Tag Archives: Utah

The long road home.

Cars equal comfort.  They make things easier, faster, and less committing.  When you drive to the crag or the trailhead, it’s like you’re leaving a safety net in the parking lot.  With a bike, not so much.  When the day is done or the climb is over, there’s no jumping in the rig and punching the cruise control home.  When you’re cycling for transportation, the ride home is as integral a part of the climb as the summit, whether it’s a few blocks home from the gym, or a week-long ride back from the desert.  The lesson is this: the climb isn’t over when you reach the top.  You’ve still got to get down, you’ve still got to get home.  When you’re on the bike, there’s no easy escape, no quick way to pull the plug.  This requires commitment and dedication, but it also builds patience and understanding.

This is the last installment in our series of trip reports from the fall’s Pilgrims of Gnar expedition.  At 35 days and over 1500 miles of riding, this experience taught us a lot about ourselves, each other, and life on the bike.  A journey this long tends to change your perspective and leave you in a daze, but even as you readjust to the world around you, the important lessons and values avoid erosion.

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Lessons Learned

We each want to progress, to learn and improve.  Each generation is not only lucky enough to build upon the efforts of those before us, but we too act, practice and refine our thoughts, our crafts, and our lives to be more in line with an evolving world view.  As climbers and adventurers we strike off, in an effort to learn more about life by experiencing it in extremes.  As we scratch the surface, the experiences call us back again and again, and soon we become more proficient and comfortable with the logistics, trouble, and physical hardship that often go along with these trips.  We learn from friends and relatives, books and movies, and of course our own personal adventures.  Certain disciplines call us, whether it be bouldering or alpine climbing, creek-boating or surfing, as the specialists we are we devour this lifestyle completely, striving to understand every angle and aspect of it’s execution.  Along the way we come to understand more about ourselves and the world, and subsequently the relationship between each.

This concept of bicycle-powered adventure is not new, and there are seemingly more and more resources appearing every day on it’s subject.  While I do not claim much experience from my limited adventures, from the meager amount I’ve learned along the way, I do wish to add my voice to the chorus of encouragement.  Truth is this is all still so new to me, and although we’ve been living the bicycle-life for about two and a half years, I constantly find myself exploring new aspects that keep it fresh, challenging, and exciting.  This was the first trip I’ve ever done that involved skis, only the second that involved snow, and the first that involved multiple stages of shipping gear.  In an effort to clear away some of the confusion, and help with the logistics of your own ride, I wanted to share as much of this knowledge as I can, in hopes that you’ll be able to take it one step farther, while doing it easier.  While in no way comprehensive, chronological, or even ordered, what’s below is one part trip report, one part advice, and three parts rambling rhetoric, enjoy.

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Front Door Expeditions

It’s amazing how much planning and preparation can go into an idea you’re not even sure will succeed.  Starting an expedition from your front door, you never really know how far you’ll make it.  To sputter to a stop, achieving failure before you even make it out of the neighborhood is always a possibility, and a constant fear. This trip has been in the works for some time: evolving, growing, changing.  First we were riding west, then south, now north, every idea and adventure has been thought through, and what we’re left with is what we’ve got.  Hatched in the mind of Alta, the possibilities and prospects of this trip seemed endless, climbing, skiing, desert, mountains, anything is possible.  Now we’ve made it out into the world, out of one reality and into another.  Ever so slowly we will separate ourselves from this reality, from friends, family and the rest of society.  It’s taken a week but we’ve made it this far, to a friends house in Ogden ready to start our ride.  Last minute errands for gear, a food drop, and other non essentials and we managed to schlep our junk show onto the train and catch a ride out of SLC.  I’m not above this level of help.  This is not a trip, an adventure, a vacation or a sufferfest, it is my life and it will be all of those things.  Getting JB on this trip will be rewarding but separating him and myself from our previous reality at Alta will be challenging.  We’ve got over 25 days to get to Boise and enough gear to have some fun along the way.  City of Rocks is our first destination that I’m hoping will take two to three days.  The impressive Sawtooth mountains await along with another 200+ mile ride to Stanley.  Wilderness and solitude call as we stand on the edge of the Utah valley. We’re finally hitting the road today and I just wanted to pass it along here, keep in touch if you can, your words of stoke and encouragement mean a lot to us.  FACETAGRAM will be in full effect @natureofmotion.  It’s amazing how much planning and preparation can go into an idea you’re not even sure will succeed.  Starting an expedition from your front door, you never really know how far you’ll make it.  To sputter to a stop, achieving failure before you even make it out of the neighborhood is always a possibility, and a constant fear. This trip has been in the works for some time: evolving, growing, changing.  First we were riding west, then south, now north, every idea and adventure has been thought through, and what we’re left with is what we’ve got.  Hatched in the mind of Alta, the possibilities and prospects of this trip seemed endless, climbing, skiing, desert, mountains, anything is possible.  Now we’ve made it out into the world, out of one reality and into another.  Ever so slowly we will separate ourselves from this reality, from friends, family and the rest of society.  It’s taken a week but we’ve made it this far, to a friends house in Ogden ready to start our ride.  Last minute errands for gear, a food drop, and other non essentials and we managed to schlep our junk show onto the train and catch a ride out of SLC.  I’m not above this level of help.  This is not a trip, an adventure, a vacation or a sufferfest, it is my life and it will be all of those things.  Getting JB on this trip will be rewarding but separating him and myself from our previous reality at Alta will be challenging.  We’ve got over 25 days to get to Boise and enough gear to have some fun along the way.  City of Rocks is our first destination that I’m hoping will take two to three days.  The impressive Sawtooth mountains await along with another 200+ mile ride to Stanley.  Wilderness and solitude call as we stand on the edge of the Utah valley. We’re finally hitting the road today and I just wanted to pass it along here, keep in touch if you can, your words of stoke and encouragement mean a lot to us.  FACETAGRAM is in full effect @natureofmotion, I’ll be throwing pictures up there when we can.  See y’all on the other side. I’ll be throwing pictures up there when we can.  See y’all on the other side.

