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I Hate Road Trips

June 20th, 2013

Das Rad Haus owner Christine ripping on Xanadu in Leavenworth

I hate road trips. Especially trips to awesome new zones to go bike riding. They are a blur of teases: quick, sneaky peeks into great scenes that you previously didn’t even know existed. One short day of checking the area out, maybe a few if you’re lucky, and you are on to the next spot, fantasizing about pulling up stakes, quitting your job and moving to your new-found riding center of the universe. And if the road trip is anything like the one I just got back from, the next little haven you pull into will have the same effect, making you wonder just what life would be like if you never left this freshly-discovered Shangri-La of bicycling.

My girlfriend Rachel and I left from our home in Vancouver on a trip into Washington with four bikes and one goal: ride a lot. The plan was to minimize the driving by staying in one small corner of Washington State, and riding our road bikes and mountain bikes everyday in a new area. The loop we planned took us through the North Cascades National Park, through Winthrop, down the arid and beautiful Okanogan and Columbia River valleys, up over to Leavenworth, detouring over Stevens Pass to Snoqualmie, and finally back up to Bellingham to end off the six day excursion. No one day did we drive more than two hours, and every day we got in a scenic road ride and a sweet mountain bike ride (or two). In other words, six days of being teased and tantalized by some amazing areas in this part of the state.

The Loop

The path of most resistance.

Our schedule was simple: Wake up in our new locale, go for a morning road ride, eat breakfast, go for a mountain bike ride, eat a late lunch and head off to our next destination, usually making plans for the next time we found ourselves passing through that area again.

The roads in America are great, often much better than in Canada. Where we have a decrepit, pot-holed forestry road, Americans have a smooth winding strip of asphalt through some amazing country. We took advantage of this fact on the uber-scenic North Cascades drive, and on some memorable road rides through miles of orchards and vineyards in Chelan and Leavenworth, and along quiet country highways along the Methow and Snoqualmie Rivers.

Tuscany?

Nope, the rolling hills and smooth pavement of Lake Chelan.

Rachel is relatively new to mountain biking, and I have had mixed success with introducing her to the joys of riding. One decent pedal in Squamish is quickly overshadowed by a horror-fest of technical roots and rocks on the Shore, or a crazed B-Liner running her off a berm on his personal race to Strava glory. Washington gave up the goods for her, with a variety of trails that were a lot of fun for the both of us. Highlights included the Sun Mountain trails in Winthrop, the amazing variety of the Duthie Hill Bike Park near Seattle, the long climb but epic descent of Fruend Canyon in Leavenworth and the flowy goodness of Galbraith Mountain in Bellingham. I got out on a couple shreds as well, on a super cool ridgeline DH off of Chelan Butte, and a sweet rip down Xanadu in Leavenworth with some locals.

The towns beguiled us with their charms as well. Winthrop has gone with the Western theme, but pulled it off in fine style. As we walked up the main street taking in the views, Rachel noted: “Even the gas station is adorable!” Can’t argue with that. We had a quick peek into the potential of the Methow Valley, but barely scratched the surface. The fellows at Methow Cycle and Sport (a fine Kona dealer) alluded to many more singletrack epics up in the surrounding hills above Mazama and Winthrop. But, like any road trip, we shelved those ideas for later, and carried on.

Taking in the views on Echo Ridge, Chelan.

With my F.O.M.O. (Fear Of Missing Out) disorder going into overdrive from all the epic spots we were merely sampling, I almost blew a gasket once we arrived in Leavenworth. Two weeks, let alone our two days (actually only one night and a day) would not be enough to experience everything this town has to offer, once you look past the kitschy Bavarian theme that pervades every element of the main drag, including the McDonalds sign. It would take me at least a few days just to get through the menu at South, an amazing Mexican restaurant in town. Trails abound here, leading out of every corner of this alpen town. Rivers cascade out of the tight mountain valleys, climbable rock spires reach for the sky, and friendly locals (like the ones at Kona dealer Das Rad Haus) point visitors in the direction of the singletrack goods (while probably saving a few secret nuggets for themselves).

