Archive for November, 2010
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.
“You can go anywhere.”
Dedicated to providing bikes to young people in developing countries, 88Bikes is certainly built on the idea of empowerment. Remember the feeling you had the first time you successfully pedaled around by yourself? That sense of freedom? Imagine bringing that sense of freedom and exhilaration to communities that have been challenged by obstacels such as war, poverty, disease and conflict. You can imagine the joy that a bike can bring.
Another key component of 88Bikes is that the organization is focused on one-to-one philanthropy, empowering not only the recipient, but the donor as well. $88 covers the approximate cost of a bike in developing countries, and donors are not only asked to provide a photo of themselves to accompany their bike, but even encouraged to take part in volunteer trips to hand deliver bikes to the donation sites, making the donation process come full circle.
Founded only 4 years ago, 88Bikes has already a long list of accomplishments. They’ve delivered bikes to Peru, Cambodia, Mongolia and Uganda and they’re currently working on their 88Bikes Villages project which will reach out to children in rural locations. Over 700 bikes have been donated, and even after a quick look at some of the organization’s photos of smiling and laughing children on their new bikes, it’s easy to see why using sustainable transportation to empower youth is such a powerful thing.
We caught up with one of 88Bikes’ founders, Dan Austin, to learn a little more about the organization and the work they’re doing.
What have some of 88bikes’ biggest accomplishments over the last year been?
Getting bikes into the hands of kids who’ve been through really difficult challenges, in really rural areas, has been very fulfilling. Kids who’ve survived slavery in rural India, Ghana, Nepal and elsewhere are now using bikes to help reconnect with some of the lost fragments of their childhood. To see these heroic kids who’ve been through so much smile wide and take off on their new rides, that’s a good feeling.
Photography is an invaluable tool in our travels and lives. Photos document and create memories, allow us to share experiences, and evoke a sense of place or of a moment like nothing else. Some of the most compelling photos are so alive that a viewer can interpret the captured moment in a hundred different ways.
Matador Network is calling for these enigmatic snapshots that tell a thousand stories for The Story in the Picture photography contest. Submissions will be judged by a panel of Matador editors, and the winning entry will receive a copy of Rough Guides’ Make The Most Of Your Time On Earth: 1000 Ultimate Travel Experiences.
The top 10 entries will be included in a future photo essay on Matador’s Travel Notebook.
How to submit your entry:
- Ensure your photo is at least 930 px wide (or 620 px tall if vertical).
- Attach the photo in an email to carlo[at]matadornetwork[dot]com.
- In the subject, enter Photo Contest Entry – Story in the Picture
Deadline for photos is 11:59 PM EST November 28, 1010, so get your submissions in soon!
More details here.
Unless you’ve been living in a deep, dark cave… You may have noticed that there is a lot of cool stuff going on out there. So, we thought it was high-time we started rounding up some of our faves each Friday. Every month, we’ll be choosing a theme that fits with the Osprey lifestyle. Since it’s about this time of year that people seem to start getting antsy with wanderlust, we figured we’d feature one of our favorite topics: travel. Welcome to the Osprey Friday Round-Up!
Today I can find no better inspiration for travel… For living, than this incredible teaser of 23 Feet — a film by Allie Bombach about people who make the conscious choice to live simply in order to pursue their outdoor passions.
Watch and be motivated to live this life exactly how you want to. “That cheesy expression that you hear… Do what you love and the rest comes. It’s true. It really works like that.”
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Great video that says it all.
What would happen if you rode more?
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!
Here’s proof that less cars really do make us happier — or at least get us more friends.
That’s because the more cars on a street the less likely you will be to converse with your neighbors.
Donald Appleyard drew that conculsion in his 1981 book, Livable Streets, which was based on studies he conducted in the late 1960s in San Francisco. Appleyard, a former University of California, Berkeley professor who passed away in 1982, found that people tended to connect more with their neighbors, socialize and feel a sense of ownership and pride about their neighborhoods on streets with lighter traffic.
