

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30 hours later, over the Kenai Peninsula.

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Cook Inlet, Mount Susitna, and the Tordrillo Mountains; 11:30PM, May 4 taken above Anchorage, AK

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Christina is at the airport for the exciting reassembly of muddy bikes, and the chilly ride across town.  My chainring is damaged in transit, although I don’t realize until we pedal away at 1 AM.  A rock from the roadside takes care of things.

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By 10AM the next morning, we are unpacking a box with Lael’s name on it at The Bicycle Shop.

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Late that night, the nearly complete build is finished.  Before leaving town, it is important to adjust the fit and ensure all the systems can solidly support 5000 miles of riding between here and Mexico.

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Lael spends the week planning and preparing for her ride, alongside running, doing yoga, and spending time with family.  Sadly, she just missed seeing Joshua on his Specialized Hotwalk which we bought before we left town last summer.  Joshua is ripping up and down the sidewalk, and confidently lifts both of his feet to coast down the local DH tracks (driveways).  He’ll be pedaling a bike later this summer. 

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The local CBS affiliate, KTVA-11, took an interest in Lael’s summer plans.  If you missed it, check out the segment on the KTVA website.

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Days before leaving, Eric traces Lael frame.  Lael has requested a few simple features which will keep her equipment out of the weather yet easy to access.  It is cool to see prototype tech come to production Revelate Designs product.  The new Ranger and Tangle framebags will use a narrow section of elastic soft-shell fabric, also waterproof, which stretches to reduce strain on the zipper and to ensure smooth operation.  Lael’s framebag for the last 7 months of touring featured two of these elastic panels– on either side of a large YKK zipper.  The slider operates more smoothly than any other framebag we’ve used, and it slides as well as it did on Day 1.  Keep your eyes on Revelate Designs for some significant advances in waterproof features, coming soon.    

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In usual fashion, Eric crushes the race to the finish and lays the last few stitches before leaving town.

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Eric and Becky study the rig before final departure.  These two comprise half of the Revelate team in Anchorage.  Zach and Dusty are the other two, although Dusty is almost always climbing mountains, it seems.  Revelate only recently moved out of Eric’s garage and into a larger commercial space in Midtown Anchorage.

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A quick stop at The Bicycle Shop to say thanks.  Mike Shupe has owned the shop since 1964, and built the current structure on W Northern Lights Blvd in 1974.  He once hosted Ian Hibell in his home at the end of his groundbreaking trek from Argentina to Alaska, back in the early ’70s.  During the summer months, Mike works seven days a week in the service department acting as the essential bridge between technical service and customer service.  He commutes nine miles by bike most days, riding a carbon Salsa Beargrease through the winter months.  Mike grew up with Lael’s uncle, and her grandparents would gas up their sedan at the service station which Mike’s family owned.  In Alaska, this is old-time history.  The earliest white settlements in the Anchorage bowl date to 1914, Alaska statehood was not a reality until 1959.

Thanks to Ray, Chris, and Mike at The Bicycle Shop for helping with all the pieces and parts, ordered while we were still in Israel.   

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The roll out with Eric and Christina on the Chester Creek trail.

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Waiting for Tamra.

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Cruise through Chugiak, Peter’s Creek, and Eklutna; Stacy meets us on the Old Glenn Highway along the Knik River, leading us to her home in Palmer for the night.  

My Hope hub, a year later, is making some horrendous noises.

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Still talking…

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Almost there, but not before a quick stop at the new Palmer pump track, on a Trek Madone.

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Thanks for hosting us Stacy and Scott!  You can see the Knik Glacier from their home.

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Kevin Murphy, a friend from Anchorage and long-time veteran of Paramount Cycles has moved out to Palmer to join the Backcountry Bike and Ski family.  A few other friends have left town in the time that we were gone.  Lael’s gone to find Lucas and Monica, who now live in Silver City, NM at the south end of the Divide.  

Kevin is a riding a newly built Surly Instigator with RockShox Pike fork, Hope hubs, Velocity Dually rims, and only one speed.  He cycles through new bikes faster than the seasons change in Alaska, and is already talking about a new full-suspension Evil, a titanium Kona Rove, a new 27.5 Trek Farley fatbike, and a custom build on the new Trek Stache+ frame (yes, the one with the 405-420mm chain stays!).  Kevin is a super rad rider and one of the greatest cycling ambassadors in AK, from downhill runs at Alyeska, 200 mile Iditabike races, and local group rides.  There is no limit to how much Kevin is willing to talk about bikes, which is great for me.

