My name is TJ Kearns and I call Southern Appalachia home. Bikes have been my passion since the day I started riding at age two. I’ve been lucky enough to work in the bike industry in multiple roles from bike mechanic to pro photographer and my current job as a trail builder. I have done most aspects of cycling but have found a passion in bikepacking. It combines my lust for adventure with love for riding bikes and eating snacks!
I recently purchased a WHY Cycles S7 after having a long term demo during a scout for the Eastern Divide Project. The bike really impressed me in its ability to pretty much adapt to any mission that you put in front of it. From testing freshly built sections of trail to long gravel rides, it crushes it. The ride quality of titanium is great and the trail geometry of the frame makes it a blast to play around on.
Lately I have been using the S7 a lot for bike-fishing in Pisgah National Forest. The mountains of the Southern Appalachians are loaded with creeks and rivers to explore. Accessing these areas by foot can be difficult and long hikes are often necessary to reach the best spots… but, pedaling into these areas leaves more time for fishing. I have a pretty minimal set up for bike-fishing. Bags include a Rockgeist Barjammer front harness holding an 11L dry bag (pics show the Revelate pronghorn which I borrowed for this trip). Inside is my sleep system: an ENO Hammock and Tarp, a 35 degree Enlightened Equipment Quilt, and a Sea to Summit UL Mat and Pillow. A Rockgeist Honey Pot carries snacks, a water filter and tools. The massive Revelate Mag Tank 2000 contains a spork, wallet, phone and more food, and a forthcoming Revelate seatbag fits a rain jacket and a change of clothes for sleeping. Two one liter bottles inside the frame for water and if I need to more I’ll carry a 32oz Hydraflask on the bottom the down tube attached with a Blackburn cargo cage. All my fishing gear is carried on my Swift Industries Elwha hip pack. The Elwha was designed for holding Tenkara, which is a Japanese minimalist way of fly fishing. I usually have two rods, some assorted flies, and some tippet, along with a few other tools. Pretty simple, light and effective.
- Frame/Fork Why Cycles S7 (XL) / Rockshox Pike 140mm
- Rims Industry Nine BC360
- Hubs Industry Nine Hydra
- Tires Maxxis Rekon
- Handlebars Spank Vibrocore 31.8 800mm
- Headset Cane Creek 40
- Crankset Sram XO1 Carbon 175mm
- Cassette Sram XO1 Eagle
- Derailleur(s) Sram XO1 Eagle 12spd
- Brakes Sram Guide RSC
- Shifter(s) Sram XO1 Eagle
- Saddle Brooks C17
- Seatpost One Up Components 210mm Dropper v2
- Stem Industry Nine a318 50mm
- Front Bag(s) Rockgeist BarJammer with Sea to Summit 11l dry bag
- Rear Bag(s) Revelate
- Accessory Bag(s) Rockgeist Honey Pot feed bag and Revelate Mag Tank 2000
- Other Accessories Black Burn Outpost Cargo Cage, Swift Industries Elwha Hip bag for fishing!
This minimal setup allows me to crush some miles to a creek. Fish for a couple hours, sleep and repeat. Being able to combine my love for adventure by bike with my passion for being on the river fishing has really changed the way I look at route design. Having a bike, such as the s7, that can take me on any terrain (no matter how gnarly or how long the ride) creates a perfect scenario for a good time!
You can keep up with TJ on Instagram @timothyjamesphoto.
Send Us Your Bikepacking Rig
Use the form below to submit your bikepacking rig. We’ll choose one per week to feature in a Reader’s Rig Dispatch and on Instagram. To enter, email us your best photo of the bike (preferably at a 90° angle), your Instagram username (optional), and a short description of you and your rig. If your bike is selected, we’ll need a total of five photos and a little bit more info.
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