Archive for September, 2010
Can bikes change the world? That’s a question we like to ask a lot.
Here’s yet another example of bikes making a significant difference, this time via World Bicycle Relief. Last week in the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof wrote a pretty touching piece about the effect that WBR is having in the developing world.
Early this year I wrote a column from Zimbabwe that focused on five orphans who moved in together and survive alone in a hut.
The eldest, Abel, a scrawny and malnourished 17-year-old, would rise at 4 o’clock each morning and set off barefoot on a three-hour hike to high school. At nightfall, Abel would return to function as surrogate father: cajoling the younger orphans to finish their homework by firelight, comforting them when sick and spanking them when naughty.
When I asked Abel what he dreamed of, he said “a bicycle” — so that he could cut the six hours he spent walking to and from school and, thus, take better care of the younger orphans. Last week, Abel got his wish. A Chicago-based aid organization, World Bicycle Relief, distributed 200 bicycles to students in Abel’s area who need them to get to school. One went to Abel.
The initiative is a pilot. If it succeeds and finds financing, tens of thousands of other children in Zimbabwe could also get bicycles to help them attend school.
“I’m happy,” Abel told me shyly — his voice beaming through the phone line — when I spoke to him after he got his hands on his bicycle.
WBR has given out more than 70,000 bicycles so far. But why are bikes so powerful when it comes to development? As Kristof puts it, “it’s an example of an aid intervention that puts a system in place, one that is sustainable and has local buy-in, in hopes of promoting education, jobs and a virtuous cycle out of poverty.”
What are your favorite bike organizations?
You can read the whole article here.
Does drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge worry you? Then you’ll be terrified by Pebble.
Take the second largest gold/copper/molybdenum deposit in the world. Stick it above the largest salmon runs in the world. That’s the Pebble deposit. Pebble in the wrong spot.
Last Tuesday I woke up to another cold gray morning alongside the Belly River in northern Glacier National Park, only 6 miles from the northern terminus of the Continental Divide Trail. I pried myself from the warmth and comfort of my sleeping bag, slipped on my shoes, and undid my bear hang. After chucking everything into my pack I started off down the mushy, muddy trail along the Belly River.
Soon I came across some fresh Griz tracks, which got me singing some made up songs, loud enough to scare any bears with any remote musical taste far, far away. As I hiked, the mountains turned burnt pink with an early alpine glow. Thimble berries lined the trail all the way to the border.
Before I knew it I was standing on the Chief Mountain Highway hugging the border monument. (Road walks aren’t really my favorite).
A mere half hour later I found myself in a friend’s van on the way to Park Cafe, a local favorite whose slogan is “pie for strength.” We ate an entire peach pie and they were kind enough to give me tokens for a 12 minute shower. That left me heading up the Going to the Sun Road (by car) satisfied; full, clean, and in good company.
Love this photo that we found over on Drunk Cyclist. Got a good caption anyone?
Thanks to Bike Radar for their awesome review of the Talon 22! They even went as far to say this popular Osprey favorite is an “incredibly comfortable larger capacity pack for epic adventures.”
Here’s the full review:
The Talon’s well designed harness system gives a truly comfortable feel out on the trail. The deep hip belt sits snugly in position and it’s easy to ﬁx the weight to your shoulders with the looped adjusters.
The Ripstop fabric used for most of the body means that you’re not carrying extra weight before you pack up, and once you do ﬁll your pack, the proﬁle is still sleek.
The overall effect is that the pack feels like it’s wrapped round your core, so that it not only seems like you’re carrying less, but the load remains supple and moves with you.
The well thought out pockets include zipped numbers on each side that you can access without removing the pack, and a stretchy helmet/wet weather compartment.
This is the pack we’d choose for epic days, and it’s also available in a 20L size to ﬁt narrower or shorter backs. It has a hydration slot, but no bladder.
Remember that even though the Talon doesn’t come with a bladder, you can purchase one of our HydraForm reservoirs as an add-on!
Gotta say. It’s been awhile since I last saw home, but the opportunity to catch some music, support some friends, and weekend it in the Carolina hills couldn’t be passed up. Besides, Osprey was back on the sponsor role, so technically… This could be considered work. The plan was simple: load the truck with gear and give-aways, drive to Boone, set up the Osprey booth with our local dealer Footsloggers and spend the next two days talking shop and spreading the Osprey love.
