Monday, December 23, 2013

Y.O.B Photo Dump

Nothing fancy here, just a bunch of pictures.  No need to spray a drawn out trip report or step-by-step account of our adventures.  We climbed, we played, we ran errands, we did all the shit everyone else does, only we rode our bikes.  

Year of the Bike

For those of you that missed it, 2013 was Salt Lake City's Year of the Bike.  Personally, a claim like that brings to mind the far reaching social and infrastructural changes required to undermine urban motorized transportation, make cycling the primary mode of personal transportation, and take a big step towards ending the air pollution or "inversion" that has become a near constant threat to the health of SLC's Residents.  Laws prohibiting single occupancy vehicles, expanded bike lanes and trails, economic incentives for cycling... Basically shutting down all vehicular traffic inside city limits except for trucks, buses and trains is pretty much what I have in mind when I think of a city giving over an entire year for the advocacy and awareness of bicycling.  Claiming anything as "Year of" should mean it's influence is far greater than any other social or political force.  Think, Year of the Axe Murdering Homeless Man, or, Year of the West Valley City Gonorrhea Infection.  Although those might be titles you'd affix after the point, they pretty well capture what has happened.  So looking back on the last year, it's hard to notice any real changes in Salt Lake's transportation hierarchy.  Although I'm not a resident of SLC, and my time spent there usually amounts to a few weeks in the spring and fall, from my perch atop Little Cottonwood Canyon it's easy to look down and see the murky, poisonous soup, and know damn well that it's not a bunch of cyclists that've caused it.  But while SLC didn't under go any major cycling-themed transformations, they've still managed to put together a few initiatives worth mentioning.  Also, in honor and celebration of the year gone by, I've dumped a bunch of pictures and captions in the following post that wrap up our bike-powered adventures in and around SLC this fall.  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Call To Climbers

Here I sit, hand bandaged in gauze and cotton, temporarily sidelined and forcibly inactive.  The slightest miscalculation and most seemingly insignificant accident and I’m left with a torn ligament in my thumb, and it’s resulting surgical repair.  After another summer of movement and adventure, I anticipated returning to a relatively sedentary winter existence, one with an abundance of reflection and introspective time, but this is hardly what I expected.  A sense of déjà-vu pervades as I re-live Liz’s recent injury and remind myself that life is full of surprises, their being good or bad depends entirely on perspective, which in turn itself relies upon your grasp of reality, your worldview and your version of sanity.  So as I recline with the subdued awareness I will not be climbing for months, that my work and play in the mountains will be limited equally, I cannot help but feel excitement and optimism for the future, and know I might be a little insane for doing so.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Return, Reload, Absorb...

Sometimes it takes a while for things to sink in.  Often times you realize the way as it unfolds.  The last month of my life has been an incredibly trans formative time, but the lessons and insights are lost in time.  To retrieve them requires quiet contemplation and presence, things that have been sacred but scarce for me recently. Over the last month I've moved from the east coast by plane, lived in cities, embarked on what was essentially a bicycle powered vision quest, been thrust back into the world of professionalism and academia, then raced off to the desert to shred a motor-less dirt bike.  It's been wild and crazy ride to say the least.

Now, as I regroup, repack, and reload for hopefully another adventure before work grounds me for the winter, I'm trying to keep the presence and perspective I've gained through it all.  Each night I reflect on what has happened recently and what is really important in life, to live with passion, patience, kindness, and courage.  I owe it to myself to remind myself often of life's fragility, beauty, and awesomeness.  As I reflect and digest all that I've experienced, I keep wishing I could sit an put my thoughts to words and pictures and share with you all I've seen.

But now is the time for movement and I'm still caught in the flow.  Soon enough I'll be able to slow down and transform all I've experienced to share with you. It's clear that another phase of this experiment has begun, the realization.  Boundaries are being crossed and limits being expanded, what is really possible and what I'm capable of is being realized like riding through a tunnel towards the light.  We've found the path and it feels right, I'm continuously overwhelmed with the understanding that this is the way, and it is only a matter of time and my effort to help show others and encourage them to join.

This is just to say that I'm thinking of being here often, excited to share some of the perspective and awesomeness I've gleaned over the last few weeks.  Emerson put it best when he said that it's a poet's job to transform the beauty and wisdom of nature for others to understand, but Terence McKenna's analogy for psychedelics is apt as well, that we're all cosmic fisherman, and it's our responsibility to come back from these journeys with some piece of wisdom to share with the world.  Although I haven't been trippin' balls recently, I feel like the experiences and realizations I've had are like giant creatures from the deep that I'm still trying to reel in.  Soon enough I'll have to weigh and measure them, to prepare them in a way that others can appreciate.  If you have the time or the inclination, keep up with us on facebook at Nature of Motion and on instagram @natureofmotion.  Until then I'll continue to search....

