The Woodpackers (video)
While clearing fallen trees from one of their favorite local trails, Francesco and Giorgio (Montanus) decided to offer the creatures that live there a token of gratitude. See it unfold in their latest video, and find a photo gallery with some behind the scenes tidbits from the project…
We recently rediscovered on an old trail that we used to ride on a regular basis, especially while training during lunch breaks in the weeks leading up to an upcoming bikepacking trip. Over the years, wind and snow have broken branches and even uprooted trees, impeding the swooping singletrack that crosses the coniferous forest. So we decided to clear out the trail, and in doing so noticed that some of the fallen trees held abandoned bird nests. All the while the recognizable sound of the woodpecker at work could be heard in the distance. It was then that the idea was born to “recycle” some of these conifers and create birdhouses with them, letting the rest of the logs follow their natural cycle as humus.
Things got even more interesting since Giorgio creates handmade wooden products in his spare time (@saturn_woodturning), and immediately saw the possibility of building the birdhouses by turning the logs gathered while clearing the path. In addition to the idea being creatively stimulating, this project became a small token of gratitude and appreciation to the environment through which the trail passes. Now we ride there almost every day, waiting for spring to see if the birdhouses will host some broods.
The art of getting by is one of the basics of bikepacking, and this approach has also proved useful for getting some unusual shots. Specifically, we needed to create some POV shots from inside the birdhouse. To make them as realistic as possible, we came up with a solution to build a ‘WOODYCAM’ using easily available material such as cardboard, wood, iron, and duct tape. Thus, we created a cardboard box and anchored a compact camera (Sony RX100 VI) on one side of it. On the other we mounted a wooden tablet with a circular hole to simulate the entrance of the birdhouse. A metal sheet allowed us to anchor the Woodycam to the gimbal or tripod, as needed.
For this project we have set up our Kona Process 134 with a special “woodpacking” setup, using the tough Revelate Designs Harnesses to carry the logs, with Voilé XL straps to anchor further secure them directly to the handlebar. In the Hopper and Joey bags, we transported part of the equipment used to clear the path (file for sharpening chain, chainsaw oil, gloves, protective glasses, etc) and some implements for preparing lunch. In the Mountain Feed Bags we carried both water bottles and a fuel can for the chainsaw. The backpacks held a chainsaw, hatchet, tripod, and cameras, while for the rest of the filming equipment was stashed in the dropper-friendly Vole seat bags.
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