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Global Solidarity August 30th: Support Afghan Women Who Dare to Ride

August 28th, 2014

“By connecting communities and cultures we believe that change only happens with a change of perception and the power of voice.  Giving women and children a voice creates a much more powerful ripple than a handout, and empowering them to use their voice can change their lives, their communities, and their countries from within.  Organically and sustainability creating change with the individual which acts as a catalytic spark through the entire global community at large.”

Osprey Ambassador Shannon Galpin is the founder of  Mountain2Mountain, an organization that works to empower women & girls in conflict zones. The following is reposted from the Mountain2Mountain blog.

Strength in Numbers Global Solidarity Ride

August 30th, 2014

Bikers around the world join to pedal a revolution on two wheels for women’s rights!

This Saturday, August 30th, we will pedal a revolution! Bikers, cyclists, commuters, and striders will take to their wheels in solidarity with the Afghan women who dare to ride, and in remembrance of the women that dared to ride before and in doing so, paved the way for independent mobility and freedom for women around the world. Create your own ride and join us.

Inspired?  Get involved this Saturday, August 30th as part of the Global Solidarity Ride.  Over 60 bike rides in 13 countries creates a global movement on two wheels in support of the Afghan women who dare to ride.  You can join one of the existing rides listed here, create your own, or simply dedicate your bike ride on Saturday to the Afghan girls.  Send us photos, tell us where you rode, and instagram or tweet with #solidarityride2014.  You can join the conversation on Facebook here.  You can support this work and donate at www.mountain2mountain.org/donate

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Thanks to our incredible partners at Liv/giant we have been continuing to support the Afghan Women’s National Cycling Team with bikes, gear, clothing, and I have been working to help with training and coaching over the past few trips to Afghanistan.  In a country that has never allowed its women to ride bikes, a group of Afghan women have been quietly making history.  The women have been steadily improving, and they have an invitation to race at the Asian Games in South Korea this September.  This ride will directly support their efforts in its inaugural year to show the world what Afghan women are capable of.

The Global Solidarity Ride is based off our original Panjshir Tour which we started in 2010 as a way to engage cycling communities in support of our projects in Afghanistan that benefited women and girls.  I was the first woman to mountain bike in Afghanistan, and those first rides took place in the Panjshir Valley.  I asked men all over the country in rural and urban areas, can women ride bikes?  Would you allow your wife, daughter, sister to ride a bike?  The answer was always no.  So I created the Panjshir Tour as a way to use the bike as a vehicle to raise awareness and funding for our projects in Afghanistan.  Now that we have seen Afghan women riding bikes, making history, and pedaling a revolution, the Solidarity Ride seemed like an incredible way to unite communities around the world on two wheels and show the Afghan women that they are not alone, the world sees what they are doing and supports them.

The Afghan women will be riding too, so that on August 30th no matter where you are the in world, men and women will be spinning their wheels on concrete and in dirt, united in the freedom of a bike!

For more information, visit the Global Solidarity Ride Facebook page, Mountain2Mountain & Afghan Cycles.

 

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2014 Summer Outdoor Retailer — Celebrating Osprey’s 40th!

August 6th, 2014

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998 Exhibiting Brands. 21,814 Total Expo Attendance. 4 days of Outdoors Industry Good Times.

In addition to being the tradeshow “where the latest technical innovations of outdoor gear are found,” Outdoor Retailer could be described as one giant summer camp for any and all retailers, brands, nonprofits, athletes, activists and organizations related to the Outdoor Industry. For Outdoor Industry companies, this tradeshow allows us to come together twice a year (once in summer, once in winter) and connect — whether it’s putting a face to the the person we’ve been emailing for months or seeing our local retailer friends again. It’s a time when people from all over the world gather at the Salt Lake City Salt Palace, take a look at the innovative gear coming out next season and celebrate what brings us together: the outdoors! And while we always have a blast at OR, this summer’s show isn’t going to be just another tradeshow for us — we’re celebrating our 40th Anniversary with our industry friends, partners, retailers and fans alike!

Attending OR August 6-9? Be sure to visit the Osprey Booth (#5010) to see our Spring 2015 product line — we’ve got some exciting new packs and gear debuting at the show! Make sure you don’t miss a beat by checking out the Show Overview , Event Schedule, and Education Schedule.

