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The Moto Diary – A Trip through Columbia by Motorcycle

January 12th, 2015

Osprey Packs Ambassador Matt Hayes is a resident of Boulder, Colorado as far as the postal service knows. Since graduating from the University of Colorado he’s actually lived in 3 different states and 5 countries. Matt learned the intricacies of broadcast production and still photography in college, how to twirl wrenches working in bike shops for a decade, and how to race mountain bikes by getting beaten all the time. His other skills include playing the saxophone, jumping off cliffs into powder fields, rocking a mohawk, and eating nachos with two hands while riding a bike. He is a certified EMT, is currently enjoying a budding “career,” and shortly will commence saving the world. 

Sunset

While Colorado is an amazing place to live, Autumn can be a bit boring as the bike trails get a blanket of snow but haven’t collected quite enough to start skiing. Consequently, I decided to spend a few months this Fall in South America guiding mountain bike trips and riding through Colombia on a 125cc two-stoke motorcycle.

I left my temporary home in San Gil, Colombia and headed north towards the coast. Honestly, I didn’t really expect my 1996 Yamaha DT to survive the trip. A favorite model of the drug-runners in the mid-90’s, my motorcycle had already had two gaskets leak, the clutch fail, and the throttle seize in the two months I had owned it.

I was a little surprised and completely overjoyed when I pulled into the Costeño Beach hostel outside of Santa Marta. After a few days frolicking on the beach I set off towards Riohacha.Beach Moto

The highway hugged the coast line and every hill crested led to a beautiful beachfront view. It was gorgeous and I eventually had to force myself to stop taking pictures for fear I wouldn’t actually complete any mileage.

I shouldn’t have worried so much – about an hour later the road turned flat, straight, and hot. I cruised to the city of Riohacha, got some lunch, and took a dirt road out of town that led straight into an impassible river. Negotiating a different route out of the city, I saw a sign for The Beaches of Mayapo. I remembered seeing a map of a small road that wound along the beach ending up in Quatro Vias which I wanted to check out so I followed the sign.

The road surface was one of the best I had encountered in Colombia so I figured it was a main road, which was good because I knew I was low on gas. The long sweeping corners with nothing to obstruct the view allowed me to push the little 125 as fast as it would go. I was having a blast until the road suddenly, without warning, turned to a network of spidering dirt trails.

Roadside3This was completely outside my frame of reference. How does a main road disintegrate to unmarked trails within a meter? There was no town, no turn around point, no road signs. All I could do was shrug and go back the way I came.

As the sun set I flirted with the idea of camping for the night but ultimately decided to find a cheap hotel. The road was just as fun on the way back and I was feeling euphoric until the bike sputtered and died as it ran out of gas. Exasperation set in.

I started pushing the bike until I found two security guards chatting by a school. I told them I needed gas and they answered in the most accent-riddled Spanish I have ever heard. I couldn’t even understand the word for “10.” Luckily they understood me fine and eventually we worked out that one of them would walk about 2km with me to a cluster of homes where some guy had some gas.

One of the main features I like on the Osprey Farpoint is the removable daypack. It’s perfectly sized to hold my valuables without being bulky, and it can stow inside the main pack if there’s room which is how I had been traveling. I grabbed the small pack and we started walking down sand footpaths into the dark. I was sure I was going to get gas or get robbed, but I had no idea which one.

After several random turns we arrived at a trailer where a disheveled man showed us to a locked shed. He opened it, and as his flashlight darted around I saw 10 or 15 five-gallon containers all presumably filled with gasoline. He sold us a few gallons which I lugged back.

With new gas the bike fired right up and, after thanking the guards profusely, I backtracked towards Riohacha yet again.

I was exhausted, sick, anxious, and even a bit scared as I followed the deserted road but the stars overhead were mesmerizing. I stopped, turned off the bike, and starred at them for a few minutes. I felt like I was on a big journey but I was only venturing arouRoadside1nd one part of one country on one planet. I felt far from home, but my DT125 topped out around 70kmh and I had only been riding for a few days. The star light had been traveling at a billion kmh for 100’s or 1000’s of years to get to the same spot. Granted – light doesn’t have to deal with running out of gas, getting directions, mechanical failures, or FARC kidnappings, but it still made me feel infinitesimally small and my problems even smaller.

