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    Bike to Work Week - Young Lust and New Love

    Today's post comes to us from Patagonia E-mail Maestro, Steve Wages. Steve's the kind of cyclist who celebrates Bike to Work Week every week of the year, finding a way to stay true to the saddle despite obligations as a professional, a husband, and a dad. His story gives us a little peek into the passion that keeps him pedaling.

    _MG_7871_crop Since I can remember, my brother and I saw our bikes as key to our personal freedom. We could go where we wanted when we wanted, and the faster the better. I still recall - ummm - "borrowing" my friend's 10-speed Huffy while she was on vacation. I was about 9 and trying to set new land-speed records: that bike with its drop bars and skinny had to be an order of magnitude faster then my single-speed red Schwinn. My lust prevailed and I rolled it out of their garage....

    As the younger brother, Dave's relation to bicycles was initially about keeping up with us older kids. Pretty soon, he surpassed us all and discovered the world of competitive cycling. His life became centered around riding and he'd draw intricate sketches of bikes for high-school art class. He worked his way up through the ranks of repair-monkey at the local bike shops, until he got a call from a friend at Serotta in '94. Although he started out in the shipping department, his love of cycles was apparent and soon they let him loose brazing. His first attempts were crude, but with guidance from the frame builders, he picked up the craft of steel bikes and began to see what separated a good frame from an exceptional one.

    [Steve's hand-built Ellis Cycles road bike. Begging to be stolen. Photo: Steve Wages]

    Continue reading "Bike to Work Week - Young Lust and New Love" »

    Makalu 2009: High Altitude Pulmonary Edema

    Proud west face_2

    [The proud west face, October 2008. "My goal for this trip is to assess the feasibility of a route out of the upper most (right hand) ice field in the center-right of this face. The top of the top ice field is about 7,400 meters. I hope to get there and touch the headwall." Photo: © Steve House]

    Steve House called in this morning with the latest news from his Makalu expedition. It's hard to imagine drowning when you're 22,000 feet above sea level but that's what almost happened to Steve the other night in his tent at high camp.

    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to Steve House – Makalu, May 14, 2009
    (mp3 – 11:21 – right-click to download)

    Steve mentioned carrying medicine for High Altitude Pulmonary Edema in a post he wrote back in 2007, but this is the first time he's experienced the condition himself. Our best goes out to Steve for a speedy recovery and hopefully some more time on the mountain.

    Previous posts from the trip:
    Makalu Again
    Getting Acclimated

    The GOOSE is Loose!

    Commute_calendar_2 Used to be, I’d change into my biking garb in an exceptionally small closet. I'd shoe-horn into a closet that offered just enough room to change between the clanky boiler, a pile of broken bricks, and an impressive mouse-turd collection. It wasn’t that my last job—at a local rag-tag paper—was un-supportive of biking to work. They just hadn’t ever hired anyone willing to do such a thing. 

    I hold no ill feelings toward my old employer, or even to the folks who threw weird looks at the guy who chose daily to get naked in the company of incontinent mice. But I have to say, compared to that place Patagonia’s support of bike commuting is nothing short of righteous. You’re listening to one satisfied employee on this front. I mean, there’s bike parking, showers, OTHER bike riders. Over the years, more incentives have been added – prize giveaways to the most dedicated commuters, kind-spirited contests between Patagonia stores to see whose employees could pedal the most miles, and incentive programs to keep people riding year-‘round.

    And this year, things just got better. Thanks to a new partnership with Seattle-based Goose Networks, we’ve just been blessed with a killer new tool to keep track of the miles and rack up the smiles.

    [Image: An example of how employees can track their daily commutes on the Goose. Simply drag the appropriate icon from the bottom of the screen to the date (either AM or PM), then choose the distance of your trip and how many people (if any) you rode in with.]

    Continue reading "The GOOSE is Loose!" »

    Makalu 2009: Getting Acclimated

    Makalu bc_2 With his sat. phone all repaired, Steve House called from Makalu base camp last Thursday. Then it was our turn for technical difficulties here in Ventura. Now that everything's up and running again we're happy to share Steve's first phone update from the base of Makalu's West Face, the fifth highest peak in the world.

    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to Steve House – Makalu, May 7, 2009
    (mp3 – 3:11 – right-click to download)

    Previous posts from the trip:
    Makalu Again

    [Steve's tent at Makalu base camp, October 2008. Photo: © Steve House]

    Dirtbag Diaries: Great White Book

    Light_socket2In between full-length episodes of The Dirtbag Diaries, host Fitz Cahall offers listeners like you the chance to share your own story on the show. These are the Shortz. And while we can't advocate wearing headphones during your rides to work this week, maybe you can use the time on the pedals to think up your own Shortz story. Here's Fitz with today's episode:

    “Life isn’t a bolted sport route,” says writer Scotty Kennedy. “The gear is sketchy and the route is difficult to read.” In 2001, Scott and his wife Sophie were living in the States. Scott was interning at a magazine. Sophie was dirtbagging it in Camp Four. On weekends, they would meet up to climb in Yosemite’s high country, Tuolumne.  Sometimes small choices reverberate through our lives. Something as simple as the day’s route can carve the bedrock of our personalities. On the Great White Book, Scott was offered a chance to look inside. What he saw was too difficult to share even with those closest to him.