Ridge Ride

Taking in the views from the top of Xanadu

Fantasizing about our new lives in Leavenworth, we carried on our way, spoiling ourselves for a couple nights at the fancy Salish Lodge and Spa near Snoqualmie (thanks Groupon Getaway deal!) and riding the very unique and super fun Duthie Hill Bike Park, which is located just minutes from the Lodge. Coming to terms with the realization that we could not live in the Lodge full-time, we drove up to Bellingham to end off the trip with some fun exploration of the Galbraith Mountain trails, with a side trip to Boundary Bay Brewery for some eats, and Trader Joe’s to stock up on some cheap cheese and Two Buck Chuck.

So, like I mentioned, I hate road trips. Especially when they are as awesome as this one was.

adventure, Osprey Athletes, Travel , , , , , , , , , ,

Cycling Our National Parks

June 13th, 2013

The end of April marked a monumental agreement between our national parks and the Adventure Cycling Association. On April 30th, National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Adventure Cycling Association that formalizes “a partnership to promote collaboration between bicycling interests and the National Park Service,” according to the ACA.

More specifically, the collaboration is a five-year agreement that enables the ACA to work directly with the National Park Service to build a bicycle route through national parks that span across the country. Here’s the scoop, via the Adventure Cycling Association:

“Nationwide bicycle routes connect Americans to their national parks in an environmentally friendly manner,” Jarvis said. “Our partnership with the bicycling community presents an opportunity for us to foster connections between national parks and cyclists of all ages.”

The agreement will promote user etiquette and safety while providing well-managed recreation and tourism opportunities. It preserves the National Park Service’s authority to determine where and when bicycling is appropriate on park lands. The agreement will also help leverage resources, expand volunteerism, and tap expertise in providing best management practices for bicycling activities.

“This agreement could not come at a better time,” said Adventure Cycling Association Executive Director Jim Sayer. “Bicycle tourism is surging in America and around the planet. Bike networks are being developed at a rapid pace. It’s important that the National Park Service is a key player in this effort to make biking safer and more enjoyable, especially in our national parks.”

adventure, Advocacy, Non-profits, Pedaling Change, video , , , , ,

Springing Spring with Osprey Packs

June 7th, 2013

Osprey Packs is a key partner in my KEEN Rippin Chix Mountain Bike Camps, shown here in Fruita at the Fat Tire Festival. Great event. Great riding, great people, great beer…

I could go on all day! While I could spend all my time off (which is almost none) riding, surfing, skiing and playing, I now teach these women’s camps almost year-round, and many times at least 2-4 days per week. It is rewarding beyond belief, and who doesn’t love giving back to the sports that give so much to our lives? I believe I would have almost zero confidence if I had not discovered skiing, biking and surfing. I LOVE them all.

Speaking of skiing, here I am in California testing the new Osprey Kode Ski Packs for 2014. Great pack, great photographer… but really too much snow to ski anything that was sufficiently steep (and also safe). Most of the time it is “one turn wonders” on the same run all day long, which is quite boring until you see the results (hopefully!!!!!).

I know that often folks mention they want this “testing” job, and how can they apply to become a tester. Firstly, I quit my job, flew to Alaska with some new credit cards, competed in the World Championships of Freeskiing, then asked TGR and MSP almost daily if they needed another athlete for filming, slept in depressing hotels eating junk food and whiskey, called my mom and hoped for the best. Perseverance, right?

In another lifetime, I would wish to be witty and funny. After a depressing day of sitting around waiting for the weather to clear, I went back to the hotel for a cat nap. I flopped on the bed, not realizing that there was a queen mattress on top of a twin box-spring, which left me on the floor before I could realize what had happened. Big bonus, under the bed had not been cleaned and I collected a recent issue of Hustler. Luckily, nothing else more personal!!!

