Osprey Packs Ambassador and guest blogger Cari Ann Siemens is an architect by trade, currently working outside of the box. Although she still does freelance design work, the majority of her time is spent as a Producer/Editor for Jordan Siemens Photography. She and her husband are currently traveling the western US in their Cricket Trailer. They hike, bike, backpack, climb, surf, ski our way from one destination to the next. As Cari puts it, “At this point in our lives, our main objective is exploration.”
After leaving the comfort of our home and steady jobs in Portland, Oregon, we hit the road, seeking new adventures that didn’t require raincoats and waterproof everything. We didn’t know exactly where we were going. We just knew that we wouldn’t be back anytime soon. (more…)
Have you had it up to “here” with winter? Are you ready for MTB season to start? We’re kicking off the season in Moab with Poison Spider Bicycles and a fun Moab mountain bikers’ tradition: THAW! Join us February 28 – March 2 in Moab, UT for rides, skills clinics, food, demos and (of course) parties! We’ll be there with a complete demo fleet, lots of great giveaways, and a display of the entire Osprey Packs cycling line. Register here and check out the full calendar of events below!
When we read about an artist who’s creating life-size sculptures of man’s best friend out of repurposed bicycle parts, we decided pretty immediately that it was something we had to share with the world. Here’s how the magic happens:
The artist is a talented woman named Nirit Levav Packer, who collects bike parts from bike shops around Tel Aviv. Then, she solders bike parts that she collects from garages and bike shops all over Tel Aviv. According to The Telegraph article:
“The series, called HOW!WoW!, began by chance when Nirit examined some bicycle parts being thrown away at her son’s bike store, and instead of seeing them as rubbish she saw a potential to do something creative with them. Within a few months, she had left a successful career in wedding dress design for metal sculpture.”
We are incredibly proud to have two Osprey Athletes who are among the youngest National Caliber mountain bike racers in the world: the Yackle Brothers. But what makes them outstanding is not just their abilities on the bike, but also their incredible work ethic and mentality toward the world. As young individuals who work hard on their sport, they also take a considerable amount of time to contribute to community service, and that’s something that we can all learn from (especially during the holiday season) and resolve to do more of. Yackle Brothers Team Director Kevin E. Yackle tells us a little bit more about what the boys have been working on lately:
“Over the Team’s race seasons we’ve accumulated a whole lot of swag that we wanted to find a good home for, so we had an idea to visit a kids hospital to brighten the lives of the kids and give these items away. In September, we contacted Angie McEvers, Child Life Director at Children’s Hospital of Renown Hospitals, Reno Nevada. We arranged a visit for November 13 to give a talk and visit child patients. Next, we contacted our Sponsors to inform them of our plans. Though we already had sufficient swag and promotional items from a few sponsors (FSA, Jamis, Yakima, Osprey) some donated additional items. We had two great visits! On November 13th, we raffled just a portion of the promotional items that were Sponsor provided, due to a unusually low patient population.
Mrs. McEvers was delighted to have our Team come provide support to the Kids and it went so well she invited us back for the Children’s Hospital Christmas Party on December 9th.
Well, yesterday we attended that event. It was another great experience for our Team and the Hospital. We were blessed to have the opportunity to be involved! We were joined by a few Athletes from the University of Nevada, Reno. A few hundred Hospital patrons, families and children enjoyed the 2 hour program Mrs. McEvers organized.
On Novermber 13th, we gave a talk about our Team’s history, showed a video about our Team and spoke about the road to achieve our accomplishments. We set an example, gave inspiration and motivation to kids to get involved in athletics/bicycling. We encouraged the kids to “shoot for the stars” and achieve their dreams. We toured the facility. We meet with Kids who were too sick to leave their rooms. We passed out swag gifts to give encouragement and held a raffle for a Osprey Pack, Light & Motion Bike Light, Ergon Grips and a Jamis Bike jersey.
On December 9th, we prepared a sign board with Team information, sponsor logo and event happenings. Displayed our Race Bikes and components in Feedback Sports stands. Set up a Sign Board. Played a Team video. Showed our Team portfolio. Laid out our 5 groups Raffle Prizes. The boys mingled the room talking to patient kids and families. They passed out small items of sponsor swag. Mrs. McEvers was a very gracious host. She introduced our Team to the audience and invited them to come see and talk with us at our table. She brought Jake and Nye on stage and introduced them and recognized their awesome accomplishment in sport. She invited them up 5 separate times to for them to describe the items in the raffle prize and them present it to the winner. Jake and Nye did a great job as they mention each item with its Brand name. Each of sponsors generous donation was well highlighted.
As expected, I was extremely proud of how the Boys professionally handled this opportunity to be at this Event helping out the Community, Hospital, Children, Team and their Sponsors.
We enjoyed our involvement with the Hospital and will be endeavoring to make this a reoccurring activity.Thanks to our Sponsors for your involvement and assistance with Yackle Brothers Racing efforts to make a difference in our Community!”