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Quietly Crushing

I met Amos during the summer of 2009 while I was working at a small farm outside Palmer Alaska.  I'd caught a ride up to Anchorage with my friend Rich, who had work lined up as a sea kayak guide out of Whittier.  Rich was gracious enough to let me throw my bike on his roof and stuff my bicycle trailer and gear in his trunk.  My original plan was to spend a few weeks seeing the state before riding back down to the states later that summer, but after our road trip through southern Utah and up to Alaska, I found that the meager savings of a ski bum really didn't go that far.  So faced with a little new found perspective I spent some hours surfing the web and the WWOOF directory trying to line up some work-trade jobs and possibly something with some pay or stipend that could see me through the fall.  After cycling about 1000 miles back and forth from Anchorage to Fairbanks, catching a ride down to Homer, I managed to find some paying work with this small farm located in the Matanuska Susitna Valley.  When I wasn't pulling weeds or washing vegetables, I hiked the nearby mountains, went for some bike rides, and sampled some of the traditional local harvest, Matanuska Thunderfuck.  That is, until I met Amos.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Coastal Ambiguity

I'll always be an East Coaster who's heart is pulled by the smell of fresh cut hay and cow manure, the thought of a steamy sugar house or a crisp autumn day filled with the fiery color of changing leaves.  I don't know what it is about growing up in New England that at once makes us so nostalgic for the simpler life of rural self-sufficiency, but at the same time lights a fire for the passion of a far flung adventure.  Every so often I wander home and find myself torn between these sentiments, and as I grow older, I may not become wiser, but I certainly do gain the perspective of time, place, and experience to better understand these two sides of my personality.  While this struggle has existed in me to some degree always, it's when I return home that I consider it most often.  The East versus West discussion can take on many forms; migration, motivation, mindset.  Ultimately it's about where we come from, and where we want to go, parts of ourselves that we can't escape or deny.

I started writing this piece when we were still back in New England, but it's been with me for some time before that.  I'm back west now, and it's even more apparent how different things truly are.  Weather or not you grew up on the east coast we're all a part of this discussion, we all came west at some time, unless you're one of the people from whom we took this land, and unfortunately that's equally as true in the east.  The decision to move west is written into the blood and history of being an American, and that's true even if you feel comfortable staying put at home on the east coast.  Traveling west is part of our individual and collective manifest destiny; experiencing freedom, independence and generally being unbound.  What does it mean to you, to live where you do, to travel in one direction or another, does your home call you or is it exploration you seek?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

An Interview with Kyle Dempster

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of speaking with Kyle Dempster about his 2011 trip to Kygyzstan and the resulting film, The Road from Karakol.  In 2011 Kyle took his bicycle and cycled around the mountains of Kyrgyzsan climbing and adventuring, eventually riding through China and into Pakistan to climb some more.  Kyle is an award winning alpinist who’s at the leading edge of modern climbing.  It was a treat to get to talk to him about his experiences in Kyrgistan and what he thinks about the environment’s role in the evolution of alpinism and the incredible miracle of Cycling Alpinism!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bicycle Travel. Commuting and Consideration.

This is what’s up. 

Life on a bike is full of adventure.  No matter what’s thrown your way, if you’re flexible and adaptive, you can always make it work.  This time last year we were riding into the mountains loaded down with food and climbing gear, tackling summits and remote climbs in the wildernesses of the Washington Cascades.  We spent our downtime relaxing and riding around a small town.  Now, shifting gears and taking a little break, we’re relaxing with family and riding a little over 20 miles a day commuting to and from work on our bikes. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Apology and Affirmation. A tribute to Stuart Smalley

 When you take a look around at your favorite blogs out there you’ll find that most amateur ones have a similar theme of entries asking forgiveness, apologies for not writing so often, and a promise to try harder.  While most folks seem genuinely sorry for their lack of conviction in keeping a post going every week or whatever, I’ve always found it to be a silly and slightly conceited thing to apologize for.  I can’t really imagine their readers, sitting there patiently, anxiously waiting for the next piece of prose and genuinely angry for having not received it in a timely manner.  But I’ve begun to realize, at least for myself, that this apology isn’t really for the reader at all, but more accurately, an apology to myself. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

catching up...