    Audio_graphic_20px Listen to The Shortz -- Great White Book (mp3 - 11:18 - right-click to download)

    To share your story, visit The Dirtbag Diaries and look for the Story Suggestions? link in the sidebar. You can subscribe to the show via iTunes and RSS, or connect with Fitz via Facebook and Twitter.

    Be a Super Commuter, Bike to Work This Week

    [Solvang Stage, Amgen Tour of California 2009. Photo: © Steve Wages]

    Backyard Adventures: Finding Reasons Not to Leave

    Front cast Another installment of the Backyard Adventures for TCL readers today. This time, we're heading back East a bit, and a little back in time, to eastern Virginia in early January.

    Folks who live along the mid-Atlantic seaboard know this is one of the few places on earth that didn't get the memo - the one that stipulates rain should turn to snow when the temperature falls below 32 degrees. Bitter cold, gray skies, and depressingly infrequent snowfall makes it a hard place to get outside during the too-long period between the warm, sunny days of September and the first buds of April.

    David and Terrell Juth found that the right back yard can make all the difference between letting the season get the best of you, and getting the best of a season.


    For us, backyard adventures are the bulk of our "adventures," and even the aimless ones are pretty damn fun. Our latest was just a walk down the hill ...

    I visit a small fraction of the places I’d like to each year. Balancing everyday life with the frequent urge to escape is a challenge, and four years ago I tilted things towards my ideal - I moved.

    Continue reading "Backyard Adventures: Finding Reasons Not to Leave" »

    From White Lines to Tight Lines, Shifting Seasonal Gears w/ Mikey Weir & Friends

    4thlines What looks to be the last winter storm of the season has just pulled out of the area and winter seems to be drawing to a close in the Sierra. It's time to shift gears. No doubt we'll eat those words with a final flurry of crop-crushing cold, but still, now's the time to reflect on a season that's been epic for many (ahem, Colorado) and surprisingly not-so-bad for others (uh, yeah, that'd be us).

    So here's one for all the pow-hounds out there. Pour yourself a barley-pop and enjoy some images of tasty Sierra lines. They come to us courtesy of Patagonia Ambassador Mikey Weir, who has every bit as much fun hitting the water when it's frozen as he does when it's flowing. When he's not earning his living as a professional fishing guide and filmmaker, Mikey (who's also a pro snowboarer) turns his keen eye toward some of Tahoe's choice pickings. Mikey actually sent us these shots earlier in the season, but the mostly rider-less images seemed like a perfect way to cap off the season. After all, sometimes the best part of a run is looking back the turns you've carved. Feel free to share your reflections on the season in our comments section.

    Oh! And to help complete the transition, stay tuned for an upcoming story about Mikey's adventures taimen hunting in Mongolia. For now, here's Mikey on those Tahoe lines:

    Continue reading "From White Lines to Tight Lines, Shifting Seasonal Gears w/ Mikey Weir & Friends" »

    Man Plans, Mother Nature Laughs - Fly Fishing B.C.'s North Coast

    _TRP3263_rockwall Patagonia fly fishing ambassador Dylan Tomine recently returned from a trip to British Columbia. The conditions weren't ideal for fishing but they were ideal for some cold-weather gear testing. Dylan shares his thoughts here along with some great shots from photographer Tim Pask.

    Just back from our North Coast, British Columbia spring steelhead expedition and thought I'd report in. We took a 42-foot converted gillnetter out of Prince Rupert and headed north with two small jet sleds in tow. The plan was to anchor up in the river mouths and take the sleds upstream to swing flies for big spring steelhead. But, as they say, "Man plans, Mother Nature laughs."

    [Story of the trip...beautiful spot, no fish. Photo: Tim Pask]

    Continue reading "Man Plans, Mother Nature Laughs - Fly Fishing B.C.'s North Coast" »

    Four Summer Stories Added to the Tin Shed

    We're not poaching on the classic MacGillivray/Freeman surf flick but we do have news about one of its stars. Gerry Lopez's field report, "Surfing with Aloha," is one of four new stories that have just been added to the Tin Shed. Sailboat captain Liz Clark, whale activist Crystal Thornburg and the beautiful-but-burdened buffalo of Yellowstone National Park are also featured. The links below will take you directly to the stories or you can slide open the front door and seek out the new icons among the other artifacts in the Shed.

    Gen4_ambass_lopez_2_4 Surfing with Aloha - Pipeline legend and Patagonia ambassador Gerry Lopez contemplates the subtle changes he's been noticing in the surf lineup (field report & slide show). Side note: Gerry will be in Ventura, May 16 and 17, for the Sacred Craft Surfboard Expo.
    Gen4_ambass_clark_2_4 Liz Clark’s Voyage - Patagonia ambassador Liz Clark sails the world on a quest to live a simple life fueled by the wind and a search for surf (video & slide show). Read blog posts from Liz over on Wend Magazine's site.
    Gen4_ambass_thornburg_2_4 El Mar, Mi Alma - Patagonia ambassador Crystal Thornburg travels Chile’s coast with Dave Rastovich and Surfers for Cetaceans to raise awareness about whale and marine conservation (video). A movie about this trip is coming soon.
    Gen5_buffalo_yellow_2 Freedom to Roam: Horse Butte Neighbors of Buffalo - Besides highways and housing developments, Yellowstone buffalo face an additional threat when they roam: government agents who chase the buffalo back into the park or send them to slaughter. Now a group of private landowners want to establish a safe wildlife corridor for buffalo and offer them sanctuary (video).

    Near or far, we hope these stories get you fired up for a summer trip of your own.

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