OK – back to this blog and something more PG rated. Gareth at Osprey recently asked me to photograph what was in my pack:

Osprey Raven 6 w/Reservoir (100L)
Patagonia Traverse Jacket
Crank Brothers mini-pump w/gauge, Crank Brothers multi-tool 17
Solar flashlight w/hand crank backup, Juice multi-tool
Osprey tire levers, First aid tape and electrical tape, zip ties, Clif Shot Blocks, Elemental Herbs sunscreen, all-good goop and all-good lips
lighter, Cash.

Missing: Map and guide book, compass.

So, those who know me from my youth, I’m the chubby-dorky-math-geek. I’m going to skip the photo, as I’m still sensitive. One of my biggest fears was biking down stairs, so this is a skill that I now teach as much as possible. This video below is from the Red Rocks Rendezvous with Osprey this spring:

Ok, I know many of you are out there with me wanting MORE SPRING WEATHER. If there is dust in the snow, I would rather be biking, surfing, rafting, gardening… blah blah blah. Speaking of growing food, I’ve got to go fix the backpack sprayer so we can treat the peach trees with very very very diluted neem oil (aphids and leaf curl). I’m not very good at the pest end of chemical-free growing, but I’m learning! The hay fields got their first cut yesterday, summer here we come!

Active Lifestyle, adventure, Osprey Athletes, Osprey Life, photos, Travel, video , , , , ,

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!

Active Lifestyle, adventure, Bikes Around the World, International, Osprey Life, Travel, video , , , , ,

Forcing Nature at the Whistler Bike Park

May 23rd, 2013

I usually try to avoid the opening weekend of the Whistler Bike Park. Some reasons for my refusal to participate in this annual event are paltry, being that there are just a few muddy trails open, huge lines and the fact that other Sea to Sky venues are in mint shape this time of year, including, well, everywhere else.

All of that aside, I went this year. I think the Whistler Corp would like to hear that it was because of their barrage of marketing prior to the lifts firing up. Not really, although I did enjoy the first Force of Nature Video released before opening, featuring their motley bunch of bike athletes. The video shows riders carving perfect corners and lofting sculpted lips in what looks like epic mid-season conditions. Pretty convincing stuff, but the deciding factor for me was some good ‘ol fashioned arm-twisting by a group of buddies. A deal was struck where we worked out a balance of park and pedal, in a few Sea to Sky locations, over this Canadian long weekend.

It was a good decision. The bike park was all-time. The trail crew put in their due diligence, preparing almost every lower mountain trail in time for the gates to drop. The dirt was tacky and the riding was heroic. We had a casual start to the day, nothing like the kids who waited in line from 3 a.m. in order to secure first chair. The casual start was no hindrance though, as we were greeted by mellow lift lines that grew progressively larger over the afternoon. The wait in line was welcome though, as I could rest my cramping hands and catch up with friends. “How was your winter?” and “Epic conditions, eh?” were refrains echoing through the queue.

I had my own “Force of Nature” Friday night after a questionable chicken burrito wreaked havoc on my guts for the next 36 hours. I almost pulled the plug and hightailed back to Vancouver to recuperate, but the weekend was heading into high gear, so I decided hang around to see if things would improve.

The next day dawned wet and rainy, and my guts were still churning something fierce, so we abandoned the “official” opening day of the Park for a pedal in Squamish. A lush rainforest met us there, along with some fun new trails that magically sprung up over the winter, not unlike the mass proliferation of green undergrowth that appears with the spring rain.

The weekend was a blur of riding, eating and sleeping. My food poisoning waned, so with renewed energy I sampled more bike park, usually riding the lifts in the morning until the lift line got too oppressive, and then trading bikes for a pedal in the Whistler Valley or Pemberton. An amazing way to spend this Victoria Day long weekend!

Osprey Athletes , , , , , , , ,

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.”

