Recently, I had the opportunity to see a screening of Reveal the Path, a new documentary from Ride the Divide executive producer Mike Dion. Ride the Divide follows a handful of racers during the 2008 Tour Divide. For those unfamiliar, the Tour Divide is a 2,700 mile, self-supported mountain bike race from Banff, British Columbia in Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico on the U.S.-Mexico border. That style of self-supported mountain bike racing and riding is called bike packing.
Reveal is, in many ways, a sequel to Ride the Divide. Though it’s not about racing, the film follows Tour Divide alums Matthew Lee (five-time winner), Kurt Refsnider (2011 winner), Dion (he competed in the 2008 race, though he did not finish), and the film’s producer, first-time bike packer (and Ride the Divide director) Hunter Weeks on a bike packing journey, riding and camping on trails and remote mountain roads across Scotland, France, Morocco, Nepal, and Alaska.
Posted in Mountain Biking, Bike Touring, Reviews
Tagged bike packing, adventure cycling, reveal the path review, mike dion, hunter weeks, matthew lee, kurt refsnider, cycling documentary, cycling films
Bicycle touring’s popularity is on the rise in America. There are no firm statistics available (though Adventure Cycling Association is actively collecting data to help change that), but it’s clear from the number of dedicated websites, blog posts, forums and the fact that nearly all major manufactures have an off-the-shelf touring bike available (certainly not true 10 years ago), more and more people are hitting the road for everything from overnight bike camping to multi-year tours. Unsurprisingly, Oregon seems to be at the forefront of states recognizing the economic potential of the bike touring industry. Oregon tourism website Travel Oregon promotes bike touring. Portland’s Cycle Wild leads guided bike camping trips. Path Less Pedaled is creating a video series about traveling Oregon by bike. And last month, Ellee Thalheimer made her contribution to the state’s burgeoning bike touring industry with the publication of her book Cycling Sojourner, Oregon’s first guide to self-supported, multi-day bike touring.
Cycling Sojourner offers its readers an in-depth guide to eight different tours around the state ranging from an easy several day cruise through Oregon wine country to a challenging week-long adventure out east that’s chock full of mountainous gravel climbs.
Bike commuting is the intersection at which nearly all sub-genres of cyclists meet. There are no doubt people out there for whom bikes are solely a form of recreation or exercise. But, the vast majority of cyclists I know—whether they’re carbon-riding racers, retro-grouchy randonneurs, bureaucratic advocates, or something in between—like to ride their bikes to work or the store or around town whenever it’s possible. As such, commuting provides a common ground for bike riders that might otherwise never see eye-to-eye. We can all relate to the pleasure of a pre-work boost of endorphins, the fun of coasting down a long hill, and the selfish-satisfaction of cruising past a long-line of cars mired in inevitable evening traffic jams. We all know the frustration of getting cut off by a car racing to the next red light, the fear of a close call at the hands of a distracted driver, and the anger of being told to “get off the road.” The Enlightened Cyclist hinges on this collective experience as it explores the past, present, and future of commuting of all types in order to define the road to bike commuter bliss.
Eben Weiss’ (known to most as Bike Snob NYC) second book, The Enlightened Cyclist is modeled after a religious self-help book, albeit with tongue firmly planted in cheek throughout. Weiss’ goal is ostensibly to help all cyclists reach a state of commuter nirvana while using their bike to go about their daily businesses—something he readily admits he has not achieved with complete success. In order to build the case for the advice he offers, Weiss starts by taking the long view of the history of commuting and then draws on his experience as a commuter in New York City to examine the current state of commuting in America.