Bikes, Bikes and More Bikes

I have been meaning to write and share this post for a while but it never came to fruition. I guess being home and sick for the past three days is making me dream about feeling good, adventure, riding bicycles and thinking about bikes.

As of yesterday, it was exactly 6 months since I left QBP, my former place of employment for the past 25+ years. One of the reasons I left was to prioritize myself and my well being and to hopefully regain my fitness. I’m happy to say that all of those things are in process and I have one added benefit that wasn’t on my original list; I have re fallen in love with the bicycle and all things bikes.

My purpose in leaving Q was not specifically to find my passion for bikes again. It was really more focused on health and well being. However, I quickly became consumed in building bicycles, riding them and photographing them. I sold a bunch of my old stuff and purchased some new stuff. I often rode alone as I worked through changes and focused on building up some fitness and mental toughness. I also had a blast riding with friends. In the past 6 months I have spent a fair amount of time on the following bikes.

  • All-City cross & gravel road bike
  • Salsa Cutthroat drop bar mountain bike
  • Salsa Horsethief mountain bike
  • Knolly Cache gravel bike
  • Ibis Ripley Carbon mountain bike
  • Surly Wednesday fat bike

I also found that selling my old Q branded bikes helped me with closure so I sold both my Salsa Cutthroat as well as my Salsa Horsethief, two bikes I really loved. I also have two new bikes ordered to come in and build sometime in 2022. I’ll reveal those as they get built.

While my fitness is taking longer than I hoped to regain, I am once again in love with the bicycle. Honestly, for me, nothing even comes close in freeing my mind and helping my body feel freedom like a bicycle does. True freedom. Nothing helps me work through challenges and problems like a bicycle does. Nothing helps me focus my energy and thought like riding a bicycle does. Nothing helps me feel better about life and myself like a bicycle does. Hard to believe, but after 40+ years or riding bicycles, I still feel like a kid pedaling my 1st, 20″ wheeled, red Schwinn around the family farm.

And with that, here are a quite a few pics from last 6 months of riding my bike. No particular order to this gallery. Just pics as they appeared in my digital catalog. Click on any of them to go to slideshow mode! Enjoy!

Krampus Kleaning

I have a couple of friends that think I don’t maintain my bikes. While they may be dirty and occasionally make some noise, they generally work pretty darn well. But….To show them that I do in fact work on my bikes, here are a few pics from spring cleaning. My Krampus needs to be prepared for the opening of our trails here in MN. Also got a few upgrades! Going to be a nice ride when I’m done.

Hope you all had a great weekend. I sure did.

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Desert Ramble – The People!

After a week of exploring the desert southwest with 9 others and after 17 hours of driving, I am back in MN. I left the desert tired & inspired and returned to snow. Crazy. Yet, even with snow I can’t curb my enthusiasm for this past trip. While it didn’t go as planned, it took its own life and it went perfectly as it should. That is what “ramble” means to me….Let’s see where we can go and what can we do even if it isn’t what we intended when we started out.

Some of my regular followers know I’ve been bike touring for 20+ years now. In some form or fashion I’ve taken a camera with me on all these trips. Some of you may even know my style of shooting and documenting these trips. I hope that my imagery below may surprise you a bit. I intentionally did things different on this trip.  Why?

Well, I knew the talent on this trip from Cass, Eric, Erik, Glenn, Bobby, Tim, & JB. I also knew the other folks would be shooting too. I knew they’d capture the big moments and that I would be challenged to take better shots than them. Instead, I challenged myself to look at this trip differently and to find a way to show something new about these trips that others don’t seem to fully focus on, the people. My whole desire and intent for photography on this trip was to show the people. I also captured other things and images in my regular style, but for this trip, I wanted to try something different. After all, it is the people that do these things and inspire me/us!

For this project, I wanted to do two things. Tell the truth with portraits of everyone with their gear AND try to get at some of the emotional parts of bikepacking and touring. It isn’t always roses. So….At the beginning of the trip I had them write down what they were feeling before the start. One word. Picture. Phrase.  Whatever. Then on the last night out around a fire, I had them write down what they were feeling now. And while much like the route didn’t turn out as planned or go perfect, this photo project isn’t perfect either. But…in the end, it turned out even better than I could have imagined.

A few details for the camera geeks. I shared my camera gear in the previous post but I will give you a few more details here. I shot all the bike portraits with the 30 year old 90mm f2.8 Elmarit. I shot it wide open. They are soft but that is intentional. I also see a little fogging from the moisture but again, with a focus on the truth and finding pictures that tell stories, I went with it. All the postcard shots were focused on the card, not the people, and shot with my 30 year old 35 f2 (a truly incredible lens).

So…With that, please meet the crew. Sincerely thanks to all my friends that made this trip special and let me take pics and shared a bit of what they were thinking and experiencing.  Hope you enjoy.  I’ll be back later in the week with more images from the route as well as some other words and insights from the experience.

Glenn Charles – The Traveling Vagabond

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Tim Lucking – Works at Gates Carbon Drive

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Eric Benjamin – The Adventure Monkey

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Bobby Wintle – District Cycles proprietor and Landrun 100 Promoter

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Lelan Dains – DK 200 Promoter

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Jim Cummins – DK 200 Promoter

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J Brady Moore – JB Camera Designs Proprietor

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Erik Mathy – An IT wiz and Sometimes Photographer & film shooter

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Cass Gilbert – While Out Riding

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ME! – Well…I didn’t take any self portraits but the postcard said “free and inspired” and here is my Surly ICT @ Dewey Bridge.

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Thank you all. Stories and pics to come…..

Fatbike ramblings

As I head out to Intebike I leave you all with a sort of brain dump of fatbike ramblings that have been going on in my head. No doubt will I see fatbikes everywhere at this year’s show. I mean EVERYWHERE. Wow. Eurobike had 30+ suppliers showing a fatbike of some sort. But….I don’t really care. Fatbikes truly are the most versatile and capable bikes made.  Period.  Now, I know I work for a company that makes them, but everyone should have one and with prices now spanning low to hi, for most cycling folks fatbikes are mostly within reach.

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I’ve also been riding the heck out of my fatbike. As I prep for my fall tour, fatbikes and all associate gear have been on my mind. I’ve been putting in some miles. I am far from ready, but I am feeling better about the idea. Here are a few shots from recent trips.

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I have been riding my friend Justin’s Salsa Blackbarow and I must say it is likely my favorite fatbike I have ridden in terms of geometry. That bike just plain rips.  However, after this week, I have decided to go back to my trusty titanium Mukluk. For one I own it and I think I want to try to make the following work. I think it will be perfect for this trip and I have a few tricks up my lefty sleeve.  I finally finished it on Saturday and got a quick dirt run in on it (my fastest lap at Lebanon Hills so far this year!). Hope you like it.

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It’s time to start hanging bags on my dirt bike as well as making a few modifications so I can carry more water.

Lastly, I know fatbike haters are gonna hate, but I think they are the greatest and most capable bikes manufactured today.