Active Lifestyle, adventure, Advocacy, Bikes Around the World, International, Non-profits, Osprey Athletes, Osprey Life, Pedaling Change, photos , , , , , , , , ,

Osprey Starts off Bike Month in the Big Apple

May 10th, 2013

‘Tis the season to celebrate two wheels! May is National Bike Month, and there was no better way to kick it off than with the The Bike New York event this past weekend, supported by sponsor and dear friends of ours, Eastern Mountain Sports and the NYC Department of Transportation.

New York commuters and individuals from around the world came to Pier 36 to check out the latest trends and to prep themselves with gear for their ride in the 35th Annual Five Boro Bike Tour in which the cyclists overrun the streets of New York and visit the cities that make up the surrounding areas of the Big Apple. Over 30,000 riders participated in the Sunday ride!

Take a minute to check out some photos and highlights from the trip above.

**We would like to highlight the third picture on the right, this here is Randy. Randy had never heard of Osprey and as a native of New York. Randy spends all her time commuting on her bike, getting from point A to point B throughout the city. Randy had a pack with little support for her back and the necessary things she carried on her commute. Randy told our sales rep, George (in photo) “if you can fit all the things I carry, including the old pack, in this Momentum 34, I will buy it on the spot.” Well, truth be told, George did so, and Randy was welcomed to the Osprey family with open arms!

Bike, Osprey Culture, Packing in the Streets, Retail Promotions, Uncategorized , , , , , , , ,

Pack Meets Trail

May 9th, 2013

We are so utterly grateful for the incredible shots our Osprey fans share with us on a daily basis on Facebook because we love seeing where your packs get to go! Here’s one of many, many awesome shots shared with us most recently (above).

Keep ‘em coming, Osprey friends!

Thanks to Brian Buckle for sharing!

Active Lifestyle, adventure, Osprey Life, photos , , , , , , , ,

May is National Bike Month!

May 2nd, 2013

It’s time to celebrate; May is National Bike Month! That means wherever you live, no matter what city or state, you can take part in something as simple and beautiful as riding your bike.

The League of American Bicyclists has a fantastic website with all of the key dates for this month’s happenings, so if you want to stay in the loop, check here. If you want to partake in an event in your neck of the woods but don’t have the inside scoop, search here by city, state or zip code.

Looking for more National Bike Month info to digest? Check out the League of American Bicyclists blog for inspiring, motivating and informing posts centered around cycling. And while you’re at it, check out the video at the top of this post, a PSA of sorts created by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition that asks the question: “Why ride a bike?”

Happy cycling!

Active Lifestyle, Advocacy, Ditch Your Car, Events, Lane Love, video , , ,

Sea Otter Classic 2013; One for the Books!

May 1st, 2013

The Sea Otter Classic proved to be bigger than ever this year as the 22-year-old event brought together racers, fans and bike companies from around the globe to start the spring season with four days of festivities, races and all things bike. The attendance was staggering this year; it’s grown exponentially since 1991, when only about half a thousand gathered around the course, to nearly 65,000 people attending, all in the name of love for our two-wheeled friend, the bicycle.

This year, there were a variety of races from road races to downhill mountain biking. Sea Otter serves as the first race to kick off the season as top pros in North America and from around the world flock to Sea Otter. However, all of the events are also open to amateurs so if you want to race your bike, you have the chance!

One of the greatest things about Sea Otter is that it is open to the general public, which allows everyone to check out and demo different bike product for the upcoming season from a wide range of vendors. Osprey teamed up with Cambria Bike shop for a four-day sale of Osprey Hydration packs and demos.
Osprey mascot Talon also made an appearance at the event as he cheered on our Osprey athlete Macky Franklin and even had a photo shoot with the Sea Otter himself!

Start planning your trip here for next year as everyone is welcome!

Photo via Alex Strickland

Bike, Brand Team posts, Events, Osprey Athletes, Outdoor Activities, Product, Uncategorized , , , , , , , , ,

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