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Blacksburg was the last stop on our tour. We’d ridden our way through the artisanally-choked gaps and valleys of Vermont and across the slate gray gravel and hidden roads that crisscross the hills surrounding State College, PA. We had done some great riding, superb riding, world-class riding, but we hadn’t done enough swimming or trail shredding, we hadn’t properly lounged at camp or taken time to perfect our hacky sack skills. Up to this point we had been GO GO GO. No, we weren’t head down drilling, but it is very easy to underestimate the time it takes to perform a day of bikepacking. There’s the act of cooking breakfast, of breaking camp, of riding 40-60 miles, of setting up camp, of eating again, and then of going to sleep, not to mention the countless other little starts, stops, asides and ad-libs that are bound to happen. If you’re us—seven wonderfully imaginative and excitable beings—then you know this process takes ALL DAY.

So while contemplating our next ride in the charged atmosphere of a roofers convention (our digs at the Blacksburg Comfort Inn were obviously a de facto barracks/nightclub for a regiment of these burnt red workers), we decided that on this trip we would go Hub & Spoke. It is unclear whether the term Hub & Spoke is an established idiom for describing base camp-style bikepacking, but really it doesn’t matter—the important thing is that the description definitely relates to bikes and that deploying this style meant we were only had to set up camp once. So we enacted Project Hub & Spoke. 17-ish miles outside of Blacksburg we stumbled upon an unoccupied group campsite with the follow amenities:

  1. A big fire ring
  2. Running water for filtering
  3. Clean toilets
  4. A large and very comfortable grass field
  5. Comfortable distance from the access road
  6. A horseshoe pit with horse shoes

“This would be our home, from which we’d strike out on our daily adventures which included Tubing, Trail Riding, Pizza Eating, and Community Relations.”

After three days of rural Virginia hedonism we realized that the bicycle isn’t just about pushing limits. Its beauty is its function, and though it is capable of taking you to the ends of your endurance, it is equally at home riding ten miles to explore your own backyard. It was as if we were seeing adventure, bicycling, and the outdoor experience through new eyes. Had we been rushing to accrue miles simply for the purpose of accruing miles? Were we killing ourselves just to see another stretch of gravel no different than the one in front of us?

To be fair, there is a time and a place for exertion and we wouldn’t trade our hard days for the world because these hard days are often revelatory personally and socially. But by changing pace, by slowing down our rush to pedal, we discovered that when we give ourselves the time to wander and muse, allow ourselves the space to experience the world as it naturally presents itself, we find that it has always been there, cloaked in a veil of planning and drive. We realized that all it takes is a bit of time and a curious mind to find an unexpected and beautiful experience.

“The bicycle, at its most basic level, is a machine for experience and a catalyst for the unexpected. And if you want it to, it will open your eyes to possibility. As far as we’re concerned that’s as good as it can possibly get.”

Official East Coast Tour Artwork By Dan Funderburgh Creative Brief The East Coast is old and colonial or whatever, and as such it's rich in tradition and history. But tradition and history are boring unless someone tricks you into consuming tradition and history by hiding them in stories. Stories are exciting and engaging. Nowadays we mostly tell stories using the Internet and Snapchat, but back in the Pilgrim days we didn't have electricity or words so story telling was often done orally. Early settlers also used "physical objects" like the printing press and quilts to tell their stories and pass down their histories. Story quilts don't require a formal education, just talent, creativity and some yarn. For that reason and that reason alone, we worked with visual artist Dan Funderburgh to create a talisman in the form of a quit, or "tapestry," featuring key elements of our East Coast Bikepacking Campaign, something that would protect us and guide us, and precede us. If it helps, you can think of it as as a visual emissary and banner under which we launched ourselves into the heart of early American History.
Benedict Wheeler, aka @ultraromance.
Mary Lytle, aka @maryroselytle.
Sarah Swallow, aka @swallowbicycleworks.
Chris Tank, aka @ctankcycles aka "BuckWild".
Moi Medina aka @moi_is_moi.
Kyle von Hoetzendorff, aka @newantarctica.
Daniel Pasley aka @yonderjournal.