A person on a light traffic street had an average of three friends, while a person on a heavy traffic street had an average of 0.9 friends. The Streetfilms video shows how heavy traffic streets seems to impede the flow of people from one side of the street to the other, limiting their access to friends and socializing opportunities.
“The fact that the amount of traffic on the street on which you live can impact the number of friends you have in the world is an enormous significance,” says Mark Gorton, executive director of Open Plans in the video.
Image: Payton Chung
Leave it to the crew over at Drunk Cyclist to keep tabs on rides that involve bikes and booze. That’s right everyone, it’s time to register for the 2011 Whiskey Off-Road.
Via Drunk Cyclist:
Registration is now open for the pro category of the 2011 Whiskey Off Road endurance mountain bike event located in Prescott, AZ. The online registration form can be found here.
Registration opened at 9 a.m. Arizona time on Monday, Nov. 1. Event organizer, Epic Rides, expects the pro category to fill up relatively quickly; it is limited to the first 100 entrants and boasts two days of racing and a $20,000+ cash purse attached to the Sunday, May 1st XC race; unique to the mountain biking industry, the cash purse will be split 50/50 between men and women.
Returning 2010 male and female champions Gretchen Reeves (Team Tokyo Joes) and Andy Schultz (Team Kenda-Felt) are confirmed to race. When asked if he planned to return in 2011, Schultz stated, “I had so much fun last year I would be there regardless of the purse size.“
Other pro’s confirmed to toe-the-line on race day include Amanda Carey (Kenda-Felt), Barry Wicks (Kona Bikes), Dara Marks-Marino, Jay Henry (Tokyo Joes), and Tinker Juarez (Siemens-Cannondale). In addition to the above confirmed athletes, there has been an overwhelming amount of interest from other professional level mountain bikers plus non-mountain bike specific professional level athletes.
The 2011 Whiskey Off Road will take place Friday, April 29 through Sunday, May 1. All amateur level athletes will enjoy their choice from the graduated distance options including a 15 Proof, 25 Proof or 50 Proof course (1 proof = 1 mile). The Pro athletes will participate in a two stage weekend. The first stage will be a Fat Tire Criterium held Friday evening, and the second is the 50 Proof endurance XC course on Sunday morning. All events will be based in the center of downtown Prescott on Whiskey Row, which receives an estimated 10,000 visitors each day during tourism season.
Pro registrants will need to attach a race resume to their registration form in order to gain entry into the 2011 Whiskey Off Road. When completing the online registration form, it will prompt the applicant when appropriate to attach their resume.
Amateur registration will open Monday, Jan. 3. The amateur category will be limited to 1,400 participants.
Amp up for winter and go get exhilarated at the sixth annual Adventure Film Festival, held November 18-20 in Boulder, CO. The international festival is dedicated to the “best and most inspiring independent films of the year,” and will bring together filmmakers, adventurers and activists to explore a world of risk, challenge and experience.
…films will take viewers around the globe, visiting such places as beautiful Argentina, remote regions in Russia, and the very ends of the Earth itself in Antarctica. The movies were specifically handpicked by a selection committee that was looking for inspiring, well made, and informative independent films that exemplified an adventurous spirit while capturing their subject matter in the most amazing way possible.
In addition to the great films that will be on display there are a number of others special events on the docket as well. Aspiring adventure photographers and filmmakers will want to take part in one of the workshops that will take place over the course of the festival, while live music, gear giveaways, round table discussions, and guest appearances will help to keep attendees busy while they’re not sitting in a dark theater.
The films will be shown in the historic Boulder Theater, at the local REI and Patagonia store, as well as the famous Neptune Mountaineering store. They’ll cover a host of outdoor activities including mountaineering, kayaking, cycling, skiing, and more.
More about the Adventure Film Festival here.