And if you’re not able to attend (OR isn’t open to consumers, unlike the majority of the events we attend!) you can get a sneak peek of gear debuting at the show and follow the day-to-day news with outlets like the OR Show Dailies and The Gear Junkie (whose Summer OR gear preview features our Spring 2015 Atmos AG!) as well as following the #ORshow hashtag on Twitter and Instagram. We’ll be posting behind the scenes updates on the Osprey Packs Twitter and Instagram feeds — be sure to follow us for the latest!

If you’re heading to the show for your 1st, 2nd or 40th time, you probably know that there’s never a shortage of activities, parties, panels & events, but because this just so happens to be our 40th Anniversary summer show, we want to make sure you know about some special Osprey Packs events you won’t want to miss:

S14 Event Flyer_v4_Page_2$40 Spring 2015 Escapist 25– All Proceeds Donated to the Conservation Alliance: We’re proud to be longtime supporters of the Conservation Alliance, an incredible nonprofit  that for 25 years has been engaging Outdoor Industry businesses to fund and partner with organizations to protect wild places for their habitat and recreation values. Osprey will be offering our Spring 2015 Escapist 25 (Retail $125) for $40. All proceeds from the sale of this pack (which won’t be available at retailers until Spring 2015!) will be donated to The Conservation Alliance.

Leave No Trace “Great Gear Giveaway”– Make sure you make your way to the Leave No Trace booth as they will be giving out one of the best prizes at OR! The Great Gear Giveaway happens on Wednesday 8/6, Thursday 8/7 and Friday 8/8 of the show and includes 6 boxes of gear filled with an assortment of gear from 20 Leave No Trace partners!

14_OR_40th_HappyHour_FB-403x403Osprey Packs 40th Anniversary Happy Hour–  Free beer and amazing pints provided by Klean Kanteen? We could stop there, but that’s not all! Join us from 4:30-6:00 on Wed. 8/6 and we’ll also have fresh Osprey Packs swag and a very special musical appearance that will surely have you groovin’ during the Happiest of Hours! Come enjoy a beer in a commemorative 40th Anniversary pint, get your Wilderness Ranger Cookbook signed by USFS Ranger Ralph Swain and get in on great giveaways!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Conservation Alliance 25th Anniversary Party–  We’re not the only ones with a milestone anniversary to celebrate at this OR! The Conservation Alliance turns 25 this year, and we are celebrating their tireless dedication to uniting our industry and protecting the wild places we love! The Conservation Alliance is throwing a party to celebrate with their friends & supporters, featuring music from Osprey favorite The Infamous Stringdusters, on Thursday August 7, from 6-10 p.m. at The Lot (115 S. West Temple), directly across the street from the main entrance to the Salt Palace.

Conservation Alliance Osprey Packs Outdoor Retailer

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Ragnar and OIWC Relay Challenge Presented by Outdoor Retailer — This Friday, August 8, 6am-10am at The Pavilions, relay teams of three will pound the pavement on this 3-mile, out and back course.  Come out to cheer on Osprey’s teams – or even better sign up and help us build another team!! Support the work of the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition (OIWC) who provide advocacy, education and resources for women in the Outdoor, Bike, and Snow Industries.

 

Check out this ZigZagging interview from last OR show with Osprey Founder, Mike Pfotenhauer! Here’s to a great show!

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Power in the Pristine: A Victory for Rios Libres!

July 20th, 2014

Baker-5-475x315Osprey has been a proud sponsor of the Rios Libres Project since its inception 4 years ago. Rios Libres has worked tirelessly to protect Patagonia, Chile, from the HidroAysén consortium and their plan to overrun the region with five gratuitous and unsustainable hydroelectric dams. This past month marks a milestone victory in the movement for sustainable energy and environmental protection in Chile’s pristine Patagonia wild lands.

After 6 years of intense local protesting by the Chilean people, joined by tens of thousands of international supporters, we all now have reason to celebrate. Newly elected Chilean President, Michelle Bachelet ran on a platform that she would not support the HidroAysén project, while the newly appointed Minister of Environment announced on June 10th that the Chilean government has rejected HidroAysén. Read more…

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Where is Tenerife?