Hello old friend.  I still don't really know weather or not to treat you as a mouthpiece, or a journal, or something in between, but I do feel as though I owe it to you, to myself to do a bit of catching up, as the last few months, weeks, and days, have held a lot of change, and there's always some sort of tugging reminder to share, or record it, here, for you, for myself, for whatever reason.  This has never felt like a project with boundaries, deadlines, or an end, but rather an ongoing and evolving space to share my thoughts and actions, organize them, realize new ones, and continue to strive to be a better human.  I've always told myself I would not apologize for not blogging, and I won't.  I feel no obligation to myself, to you the reader, or to anyone.  Much like the ebb and flow of physical awareness, where it takes an injury or illness to get realigned with the priorities of health and wellness, my aptitude for clear thinking and writing often falter and fizzle, but will in time return.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Human-Powered Mountaineers go skiing.

For the past six months my primary modes of transportation have been skis and the ski lift.  While the latter isn't human powered, I like to think of it as a form of underutilized public transportation. Between this and my occasional forays into the nearby backcountry I've been keeping a pretty low profile, skiing a lot but not really talking about it much here, there's something about the familiarity of your backyard that keeps me from bringing along a camera or posting videos from each of the thousands of runs I've skied.  Alta's a special place where there's an endless amount of amazing skiing to be had and it can all be accessed by starting right out your front door.  My friend Chris Bangs of the Human-Powered Mountaineers is a little different though.  Coming from his home of Bozeman Montana he's got a little bit of an approach to get the the mountain of his choice, an approach that sometimes covers well over 100 miles and he covers with the use of a bicycle and skis, keeping his trips 100% human powered.  Take a look at some of the short videos he's put together about his project he's calling the 7 summits of Bozeman.  An inspiring individual and a bit of an eye opener into what's truly possible in winter human powered mountaineering.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Unexpected Surprises

Borrowed from The Skier Boyz

You don’t always head out the door expecting greatness.  Sometimes you’re not that inspired, your motivation level is low and you just can’t seem to get stoked.  A long night of drinking, lots of crowds, gray-skull and no new snow, maybe you’re tired and just want to chill.  But some one or some thing gets you out there, gets you going, and you find a spark.  The rhythm of the skin track lets your mind wander, a hole in the clouds burns through and a sunlit ridgeline beckons.  You make it to a summit, the snow is softer then you thought, you’re with a friend you love, and you can’t think of anything better in the world.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Air We Breathe

"By now the revolution has deprived the mass of consumers of any independent access to the staples of life; clothing, shelter, food, even water.  Air remains the only necessity that the average user can still get for himself, and the revolution has imposed a heavy tax on that by way of pollution."

Every winter the air around Salt Lake City Utah gains national attention for being some of the worst.  It’s unique geography, dense population, and numerous industries often trap air between mountain ranges, creating a thick, foggy soup of air that can often be the worst in the Nation. As residents once again protest the quality of their air and argue that breathing clean air is a right that we can’t be denied, I have to wonder, what’s exactly making this air so unhealthy, and whatever it is why can’t we just turn if off?  What could possibly be worth our lives, poisoning our air and killing ourselves? 

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Although this is a re-run of a post I did for The Skierboyz, I thought I'd share it with you here as well.  Gives you a look into some of our off-duty wintertime activities.  Journalistic integrity aside, I'm not above re-publishing some low-key writing and pictures of a good time.  Enjoy!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Case for Place

I haven't been cycling in months.  Although this might come as some sort of sad irony in light of this blog being born from bicycle-powered adventure, I'm not really that broken up about it.  Sure, I miss the bike, and those long warm rides in the mountains, but I miss it like I miss asparagus or basil, those ephemeral staples of spring and summer that might be short lived, but they have a time, and will be back next season.  For now I'm loving the winter, the numbing cold, the short days parenthesized by extended darkness, the styrofoam crunch of snow under my skis, and the unparalleled beauty of the play of light on mountains dressed in white.  I'm embracing the winter for what it is: now.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Links You'll Like

Sometime during the winter of 2011, shortly after our decision to embark on this car-less adventure, I began what has become an in-depth and on-going, online research project into human powered adventure and the car-less lifestyle.  The internet is a vast place and while I've only begun to probe its deeper depths I do feel like I've scratched enough of the surface to create a small offering of interesting links and information to share with you.