It was 13F at ride time this morning. Small flakes darted around on the wind. As the morning progressed, they got fatter, drifting and chasing each other into small cottony piles. We rode, and it was nice. We like pushing ourselves through the falling snow, and there are usually fewer cars on the road.
It’s hard not to think of warmer days too, though.
Here’s a photo from FOS (Friend of Seven) Mike Bybee who was kind of us to put us in his new Sights of the Southwest 2018 calendar. Mike is an ardent explorer, bikepacker, and photographer. We built him this Sola SL 29er adventure rig a few years ago, and so he’s taken us on some incredible adventures.
Originally, the Barlow Road was a wagon way that skirted the slopes of Mount Hood, a way for travelers from the East to get to the Willamette Valley without having to undertake a dangerous river trip. Today it’s a rough route of 167 miles with more than 16,000 feet of elevation gain.
Photographer and adventurer Daniel Sharp took it on in the late fall, and posted some great commentary and photos for us to enjoy via his Bendicto.co site.
It’s ridiculously scenic – the barns seem perfectly weathered, every tree seems weather-beaten and sturdy. We stop for photos, snacks and skids. Not me – I’m too old for skidz I’d tear a sidewall. I’m all about the long game. Finally we reach a paved road and jog left. I’ve done a lot of rides in this area, but never these exact roads, which is cool. After the quick jog left we’re faced with Endersby Cutoff road. I know it’s a necessary evil to get to Dufur. It’s by no means endless, but it kicks up pretty good and by now it feels hot and we’re missing the altitude and the cool in the trees. We huff up the road, and gleefully bomb the backside.
Read more here and here.
We received a brief note from Charles, a guy we built a Sola SL for in 1999. It contained the text: “Seven Sola did a fine job on a seven day Telluride to Moab Hut-to-Hut trip,” and a link.
Click the link and you get a great story about a seven day bikepacking trip through postcard scenery, a grueling ride made by a group of friends.
Some representative prose:
We had wonderful views of the desert formations surrounding Gateway at the Gateway hut. Sean and I cooled off a bit and washed some items in the Dolores River. Mosquitoes were coming out in full force during dusk. It became quite windy during the night, but the night sky full of stars was wonderful without any light pollution.
After the singletrack, we had a long climb to the first hut on Last Dollar Road. Mark was the first one up to the hut. The 9,000 to 11,000 foot climb didn’t seem to affect him that badly, but Sean and I started walking our bikes at two miles per hour toward the end. There was just no energy left in me to keep pedaling. Sean sat down a few times since he was bonking hard due to the altitude. We both made it to the hut right before dark though.
Click over to read the whole story. It’s worth it.
This is Steve’s Sola SL, spec’d and delivered by our buddy Chris at Robinson Wheel Works in San Leandro, CA. Steve has already, evidently, taken it where it’s supposed to go. His kind words below…
I finally picked up my Seven.
Thanks for helping walk me through getting my Sola SL. You guys are awesome. Chris at RWW is truly the King.
I can only summarize in two words. Bad ass.
It fits perfect and the ride is … What can I say. Perfect.
Most bike shops can put a bike together, but a fine few have the vision, knowledge, and discerning eye to build great bikes. Our friends at Cyclefit UK (Covent Garden, London and Manchester’s Northern Quarter) are just such an operation, and here are two recent builds to illustrate our point.
First we have Johannes’ Sola SL 29er, which I’m sure you’ll agree, is beautifully proportioned, well appointed, and aesthetically striking, with bead-blasted “decaling,” a Ti seatpost and wide/short cockpit.
Next we offer Richard’s Evergreen SLX. Richard has gone for the low-profile blasted decal as well, with no wheel decals, a low, clean fender line and an eTap drive train. There’s likely not a more elegant bike in London.