May 27th, 2014

Osprey Athlete Joe Schwartz is a resident of British Columbia, Canada. He has been a professional mountain bike rider for over a decade, and was a featured rider in the New World Disorder series of bike movies, as well as other movie productions and TV shows (Ride Guide, Drop-In). Through his work with film companies he has been fortunate enough to travel all over the globe, riding in some very exotic locales. Joe is an ACMG certified backcountry ski guide, and has worked for numerous catski, heliski, and ski touring lodges all over BC. While mountain biking is his main love, Joe uses his skis as an escape mechanism. His past adventures include completing multi-day ski traverses throughout BC and achieving a number of committing descents in the BC Coast Range, the Canadian Rockies, and in the French Alps.

 

This is a question­­ normally asked in the initial research part of planning a trip somewhere exotic, before you’ve made any decisions, but I had already committed to this destination and legitimately had no idea where the island was. The reasons for this were a long winter of ski guiding, my Ireland-med school-attending girlfriend, our months apart from each other, and that Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco, was the furthest south she could get a direct plane ticket to after a rainy winter in her new home of Cork. The plan was already in action, and I would have been happy to meet her on an oil rig in the middle of the Atlantic, so tickets to this Spanish island were booked, and then I started looking in to exactly where I was headed to.

Happy to be leaving winter behind at the Calgary airport

Happy to be leaving winter behind at the Calgary airport

Nice views of the ocean.

Nice views of the ocean.

Read more…

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Watch: Afghan Cycles Trailer

November 19th, 2013

“Nothing is possible without the participation of females today.”

In Afghanistan, females riding bikes is still considered taboo, and is hardly considered a given right. But some brave women are working very hard to change that by way of the Women’s National Cycling Team of Afghanistan. From Vimeo:

“Afghan Cycles introduces the first women to ride bikes in the country, illustrating the gender and social barriers that the team is breaking, one pedal stroke at a time. Highlighting 4 of the 12 teammates, we look at their lives on and off the bike. From training on dangerous trucking highways to following them through a typical day in Kabul, the film shares the intimate story of these brave and passionate young women who feel free when they are on their bikes in an otherwise oppressive culture.”

Check out the trailer for this short documentary film above, and take a minute to peruse the new Afghan Cycles website too.

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What a Difference a Year Makes

November 18th, 2013

The Dolfin arch of Rodellar, Spain. I tried a route right on arch. Beautiful hiking all over the place as well.

What a difference a year makes. Last November Jasmin and I were on a ‘working’ vacation. Now don’t get me wrong, free climbing El Cap was a dream come true for us, but I would be lying if I didn’t say it was the hardest thing I have ever done in terms of athletic endeavors. I have done big days in the mountains on skis, rock and ice, but the sheer labor involved in free climbing a big wall for five days with diminishing sleep and a taxed body is a huge mental and physical struggle. I think combining that trip after a summer of desperately rebuilding the family business after storm damage, followed by an ankle joint infection requiring surgery, and then six weeks later destroying my knee led to one of the hardest years of my life. I had great friends and family through it all, and money was never a stress so there is a lot to be thankful for because at the end of it all was the muy tranquilo Spanish climbing vacation that Jasmin and I so desperately needed.

After a spring and summer of rehab, which is every bit mental as it is physical, I feel like I am finally firing on all climbing cylinders again. September saw me get oh-so-tantalizingly close to my sport climbing five-year project. Even though I didn’t send it, I did better than I ever had before, on my hardest route ever, which to me means that I was back from injury better than ever. The new and improved Evan, I hope!

Yours truly having fun while following the outrageous steeps.

Yours truly having fun while following the outrageous steeps.

So with that mentality Jas and I left for seven weeks of clipping bolts in Spain, specifically Rodellar and Terradets, two well-known destinations in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Tons of tufas drip and dangle from the overhanging walls, teasing us desperately toward the top of 30-40m endurance climbs. If steep, fun sport climbing, with five star hikes on your days not climbing is your thing, then it’s time to head to Spain.

