This week on Reader’s Rig, we scope out Brad Wade’s Specialized AWOL, complete with a set of homemade frame bags. Born with just one lung, Brad has been defying the odds by pedaling his AWOL on long tours around his region of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, and beyond. Find details here…

I’m Brad Wade from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. I really enjoy overnight tours through rural areas of my province. I’m an up-and-coming teacher as I’m finishing my education degree at the Grenfell Campus in Corner Brook with my fiancée. In my spare time I enjoy researching indigenous cultures and traditions, LGBTQ2SA+ culture, making kombucha, cycling advocacy (hosting local Critical Mass rides), DIY culture, hiking, climbing, and environmental stewardship. I’m a mixed bag of things, really.

I’m also a cardiac patient and I have one lung (congenital). My doctors wanted me to live in a bubble but I decided against that at a young age. I was an active kid growing up, but team sports like basketball or football were not options for me. I enjoyed biking because I could get around at my own pace. I joined a cycling club in my middle school and I’ve been riding ever since. Seeing my community (and others) from the seat of my bike allows me to really feel the topography. The slower pace also allows me to see things that you would normally miss by car. It has really changed my life for the better as it has become more of a lifestyle than a “sport,” if you will.

  • Brad Wade's Specialized AWOL
  • Brad Wade's Specialized AWOL

After selling my car in 2015, I commuted by on old Specialized Hardrock for a year. In the summer of 2015, I toured the Irish Loop, a nearby 345 km route that goes through many Irish communities. Once I knew I enjoyed touring, I constantly researched for the right touring bike. I bought the AWOL in September 2016 from my local shop, Canary Cycles, and it has been my daily driver for three seasons of the year. With inspiration from Sarah Swallow and Lael Wilcox, I designed my own bikepacking bags. Because I use the bike for commuting, overnights, and long tours, I have many setups with panniers or a full frame bag. I’ve also upgraded the smallest chainring for the steep hills of Newfoundland, an SP dynamo hub, and a Specialized Power Saddle.

Brad Wade's Specialized AWOL
  • Brad Wade's Specialized AWOL
  • Brad Wade's Specialized AWOL
  • Brad Wade's Specialized AWOL
  • Brad Wade's Specialized AWOL
  • Brad Wade's Specialized AWOL

In the summer of 2017, after finishing my environmental geoscience degree, I biked from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to Vancouver, British Columbia, via Seattle, Washington, and Portland on the Green Riders tour, led by Rob Greenfield. It was a grassroots cross country bike tour that encompassed dumpster diving, planting fruit trees, and picking up garbage that went through major metro areas and indigenous reservations. On the 100-day tour I realized I realllllly like long days in the saddle (having ridden close to ten 100 mile days), climbing, and going fast. I’m a fan of aero bars for days like this and will most likely add a carbon gravel bike and a plus-sized mountain bike to my quiver for other adventures. Before my wedding this summer, I’m planning an ITT of the Irish Loop and hope to complete it under 48 hours.

With my current research, I am building a route and making connections to do a self-supported tour from Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories, to Cape Spear, Newfoundland, via Vancouver Island and North West River, Labrador, from reserve to reserve, as my form of reconciliation.

  • Brad Wade's Specialized AWOL
  • Brad Wade's Specialized AWOL
  • Brad Wade's Specialized AWOL
  • Frame/Fork Specialized AWOL (Large)
  • Rims Specialized Alloy 32h
  • Hubs Shutter Precision PD-8, Specialized stock hub
  • Tires Specialized Sawtooth 700x42C Tanwall
  • Handlebars Specialized AWOL, alloy, 125mm drop, 70mm short-reach, 12-degree flare-out
  • Headset FSA, Campy style, integrated cartridge bearings, 15mm cone spacer
  • Crankset FSA Omega, alloy, MegaExo BB, 50/39/26T, 130/74mm BCD spider
  • Cassette Shimano, 9-speed, 11-32t
  • Derailleur(s) Shimano Sora
  • Brakes TRP Spyre, 180mm (front) 160mm (rear)
  • Shifter(s) Shimano Sora ST-R-3030/ST-R-3000
  • Saddle Specialized Power Comp 155
  • Seatpost Specialized Alloy
  • Stem Specialized, 3D forged alloy, 4-bolt, 7-degree rise
  • Front Bag(s) Handlebar dry bag holster (self-made). MEC 10L dry bag, Coghlan’s Dry Sack (in Wald basket)
  • Rear Bag(s) Seatpost dry bag holster (self-made). MEC 10L dry bag
  • Accessory Bag(s) Frame bag, Top-tube bag, feed bags (self-made).

Other Accessories: Outdoor Technology Buckshot bluetooth speaker, bar end mirror, Lezyne Strip Drive rear light, Sinewave Beacon Front light (USB Charger), Wald 137 Basket, Soma Deluxe Porteur Rack, Bontrager Trip 100 bike computer.

You can follow along with Brad on Instagram @onelungedwanderer.

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