Musings on the Oregon Outback


I’ve sat down several times to write about my experiences during the Oregon Outback and every time, I feel like words have fallen short of the experience.  Instead of talking about what the Outback was, I want instead to write about how it affected me, my approach to design and ideas of how a bike should handle situations and what limits the designs inevitably will have.


I rode my FaTRoB prototype during the Outback and I loved it.  Every time I get on the bike, I can’t help but smile at how much fun it is, how it handles and how I love the build.  It’s a great rig that has versatility built into it from its ability to shod wide tires to the open frame design to fit a good sized partial frame bag in it with full size water bottles, at least in my 56×56 sized 650b machine.  I’d absolutely do the route again on the same bike, but it got me to thinking about something different and more capable of handling the rougher sections of this route and doing other routes like the AZT or the CDT or such, and how I might want to go on even more remote, single and rougher double track and how wider tires and Hydro disc brakes might be an improvement.  There are points on the Outback where the limits of a 1.75″ (45mm) tire are realized.  A bigger volume tire would’ve been nice to offer more float and suspension in a particular section of soft pumice road that many participants called lovingly “red sauce”.


When the roads get rough, the bikepacking style of touring is the way to go.  Rackless luggage is a far superior way to carry a load through these rough conditions, leaving such a neutral effect on the handling of the bike.  I grew up riding MTB and doing some camping and backpacking.  I can’t believe that I haven’t combined them all before.  It’s kinda the best.  Low to no volume roads to ride, the joys of being in a remote place, as well the camping and cooking over an alcohol stove or camp fire.  I feel very much in my element here.


Let’s get one thing straight; if I were trying to race Ira Ryan and Jan Heine, the FaTRoB would’ve been the bike of choice.  But, I don’t have any desire to race. I want to enjoy the experience along the way.  I’m OK to dig deep on occasion and to suffer a bit.  Cycling  just is that way sometimes.  But I’d still like to stop and cook, or make coffee, or take some photos, or drink a beer, or take a dip in cool waters on a hot day and not really worry so much about the timeline.  So its with this in mind that I’m designing a steed worthy of handling super rough conditions and carry a load for camping (I’ll discuss those details in another post) and doesn’t hold you back from handling those 100+ mile days.  Check in on the page “NFD” in a bit to see what I’ve come up with, but in a nutshell, its a bikepacking rig suitable for something like the Tour Divide or a couple weeks on the Idaho Hot Springs MTB Route, or the like.


The NFD will be a mid-fat, 650 B+ with geometry to handle rough stuff  and long days in the saddle combined with the ability to shod super wide 3.25 tires and disc brakes and integrated luggage from Porcelain Rocket.  Suitable for an IGH or conventional drive-train and even the ability to use a belt drive system.  A back roads bike to take out where there aren’t really roads.

I’ll have further details of the NFD up this fall, so stay tuned.

SF and beyond.



I’ve been spending some time in the Bay Area this week and getting my last bit of legs for the Oregon Outback and spending some much needed time with my lovely wife.


Tuesday I was able to ride with the Rapha folks up the tough part of Diablo to their mobile club and watch a bit of the ATOC. The heat got to me that day, and I had a tough time towards the end, but fun was had regardless.


Not really much to report beyond that, other than amazing weather and good times, so here’s some shots from the first part of this week.



A sunday ramble


We got wet, real wet. We may have broken a couple laws here and there. But fun was had and lessons learned. It was good to get out and spin the wheels with some new friends.


The Outback is getting close and I’m figuring out just how to tackle it. I’m undertrained, and not nearly as nervous as I probably should be about that. Stoke meter is on high though.


I’m finishing up some stuff around here, then headed to SF next week to do a bit of riding and hang out with friends and my wife. Then I’m back in Portland and off to the OR Outback.

Coming soon: I’m going to give a good breakdown of my kit and how it’s carried on FaTRoB.





Almost done


I’ve gotten the tail-light wired and nearly all my gear together. I need to sew a bivy this week and am awaiting a few minor odds and ends. Next week I hope to make time for a quick overnighter to test some gear and get the kit dialed. Then I’m down in SF for a week to ride a bunch of mixed terrain and squeeze in another overnighter. Then, the Oregon Outback begins soon after my return. I’m stoked about this, and can’t wait!




Nice ride on the Eastside

The plan was to head out to Hood River, ride about 100k with about 7300′ of climbing on some remote gravel roads. Plagued by Adam getting too many flats, we cut it short but still had a great time none-the-less. This is one of those rides where you finish wanting more, which is good to experience occasionally.

Check out the proposed route here.

FaTRoB did awesome on these gravel roads, btw…