Chris and Heather following us up the famous Riglos climb "Fiesta de los Biceps"

Chris and Heather following us up the famous Riglos climb “Fiesta de los Biceps.”

Overall, the quiet Spanish towns are friendly and chill, which was a huge contrast to spending two days in Barcelona. I know we are not city people, but the homelessness and unemployment of Spain didn’t hit until we got to the city. 25 percent unemployment is high, and crazy enough is the fact that youth unemployment is 50 percent! A quick trip to the city made me thankful for all we have; jobs, homes, friends, family and health. At home I feel as though there is so much opportunity and support for me to pursue my passions.

Riglos, Spain. Home of the wildest sport multipitch climbs any where I know of. Long approach too ;)

Riglos, Spain. Home of the wildest sport multipitch climbs any where I know of. Long approach too ;)

So we continue to climb until we can’t hold on any more on some of the best rock we have ever touched. Staring off and wandering through the beautiful country side, enjoying local artisan breads, cheeses and produce. The simple life of eating, sleeping and climbing is being extra appreciated right now with the final countdown of just a few weeks to 17 hour work days and bottomless powder. Now and in the busy winter to come I will surely be loving exactly where I am and what I am doing and who I am doing it with! Except of course for the four days that I have to sit in a classroom to re-certify my first aid!

 

Just another ancient Spanish town on a cliff above some amazing canyons.  Alquezar, Spain

Just another ancient Spanish town on a cliff above some amazing canyons. Alquezar, Spain

 

 

 

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Mountain Biking the Tour de Mont Blanc

October 23rd, 2013

 

The start (and end) of the Tour de Mont Blanc: Chamonix.

The start (and end) of the Tour de Mont Blanc: Chamonix.

I don’t like to admit to hastily-made plans or half-baked ideas, but this attempt of the Tour de Mont Blanc (TMB) was verging on that. I had done some previous research into the route, even including some first-hand accounts from friends who had done the trip before. It had been a jam-packed summer, and with a single day of rest between departing on the TMB and 18 days straight of bike guiding for Big Mountain Bike Adventures in the Swiss Alps, I hadn’t afforded myself much time to prepare mentally or physically for the task ahead. All I had was the commitment from a friend, Trevor Mitzel, to join me for the adventure, and a couple maps, which I hadn’t actually opened and looked at yet. I was winging it a bit, I know, but I was confident in our abilities to make it up as we went.

We arrived into Chamonix in the evening, the clouds boiling around Mont Blanc high above town. It was dismal looking weather, but a forecast promised nothing but blue skies and warm temperatures for the following week. Getting our gear and bikes dialed, we decided on our route, and even reserved a couple places to stay along the way. Things were starting to come together. All that was left was to saddle up and head out on the 160km loop that promised over 8000m of ascent along the way.

Day 1 – Chamonix to Les Chapieux

The weather man was right, and the morning sun highlights the upper reaches of Mont Blanc as we pack our bags and scurry around the village picking up essential trail food items (sausages, cheese, chocolate and bread). Spirits are high as we connect to gravel paths that take us down the valley, and towards Les Houches. Our lack of planning is made apparent when we arrive at the bottom of the lift station to find the lift running and open for bikes. We gladly use this bump up to ridgetop, happy with our unexpected elevation assist. Our smugness is quickly and efficiently wiped away for the rest of the day though, starting with a crucial juncture missed, sending us deep into the valley and resulting in an extra hour’s climb back up the road. Once the proper route is established we get a few kilometres respite before beginning a 1600 metre climb up the Col de Bonhomme, the ascent mostly consisting of steep dirt road or rocky hike-a-bike.

It's not all riding!

It’s not all riding!

The sun does little to warm us on the Col, and we are presented with another soul-crushing surprise, more climbing to the Col de Croix de Bonhomme, which is a seemingly endless series of ridges away. Finally achieving this last col, and feeling the effects of a large day on the bikes, we wobble our way down the descent to the Auberge de la Nova, a secluded refuge tucked in a remote valley far below. Dinner is hearty and delicious, and we retire early, slightly wary of the next day, and a little unsure of what we have gotten ourselves into.

