Archive for September, 2010
Every Wednesday on Ditch Your Car we’ll be bringing you just another reason to spend more time on two wheels. Be it a photo, a statistic or an inspirational video, we want to keep reminding you about why riding is great!
Artist Kiuchi Tatsuro painted this image entitled “Car Free,” which pretty much sums up any cyclist’s ultimate dream.
The rain is falling. The sun is setting. The acid in my stomach is beginning to churn. Cross season is upon us. How did this happen? Last I checked it was July; and sunny and warm, and cross was months away. Now, on this dark, soggy, slippery evening, on shore of Lake Sammamish, Cross has arrived. And it has arrived in a big way. STARCROSSED!
Why am I doing this? Why am I here? Why am I willing sacrifice my ego to the cyclocross gods? The heckling fans? The cameramen there to take pictures of the pros, but casually click the shutter as I ride by, with the off chance they will capture an image of someone that might, one day, be great? The mud, the pain, the hours of training, the paychecks that seem to be deposited directly to the Bike Account?
I do this because I love it. Because I am half-crazy, fully-sane, and 100 percent addicted to the sport of cyclocross. I do this because, somewhere between the pain and oxygen debt and sweat and tears, comes clarity. Clarity of the mind, of the soul, of the spirit. I do this because there is nothing else I would rather do.
Recently, I read an article that stated “the number of bikes one should own can be expressed using the formula:
N+1 where N= the number of bikes currently owned
This equation can also be expressed as:
S-1, where S= the number of bikes you can own without your spouse leaving you
As a first time exhibitor at the Outdoor Demo segment of Interbike, these equations have taken on a whole new meaning. My shed is already jam packed with more bikes than I could ever ride (I think it is 12 or 13), however this show has made me realize how many gaps there are in my riding arsenal. The primary purpose for my attendance at the Outdoor Demo was to staff the Osprey Packs booth and demo the new Raptor hydration packs to parched riders who braved the 100+ degree temps to hop on the latest in mountain and road bikes for a ride in the desert of Bootleg Canyon. As these thirsty riders hung out at the Osprey booth and maybe even took advantage of the awesome deals we offered as a fundraiser for the 88bikes Foundation, it gave me time to drool over the coolest innovations the bicycle industry had to offer.
Fortunately, I have not found the exact number equal to S (where your spouse leaves you) but may push the envelope in the near future. Surely my wife will understand that I absolutely need a carbon fiber, geared, 29 inch hardtail for racing 24 Hours in the Sage next year as my current carbon fiber singlespeed will no longer suffice. With Cyclocross season upon us, there is no way I can survive without one of the wicked fast 2011 model upgrades. And then there were all of the super cool cruisers that would make my evening pub commute so much better than my red steel townie that is a dozen years old. The myriad of new road bikes was so overwhelming that I could not possibly limit my purchase to just one.
Ah, the leaves are turning and air is turning cool and crisp here in the San Juan Mountains. So it is time for our last right of summer, the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival, a three-day weekend chance to unplug while plugging in to some seriously good music and microbrews. As the weather tends to be just a bit fickle in the San Juans, this “last right” is more often than not punctuated by thunderstorms, hail, snow and a resultantly prolific amount of mud.
Not so at this year’s festival. Temps in the seventies, not a cloud in the sky and an ever so light breeze made for an incredible weekend. Our booth in vendor row had a great view of the stage and all the goings on. Our beer coozies were wrapped around nearly every complimentary beer glass. Our friends from Jagged Edge had a great selection of our packs for sale and there was plenty to peruse from the entire Osprey line.
Which brings me to the point, who doesn’t carry a pack to a festival? It’s an essential survival tool helping you haul shelter, suncreen, food, and layers of clothing for whatever the elements may throw out. Plus a whole lot more. Now, everyone has their favorite system and their favorite festival. We want to know what yours is. How big a pack do you carry? What are the key survival items inside? And we especially want to know what musicians inspired you the most – where did you get your groove on and why?
Send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org between now and October 15, 2010. We’ll post our favorites on this blog and we’ll send each winner my favorite festival pack, the Stratos 24. Panel loading, durable frame survives clumsy fellow festivarians, built-in raincover protects from the elements and LOTS of hidden nooks and crannies for those extra important items. Ahem.