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Lael realizes the next morning in Palmer that she has forgotten her passport.  My Hope hub has decided after twelve months of use that it is finished and will no longer freewheel; the wheel wobbles dramatically from side to side.  A drive side bearing collapsed, after weeks of creaking.  We hitch a ride back into Anchorage to retrieve the passport.  Christina grabs a demo Trek Domane from the Trek Store where she works.

After giving Lael a big push toward Mexico, Christina and I turn back toward Anchorage. 

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Yeah, road bikes are fun.  The Trek Domane promises a controlled, compliant ride via a flexible seat tube design operating on the IsoSpeed decoupler.  It rides nice, but compared to a well worn Brooks saddle, I’m not sure what all the fuss is about.  I’d be curious to compare it to the heralded Specialized Roubaix or the new carbon Diverge, or the new carbon Salsa Warbird.  Lael and I have a series of road rides planned at some point.  I’ll let her tell you about that later.

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I’ve been working every day since Lael left town, although there is always a little time at the end of the day for a ring around Kincaid.  After a day indoors, it is never enough just to loop around the shaded wooded flow trails.  I really like to get up on the Bluff Trail to feel the open space of the peninsula.  Cait is rocking it on the sandy trail with her Surly Karate Monkey Ops, which packs an extra punch on custom built Velocity Dually rims and Nobby Nic tires. 

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Dan Bailey shares an evening at The Trek Store, with stories from almost twenty years as a professional photographer and outdoor enthusiast.  He once spent a lot of time climbing, shooting both rock and ice climbing.  More and more, his subjects are on two wheels.  He rides a new Salsa Fargo 2, purchased last summer.  

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Pick up a copy of his new book Outdoor Action and Adventure Photography.  Click through the Amazon links on his blog to purchase the book, that’s how he makes the most from the sale.

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In a perfect union of all of my interests and skills, a family of eight riders are planning to lay tracks from Banff to New Mexico this summer, over a period of ten weeks.  There are three Salsa Fargos with suspension forks, a Cannondale 29er, a Specialized Jett 29er, one Specialized Hard Rock, a Kona Lava Dome, and a folding Dahon hardtail.  All bikes are packed with Revelate Designs equipment, most bikes support a rear rack, and several bike are fitted with skewers to connect one of two BOB trailers which will be used.  The youngest rider is 11 years old.  Best of luck to the Todd family!  I heard from them the other day as they pedaled across the border from Canada back into the USA.

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Lots of cycletourists are passing through Anchorage this time of year, especially those foolhardy riders who plan to ride all the way from Alaska to Argentina.  I intersect this French couple on my way to Kincaid one night, less than a mile from the airport, where they had recently arrived from France.  I’ve met others this summer from Germany, Austria, France, Alabama, Montana, and Taiwan.

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It’s summer, so get out and ride!

B/W South Africa

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Thanks to Dan Bailey for the challenge to share a series of black and white photographs, first executed via Facebook.  Each person learns something different from such an exercise.  The content and composition of the images come forward as the rainbow of colors fade.  I, like many others who spend their days outdoors, am attracted to the earth and the sky, to red dirt roads and blue hues overhead.  But there is some dishonesty in color, especially in the digital age.  Monochrome renderings highlight words and shapes, textures, and contrasts.  The dark tones, in contrast with a white background, are honest.  They are like printed words on a page.  

Dan will be publishing his first printed book on adventure photography in 2015.  He has also written a series of e-books about photography.  He lives in Anchorage, AK.      

Thanks to Jason Boucher for the inspiration to share only a limited series of images– 10 in total– from a substantial and well-documented experience.  He and nine others recently rode fatbikes away from the Western Slope along the Colorado River, over the La Sal Mountains, into the city of Moab, and back.  Jason organized the ride, and called it the Desert Ramble.  Almost every rider in the group is a formidable photographer and the collection of talent and equipment on that trip is impressive, as are the bikes.  To come away with only ten images is a reminder that brevity, and the right words, are better than an hour long speech.

Jason works for QBP in Minnesota, influencing the bikes we will ride next year.  He also writes about his experience with Olympus OMD, Pen and E series cameras on his his site Oly All the Time

And yes, Lael is carrying a jumprope.

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Photos for sale, this weekend only!

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Edit: As there has been so much interest in the “Bikepacking Europe” photo series, I have extended the sale to Tuesday morning, 8AM Alaska time.  Thanks to everyone that has shown interest!  

The photo collection from The Art of Bikepacking is available for sale.  Individual 4×6″ prints with white border are available for $10, 3 for $25, 15 for $100.  Most of the photos have been featured on the blog, and were printed locally in Anchorage, AK.  Each photo will be mailed in an envelope with a brief handwritten note from myself and Lael.  International addresses, add $1.