Day 2 – Les Chapieux to Courmayeur

It’s amazing what a night’s rest will do. We awake stoked to tackle the day ahead, albeit stiff and sore. The climb up to the Col des Seigne (2,516m) is an arduous one, but mostly all climbable on the bike, which makes it enjoyable, in a masochistic kind of way. The views help too, with the sun rising on the broad valley where we had spent the night, and the Mt Blanc massif coming into sight as we crest the col. We had begun a tally to weigh the pros and cons of attempting this route on a bike, and where the hikers probably had won on Day 1, we were definitely winning today. The col marks the border between France and Italy, and the descent into Italy is welcomed. Italians seem to take less pride in their waterbar construction (years of riding in the Alps has made me a de-facto waterbar expert) and we have to negotiate numerous logs placed in awkward positions on the trail. Not enough to ruin the experience, but the flow of the trail is altered slightly. Descending into the valley is spectacular though, with big alpine walls on both sides, and glaciers yawning up above. As quickly as the TMB gives though, it takes away, and we steel ourselves for another climb, this one extending a mere 400m above the main valley. It is a deceiving 400m, as our legs feel like it is at least double. The reward is there though, with a ripping fast trail that descends to the top of the Courmayeur ski resort, and finally into the picturesque town below the ski runs.

Beauty views along the trail.

Beauty views along the trail.

My Kona Process and Osprey Manta 36 on the France/Italy border.

My Kona Process and Osprey Manta 36 on the Col de Seigne, the France/Italy border.

Day 3 – Courmayeur to La Fouly

The bikers definitely lose to the hikers on the climb out of Courmayeur. It is a rocky, steep affair all the way to the Rifugio Bertone, pushing/carrying our bikes the whole way. Once at the Refugio, a split in the trail requires a decision. One, a beautiful looking traverse around the corner, and on the map it looks like a fine, lower level option. The other route continues with the hike-a-bike, but promises some ridge-top singletrack and a peak to climb with the bikes. Being gluttons for punishment, we forgo the smooth-looking traverse and shoulder the bikes for more climbing. The climb pays off with unbelievable views and great trail once we get higher, but the ratio of riding to hiking is skewed the wrong way, and we regret our decision. We make our way off the ridge eventually and downclimb to the Col Sapin, and from there ride a fun trail that takes us back to the main route, the smooth, buffed trail we stupidly avoided. Oh well, next time. We soldier on up the stunningly beautiful and easily accessed (judging by the number of cars out for a Sunday drive) Val Ferret. Another giant climb is hiked up (we are really losing to the hikers today) and we look down into Switzerland from the Grand Col du Ferret (2537m). This is when we start winning again, with a sinuous descent that drops over 1000m down to the sleepy town of La Fouly. We check into a somewhat questionable auberge, but are treated to an amazing steak dinner, washed down with beer and wine.

Climbing high above Courmayeur with Mt Blanc in the background.

Climbing high above Courmayeur with Mt Blanc in the background.

Day 4 – La Fouly to Trient

With the skies still a perfect azure blue, the morning is a relaxing mix of singletrack and exploratory roads through quiet Swiss villages. We really start to feel like we’re on a bit of a bike holiday, rather than a sufferfest. The inevitable climbing begins eventually though, and we work our way out of the valley towards Champex Lac. Lunch is spent at a café by the lake, and we easily turn it into a two-hour stop, enjoying ourselves and soaking up the perfect September weather. The food sits a little heavy an hour later though, as we approach the base of the Bovine, a 700m wall of a climb. Appropriately named too, as all the cows had just been escorted out of the alpine for the winter, and the trail was left ravaged by cow shit and swarms of flies. We escape the Swiss agricultural tour eventually, and rip a long fast descent all the way into Trient.

Epic descent into La Fouly.

Epic descent into La Fouly.

Day 5 – Trient to Chamonix

While we probably could have squeezed more riding into Day 4 and pushed on to Chamonix, we did not feel the need to, given the amazing weather. Where else would we rather be? Day 5 is a bonus, and we mean to treat it as such, maybe go do a little exploring. With that in mind we stray from the normal TMB route, and even from the recommended variation route, and head out on a little ride. The little ride ends up turning into a gnarly hike-a-bike complete with bolted chains for safety, getting completely lost in the woods, and eventually finding some very rarely traveled-on singletrack. Despite our momentary lapse in route-finding, we have a great morning of riding, connecting long-forgotten trail that eventually takes us down to le Buet, at the north end of the Chamonix Valley. We now embark on the only planned part of our TMB adventure, a booze cruise hitting key pubs all the way into the town of Chamonix, where we continue to celebrate an amazing mountain bike trip.

