The Cleanest Line

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    Dirtbag Diaries: Embrace This

    Embrace_this_logo

    Crank through your week with a new podcast from the Dirtbag Diaries. Show host Fitz Cahall sets the stage:

    I love bikes. I like riding them through the woods. I like working on them. I even like riding bikes on roads, but I've never been a road biker. To me road biking has always seemed a bit like raw oysters.  I take one look at it and I think, "I don't want to try it." Despite their slimy demeanor, I really like oysters. Once I got over their looks, they taste pretty damn good. Maybe road biking would be like that for me. This summer I decided to not only try road biking, I decided to embrace it in all its spandex glory. My climbing could suffer. The mountain bike could collect cobwebs in the garage. Along the way, I discovered the joy of riding through my city.

    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to "Embrace This"
    (mp3 - right-click to download - contains some expletives)

    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com to hear or download the music from today's podcast. Fitz and crew are also holding another Night of the Living Dirtbag Contest. Submit a scary, outdoor-themed story to the Dirtbag Diaries for a chance to win a prize. Submissions are due by October 10th; contest details are on their site.

    [With thanks to Allie. Graphic by Walker Cahall.]

    Cellist Ben Sollee Ditches the Van and Pedals by Patagonia

    Our lives seem to move in fast forward. We run from our homes to our jobs and back barely noticing the scenery, or the people around us. For touring musicians the pace is even faster—they drive 300 miles to a city that they’ve never seen during the day, load their gear into the venue for the night, and drive off when the show ends to the nearest motel to the highway. Then wake up and do it all again.

    For cellist Ben Sollee things were moving too fast. Or he was. The solution? Jump on a bicycle and ride from gig to gig, feeling the asphalt beneath him and the pull of his cello in tow. Sollee has teamed up with drummer Jordon Ellis for the Ditch The Van Tour and the duo stopped by the Patagonia headquarters last week to talk bicycles and share their vision, and music, with all the employees at the Ventura office. Is there a better reason to stay at work past five o’clock than a beer and some live music?

    [Video: Ditch the Van Bike Tour - Chapter 2 from marty benson on Vimeo.]

    Continue reading "Cellist Ben Sollee Ditches the Van and Pedals by Patagonia" »

    Your Rad Dad Stories - Hip Mountain Biker

    Dan & dad Editor's Note: Today's post comes from Dan Moore, down in southern Utah. Dan sent us this story in response to our request to "Tell Us About Your Rad Dad." Last week's featured submission was from a young lady whose discovery of herself and the outdoors is still unfolding. This week's feature offers a look back from the perspective of a man now raising his own son.

    It's not uncommon for dads to push us to do better, to try harder. But it's the uncommon dad who figures out how to make that fun. Dan Moore is lucky to have one of those dads:

    ____________________________

    I was thirteen years old when I first started beating my dad on the mountain bike. The first time I out rode him was on a trip to Moab, and Poison Spider Mesa was the ride. After that, Moab trips became a fairly frequent event, and my father, an orthopedic surgeon, was always inviting more of the guys from the hospital to come along. It was always a bit of a competition. My dad would try to find young guys in good shape to pit against me throughout my teenage years in order to push me to ride better and faster.

    On one particular trip, when I was about sixteen, my father had run out of guys at the hospital who could push me. As we drove in our van to Moab, all of the doctors, nurses and scrub technicians joked about needing to do something to slow me down. I basked in the macho adulation of the men I'd grown up idolizing and the feeling that I was viewed, not only as one of them, but when it came to riding, as the top of the food chain.

    [Dan Moore and his dad, David, on the White Rim Trail, 1993. Photo courtesy Dan Moore]

    Continue reading "Your Rad Dad Stories - Hip Mountain Biker" »

    One Man's Road to Patagonia

    Legend78 Most of our employees have interesting stories to tell, but few have spent 15 months in an East German jail after abandoning a plan to somersault the Berlin Wall from a trampoline before trying to escape the country on foot.