Unlike most autumns, October in Montana remained sunny and warm. In many other years I have been climbing ice during October… Not this one. The autumn of 2010 will go down in my books as one of warmest and sunniest I have ever had. I spent most days climbing near home but did take a one week trip to Utah. The plan was to climb five big routes between Red Rocks and Zion in six days. Like many climbing trips and plans this one was subject to weather, physical well-being and many other fates of the universe.
It had been raining for one week in both areas prior to our arrival. The soft Navajo sandstone face holds are notorious for breaking after such saturating storms, and camming units slide out of cracks with much more ease (especially the smaller sizes). Fortunately we had a back up plan: the severely overhanging limestone routes at the Cathedral crag and its neighboring Wailing Wall. These sport crags lie just outside of St. George, Utah roughly half-way (by road) between Red Rocks and Zion and tend to stay dry due to its geographic location and the steep nature of the rock.
We departed Vegas and drove through the night planning to arrive around 10am. The “old reliable” truck, Earl Grey, decided to stop operating in the midst of the New River Gorge on I-15 right around 10 pm. After being towed we got a new battery at a 24-hour Walmart and replaced the alternator the next day.
The following day we pulled up to the crag and soon realized we were outnumbered 10-1 by gun-toting folks in orange — it was opening weekend for Utah’s short five-day hunting season. I was personally missing out on Montana’s opening weekend, but lucky for me our season lasts nearly a month. We found a spot to throw down and camp and stayed there the following three days waiting for the rain to pass out of Zion. In those three days we climbed many a dazzling steep lines (see photos) on some of the best limestone I have touched.
The skies finally cleared the evening of our second day, but we needed to wait at least 24 hours for the stone to dry in Zion. So we checked out the Black and Tan wall. No where near as good as The Cathedral, but at least we were climbing.
And finally we made our way to Zion, and got right on the route Monkey Finger (5.12 8 pitches). The climbing was going smoothly though the rock was still a bit wet. At the top of the 3rd pitch I put my body in an odd position and suddenly my whole shoulder sublexed (not quite popping out of socket but damn close). It had never happened to me prior to that incident, and I sure as hell didn’t want to become the guy with the chronic shoulder problems. The trip was over. I finished the pitch, then we rappelled.
Unfortunately this particular climbing trip did not quite go as planned. However I did get to pass many a good days with a great old friend. We plan to reunite in the future to carry through with our larger objectives. In the mean time I am back here in Montana diversifying my outdoor life, riding the bike a lot more, hunting, running and just taking it easy on the shoulder and rehabbing until it gets better.
On this very fine day the sun is still shining with temps in the 60’s, I have an elk roast slowly steaming away in a crock pot, and I just finalized some plans to do a rock trip to Spain and Morocco this winter! Injuries do suck, but it forces me to tap in to other outlets and embrace some new creativity.
hast la proxima,
My parents taught me early in life that something good can be found in everything. Even in a bad situation, if you look hard enough you can find it. If you scroll down to Travis’ report, you can read about the actual outcome of our race and the reason that I had to scratch my head for a few days to find the good. Here’s my tale of the awesome race experience that I had with teammates Travis Macy, Jon Brown, and Scott Swaney and our epic battle with the fine folks of the Yogaslackers team.
The race started at 8am on Friday morning with a riverboard swim. The temperature was 32 degrees and I was a little nervous due to some recent hypothermic experiences I’ve had and the fact that I swim about as good as a house cat. I was on a board that I borrowed from Mike Kloser so I figured at least the equipment had some fast juju. My board worked great as expected, and we made it into the boats in 3rd position and very happy to have that section behind us.