A leisurely lunch in Champex Lac.

A leisurely lunch in Champex Lac.

The final climb to Chamonix, and our booze cruise.

The final climb to Chamonix, and our booze cruise.

 Story and photos by Osprey Athlete Joe Schwartz

 

 

 

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Lost in Peru

May 30th, 2013

Many of us spend most of our days cooped up in a building, attending to our duties and responsibilities as working adults. So it’s important — if not imperative — to get away, whether in true physical form or from time to time, by way of a great video that shows off someone else’s adventure (and inspires our own).

Today, take a trip to Peru and let yourself get lost.

Thanks to Join Ali Goulet, Chris Van Dine and Aaron Chase for making this film!

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Life & Bikes in Kabul

May 17th, 2013

Six years ago, Shannon Galpin walked away from her career as an athletic trainer and used her own limited funds to launch Mountain2Mountain and “be the change” she wished to see in the world. Today, Shannon and the M2M team, are just returning from their latest trip to Afghanistan where they launched the Streets of Afghanistan project and rode bicycles through Kabul to raise awareness of cultural barriers and empower women and girls in conflict regions.

As big supporters of Shannon and the M2M work she does, we’re happy to stay in touch with her and get period updates throughout her travels. That said, we’re also excited to share what she has to show and tell from those very journeys, the latest of which center around the Streets of Afghanistan project. Here’s the latest from Shannon both in words and in pictures. Enjoy!

“Yesterday we had the finale show of the Streets of Afghanistan exhibition at the Sound Central music festival — its up for four days throughout the incredible  four-day alternative music festival.  Yesterday was the women’s only day to kick off the festival, where young Afghan school girls attended the festival for slam poetry, a fashion show, Afghan rap duo, Afghan singer songwriter, Ariana Delwari, and White City — fronted by my long time friend, advisor, and founder of Sound Central, Travis Beard.  We brought three members of the cycling team to watch the concert and to help with the M2M Bike School.

All in all a full day. Streets exhibition set up and finale show at Sound Central Festival, M2M bike school and rock concert, finished with filming at Darul Aman Palace. Whitney, the co-director of Afghan cycles is leaving today, and then our crew is just a duo until we leave.  Whitney has been amazing, and creates a sense of community, friendship, and openness wherever we go, she interacts with the Afghans we meet with grace, humor, and authenticity that I have rarely seen.  Her infectious laugh combined with everyone’s exhaustion at the end of the long days makes for a slap-happy crew.

Exhaustion is starting to take hold, but perhaps that will just make the plane ride home go quicker as we sleep our way home.”

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Adventure Cycling Association’s Best Tour Video: Northern Europe by Bike

April 3rd, 2013

Just a little over one year ago, Adventure Cycling Association teamed up with Blanche van der Meer and her WorldCycle Videos group on Vimeo and launched their first-ever Bicycle Travel Video Contest. The premise of the competition was simple: “to celebrate the booming trend in bike touring and travel documentaries.” The result, thanks to some fantastic volunteer judges, is several fantastic videos that capture the essence of cycling. There were three winning videos, including the above, which was considered the Best Long Distance Tour Video. Watch Northern Europe by Bike by Stefan Böhm of Germany and enjoy! All submitted films were also considered for the Bike Travel Spirit Award, and this film took the prize. Here’s what Adventure Cycling Association had to say about the film:

Only two and a half minutes long, it’s a powerful piece of work. According to one of our judges, it is a “creative, entertaining video that demonstrates you don’t need fancy graphics, effects, or a soundtrack to tell a good story. Unlike many other videos that were submitted, he included the locations, which we liked. He documents the good, the bad, and the ugly of bicycle touring, while including the bizarre and noteworthy encounters he experienced along his journey. Shooting and editing were great too.”

Stay tuned for the following two winning films, which we’ll publish in the coming two weeks!

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