(Another) Case for Place

Winters, for me, have always been a practice in hibernation.  Not in the most literal sense, and I haven’t always seen things this way, but as my time here continues to unfold and my views and values continue to evolve, it’s easy to see how the seasons affect many changes in my life.  My food, sleep, work, my mobility, my drive, and so much more, all are grounded and shaped by the colder months, where and how I spend them.  This year marks the ninth winter season I’ve come to Alta, Utah.  Each of these seasons has seen progression, regression, evolution and expansion.  I’ve loved, learned, limped, and continued to move forward.  While I’ve never had a vehicle with me for any of my winters here, it’s only been since 2008 that I haven’t owned a car year round, and only in the last two years that I’ve truly embraced the bike.  This season makes the second winter of Nature of Motion, and it’s interesting to see the hint of a pattern here.  Winter is truly a time for introversion, a time for reflection and renewal.  As I look back, look forward, and look inward, I continue to notice new things, re-connect with the familiar, and find my creative spark to progress.  It’s easy to look to the side of the screen and see the pattern, the abundance of posts and activity in the summer months, and the scarcity in the winter.  Granted, there’s been a lot more than just my change in transportation in these last few years, but I think that reflects a lot of what goes on behind the scenes.  Recently, I’ve been thinking and journaling a lot about this topic, this sort of seasonality and localism that plays on my life each winter.  March is usually when I start to wake up and dig myself out from the haze of the winter, it’s also the month of my birth, so it’s a pretty appropriate time to be reflecting inward on my progress and position.  A little over a year ago I wrote a piece on this subject entitled A Case for Place. Here now with a year gone by and I find myself in the same place, thinking along the same lines.  But what do I have to add?  What have I learned or how have a grown?  I find it helpful to look back first, to gain some of this perspective of time and place, so before I spewed out all the nonsense below I took a minute to read the original piece, if you’ve got a minute, and think it’d help you too, check it out here. Enjoy.

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A Word on Gear

 
I’m not really one to write about gear.  Talk about it, obsess over it, over-analyze it, yes, but there’s something about personal blogs that feature gear reviews and gear talk that makes me nauseas.  I didn’t start this to get free gear, free trips, whore myself or promote the continuation of our material culture that is leading to the degradation of our environment.  Lest you believe I’m a total cynic about this sort of thing have yourself a read of Craig Childs’ piece of the “Buying and Selling of Nature”, and Dane’s piece about the “Elite” attitude of sporting becoming the norm.  Although these pieces might not actually say much it is a pretty good jumping off point for the conversation of the amazing duality that exists between outdoor enthusiasts and the material “gear” culture that we’re so entwined with.  We rely on our gear, it’s a huge part of what is enabling us to push our boundaries and find new limits.  You’ll not be finding a thousand-word blow-fest about a mid-layer polartec hoody here, we can leave that for the “athletes” with pretty faces who’s job it is to sell things. Mostly themselves.  What I do want to offer you is a glimpse at the gear I use, how normal and average it is, how it fits on the bike, and how easy it is for you to make the transformation yourself.
The impetus for this post is a recently published write-up of our Zion trip to my friend Ed’s site VerticalMinded.com.  If you haven’t yet, check it out, it’s mostly a bunch of pictures but there’s a little bit of the insight and reflections that went into (and came out of) that trip.  I don’t plan on re-posting it here but I thought I would instead include few things that I left out of that posting, mainly, a look into the gear we use, what we brought, and how you can do it too.  In the hopes that others might follow suit, here’s a quick look into our panniers, our minds, our bags of gear, and why packing all of the same stuff into your car is weak sauce.  Enjoy.

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Year of the Bike

For those of you that missed it, 2013 was Salt Lake City’s Year of the Bike.  Personally, a claim like that brings to mind the far reaching social and infrastructural changes required to undermine urban motorized transportation, make cycling the primary mode of personal transportation, and take a big step towards ending the air pollution or “inversion” that has become a near constant threat to the health of SLC’s Residents.  Laws prohibiting single occupancy vehicles, expanded bike lanes and trails, economic incentives for cycling… Basically shutting down all vehicular traffic inside city limits except for trucks, buses and trains is pretty much what I have in mind when I think of a city giving over an entire year for the advocacy and awareness of bicycling.  Claiming anything as “Year of” should mean it’s influence is far greater than any other social or political force.  Think, Year of the Axe Murdering Homeless Man, or, Year of the West Valley City Gonorrhea Infection.  Although those might be titles you’d affix after the point, they pretty well capture what has happened.  So looking back on the last year, it’s hard to notice any real changes in Salt Lake’s transportation hierarchy.  Although I’m not a resident of SLC, and my time spent there usually amounts to a few weeks in the spring and fall, from my perch atop Little Cottonwood Canyon it’s easy to look down and see the murky, poisonous soup, and know damn well that it’s not a bunch of cyclists that’ve caused it.  But while SLC didn’t under go any major cycling-themed transformations, they’ve still managed to put together a few initiatives worth mentioning.  Also, in honor and celebration of the year gone by, I’ve dumped a bunch of pictures and captions in the following post that wrap up our bike-powered adventures in and around SLC this fall.  

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Pfeiffer-Porn

 
Although this is a re-run of a post I did for The Skierboyz, I thought I’d share it with you here as well.  Gives you a look into some of our off-duty wintertime activities.  Journalistic integrity aside, I’m not above re-publishing some low-key writing and pictures of a good time.  Enjoy!

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