    Holger Bismann, managing director of Patagonia Europe, was generous enough to share some of his experiences of what it was like to live under totalitarian rule in East Germany, keep alive a relationship with his future wife while in jail, then cross the border into freedom after the Wall came down.

    1) What is your most vivid memory of living in East Germany before the Wall came down? The thing that reminds you of that time the most?

    My most vivid memories were of saying "good bye" to the good things about the life I had there for 27 years, right before my friend Klaus and I escaped. We couldn't actually say good bye to anyone because it was too dangerous to tell anybody about our plans. We couldn't even say anything to our closest friends or parents, simply to protect them and ourselves from danger.

     . . . hit the jump to continue reading "One Man's Road to Patagonia"

    [A photo from earlier, and easier, times - before the personal ordeal that would eventually lead to freedom from East Germany. Photo: Holger Bisman collection]

    Continue reading "One Man's Road to Patagonia" »

    Backyard Adventures: Pioneer Trifecta (aka. Fatherhood Shakedown)

    Jj_Hyndman A little over a year ago, we invited readers to submit stories of their own Backyard Adventures and announced a deadline of January 9th, 2009. Here we are in 2010, and still (happily) receiving submissions. Today's post is from previous Backyard Adventure contributor Steve Graepel, author of an earlier piece about traversing central Idaho's Sawtooth Range. Steve's been working hard on his plan to thread a 900+ mile route through Idaho's wilderness by foot, raft and mountain bike. This installment of Steve's Backyard Adventures could be considered a recon-mission for his big trip, but with a new baby on the way, Steve had something different in mind . . .

    __________________________

    After ten years of marriage, life finds a comfortable rhythm; it’s a well-tuned circuit of work, exercise and leisure.

    And then along comes your first child...

    "It will change your life...your life will never be the same...parenthood gives back so much more than you put into it...". Growing wary of the overabundance of encouragement, or perhaps out of sheer panic, I jumped at the chance to get lost during the baby shower. There aren’t many problems you can't solve after an 8.5 hour push.

    I wanted to knock out a trip I'd heard rumors of. Nestled in Sun Valley's backyard, three hours from Boise, the "Pios" court those with a zest for adventure. . . .

    [Above: The view of Hyndman Peak from Cobb's south face. Photo: James Just]

    Continue reading "Backyard Adventures: Pioneer Trifecta (aka. Fatherhood Shakedown)" »

    Wrong Turn

    PCT_badge The photographs that appear in our catalogs have long been a source of inspiration. Very rarely, however, they can give the wrong impression. The Patagonia Heart of Winter 2010 catalog contained a photograph (p. 38) of illegal mountain bike use on the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail.

    The Pacific Crest Trail is open to foot and horse travel and closed to all motorized and mechanized (bike) use for its entire length. Patagonia regrets this oversight and strongly supports the environmental stewardship for which the rule exists, and the "Rules of the Trail" developed by the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) to promote responsible and courteous conduct on shared-use trails.

    Many of us in the company enjoy mountain biking. We understand the contentiousness surrounding access issues, but we also respect the rules of Wilderness and the rights of hikers on the PCT. Please ride on open trails only, respect trail and road closures, and ask a land manager for clarification if you are uncertain about the status of a trail.

    There's plenty of space out there for all of us. Enjoy.

    Dirtbag Diaries: The Shorts - Forty Miles A Poem

    The_Shorts_NBB Before you start that next batch of cookies, throw on today's Short and listen joyfully while visions of riding dance in your head. Happy holidays from Fitz Cahall and The Dirtbag Diaries.

    Whether you swing a hammer or hammer on the keyboard, we all find ways to stay sane during the workweek. Maybe it’s a particularly good post-work bouldering session or an hour of yoga, which has been the case for me lately. When Scott Harvey’s poem “40 Miles of Inspiration” showed up in my Inbox, it was a like a breath of fresh air. It’s hard not to smile at this refreshing cure for the mid-week blues. Farm dogs. Wayward bats. Coyotes. All in a day’s commute.

    Download "Forty Miles A Poem"
    (mp3 - right-click to download - music credits)

    In between full-length episodes of The Dirtbag Diaries, listeners like you have the chance to narrate your own story on the show -- these are the Shorts. To submit your story for consideration, 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.