I stopped at the first hotel I found, and with thoughts of all the problems that day juxtaposing the immensity of the universe I climbed into bed excited for the next day’s adventure.

Active Lifestyle, adventure, photos, travel, Travel , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mountain Bike Oregon: Beer, Demos and Shuttles? We’re In!

July 13th, 2014

MBObadge600x236

Mountain Bike Oregon: Named “One of The Best Mountain Bike Festivals” by Outside Magazine

You had us at “Free Beer, Demo Bikes & Shuttles.”  We are thrilled to be attending the Mt. Bike Oregon Event for the first time ever! The event takes place July 18-20, 2014 and provides riders three full days of mountain biking in Oakridge, Oregon.

Mountain Bike Oregon “will leave you both exhausted and replenished. Nestled in the foothills of the central Cascade Mountains, Oakridge is a true mountain bike paradise. Giant old growth trees, lush ferns, creeks, waterfalls and mountain meadows full of wildflowers make for some of the most beautiful singletrack around. From rolling riverside trails, to wild ripping descents, Mt. Bike Oregon has something for everyone.”

 

Check out the schedule for complete details. Read more…

Bike, Events, Osprey Culture, Outdoor Activities , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

NembaFest: New England’s Mountain Bike Festival at Kingdom Trails

June 16th, 2014

NEMABfest T front 2013

Camping – Bicycle Expo – Group Rides – Live Music

Food – Fun!

Darling Hill, Kingdom Trails
East Burke, Vermont

Come celebrate the solstice and all things mountain biking at one of the premier riding destinations in the country. NEMBA is partnering with the Kingdom Trails Association and the Wildflower Inn to put on a fun-filled weekend of riding, camping, demo’ing the latest mountain bikes and checking out the last gear, music, food and more. Read more…

Bike, Events, Osprey Culture, Osprey Life , , , , , , , ,

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…

Bike, International, Osprey Athletes, The Cycling Buzz, Travel , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

DirtFest: A Celebration of Single Track in Pennsylvania

May 16th, 2014

Osprey Packs | DirtRag Dirt Fest 2014

The annual celebration of bikes called Dirt Fest takes place on a hilly, chipmunk-infested peninsula in Raystown Lake, Pennsylvania. There are 34 miles of fast, fun, flowing trails known as the Allegrippis Trails System just a few steps away from the campground. The expo area will showcase more than 50 vendors from all over the country with everything from demo bike fleets, wheels, apparel and accessories.

These are our type of our people! To us, Dirt Fest combines the best of both worlds: this weekend-long event celebrates both biking and camping by offering one hell of a set-up at the base of River Raystown Lake.

With the addition of skills clinics, group rides, and a variety of post-ride beers, you can’t describe a better day out on the trail. Check out the schedule for a full list of activities going on all weekend long.

The best part? A portion of the proceeds from Dirt Fest go directly to support the Allegrippis Trails System, through the Friends of Raystown Lake Trails Fund. Thus far the event has donated nearly $20,000 to the trails to keep them open, maintained & accessible to all mountain bike enthusiasts!

Osprey will be attending with a booth full of swag and look for our team out on the trail!

Here is what will be going on at the Osprey Packs booth:

  • Display of all of our Hydration Packs- That’s right, come check out what the Osprey fit is all about! We will be displaying all of our hydration packs so that you can see what makes an Osprey pack Osprey!

Osprey Packs RaptorOsprey Packs Syncro 20366_904_xlOsprey Packs Manta Series

  Read more…

Bike, Bikes Around the World, Events, Osprey Athletes, Osprey Culture, Osprey Life, Outdoor Activities , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

19th Annual Fruita Fat Tire Festival: We are coming for that Singletrack!

April 25th, 2014

Fruita Fat Tire Festival  | Epic. Singletrack. Tradition.

This weekend in Fruita, CO is the 19th Annual Fruita Fat Tire Festival!  This weekend Osprey will be joining the celebration as the Fruita Fat Tire Festival has made a tradition of riding miles of pristine mountain bike trails, meeting with MTB friends from around the world and support those who support the passion, the lifestyle and the sport we all enjoy.

With agreeable weather and some incredible events happening April 24th through Sunday the 27th, this event is a must-attend for lovers of trail, singletrack and good times! We’re excited to see friends new and old, including friends/festival sponosor (and brewers of some of our favorite flavors), New Belgium Brewing!