Music on the Mountain bills itself as a “one of kind, eco-driven, music festival”, and they certainly don’t disappoint. The combination of environmental consciousness, musical talent, and geographical backdrop make this festival one of the best managed and spectator friendly events in the Southeast. Families out for a Saturday afternoon intermingled with college co-eds, hippy hula hoopers, groupies, dopers, travelers and locals.
It happens to all of us: as the wheels spin so do our brains. In fact, I’ve had several people tell me that their most genius moments of creative inspiration were had while riding. Which is why this video is fitting.
Did you get a little labor back into your Labor Day? 50 miles of single track with more then 6,275 feet of elevation change should do it. How about riding it in just under 3.75 hours. Perfect amount of labor for your Labor Day.
That is just what the riders in the 10th annual Dakota Five-O Mountain Biking Race did this Labor Day weekend. We were on board welcoming the riders into the finish line and sharing Osprey’s spirit of adventure and mountain biking. The race is an epic event that you just have to witness to understand the undertaking of the Five-O.
The 50-mile mountain bike race began in Spearfish, South Dakota and wound its way through the northern Black Hills.The ridge riding along the Dakota Five-O trail is very technical single track, challenging some of the most advanced riders. The riders started off with a Smokey the Bear start and quickly gained more than 1,200 feet of elevation in a little less than 1/2 mile of jeep trail. This section separates the riders allowing for more room entering the 45 miles of single track.
Madaleine Sorkin, Lorna Illingworth and I are back from the Northwest Territories of Canada — 3800 miles, 2000 vertical feet, and a couple incredible helicopter rides later. We wanted to give a shout out to Osprey and share some of our photos here. We accomplished our goal of freeing the entire 1963 Original Route on Mount Proboscis, in the Cirque of the Unclimbables. We also had a great time and learned a lot in the process. We are sharing stories, photos and film of our trip on our trip journal and blog: cirqueladies.wordpress.com
In Conjunction With OutsideTV.com
This is how it happens. One person has the idea to run 13,286 kilometers—the distance from Vancouver B.C. to Mekelle, Ethiopia—to raise money to build a school in rural Ethiopia. It’s hard for one person to run that far himself or herself. So they ask for others to join them. One of the people who signs up is Haile Gebrselassie, the international running icon who’s broken 27 world records, and the current world marathon record holder. And just like that, I’m running with Haile.
Wake up early in Addis Ababa and go outside. Early, early. 5:00 am early, when mountain air swirls cool around your uncovered ankles and wrists and nose. 5:00 am early, when the only illumination in the darkness is the flash of white teeth and eyes of the hundreds of runners who got up even earlier. Join them.
Running in Ethiopia is a way of life. Running in Ethiopia as a visitor, is a rite of passage. In Addis, Ethiopia’s capitol, runners swarm paved streets and dirt roads. If you sleep in until 7:00 you will miss them. You will not know the passion of the pounding of feet. You will not be swept up in your own desire to do the same—even if you only jog, even if you only walk, even if you only watch.
Haile Gebrselassie grew up in Asella, in central Ethiopia where he ran 10 km to school every day, in each direction. By 1992, at nineteen, he won the 5000 and 10,000 meter races at the Junior World Championships in Soul, Korea. He hasn’t slowed down in the eighteen years since. Imagine1day imagined Haile might join them in their run. It took asking questions, phone calls, conversations with strangers and friends. It took effort. It paid off.
I’m high on connections right now. That’s really what Imagine Ethiopia 2010 is all about. What if everyone has a basic desire to contribute to making the world a better place? It sounds almost cheesy when you say it out loud, or when you write it. But it only sounds cheesy if you are afraid of actually wanting it.
I leave for Ethiopia in a week. As of today, the collective effort of Imagine Ethiopia 2010 has raised $72,000 of our $100,000 goal for a new primary school in Tigray, Ethiopia. Many of the participants of the trip are also donating their running kilometers to Imagine Running to Ethiopia. I have never been a real runner. In high school track, I was the one systematically hidden in the 3rd leg of relay teams. Back then, I would have never imagined I could run with Haile. But in a month, I’ll be doing just that in the Entoto Mountains high above Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Join the run, commit your kilometers, support a runner: Imagine Running To Ethiopia
Learn more about Imagine Ethiopia 2010
Find more connections with Adventure Medical Kits, a great company supporting our group with medical supplies for our expedition.
Be inspired, see The Imagine Ethiopia 2010 Participant Team