This week’s Debrief features the winner of the 2023 Buckshot, Esker singlespeed builds, Fairweather rain ponchos, the ATB Challenge, two events to follow live, and more. Find it all here…
The weekly Debrief highlights small but important bits of news, products, and things that caught our attention on the website, in the conversation, and elsewhere around the community. These include upcoming events and interesting items our readers shared in the comments. Check out this week’s findings below.
Bits & Bobs
New products that are worth highlighting but didn’t make the Dispatch…
Esker Singlespeed Builds
Made in Taiwan / $2,850 at Esker Cycles
Esker Cycles just added singlespeed build options for the Japhy and Hayduke, taking full advantage of their Portage Dropout System to make tensioning the chain nice and easy. The builds feature a Marzocchi Z2 120mm fork, Industry Nine 1/1 Enduro S wheels, Shimano XT Cranks with a Wolf Tooth chainring, and Shimano XT 4-piston brakes.
Knog Blinder Front Light Collection
Made in Taiwan / $59.95-$99.95 at Knog
Melbourne, Australia-based Knog just released an expanded collection of three all-new Blinder front lights that feature a robust aluminum CNC construction, compact design, optimized beam angles, multiple mounting options, and a competitive price per lumen. The new models offer 600, 900, or 1,300 lumens to suit varying budgets and lightning needs for commuters, bikepackers, and road riders alike. All of them have several modes, USB-C charging, side illumination windows, intelligent button LEDs that show battery level, a 100% waterproof IP67 rating, and more.
Topo Designs x Tenkara Co. Fly Fishing Kit
$250 at Tenkara Rod Co
Topo Designs and Tenkara Rod Co just launched a collaborative fly fishing kit that looks like a good lightweight option for bikefishing. The bundle includes a 10.5-foot medium action Tenkara Sierra Rog, a rod tube, rod sock, line, line holder, three hand-tied Tenkara flies, a spool of 5x tippet, plus a minimalist fishing bag and line wallet from Topo Designs. The rod collapses down to 20 inches and features a carbon and cork construction that weighs just 2.8 ounces.
Memorial Day Sales!
If you’ve been saving up for some fresh new bikepacking gear, there are several Memorial Day sales going on right now that are worth checking out. Here are a few that caught our eye. Almost the entire Revelate Designs webshop is 25% off, Spurcycle bells and bottles are 15% off with code TIME2RIDE-15, Burley trailers are 20% off, Blackburn Design has a bunch of gear up to 25% off, and Inside Line Equipment is having a big archive sale (with bags going fast!).
New Fairweather Packable Rain Poncho Colors
$113 at Blue Lug
Blue Lug over in Japan just announced a restock of their Fairweather Packable Rain Ponchos, and they’ve added two new color options as well: navy/slate and green/coyote. They are lightweight, made from 100% ripstop nylon, have an integrated hood, thumb loops to keep the poncho in place, and the seams are sealed for a 100% waterproof construction.
Exchanges and ideas that caught our attention in the site’s conversation section…
Community-led Bikepacking 101
A reader left a comment on the main Bikepacking 101 page the other day when we published the big update asking us to compile a list of community-led bikepacking events. This is a great idea even if it’s a little daunting. There are a lot of shops and community organizers pulling together guided trips, multi-part introductory talks/rides, and other such “bikepacking 101-style” activities. “Maybe it’s time to compile a list of both ambassadors who offer free outings as well as for-profit outfitters and rental businesses as a resource to those who want to try bikepacking with no commitment.” We’d love to and our gears are turning. If you know someone who regularly offers a similar event or ride, let us know in the conversation below.
Around the Community
News from around the bikepacking world…
United in Gravel | SHIMANO
Shimano’s latest video, United in Gravel, compiles four years of their footage to show that gravel riders are as diverse as the surface types they ride. “That is the magic of gravel riding. A community strengthened by individuality.”
Bikepacking The SoCal Desert Ramble
The SoCal Desert Ramble offers 500 miles of meandering tracks through beautiful mountains, the Salton Sea, washes of the Anza Borrego Desert, and funky places like Slab City. Ryan Van Duzer rode the route last winter and just released an extended cut video about it.
Meaghan Hackinen Wins the 2023 Buckshot
The Buckshot is a 420-kilometer bikepacking race out of Kamloops, British Columbia. It’s designed as a warmup for the longer 1,000-kilometer BC Epic that starts later this summer. The 2023 grand depart took off last weekend with 45 riders signed up for live tracking. Meaghan Hackinen finished first with a time of just 18 hours and 5 minutes. She was followed by Mike Coulter (18h, 45m) and Riley Webb (18h, 59m). Congrats, Meaghan!
Season 3 ATB Challenge Applications Open
Applications for Season 3 of the ATB Challenge are open, and the deadline to apply is June 7th. The rules are simple: form a team of three, design a 200-mile route that’s at least 50% off-road, fill out the application form online, and if you’re chosen, you’ll need to complete your route on June 31st. Learn more here.
Events Starting Soon
What to watch this weekend and bikepacking events starting soon…
2023 Highland Trail 550
The Highland Trail is a 550-mile self-supported mountain bike route with over 16,000 meters of climbing. It was inspired by events in the US like the Tour Divide and particularly the Colorado Trail Race (CTR). The grand depart takes off from the village of Tyndrum tomorrow at 9 a.m., and you can follow along live here. Don’t forget to dig into the Rigs of the 2023 Highland Trail 550, linked at the bottom of this page.
2023 All Points North
All Points North is a 1,000-kilometer self-supported, ultra-distance endurance cycling event around the north of England. There are 10 checkpoints to visit, but you choose your own route between them and the order in which you visit them. Once out on the road, you will need to be completely self-sufficient and are unable to accept outside assistance. The rookie group started earlier this week, and the 72-hour riders started today, follow their progress live here.
2023 Odyssey of the VOG
Odyssey of the VOG is a self-supported bikepacking race through some of the most rugged terrain on the Oregon Coast, and it gets its name from the 51 acres of massive old growth forest found on the North Fork Siletz River at the western edge of Polk County, Oregon. The grand depart takes off from Salem this Saturday at 9 a.m., and there are currently over 20 riders signed up on Trackleaders. Follow along live here.
Wish We Were Here
Shedding a little light on a route one of us is dreaming about riding at the moment…
Neil Beltchenko: Peru
International travel hits differently, as was the case with our honeymoon trip to Peru in 2018. Peru is a stunning place and an even better bikepacking destination—if you can handle the extreme elevations, that is. This week, I was reminiscing on this trip, which was filled with lots of new experiences, wonderful locals, delicious food, lung-busting climbs, and memories to last a lifetime.
Some things we found around the ‘gram and elsewhere. This week, a handful of updates from the 2023 Race Through Poland event…
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