101 NECESSARY, FRIVOLOUS, SENSIBLE, SILLY, INGENIOUS, AND OBSCURE INSIGHTS FOR TAKING YOUR BIKE OFF THE GRID WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY YONDER JOURNAL*
In 2015, we travelled to New Zealand, Bolivia, California, British Columbia, and Australia. We took bikes, cameras, and curiosity. The theme: mountain passes. Our goal: find the cleanest, most interesting, most stylish line from one side of a mountain to the other – like skateboarding or surfing, only with loaded bikes. We called this project Dead Reckoning.
¶ We rode on fat bikes, road bikes, and 29er gravel bikes. We were self-supported or at the very least self-reliant, except when we weren’t, wondering the whole time if the route would be possible, and if it was possible, how badly it would hurt, and if it did hurt, how much fun it would be to hurt that badly. ¶ The point is that bikes are an amazing form of sport and transportation. But they’re also an ideal tool for exploration and casual anthropology. As it turns out, 25km/h is exactly the right speed at which to observe the world. ¶ And for what it’s worth, in addition to riding them, you can put bikes in a bush plane, strap them to a helicopter, lash them to your back, and tie them to a raft. Basically, they go where you go. And if worst comes to worst, you can always just ride them on the downhills. Probably. ¶ What follows is a collection of metaphors, anecdotes, and tips from our bikepacking adventures, which when taken as a whole, might, with some luck, amount to something approximating 101 insights into getting way the hell off the grid with your bike, a backpack, maybe some strangers, and plenty of good friends.
The Altiplano near Hichocollo, Bolivia.
Near Iron Pass, Chilcotin Mountains, British Columbia. Opposite: Loch Leven, Inyo National Forest, California.