On the Road – 250 Miles of New England Dirt

Rob is obsessed with dirt. That is, perhaps, an oversimplification, but it gets pretty close to the truth. For years and years he thought of himself as a mountain biker, both as a racer and a committed adventure rider. Then his riding migrated to the road, but any chance he had to spin out onto a trail, even on skinny tires, he took. The dirt has always called, and his obsession has been a blessing to all of us here at Seven.

If you’re looking for a good all-dirt or mixed-terrain route to ride, Rob has it. Rob can show you trails, in your own neighborhood, that you’ve never seen before. We call this style of riding, on-road/off-road/trail, “evergreening,” and none of us was really surprised when Rob started Overland Basecamp to spread the gospel of dirt far and wide.

OB recently ran the Maneha 250, a two-day, 250 mile ramble through some of the best mixed-terrain in New England. The pictures tell the story:

Two Approaches to the Maneha 250 - photo - Rob VandermarkRiders took a couple of different approaches to the challenge. Some rode self-supported, packing all their food, clothing and camping supplies. Others took more advantage of the organization Overland Basecamp provided.

Maneha 250 Unofficial Pit Stop - photo - Rob VandermarkThis unofficial pit stop belies the quality of the food served throughout the event, which was catered by Mayfair Farm in Harrisville, NH. They also hosted the campsite and provided the stunning evening view…for those who got in early enough to see it.

Abandoned Narrow Guage - Matt O., Brad S. - photo - Rob VandermarkHere, our very own Matt O. rolls through an abandoned narrow-gauge rail bed with Brad on his wheel. They both rode unsupported.
Oh Look, Another Hill - Brad S. - photo - Rob Vandermark
One of the most charming (and unavoidable) features of our New England topography is the endless, punchy, rolling hills. The Maneha 250 has a climbing profile like a heart patient’s EKG.Strategy Before The Sunrise - photo - Rob VandermarkSunrise breakfast and strategy session at the campsite, a pretty great way to start day two.

The Smile Train - Matt O., Cris R., Dan S., Roger C. - photo - Rob VandermarkMore Sevens rolling by this abandoned freight, go ahead and ask Rob how he found this spot, likely riding around in the woods in the dark.

Read more about it on the Overland Basecamp site.




We got a foot of snow last night and the afternoon high for the day will be 12F. That didn’t keep Rob from striking out at 8:30am to make the slippery trek into the shop. Our Expat S. Studded tires. Full fenders. A frozen water bottle. There is work to do, after all.

photo 1It’s a good thing there were so few cars out. Plow dodging will no doubt become an event in some future Winter Olympics. There is also valuable experience to be gleaned for work on future winter commuters.

photo 4photo 2photo 3And he wasn’t the only one who chose to ride. Cold puddles dot our bike parking lot today.  We can’t recommend riding in these conditions, but it’s amazing how many times “go outside” turns out to be the right decision, and how often the bike is actually the best tool for the job.

Sixteen Candles

Sunday, January 6th marked our 16th year in business. It’s kind of a big deal, though we’re just here, building bikes, like we always are.

We told Rob it was our 16th Annivesary, and he said, “Ok.”

Jennifer was more expansive. Things were different in 1997. We didn’t know if a “medium sized” bike company could even exist. We didn’t know if the world wanted as many custom bikes as we wanted to build. Along the way we’ve had to reinvent the way we do things a thousand times. We’ve had to solve a million problems. Reflection comes naturally at any milestone.

We have a joke here at Seven that if something feels too hard to do, then we must be doing the right thing. We think about myriad obstacles overcome, and of course we think about all the riders who have our bikes, the people who have made these 16 years possible.

We’re just going to spend the day building bikes, but your support demands we take a moment to say, “Thank You.”.