Americans get behind things. I mean, when there is something Americans believe in, they wholeheartedly invest their time and energy into making it a reality. Us laid-back Canadians might poo-poo this idea, but in many ways it is true. How do you think the good ol’ US of A grew into a superpower in the span of a few short centuries? Or, look at the near-rabid following of the Tea Party, or hardcore evangelism. When people wanna believe, they stick to their guns (forgive the pun).
It’s no different with mountain biking, and the way mountain towns have latched onto the sport as a way of bringing tourist dollars into their communities. This fall I traveled to America with some friends from Vancouver, on a road trip to some of the new, and old, mountain bike meccas of the Lower 49.
In the span of ten action-packed days we drove to and rode in Sun Valley, Moab, Fruita and Park City. All mountain bike hotspots in their own right, and deserving of a “mecca” status for different reasons.
Sun Valley, our first stop after leaving Vancouver, was a spot I had visited years ago on a Bike Magazine assignment, driving through the American MidWest in Honda Elements and riding the most obscure spots we could find. Sun Valley is far from unknown, especially in the ski circles, and the riding surrounding Ketchum and Hailey, the two towns that make up Sun Valley, is world class.
Our host this time was Greg Randolph, the director of public relations and social media for the Sun Valley Marketing Alliance. Greg has a rich background in cycling, and straight up loves where he lives, which shows in all of his marketing efforts and events hosted. Lucky for us mountain bikers, he does play favourites, organizing an annual mountain bike festival, developing a detailed trail map and generally stoking out the mountain bike community whenever possible.
We rode two days of perfect singletrack, from sinuous desert rips to flowing loops in the forest. We hit the road after riding the Prairie/Miner Loop, a mini-epic that took us up into the fresh snowline of the alpine, and where Greg had to get in a dip in one of the close-to-freezing-over lakes. “I never miss a swim up here!” he exclaimed, surveying all the new snow in the high country. With ambassadors like this, Sun Valley is going to continue to attract keen riders for years to come.
A late night drive, along with a stop at a suspect Taco Bell in Salt Lake City, took us to Moab, our southernmost destination and a spot I had never ridden. Yes, I had never ridden. That’s blasphemy according to many riders who consider Moab the true Mecca, and make pilgrimages whenever possible. I thought I had to check it out for myself.
Moab is a place that seemingly needs to do no work to attract mountain bike tourism. Gracing covers of magazines worldwide, the surreal landscape of the Utah slickrock has implanted itself in mountain biker psyche as the place to go, as the ultimate mountain bike experience. This is evident in the number of bike shops, guiding outfits and shuttle services that dot the town. While the Slickrock trail has sustained this mountain bike boom for years, Moab is not one to rest on its laurels. The Whole Enchilada, a 42 km, 7,000-foot downhill epic draws thousands of riders each year, as does Captain Ahab, a newly-handbuilt maze carved out of the unforgiving sandstone that offers perfect flow its entire length. The mountain bike community in Moab has seen the sport evolve, and has evolved the trail offerings to match.
We were welcomed to Fruita by a three-story banner of a mountain biker in action plastered to the side of a grain elevator towering over the small town. A sure sign that the community is on board! As we only had the day to check out the riding, we tried to maximize our efficiency and headed to the 18 Road trail system. We were not alone here, and for a mid-week day the parking lot was surprisingly busy. The trails were flowy and fun, and we looped back and forth underneath the Bookcliffs, sampling as much singletrack as we could possibly muster. We ended the day with amazing pizza at the Hot Tomato Café in town, a business born of the mountain bike boom, owned by mountain bikers, and a rad spot that definitely catered to the two-wheeled brethren.
Another late night drive (and more shady Taco Bell) took us to Park City, our last stop on this roadtrip. We had planned this stop based on some rumours, and a friend who promised great singletrack. I had not ever heard of the riding here, but was willing to give it a try. When we arrived it was obvious that Park City is ready to show the world what they have to offer. With over 400 miles (yes, 400) of trails, three lift-served bike parks (and some free public bus shuttle zones) this place is a mecca in the making. IMBA apparently knows how good it is here, and this year gave Park City the first (and so far, only) Gold Level Ride Center designation.
It was certainly golden in Park City, with vibrant fall colours from the aspens lining the long singletrack climbs and epic descents. We rode trails straight out of our condo, and did shuttles to 10,000 feet. The mix of trail styles was amazing. The main street indicated the level of commitment Park City had to mountain biking as well. Every lamp post was adorned in bike-focused slogans; “IMBA Gold Level,” “Epic Singletrack” and more. Money abounds in this wealthy area, but smart minds prevail also, and are not letting the mountain bike tourism opportunity pass them by.
Real life was calling the desk jockeys on our road trip, and we sadly pulled up stakes and made the painfully long drive back to Canada. During the drive we had plenty of time to reflect on the impact that mountain biking is making in these small communities, and marveled at how Americans really do get behind whatever they believe is a good thing. Lucky for us, in these cases, it’s singletrack.
Having recently wrapped up three weeks of guiding Big Mountain Bike Adventures trips in Switzerland, my mind is alight with multiple moments of adventure, almost too many to distill singular experiences from. It’s probably easier to just summarize an entire trip as a whole. And while I was tempted to do this, there was, indeed, one particular day that stood out amongst all the others.