The paddling section was beautiful and we had plenty of time to enjoy the scenery as our blow-up kayaks cruised along at a near-stagnant pace. The paddle took about four hours and chalks up to being the longest paddle I’ve ever done at one time. It was quite cold so we kept our wetsuits on for this entire leg. Now, let’s do the math here…wetsuit was zipped up at about 7:45 am, the swim took about a half hour and the paddle another four. That would be almost 5 hours packaged up in a tight wetsuit whilst trying to drink as much water as possible to load up for the rest of the day. I won’t go into detail but let’s just say I chalked up another “first” on the day. We finished the paddle just behind the Yogis in second.
The next section of the race involved a Tyrolean traverse, an abseil, and a trek where we had to find hidden checkpoints (called a Rogaine). Since I am not the navigator, these treks feel a bit aimless to me at times. It’s kind of like I’m chasing chickens. Well, that wasn’t the case this time because we had the Yogaslackers team right with us and they are anything but slackers. We made good time ripping up and down the slickrock with these guys. About midway through the trek, we hit the ropes section, a route choice which turned out to be a major source of controversy (see Travis’ report for details on this).
Here, I want to interject a message to all the teams that protested our interpretation of the rules. Maybe, you should thank us for getting there when we did. The race staff admittedly did not have the Tyrolean dialed when we got there and we had to go one at a time. Furthermore, I’m a total chicken when it comes to ropes. In fact, I get so fidgety that I’ve only recently been able to put my harness on by myself. And, I can’t even do one pull-up unassisted so I had to take a few breaks across the line. So, imagine what the bottleneck would have been like if you would have lined up behind us? I’m lucky my teammates didn’t protest me. Really, we have no hard feelings about the protests but if you’d like to thank us later with a round of beers, we will gladly accept.
We made it down from the trek at around 5:30 to suit up for the bike and Slickrock orienteering sections. For me, the race was just getting started. To give you a little background, I have raced mountain bikes professionally since 1994 so I always feel at home on the bike. We had an option at Slickrock to either ride or run this section and we chose the bikes. Though we found later that the Yogaslackers beat us by about 25 minutes on their feet, I have no regrets about our choice to bike Slickrock under the moonlight. It was another “first” but certainly won’t be the last.
After Slickrock, we had just one checkpoint left before the finish. We had our work cut out for us as the Yogaslackers had left the last transition 20 minutes before us. I’m guessing that the climb took us about three hours. It was steep and loose at times turning into mud and snow once we turned off onto the Kokopelli trail. Scott and I had lost our bike lights towards the end of Slickrock so I was for once thankful that this part of the ride was not technical. I did find my way into a decent sized mud puddle and judging from the smell, it was quite popular with the cows as well. I fell sideways into it and covered my right side, derailleur, handlebars, etc. with the sticky, stinky mud. Did I mention I don’t like getting dirty?
We did manage to overtake the Yogaslackers near the top of the climb. We kept our eye out for them as we donned our winter gear to head down the long road descent to the finish. Though they were on our tails, we had to be cautious here because it was our race to lose at this point. JB and I unexpectedly hit a huge patch of black ice where fortunately, our mountain bike skills took over and there was no carnage.
We crossed the finish line after about 19 hours of racing. The Yogaslackers came in about 20 minutes behind us and we congratulated each other in the lobby next to a warm fire. We were both thrilled with our finishes and happy to have had such a tight yet friendly battle with each other.
I’d like to thank Gareth and Stephen at Osprey for their support and for my new favorite Talon pack. I also want to thank my teammates as each brought something more than fitness and fun to the table: Scott for suffering through 19 hours of racing with walking pneumonia; JB for being the pack mule, towing the line and carrying the extra weight including enough pickles and fried chicken for all of us; and Travis for killer navigation and who, after plotting points, was still faster in the transitions than the rest of us. And thanks to those Yogis that motivated us throughout. Think it’s time to start doing more yoga!
A big congrats to our winner of October’s Ride of the Week photo contest: Joe Cruz, for his great shot from Nepal.
Didn’t win? Don’t worry, keep your eye out here and on the general Osprey blog because we sure do love doing contests…