     

    Fun Divided By Three

    Chalkboard_logo The Dirtbag Diaries is on the air. Host Fitz Cahall introduces today's podcast:

    As outdoor types, we love rating systems. We'll rate anything. Rapids. Climbs. Ski runs. Now, we've gone and tried to rate the unrateable -- fun. Fun divided by three -- it's this concept that has been floating around campfires for years.  It dictates that there are three types of fun. There is type one fun and type two fun, but today, we are going to explore type three fun. This is the epic. The suffer fest. This is collarbone breaking,  giardia-getting, soaked-to-the-bone, carnage. If it sounds horrible, that's because it probably is. What does type three fun entail? Why do some people seem particularly drawn to these types of adventures and what could possibly motivate us to embrace type three fun? Today, we bring you answers.

    Download "Fun Divided By Three"
    (mp3 - right-click to download)

    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com for links and more information on the music in today's podcast. You can subscribe to the show via iTunes and RSS, or connect with Fitz on Facebook and Twitter.

    Backyard Adventures: The Sawtooth Traverse

    Morning after Central Idaho's Sawtooth Mountain Range offer a stellar backyard for Steve Graepel's adventures. A Boise resident, he wedges his endurance training around family and a full-time job. His Backyard Adventure gives us a glimpse at a beautiful section of country to be included in one of his bigger projects: connecting 1,200 miles across Idaho’s backcountry by foot, raft and mountain bike. We can't wait to read that Backyard Adventure. Until then, here's Steve in the Sawtooths.
    _______________________________________

    “Steve, I’ve got an idea ...”

    This is how it always starts. One of us drops the bait. Only this time it wasn’t me.

    Alice lake2 Scott and I have both been caught up with middle management - middle life. He runs a lab in the Bay area, and I've been tasked with leading a creative department at my place of work. Our schedules have been forged out of early mornings and late nights. Workouts squeezed between bottles and diapers.  We've both grown soft under our heavy shells of work, kids and family, barnacled with noon-meetings and mortgages...second mortgages. Our early trips together, traveling to climb in far-flung ranges have become cob-webbed memories and we now feel fortunate when we can carve out a weekend together every other year or so. As incentive to extract us from the grind of our day jobs, Scott makes the pitch.

    “Let’s do the Wonderland...in two days.”

    Like carp to corn, I’m hooked.

    [Top, Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains in early morning light, as seen from the author's bike after running over 40 miles of trail to traverse the length of the range. Above, the route as it runs past an un-named lake below Alice Lake. Photo: Steve Graepel.]

    Continue reading "Backyard Adventures: The Sawtooth Traverse" »

    The Voodoo Bike

    By Craig Holloway

    P1020464 Sometime in the late '80s, my bike mechanic friend John finally agreed to sell me his 1972 British-made Raleigh bicycle. I handed him $150 dollars in cash and a cold, six-pack of beer. He cracked open two brews, handed one back to me, and we both took long swigs, saluting the voodoo bike. I asked John where the bike’s name came from and he had no idea. He did request that I bring the voodoo in for maintenance every now and then. We shook hands, and then I wheeled the faded red single-speed out the bike shop’s door toward Chicago’s lakefront.

    Editor's note: Today's story comes from yoga instructor, daily bike commuter and Patagonia editor, Craig Holloway.

    The voodoo is one of the last production bicycles made by Raleigh before it was sold to an Asian manufacturer. The bicycle’s most elegant feature is the headlamp post, with its engraved phoenix situated in front of the handlebars. Children notice the phoenix right away and like to rub its metal beak. The voodoo also features old-fashioned, cable-rod lever brakes, brazed-on pump pegs, and a nifty foldout basket attached to the rear fender. The frame’s geometry makes for an aristocratic upright ride, and eccentric viewing for drivers and passers-by.

    [The voodoo rests against a tree at the Patagonia campus. Ventura, California. All photos: Craig Holloway]

    Continue reading "The Voodoo Bike" »

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