POPPI’S PUBLIC RESTROOMS & PIZZERIA: RECIPE #2

 

Poppi is a full service Bike-Packing Guide and East Coast Aficionado. Does he know where to find the covered’est of bridges?, you bet he does. What about the primo dirt roads?, the ones with a buffed-out surfaces, no cars and countless dead possums?, ummm, duh. Haunted Tunnels anyone??? The nearest artisanal co-op? Poppi knows it all! But his instruction and guidance doesn’t end there, he also knows how to (safely) subsist on weeds and wild edible plants and trash found on the side of the road and behind abandoned buildings. With this in mind, Yonder Journal is proud to present a series of recipes from Poppi’s forthcoming cookbook called Poppi’s Public Restrooms and Pizza.

Poppi’s “Black Raspberry Slop”

  1. This is a real nice breakfast treat that goes in like wallpaper paste, binds up to whatever else you ate, and comes back out like wallpaper paste. A classic at Poppi’s.
  2. Ingredient #1: Berries. Really any berries will do, even raisins if you are a forage failure. I’ve been there.
  3. Ingredient #2: Quick Oats. Half a pot or so, Bob’s are the best.
  4. Ingredient #3: Pinch of Salt. Use Celtic if you have the choice.
  5. Ingredient #4: Coconut Oil. Three sporks.
  6. Ingredient #5: Coconut Sugar or Honey. To taste.

Side Note: On Cooking Oats

What most people in modern times don’t know is that if you just cook raw oats or other grains and eat them, you are basically pummeling yer gut with a mound of difficult-to-digest spackle. This spackle is enhanced with enzyme inhibitors that bind to the good stuff you would ordinarily get from yer properly prepared breakfast. So yer like “Poppi, how do I properly prep my gourmet breakfast wallpaper paste?” Well it’s really simple, soak the oats over night. If you wanna take it another step, add a scoop of yogurt or a dash of vinegar to up the acidity. This breaks down the inhibitors and basically pre-digests the slop for you. This is especially important if yer about to get on the bike or into the gym right away or go swimming. No one wants to puke in the pool. Ok, so that’s out of he way.

  1. Step #1: Soak yer oats over night.
  2. Step #2: Pour off any excess water in the morning.
  3. Step #3: Start cooking the oats at a low temp on yer stove.
  4. Step #4: Be sure to stir, cuz they will burn to the bottom.
  5. Step #5: Add in the oil, sugar, and salt.
  6. Step #6: Lastly add in yer berries.
  7. Step #7: For an extra boost and blast, add sum hemp seeds.
  8. Step #8: You should now have a nice slop.

Seven FYIs

  1. The Virginia Slice is a obscenely gigantic slice of pizza. According to the staff from Benny’s in Blacksburg everyone already knows this. So clearly this isn’t news to you.
  2. The rapids at the New River Junction Tube Float are more fearsome in appearance than in practice.
  3. If you end up sleeping at the Boley Field Group Campground on a full moon, expect to see a long distance runner ghost and his long distance runner ghost dog.
  4. If you are better at bike riding than Kyle, then the jump line in the Jefferson National Forest is totally doable on a loaded bikepacking rig. If you are worse at riding bikes than him, we suggest you steer clear.
  5. Unless you enjoy altercations, steer clear of taking photographs of the puppy farm/hamster house/outlaw castle on the road between Boley Field and the New River Junction.
  6. SUNSCREEN. Just put it on in the morning and remember to reapply in the afternoon. Don’t take my word for it, take Mary’s.
  7. Uber can pick you up at the New River Junction NO PROBLEM.

