Donnie Kolb at the Cowboy Dinner Tree, a restaurant along the Oregon Outback route with 30oz steaks. Photo by Gabriel Amadeus.
Simply stated, bikepacking is backpacking on a bike. Rather than using touring bikes with panniers, bikepackers use mountain bikes with frame and seat bags that allow them to maintain agility on singletrack trails. And though people have been using bikes to explore trails and dirt roads for about as long as bikes have existed, bikepacking’s popularity has skyrocketed in the past several years with new races and events popping up all over the country and long running events seeing record participation. In Oregon, Donnie Kolb is a central figure in the bikepacking world. In his own words he is, “spreading the gospel of dirt and gravel riding throughout the Pacific Northwest.” His website VeloDirt serves as a resource for bikepacking and gravel road routes throughout Oregon, a travel journal for Kolb’s adventure stories, and a hub for loosely-organized, semi-official bike events. In May, VeloDirt is putting on their largest ride yet, the Oregon Outback. It is a wild, 360-mile route tracing most of the distance of the state south to north. I spoke to Kolb about the history of VeloDirt, his love for bikepacking adventures, the unexpected popularity of the Oregon Outback, and the future of bikepacking in Oregon and beyond.
Barry Wicks at the 2012 TSE. Photo via TSEpic.com
A lot of people love cycling. For one reason or another, it’s a sport that lends itself to obsession. Mike Kuhn has been showing his love and obsession with over two decades of riding, racing, race promotion, and advocacy. He’s perhaps best known for putting on the Transylvania Epic, a seven day mountain bike stage race in the heart of Pennsylvania. He’s also the man behind IronCross, an endurance cyclocross race, along with many more road, cross, and mountain bike races through the years. And though two decades of race promoting is inarguably an example of giving back to the bike community, Mike is also heavily involved in trail advocacy. He and Transylvania Epic co-founder Ray Adams launched a nonprofit The Outdoor Experience Organization in 2009 to raise funds for mountain bike trail building, maintenance, documentation and outreach in Pennsylvania. I had the chance to speak with Mike about his history in bike racing, the rapid growth of the Transylvania Epic and endurance racing, his vision to revive a small PA mining town with a high-quality trail network, and more.
Posted in Advocacy, Cyclocross, Interviews, Mountain Biking, Racing
Tagged bikenomics, endurance mountain biking, endurance racing, gravel grinding, iron cross, mike kuhn, ray adams, state college mountain biking, transylvania epic, tse, wilderness 101
T-minus one work day until the temporary freedom of a three-day weekend (at least in the U.S., that is.) If that alone isn’t enticing enough, this awesome video from Royal Antler about the Almanzo 100 gravel race should be just the ticket to get you psyched.
Almanzo100 from Royal Antler on Vimeo.