Lands of Lost Borders – A Journey on the Silk Road

We are lucky. We know it. All day, every day, we work with people on bikes they will do amazing things with, and sometimes, as we found out recently, they’ll even write books about those things.

Longtime followers of this blog will possibly remember the Cycling Silk Project, undertaken by Kate Harris and Melissa Yule in 2011, when, in their own words they, “lurched off the European shore of Istanbul, Turkey with overburdened bikes and quaking legs. Just a few days ago, in late October, we pedaled into Leh, a small city barnacled onto the Himalayan mountains in northern India. In the months between, we consumed roughly 10,000 packs of instant noodles to fuel nearly 10,000 km of riding, polishing our souls on roads rough as pumice on this pilgrimage to the Silk Road’s wildest mountains and deserts.”

We got a copy of the book in the mail recently, and it was nice to walk back down memory lane and hear an expanded version of a story we followed closely as it was going on. We were enormously proud to build the bikes Kate and Mel rode, a pair of Expat S off-road touring machines. These bikes played into our thinking as we evolved designs of the early Evergreens, so they, and this project, were highly inspiring and influential for us.

The book is available now.  We recommend it highly.


The bike, we know, can be a powerful tool for change in our world, whether as a vehicle for personal empowerment, as a symbol of work invested, or as a platform for telling an important story.

The Seven-sponsored REAL Ride aims to harness the bike’s power in all of those ways. The REAL Riders will cross the country by bike, but not in the usual way, directly and on paved roads. No, they are more ambitious,

They’ll ride largely off-road, and take a route that spans 5,000 miles. It will be hard, some might think even prohibitively hard, but that is intentional. The ride is about highlighting the difficult path some students face in navigating our educational system, kids who too often drop out rather than finding a way through.

In their own words:

We can make a difference, with your help. The REAL Ride is supporting a life-changing school for highly at-risk students — a school that’s making a profound impact locally and nationally against the drop-out crisis. To make the ride possible for the REAL Riders, we’re hosting a fundraising event for the team on May 6th — and it’s a party you’re not going to want to miss! To buy tickets or make a donation to support the team, check out See you on May 6th!


Seven is supporting the REAL Ride with bicycle support as well as a custom Evergreen adventure bike, much like the ones the riders will be on, auctioned at the launch party. See the details here:


Like Elves

When you make things (like elves), you find very quickly that there is never a time when someone doesn’t want you to make something. And so, we have had a very busy December here at Seven. Rather than wax rhapsodic about the spirit of the season, let us just say how grateful we are to be able to make things people want (like elves do), and wish you all a happy holiday season.

Here are some brief scenes from shop this week:

The B-Team

IMG_4156Don’t be fooled. The B-team is fast. They see themselves as a more casual alternative to the young guns going hell for leather, but each of them is fit and fast and formidable in their own right.

They are Matt, Jenny, Roger, Cris, and Dan, aka Dancing Roy.

Jenny says the team’s philosophy is to “take care of each other and ride steady on the roads, save your energy for the trails, be shark-like at stops, except when we opt for a sit down, waiter-serviced lunch.  By a waterfall.  Martinis optional.”

IMG_4089The team came together on last year’s Maneha 250.

Matt explains, “By chance we ended up riding together at last year’s Maneha and we became the “B-team.” We all knew each other and had individually ridden with each other at times, but never as a group. The 4 of us Cris, Roger, Dan and myself really just ride well together, have fun, support each other, and I feel that we all make each other better riders. Jenny rode with us at this year’s Wintertide Ride, and it was clear that she would be a great addition to the B-team. She may be the strongest of the group. She is super positive and never shows any weakness. Basically she raises us all to B+.”

IMG_20160515_194459Roger adds, “The B-Team formed by accident and was bonded by shared work and suffering. Finding a group of people who can ride well together is hard. Finding a group of people who inspire you is harder. Finding both of those things by chance during a long  hard ride is statistically hard to imagine. But there it is. That is how the B-Team formed.”

You won’t find many photos of Dan from the B-team’s adventure, because he broke his pelvis on a training ride with the rest of the crew. Not knowing how badly he was hurt, the team kept riding after his crash and visited a bar or two before it became clear he needed medical attention.

IMG_4141When you speak with them, what becomes clear right away is that the ability to put a brave, even humorous, face on the darkest moments is what makes them such a good team.

Cris backs that up, saying, “Regardless of how deep into a ride and tired we are, this team lights up when it hits the trails. Things get rad and fast and flow-y. And everyone seems to ride even better because no matter whose wheel you are following, it’s picking inspiring lines and going fast.  With Matt being our super ace in this respect.”IMG_20160515_193631At this year’s Maneha, Matt says, “A highlight for me was actually a low moment. I was suffering through some “dark miles” about midway on day one, wanting the group to ride ahead, and I would solo it in. The team was not having it, dragged me to lunch with sit down table service by a waterfall in some old mill town. It was just what I needed to get some gas again and finish with the group. It was a longer break than anyone but me wanted to sit, but it was 100% about getting us to the line together. On day two I found my legs and I hope that I re-paid the favor.”

IMG_4146It says something about the B-team that Dan, walking with a cane, followed them online, texting in for updates, and then met the others at the overnight stop for dinner and beers.

Roger says, “Bikes introduce you to the most amazing people and places.   That is my take on the B-Team.”

The Sevens of D2R2

D2R2, the Deerfield Dirt Road Randonnee, is the sort of event that challenges a rider, not only to ride great distances and climb what seem like endless New England hills, but also to come up with a bike that will meet all its challenges for traction, comfort and speed. With up to 180km of mixed-terrain and as many as 10,000ft of vertical gain, this is no small challenge. Every year we love to look around and see the bikes, and it seems that each year we also see more Sevens.

We might be uniquely suited to building this style of bike. We saw Axiom road bikes modified to take wider tires (and a flat bar) like the one below. We saw Mudhoney CX race bikes, and we saw Evergreens aplenty, our purpose built mixed-terrain bikes.

Here are just a few of the Sevens we saw at D2R2.IMG_1050IMG_0996IMG_0999IMG_1007IMG_1004IMG_1061