The numbered series of photos were displayed on a fish net sourced from a local commercial fishing supply store.  Two hundred wooden clothespins held the whole thing together, weaving a wave of memories from the North Sea to the Black Sea.

Here’s the catch: I’m leaving town on Tuesday for Vienna and an extended period of travel.  I choose which photos are sent.  If you have any strong interest in one subject area (Crimea, Belgium, food, bikes, trail facilities, cities, nature), leave a note with your payment  and I will do my best to comply.  Consider it a small donation to the blog and our upcoming trip. The best photos go in the mailbox first, so hurry up.  The last chance to donate and receive a unique print is Tuesday, July 22 at 8AM .  After that, I’ll have both feet out the door.

There are a few of you that will receive a photo in the mail, gratis.  Andy, Shawn, Willet, event sponsors, our parents, and a few others need not apply– it’s in the mail.  Also, there are three people who did not receive postcards back in 2012, and were promised.  Iain, I think you were one of them?  E-mail me with a current address.

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The Art of Bikepacking: July 16, 2014 in Anchorage, AK

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Join us for an evening event celebrating bikepacking, photography, and travel.  Ride your bike to The Bicycle Shop on Dimond Blvd. on Wednesday July 16, 2014 at 7PM.  Pack the bike as if you were going on a big trip or a little trip, or a trek across town.  We’ll have things to talk about.  This is the week after the Fireweed 400 and the week before Singlespeed World Championships, so leave a little room in your schedule and invite out of town visitors.  

The evening will commence with food and drinks and conversation.  The program includes a diverse range of presentations including visual displays, stories, and expertise on routes, packing, planning, and photography.  Our personal bikes will be on display, packed for adventure.  As well, we’ll have an array of Salsa, Specialized, and Surly bikes packed for touring, commuting, and lightweight bikepacking.  Free food, beer, and gifts.  

Eric Parsons will share a personal history of Revelate Designs, including experiences from the trail, and from his years designing gear that works for himself and the rest of us.  Eric’s business has grown from a one-man custom operation to a rapidly expanding Anchorage-based company which supports adventurous and accomplished riders across the globe.  

Dan Bailey will share his expertise as an Alaskan adventurer and professional photographer.  His images inspire readers in magazines and commercial media, including recent credits in the Patagonia catalog and advertisements for the new Fujifilm X-T1 camera. 

Lael and I have prepared stories and a series of printed images from our exploratory summer of bikepacking in Europe.  This event happens less than a week before our return to find new routes (and food) in the Carpathian Mountains of Eastern Europe.  Come say hi, and goodbye.

Thanks to our event sponsors, we will be giving away a load of awesome gear from Surly, Salsa, Adventure Cycling, Revelate Designs, Velo Orange, and Bunyan Velo.  So far, there are steel touring racks, a winter wool cycling cap, lightweight luggage, water bottles and cages and socks and t-shirts and hats and stickers, and a complete Great Divide map set to give away.  I will also throw in some maps for the new Idaho Hot Springs Bikepacking Route from Adventure Cycling.  Ride your bike to the event for a chance to win!  

Finn says, get riding over to The Bicycle Shop, Dimond on July 16! 

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Photo: Eric Parsons

Lael’s new office

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For many cyclists an iPhone is a self-contained office, including a basic camera with photo editing and publishing apps.  Lael and I traveled for years without any electronics, eventually graduating to a single iPod Touch that we shared.  We mapped routes, sent e-mails, and even applied for a job from the small touchscreen (I got the job!).  In fact, I started this blog two years ago on an iPod Touch, on a whim.  However, the leap to a proper camera requires a laptop to upload, edit and publish photos.  For a heavy workload including writing and photo editing, that is still the best way.  If your needs are less demanding, the new generation of touchscreen tablets provide a more portable and affordable solution to cyclists.

I purchased a new camera and a new lens this past week.  Lael gets my old camera– an Olympus E-PM1— with the 14-42mm kit lens.  For just over $200, I picked up a 32GB Google Nexus 7 tablet for her as well.  To upload images to the Nexus, I sourced a generic Micro-USB (male) to USB (female) converter, and a miniature SD card reader.  Additionally, I purchased the Nexus Media Importer from the Google Play store, a source for apps, games, and media.  Also included below: the USB wall charger for the Nexus 7 and the battery charger for the E-PM1.  The charger and power cord for the camera battery are bulky and heavy.  Lucky for Lael, the E-PM1 uses the same battery as my new E-P3 camera so she won’t have to carry a charger.  Aftermarket chargers that plug directly into an outlet are available, and they should save weight and space.  This will be Lael‘s new office.