Director of Marketing, Osprey Packs
If you have been to Silverton, Colo. you have stared up at Kendall Mountain rising 4,000 feet directly above town. I have been fortunate enough to tackle the peak successfully many times in the winter, but I had never made the climb in the summer. I much prefer to ski down something big after a climb instead of walking down, hence the reason that most of the San Juan’s summits I visit comes when they lie under a mantle of white.
With a warm day predicted for the backyard of Durango, I opted to gain some elevation and escape what would hopefully be the last batch of summer heat in town. I packed up the car and started up Highway 550 for the short drive to Silverton.
I parked at the base of Kendall mountain and boarded my trusty steed (A nearly new mountain bike with 6 inches of travel and 29″ wheels). As I hopped on the saddle I took in the spectacular fall foilage that was in absolute peak color.
The jeep road starts gaining elevation quickly as it wraps around the west side of Kendall Mountain. As the grade steepens the oxygen level heads in the opposite direction. I find myself riding in a style known as “delivering the mail” where I go from edge to edge of the road to reduce the pitch to a level my tiring legs and granny gear can handle. I push my bike up some really steep sections and ride a few of the tamer portions. At treeline the road becomes unridable. I’m sure someone could ride it from here, but that someone is not me. I ditch my bike behind the last tree at about 11,800 feet and trade my bike shoes for some hiking shoes and head up the road.
The grade is about 10 percent, which makes for brutal biking, but perfect hiking. I walk the jeep road through a huge basin, wondering how in the world they built this road by hand over a century ago. The road climbs for another 2 miles and then ends a couple hundred feet below the summit. I billy-goat up through scree and boulders to gain the summit. After 2.5 hours I am looking 4,000 feet down on Silverton.
The town looks like a model complete with multiple steam trains. A slight breeze blows at my back and provides some white noise to what is otherwise an environment completely void of sound.
After a few minutes I reverse the process. I make good time to the road and quickly descend to me bike. What took 90 minutes to ride up, take me 7 to ride down. I enjoy the plush suspension on my new bike and feel like I am on a flying sofa.
I toss the bike on the roof and head south in the fading evening light. In 30 minutes I have a date with some grilled Ahi and a nice cold beer or two.
See you on the trail.
Welcome to Pedaling Change! There’s a lot of good work being done in the world of bikes, to alternative transportation advocacy to international development. To highlight some of the great action that’s going on out there, once a month we’ll be profiling a non-profit in the bike world to look at just how they’re working to make positive change.
When you think of the words “non-profit” and “mountain biking,” the International Mountain Bicycling Association is probably the first thing that comes to mind, and with good reason. Founded as a non-profit educational association, IMBA’s mission is to create, enhance and preserve great trail experiences for mountain bikers worldwide. It has over 35,000 individual members worldwide, more than 160 corporate sponsors and members living in all 50 U.S. states and in over 30 countries. Talk about a global biking powerhouse.
We caught up with Mark Eller over at IMBA to talk bikes and learn a little more about the organization.
What have some of IMBA’s biggest accomplishments over the last year been?
This year, IMBA renewed a partnership with the National Park Service to continue adding mountain biking opportunities to America’s most scenic parks. We launched the Public Lands Initiative to protect access to key riding areas, and we built innovative Gateway Trail bike parks across the country to help bring new riders into the sport and give kids great places to play. This fall, we’ll help thousands of kids get outside on knobby tires with the sixth edition of IMBA’s International Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day.
Why is it important to do bike advocacy?
IMBA’s work is based on the idea that riding mountain bikes provides a great outdoor experience and provides a fun, athletic challenge that is accessible to millions of people. We advocate for broad access to trails and for good places to ride bikes because we want to share the enriching experience of exploring the natural world on two wheels.
First year at Interbike and the Osprey family is looking good…
“Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world.” – Grant Petersen
There are a lot of excellent bike quotes out there and in conjunction with this week’s official Osprey Bike Blog launch we want to know your favorites!
Submit your favorite bike quote via Twitter, Facebook or leave a comment right here on the blog for chance to win! We’ll be choose two winners who will get their choice of one our new bike bags: the Momentum and the Metron.
We’ll be taking submissions until Wednesday September 29.