April 3, 2010

Wend magazine and Bicycle Times

Wend magazine (www.wendmag.com) ran a few of my images in a photo essay on bikepacking in their current issue. Wend is a great, independent magazine for environmentally aware adventure lovers. You can get a copy at REI, newsstands, or check out a digital version on their website. Here's what they ran, plus my intro text for the piece...

If you’ve ridden a bicycle you’ve felt it — the magnetic pull of the open road or trail. Whether you are 3 or 93, there’s something inherent in riding a bike that makes you want to explore, to see what’s around the block, in the next town, over the far mountains. It’s no surprise that shortly after the bicycle’s invention, cyclist Thomas Stevens became the first person to chase the horizon around the entire planet, circumnavigating the globe in 1886.
But while road cyclists with panniers and trailers have been indulging their wanderlust and rambling freely over the Earth for over a century, mountain bikers have been more or less limited to day rides, forced to return to civilization each night. Sure, there are dirt roads, but the wild trails leading into the backcountry, the mountains, the alpine, were out of reach for multi-day riding.
Until now. 
Thanks to gear breakthroughs in the ultralight backpacking world, it’s now possible to carry a complete camping setup into the backcountry that weighs ten pounds or less. For the last few years a fringe group of mountain bikers in the Rocky Mountain West have been experimenting with this gear, riding for days at a time into some of our wildest mountainscapes with everything they need on their bikes and backs. 
It’s called bikepacking, and this is what it looks like.


They also put me in the Contributors section up front. Here's a little magazine secret: people always write their own bios for these things. So if you see a bio talking about how awesome someone is, just remember that they're saying it about themselves. As a born-and-raised Minnesotan (where modesty reigns), I struggle mightily with tooting my own horn, so I've never been very good at self-promotion. Seems to me a person's work should speak for itself, you know? But it doesn't always work that way, so I'm trying to get better at promoting my work. I won a Lowell Thomas writing award here in the U.S. last year, so after snaring a Canadian writing award recently (the Northern Lights Award) a friend of mine advised me to call myself an "internationally award-winning writer." I laughed at the time, but he wasn't kidding. So when it came time to write my bio for Wend I grudgingly followed his advice...

In other news, the new-ish magazine Bicycle Times, published by the fine folks over at Dirt Rag, included me in a panel of bicycle touring "experts" for a piece in their current issue. They ask a few people what they bring on tour, how they pack it, etc. When I answered the questions, I didn't know they were publishing them verbatim, so I didn't answer very colorfully. When I saw the article, I realized I should have put more verve into my answers; I come across like I'm all business. Regardless, the piece is a good one for people looking to learn more about touring. They used a couple of my images in the piece, including one of my son Silas standing by our tandem up in Banff. The article is now online and whaddya know, they used the picture of Silas to illustrate it....

I'll wrap up this post with a bit from Bicycle Times where they asked me to define my touring style...

"I love exploring wild places, the wilder the better, so I always go as light as possible. But unlike a lot of the ultralight crowd, I'm not interested in speed. You miss everything if you go too fast. So call me a light-and-slow wilderness bikepacker." 


  1. That is awesome. I don't know if 'fringe' is a word I would use anymore. I have been bikepacking with a group here in Arizona since 2006. I like to look back at all the changes and things we have built over the years to get to the ultralight setups that we currently have!

  2. Nice job Aaron. You are getting around and that's a good thing.

  3. dig the WEND spread. getting around Kid? Teasdale's a married man:)

  4. Never knew that people had to write their own bios - talking about blowing your own horn! Thought yours was pretty modest though, all told :)

    Totally agree also that having a bike is a recipe for adventure - lets you go further than on foot, but to waaay less accessible places than a car will take you. Awesome post :D