The stark contrast of this day is not so much about the riding itself. The ride did feature some spectacular singletrack, but the uniqueness of the day was more about how it allowed us to travel with our bikes. Travel in the sense of moving through terrain; achieving numerous objectives over the course of a day while focused on a final destination, one very different from the beginning of the adventure.
The day started cold and clear in Lourtier, our sleepy little homebase tucked into the postcard-perfect Val de Bagnes, Switzerland. I had made the executive decision to postpone this particular outing a couple of days due to a low freezing level and poor weather, and looking out the window at a splitter blue sky, I felt very self congratulatory and guide-like. Taking advantage of this perfect weather window, our group powered back a Swiss breakfast (mostly bread, cheese and meat) and headed out.
The climb begins as quintessentially as a Swiss climb should: in a tunnel. The tunnel bores up through the mountainside next to the Mauvoisin Dam, at 250 meters tall, it is the highest arched dam in Europe. The tunnel is faintly lit, with water seeping through the ceiling. We climb up the narrow dirt track, sporadically sniping sights of the dam and lake below us through small ports in the rock. Finally, the tunnel ends, and we emerge, blinking, into blinding sunlight on the other side, a fantastic view of mountains and water and glaciers and rivers spilling out in front of us. Inspired by the sight we bend into a grinding road climb that eventually gives way to an even more oppressive hike-a-bike that finally relents to a merely painful climb, all of this getting us closer to the Fenetre du Durand, a 2800m col that marks the border between Switzerland and Italy.
As we climb, the air becomes sharper, distilled by the last few days of freezing temperatures. The crisp air seems to bring out our surroundings in flawless relief. Snow-capped peaks tower above the distinct singletrack that stretches out in front of our tires, and as we crest the col, Italy beckons below, a different landscape perhaps only in perspective, but beckoning us onwards in perfect detail.
The ride down is a glorious amalgamation of flowy trail, technical rock features, and everything in between. While down is the general direction, we traverse through the valley for a long distance on a perfectly graded “bisse,” or ancient waterway designed to re-direct water from the glaciers to mid-mountain fields and towns. As we descend the air becomes warmer, as one would imagine it would, descending into Italy. It all seems so perfect.
The final descent is long and winding, on a rarely visited trail that recently revealed itself thanks to some keen map reading and some valuable local knowledge. We revel in the secrecy of the spot, shredding down the rolling singletrack. At one point the trail points down through a perfectly-spaced group of larch trees, the forest floor nothing but knee-high vibrant green grasses, the trail cutting a straight line through. The afternoon sun dapples the grass, as a light wind creates a wild kaleidoscope of light in front of our tires. Minds blown, we rocket through the trees and exit out on the road far below, coasting down to the Italian town of Aosta for eagerly awaited beers.
After spending the day bundled up in the high mountains, it is an abrupt change to find ourselves in the old town of Aosta. The sun is warm, and as we relax and drink beers we witness a perfect slice of Italian life unfold around us. The striking differences between our morning’s departure and where we are now help to gel the unique experiences of the day together, and we celebrate two-wheeled travel, Italian style.
Story and photos by Joe Schwartz, Osprey Athlete
“When people think of Moab, they think of all the red rock, and the rivers, and the canyons and they don’t really think of golden aspens and high alpine peaks — but it’s a big part of what Moab’s all about.”
The Big Mountain Enduro mountain bike race in Moab is all about that, sprinkled with a little bit of competition, by bike. Check it out!
Big congrats to our very own Osprey Athlete Macky Franklin for competing this epic ride.
We found this photo via TwoWheelsBetter’s Facebook page and had to share it for all to see. First, we’re curious: Have you ever seen a sign similar to this one in your city or state? If so, what are your thoughts? Should those on bikes adhere to the same road rules as those in automotive vehicles?
For the sake of safety (for everyone involved), we argue that bikes should absolutely and 100 percent of the time stop at stop signs, stop lights and the like. Road rules should absolutely apply to those on the road, whomever they are. But some of the questions raised as comments to this photo posting are this: Should cyclists have to pay bike-specific taxes? Should bike commuters be required to have bike insurance in the same way that drivers are required to have auto insurance?
Let us know your thoughts! Share your answers to these queries and questions of your own in the comments section below.
PHOTO Via: Facebook
If you travel by bike frequently, you’re likely used to the ease of it all; you buckle on your helmet, touch your foot to the pedal and head out! Of course we get it. Bicycling offers a mode of transportation that’s simple as can be, which is part of its appeal. However, we’re with Project Bike Trip when they say: “for your safety and to keep your bike in top condition, it’s important to get into the habit of performing some simple maintenance checks whenever you ride.” That’s why they created this easy-to-following info-graphic, as well as why we’re sharing it, above. Check it out. And more importantly, complete your pre-ride bike checklist every time!
An oldie, but a goodie, this video is a reminder that transportation by bike (and other more earth-friendly methods, too!) is the way to go. Enjoy!
We challenged our Facebook fans to convey what they do for their daily commute “Instead of Driving…” This video portrays some of the best. Set in beautiful Portland, Oregon this will inspire you to leave your car at home and find a more aesthetic mode of travel.