Specialized Sequoia

The Sequoia climbs like a MTB on MTB trails and rides like a road bike on road bike roads, and on the in-between it rides just how you please.
01
SPECIALIZED SEQUOIA

02
SRAM FORCE 1

03
TUBELESS WHEELS & TIRES

04
SEA TO SUMMIT STUFF SACKS

05
SPECIALIZED BURRA BURRA BAGS

06
POLER ORANGE LABEL BACKPACK

07
SARAH SWALLOW

08
DEAD RECKONING BOTTLE

09
PABST BLUE RIBBON PARTY PACK

SPECIALIZED SEQUOIA
  1. Hot off the presses! This baby is so damn new. It’s next-year new. Future new. All the right things in all the right places new.
  2. It climbs like a MTB on MTB trails and rides like a road bike on road bike roads, and on the in-between it rides just how you please.
  3. Thru-axles for tidy driving and zero power loss.
  4. Carbon fork? Yep, I told you this was a future machine.
  5. It’s also got flared drop bars, so when the going gets steep and nasty you have the leverage you need to guide yourself down the trail.
SRAM FORCE 1
  1. My friends, it is time that you freed yourself from they tyranny of a front derailleur! You no longer need to be a slave to the second shifter or at the the grinding mercy of cross-chaining!
  2. The answer is 1×11.
  3. Yes, all the gearing you need in a simple elegant one-shifter solution. Remember a time when your phone and voicemail were two separate things? Well the front derailiuer is soon to go the way of the answering machine. Don’t trust us, trust you.
TUBELESS WHEELS & TIRES
  1. MUST MUST MUST MUST
  2. Do you feed your car hay? Do you watch TV by candlelight? Do you wakeboard behind a sailboat? No, so why would you put tubes in your tires? Get the net, the times have changed and so should you!
SEA TO SUMMIT STUFF SACKS
  1. We don’t use Sea to Summit stuff sacks because the sponsor us (they don’t).
  2. We use them because they work really really really well.
  3. They’ve even got these amazing bags with eVent fabric on the end opposite the load hole, which allows air to flow out for maximum compression ability without sacrificing waterproofness. Kind of genius.
  4. Sleeping bags, clothes, anything that needs to stay dry goes in one of these.
SPECIALIZED BURRA BURRA BAGS
  1. Leather Bar black and stealthy.
  2. The Burra Burra seat bag features an anti-sway support bar so the back of your thighs don’t get bumped.
  3. The Burra Burra handlebar bag has a fixed mount system that keeps the system from rubbing the front of your bike. Your headtube is not going to get a blister when running this baby.
  4. The Burra Burra top tube and frame bags, what is there to say? You can put stuff in these, stuff stays in these, water doesn’t get into these. In short these put your mind at ease.
POLER ORANGE LABEL BACKPACK
  1. Laptop sleeve? ✓
  2. Hydration bladder pouch? ✓
  3.  Ripstop fabric? ✓
  4. Futuristic magnetic buckles? ✓
  5. Removable back support & hipbelt? ✓
  6. Approximately 100 pockets and stash spots? ✓
  7. Waterproof rolltop? ✓
  8. Eye-pleasing green and orange motif? ✓
  9. Basically this is the neo-tech Poler gear. It represents the leap from Poler’s comfortable car camping abode into world of wolves, avalanches, and multi-day hiking treks.
SARAH SWALLOW
  1. Complete badass.
  2. Competent in-a-pinch field doctor.
  3. Stylish cycling bon vivant.
  4. Fluent in navigation and GPS management techniques.
  5. Sarah Sarah Sarah Sarah Sarah Sarah Sarah Sarah!
DEAD RECKONING BOTTLE
  1. Studies have shown that drinking liquids from this bottle is guaranteed to increase happiness, energize the spirit, and boost fertility. Please drink from these bottles responsibly.
  2. We would tell you to go buy one or two, but they’re sold out now. Will we make more? Maybe. But you shouldn’t have left it to chance.
PABST BLUE RIBBON PARTY PACK
  1. Sometimes you just need a little escape.
  2. But sometimes in those sometimes you don’t have a lot of money.
  3. And sometimes in those sometimes you find yourself in a spot where you don’t have a lot to choose from.
  4. But a little bit of mind numbing elixir, no matter the quality or whatever is better than no mind numbing elixir.
  5. Also, the box works great as a trash can to help carry out all your goods. (Use a long strap to hold it all together.)
Packing List