From the VIP party Thursday night, to the live bands Friday and Saturday evenings under the summer stars in downtown Fruita, to one of the top cycling expos in the state: there’s plenty of fun to be had! Join the party and celebrate hundreds of miles of World Class MTB Trails!

In addition to high-fives for all, here’s what we’ll have going on at the Osprey Booth: Read more…

Bike, Bikes Around the World, Brand Team posts, Osprey Adventure Envoys, Osprey Culture, Outdoor Activities, Pedaling Change, The Cycling Buzz , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2014 Sea Otter Classic: The Nation’s Largest Bike Gathering!

April 11th, 2014

Sea Otter RacingSea Otter FestivalGrand Fondo

It’s that time! We excited to once again be attending the Sea Otter Classic, April 10-13, 2014! In addition to having the worthy mission of “making people’s lives better through participation in sport and recreation and through celebration of an active outdoor lifestyle,” Sea Otter is known for its incredible attendance — some 65,000 fellow bike folk (including professional riders, cycling enthusiasts, and the best bike gear companies) will be out and celebrating all things cycling at this weekend’s season opener in beautiful Monterey, California.

Join us in kicking off this year’s Sea Otter with Osprey Packs demos, bike races, and great new product! Read more…

Active Lifestyle, Bike, Events, Osprey Athletes, Osprey Culture, Osprey Life, What's in Your Pack? , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Didn’t Know Where We Were Going, Knew We Wouldn’t Be Back Anytime Soon

February 27th, 2014

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.”

 

IMG_2859

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. Read more…

Active Lifestyle, Guest post, Osprey Adventure Envoys, Outdoor Activities, photos, travel , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mountain Biking Multiple Meccas in America

December 5th, 2013
On the road again...

On the road again…

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.

Chasing the last rays of sun in Sun Valley

Chasing the last rays of sun in Sun Valley

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.

Ripping down Porcupine Rim, Moab.

Ripping down Porcupine Rim, Moab.

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.

It's not a Moab visit without a Slickrock Trail loop!

It’s not a Moab visit without a Slickrock Trail loop!

Connecting the blue dots in Moab.

Connecting the blue dots in Moab.

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.

Sampling the sweet singletrack of Fruita.

Sampling the sweet singletrack of Fruita.

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.

IMBA gold-level singletrack high above Park City

IMBA gold-level singletrack high above Park City

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.

Fall colours in Park City

Fall colours in Park City.

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.

adventure, Bike, Osprey Athletes, The Cycling Buzz, Travel , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“The Perfect Mountain Biking Pack”

October 30th, 2013

ospreyescapist20

Yes, winter is near. But while the leaves are still on (some) of the trees, and the air has yet to turn as frigid as it most assuredly will, let’s talk mountain biking. If you’ve got a final fall ride in store, or if you’re determined to weather the winter, you’ll want to know what the best gear to take is. According to Active Junky, there are 5 Pieces of Gear for Fall Bike Rides that are must-haves. Naturally, we’re excited to see that the Osprey Escapist 20 is one of them. Here’s what AJ has to say about it:

The perfect mountain biking pack almost defies description: you want something that’s svelte and low-profile so you don’t feel off-balance while swinging through singletrack. But you need something that can carry your tools, food, layers, and oddball sundries. No pack has achieved that Platonic ideal quite yet, but Osprey’s Escapist 20 comes damn close.  The panel-loading backpack boasts a breathable ventilated harness, with a mesh hip belt, a hydration sleeve, twin water bottle mesh pockets, and a discrete, stowable rain cover. Inside the front panel, you find a cache of storage options that cater to bike tools, while the main compartment offers cavernous storage for the bigger items like a jacket or vest. As with most cycle-specific Osprey packs, the Escapist has also been outfitted with a LiftLock helmet attachment (which slips through the helmet’s vents to be easily carried) and a strap for clipping on a flashing light—features that make this pack ideal for commuting as well as mountain biking. A zipped top pouch keeps must-haves like your phone or sunglasses within easy reach, and the variety of compressible straps lets you synch things down to dial in a light, nimble feel while in the saddle. And—of course—the bag works well while enjoying outdoor activities other than mountain biking…

 

Active Lifestyle, Bike, Osprey Life, The Cycling Buzz , , , , ,

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