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The E-PM1 camera body is barely larger than an iPhone, and begs for a quality pancake lens to make a nearly pocketable system.  This kit zoom is versatile, and will be familiar in Lael’s hands.

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This lens is lightweight and packable, as it retracts into itself when not in use.  Extended on the left; retracted for storage on the right.

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Barely $10 of electronic hardware and a $2.99 app transform the Nexus 7 from a fun e-reader and web browser into a mobile office for a traveling amateur photographer.

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The Nexus 7 is less than half the size of my MacBook Air and should have no trouble finding a home in a framebag or handlebar bag.  The claimed weight is a mere 340g, less than the weight of most fatbike tubes.  However, if you are riding a fatbike you should be riding tubeless anyway.

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While I drooled over the OM-D EM-5, I settled for the E-P3 at one-third the price.  So far, it is everything I wanted and nothing I don’t need.

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The Olympus E-P3 is available for about $375 from several online retailers.

Check Lael’s Globe of Adventure in the coming weeks to see the new system in action. We will be back on the trail in Belgium at the end of next week.

Post cards

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I’ve sent very few postcards in the last four years.  I promise them all over the place and have even bought a few cards, but none of them were ever posted.  Charged with over a hundred digital prints, favorites from the last few months, I’m going to fulfill some promises long forgotten.  The following people will receive a card in the mail:

My mom and dad, for supporting an overwhelming bike riding habit.

My sisters and my brother, because I haven’t seen them in over a year.

My 93-year old Ukrainian grandmother, who is a connection to another place that inspires me to live simply, to want and need less, and to eat better.

Lael’s parents, for putting us up this winter and always supporting the overwhelming bike riding habit.

Cass Gilbert, for continued support and inspiration.

Tim Joe Comstock, aka the Trailer Park Cyclist for exceedingly witty and supportive comments and being the most prolific commenter on the blog.

Joe Cruz, for riding his fat-tired Pugsley around Alaska and South America and showing us all that it’s not that weird.

Gary Blakely and Patti Kelly, for being on the leading edge of it all.  Gary and Patti are listed on the ACA Great Divide Maps as a host to cyclists in Del Norte, CO, and provide more support than any single person or resource to Divide riders and racers every year.  Gary is an infinite resource for sensible bikes, lightweight gear, and regional inspiring rides.

Chris Harne, for teaching me that steel-body Shimano SIS derailleurs, Falcon/Xundah thumb shifters, old ATB’s and steel north-road style handlebars are where it’s at– as Lael says, “turning thrift into style”.  And, an ability to be honest with his writing in a way that makes his readers believe him, and blush.

Mike Shupe, owner of The Bicycle Shop in Anchorage, AK, for helping to keep bikes on the streets and riding almost every day of the year, forever.  Mike has been selling and riding bikes since before the 70’s bike boom.  He hosted Ian Hibell for a week back in the late 60’s.

Greg and June Siple of the Adventure Cycling Association (and Hemistour and TOSRV), for their contribution to cycletouring in America.

Colby Sander, an Alaskan at heart and a Tacoman by residence, for storing (and listening to) my record collection, indefinitely.  It’s much too heavy to carry around on the bike, but too much of a treasure to give up completely.  Colby is the most soulful guitarist I’ve known, learning to play to cassette tapes of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix as a kid.  These days, he mostly plays the dobro, pedal steel, B-Bender and the trusty old Telecaster from his childhood.

Lucy Kruesel, Sean Camfield, Daniel Aplin, Josh Hegg, Alex Dunn, Tamra Kornfield, Erin Deimon, Nate Bosch, Greg Mu, Jane “Glacier Buddy” Douglass, Sam Esecson, Ben Hulet, Noah Struthers, Alec Burney, Robert George, Kyle Sheehan, Jeremy Humphrey, and Christina Grande– these are some bike friends from all over the place.

I’m in the process of tracking down hosts from all over the world from the last four years.  Those that I can find may also receive some color, finally.

And Lael, who is the best riding partner I could imagine.  She could probably use one as a bookmark.

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If you aren’t listed above and would like a postcard from the road and a splash of color for the refrigerator, send your name and address along with a friendly note to nicholas.carman@gmail.com. Free, while supplies last.

Cass, TJ, Joe, Gary, Josh, Alex, Lucy, Daniel, Jeremy, Erin, Greg, Ben, Jane, Nate, Christina, Sean, Tamra, Sam, Alec, Kyle, Robert, Noah and Chris– please send along a mailing address.

If you happen to be touring at the moment, select a town with a post office about two weeks away.  I’ll send it there in your name, general delivery.