Category Archives: Bike Touring

Episode 3: Ditch Your Car, Climb a Mountain

Matt Alford has been a rock climber and mountaineer for most of his life. For the better part of three decades now, he’s been exploring the mountains near his home in Seattle and far beyond. Doing so has required logging countless hours and miles in a car. When that fact started weighing on Matt’s mind 10 years ago, he decided the solution was to start putting together Front Door Adventures: climbing and skiing trips accessed completely by bike and mass transit.

Correction: In the opening of the episode I say that “Personal car use contributes relatively little to greenhouse gas emissions compared to industrial agriculture, airplanes, dirty energy and others.” This is an understatement of personal car, truck, and SUV use’s impact. According to the EPA, transportation contributed 27 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions in 2013. Of that 27 percent, passenger cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, and minivans account for over half of the emissions generated. 

Music:
“Go Cart,” “Dub Feral ,” “Universal”
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

The 3 Month Honeymoon By Bike

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The Megamoon tour of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. Photo via maiamedia.co.uk.

When Hannah Maia and Patrick Taylor-Bird got married, they decided to go big with their honeymoon: a three-month bike tour from New Mexico to Canada along the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. Maia is a filmmaker and documented their trip with this fantastic short film. It does a remarkable job of capturing the joys and challenges of bike touring. Awe, exhaustion, thrill, the need to sing out loud to distract yourself on a seemingly-endless climb. The film reminded me of past trips and got me day dreaming about future adventures.

Megamoon from Maia Media on Vimeo.

Henry Gold: Enabling Expeditions Around the World

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Henry Gold, founder Tour D’Afrique. All photos courtesy Tour D’Afrique.

Most people facing unemployment at the age of 50 would turn towards the safety and comfort of what they know to get back on their feet. When Henry Gold was in that position, he decided to lead a four month bicycle expedition from Cairo, Egypt to Cape Town, South Africa and organize a race on the same route despite having never bike toured or raced a day in his life at that point. Gold thought his adventure was going to be a one-time thing. Instead, it gave launch to his bike touring company, Tour D’Afrique. Twelve years on, the company offers 10 expeditions and races on six continents. I spoke to Gold about his history working with NGOs around the world, the African bike-manufacturing project he tried to start that helped inspire Tour D’Afrique, the joy and challenges of leading multi-month bike expeditions, and much more.

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Eszter Horanyi: The Power and Goodness of Bikepacking

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Eszter Horanyi and Scott Morris at the start of their 4,000 mile Continental Divide Trail ride. Photo via topofusion.com.

The Tour Divide is a 2,745 bikepacking race from Banff, Canada to the Mexican border in Antelope Wells, New Mexico along the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. When Eszter Horanyi set the women’s course record of 19 days, 3 hours in 2012, she did so by averaging over 140 miles each day and sleeping just a few hours each night. Doing so on repeat for the better part of a month is a brutal challenge that pushes athletes to their mental and physical limits. It turns out Horanyi is really good at it. Over her years of bikepacking racing, she’s held or still holds records on the Tour Divide, Arizona Trail Race 300, Colorado Trail Race, Arrowhead 135, and plenty more. She stopped racing in 2013, but continues to explore mountains and valleys and remote roads by bike. I spoke to Horanyi about her entry into mountain bike racing, her bikepacking racing “career,” the self-empowerment the comes from adventuring alone, the growth of bikepacking, and more.

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Mountain Biking to Bothies in the Scottish Wilderness

Adventurer, author, and filmmaker Alastair Humphreys just produced this excellent short film about mountain biking to Scottish bothies, old abandoned farmhouses now used as shelter by hikers, climbers and bikers. Part ode to adventure, part history of the bothey, the video is well worth a watch. Learn more about Alastair in his fall 2014 interview with The Bicycle Story.