Food

  • ITEM QUANTITY SUGGESTED
  • Freeze-Dried Meals 1/day Mountain House Mexican Rice and Chicken a la King Pro Paks
  • Oatmeal 2/day Quaker Oats Brown Sugar and Maple
  • Bar #1 2/day Clif Mojo
  • Bar #2 2/day Clif Kit's Organic
  • GORP 3oz/day Bulk aisle
  • Jerky 3oz/day Teriyaki or Mangoes
  • Candy 3oz/day Haribo Gummy Bears
  • Chips 2oz/day Kettle Sea Salt
  • Tortillas 10 Fajita-sized
  • Cheese 8oz Extra Sharp Cheddar
  • Salami 1 log Artisanal
  • Coffee 3/day Stumptown
Packing List

Clothing

  • ITEM QUANTITY SUGGESTED
  • Bibshorts 1 Specialized SWAT
  • Overshorts 1 Mission Workshop The Stahl
  • Gloves 1 Specialized BG Ridge
  • Cycling Cap 1 MFS
  • Socks 2 Outlier or Swiftwick Merino
  • Shoes 1 Specialized Recon
  • Helmet 1 Specialized Airnet
  • T-Shirt 1 Mission Workshop Linear Merino
  • Underwear 1 Icebreaker
  • LS Baselayer 1 Icebreaker
  • Puffy 1 Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer
  • Camp Hat 1 Pink Poler Rayon
  • Camp Shoes 1 Crocs
  • Glove Liners 1 Wool or synthetic
  • Camp Shirt 1 Cotton Poler T-Shirt
  • Camp Shorts 1 Poler River Chino Shorts
Packing List

Gear

  • ITEM QUANTITY SUGGESTED
  • Seat Bag 1 Specialized Burra Burra
  • Frame Bag 1 Specialized Burra Burra
  • Handlebar Bag 1 Specialized Burra Burra
  • Top Tube Bag 1 Specialized Burra Burra
  • Mini Tool 1 Specialized EMT PRO MTB
  • Patch Kit 1 Rema
  • Tubes 2 Freshies
  • Tire Levers 2 Whatevs
  • Bottles Lots Maybe a few that don't smell
  • Mini Pum 1 Specialized Air Tool Flex
  • Spare Parts 1 Leatherman with pliers, tire boots, spare levers, chain links, shifter cable, nuts & bolts, zip ties, Gorilla Tape, etc.
  • Tent 1 Hyperlite Mountain Gear Cuben Flat Tarp (w/ Ruta Locura poles)
  • Sleeping Bag 1 Mountain Hardwear Phantom
  • Stuff Sacks A few Sea to Summit eVAC
  • Sleeping Pad 1 Thermarest NeoAir Xlite
  • Knife/tool 1 Leatherman Wave
  • Headlamp 1 Snow Peak Mola (w/ fresh batteries)
  • Cup 1 Snow Peak Ti
  • Spork 1 Snow Peak Ti #sporklife
  • Bandana 1 One with a map on it
  • Teeth Stuff 1 Dentist recommended
  • Book 1 Paul Beatty's The Sellout
  • Lighter 2 Bic
  • Sunscreen 1 Waterproof
  • Sunglasses 1 Oakley Frogskins
  • Repair Kit 1 Needle & thread, sleeping pad patches, Tenacious Tape
  • Sharpe 1 Wrap it in Gorilla Tape
  • Wet Wipes 1 Soft Pack
  • Water FIlter 1/2 people MSR Sweetwater
  • Soap 1 Dr Bronner's Almond
  • Stove 1/2 people Snow Peak GigaPower
  • Fuel 2/week/stove Snow Peak GigaPower 220g
  • Cord 50ft Paracord
  • First Aid Kit 1 Homemade