In this video, we show multiple ways to carry a fly rod on your bicycle using simple bungees or our new favorite, ROK Straps (these things are awesome). We also show a simple technique to carry longer rods like switch rods or trout rods that only break down to two or three pieces. Be sure to visit the rest of our Bicycle Travel Channel for more vids!
In this video we compare two popular “feedbag” style bags. One is the original that started it all, the Revelate Mountain Feedbag and another is from an awesome local Oregon maker, Randijo Fabrications. Which one is for you? Watch the vid to find out.
In this video we take a look at ROK Straps, a great alternative to cheap bungees and camstraps. ROK Straps combine the adjustability of cam straps and the elasticity of bungees. Interested in buying your own? Buy them here and help support the site. Interested in more of our video content? Visit and subscribe to our Youtube Channel!
The bad news is that these merit badges can’t be bought.
The good news is that they’re free and you’ll get two of them (more on that a little later).
First, a little backstory.
Ride bikes. Travel. Do good. This is our mantra.
In all our years of traveling by bike, what has stuck in our memory more than breathtakingly beautiful sunsets, screaming mountain descents or (believe it or not) the joy of a well-timed greasy spoon diner … are the people. Traveling by bike affords us the unique chance to interact with both the landscape AND the people in ways the other modes do not.
The bike is simultaneously transportation, adventure-mobile and conversation piece.
We’ll never forget the inspiring fellow riders we’ve met (like a 65-year-old woman touring solo across America with a service dog in her handlebar bag), businesses that went above and beyond to accommodate us (like the KOA in Dillon, MT that saved a cabin for us because it was raining… or the owners of Fall Hollow who fired up the grill before their kitchen was open, to cook us burgers when they saw us hungry upon arrival) and other random acts of kindness or friendly interactions with people while traveling on the road.
We have a large karmic debt to repay, and that is why we have dedicated a large part of our lives the last few years to focus on the “Do Good” part of our mantra. Bicycle travel and tourism has the potential to do amazing good to not only the traveler but the communities travelers pass through.
We want to spread this message.
Think of it as the social equivalent of “Leave No Trace.” Instead of just setting the bar at not leaving a mess, let’s strive to leave things a little better than when we first found them. We want to encourage and recognize people who embody this idea of bicycle travel doing good. While a little woven merit badge is really a small token, it’s a start of a new narrative. We want people to ride bikes, travel and get rad… and also look at the larger picture, because one person’s Outback is another person’s Backyard.
As bike travelers, let’s be better guests. As communities, let’s be better hosts.
The merit badge is available for free to anyone (we do have a limited supply though) who also believes or embodies these ideals. Especially, the “do good” part. We want to give them to businesses who are particularly bike-friendly; to people in the travel and tourism industry who are reaching out to cyclists; to people in the bike industry who are promoting bike travel in a responsible and diverse way; to bike tourists themselves who believe it is important to be a good ambassador for this activity we love; and to anyone else who is positively spreading the love of bicycle travel.
We need your help in finding these people (it could be you or someone you know or someone you met months ago on your last bicycle adventure.) Email us, contact us or tag us on Instagram with the hashtag #ridebikestraveldogood – and tell us about that person.
When you contact us, send us the person’s name, contact information (so we can notify them), photo and three to five sentences about how they #ridebikestraveldogood. We’ll feature this on our site and other social media channels. That person will get two merit badges. One for themselves and another to pay forward when they encounter someone who is a good ambassador for bicycle travel.
After you or the person you’ve nominated receives the merit badge, please send us a photo of you and the badge!
That’s it. We have no intention of selling these. We just want people to look beyond “getting rad” for a second and be more conscious of the landscapes and communities they go through. We only have a limited run and the badges will be given out very intentionally so let us know of someone who should get one today!
Ride bikes. Travel. Do good.
For our last few tours, we’ve been combining fly fishing with bicycle touring. It is a great secondary activity to do on a bike tour and really allows you to see your environment in a different way. It gives you a reason to stay at a beautiful riverside campsite for a few days and explore, rather than feeling the eventual pull of momentum drag you along. In this video, we talk primarily about our tenkara fly fishing kit. Tenkara is a Japanese form of fly fishing that has grown in popularity the last few years because of its lower learning curve. You can literally be taught how to cast and catch fish with a tenkara rod in less than half an hour.
In this short video we share how we make coffee while bike touring and for #coffeeoutside get togethers. If you’re interested in just gear links, our grinder of choice is the Porlex Mini, and we totally dig this Esbit Cook Kit and our favorite brew method is the Snow Peak folding coffee brewer.
In this exclusive never before seen video interview (footage was from 2013….took a while to get to), we visit with Rob Perks of Ocean Air Cycles. He walks us through his Rambler bicycle, which is designed to be the perfect all-rounder. Rob also started the #coffeeoutside hashtag which has taken the bicycle Instagram by storm. Learn the origins in this exclusive interview.
We’re firing up our in apartment “studio” this winter to create a lot of video content for our Bicycle Travel Channel on Youtube. Here’s the beginning of a series of videos covering reviews, tips and trips around bicycle travel! Grab some popcorn and enjoy!
The latest Scenic Bikeway video we shot, edited and produced for TravelOregon is out! The Cascading Rivers Scenic Bikeway is a great summer ride and fall ride because of all the river access along the way. There is some climbing involved (especially if you ride it out and back) so we would probably categorize this as an intermediate ride. If possible, we’d highly suggest doing it mid-week to avoid competing with other river traffic (especially during the middle of summer!). If you’re into flyfishing like we are, bring a rod. There is some good cut throat trout fishing to be had along the way.
Imagine summer camp… complete with mess halls, campfires, s’mores and bikes… really really nice bikes. And instead of ghost stories, you get enthralling tales of riding the Tour Divide race or attempting a fat bike expedition in Alaska in bad weather and dwindling food, and you’ll get a sense of what Salsa RideCamp was like!
RideCamp was held just outside of the tiny community of Seeley, WI in an open field that serves as event space for the famed Birkebeiner event. This was a first for Salsa, who has usually held events for dealers like Frostbike and Saddle Drive, but has never had one where they can speak directly to the people who are riding their bikes. As a bike nerd, it was the perfect opportunity to talk to their engineers and bike designers about every nuanced detail of their bikes. And everyone was really approachable. Maybe its a Mid-Western thing, but all the staff was really friendly and there was none of the bike snobbery we’ve seen at some other bike events we’ve attended.
Each day of the three-day event, there were multiple mountain bike and gravel rides. They were all at a nice casual pace that gave you a chance to stretch the legs, try out the new bikes and chat with fellow ridecampers. We partook in the gravel rides, which followed nice rolling terrain through the North Woods, with little-to-no car traffic. Some of the roads were barely large enough to fit a single car!
RideCamp ended every evening with a presentation. We heard from Jay Petervary about the behind-the-scenes action of this year’s Tour Divide race, the closest and fastest finish in the history of the event! Jay told us about the hazards of “sleep biking,” where you ride (and sometimes walk) with your bike in utter exhaustion and sleep deprivation while weaving all over the road. We also heard from Bjorn and Kim about their Ring of Fire expedition in Alaska. Bjorn and Kim had mapped out an ambitious route that combined both fat bikes and pack rafts, but were thwarted by rough weather and lack of food. Both evening presentations were riveting and made you forget that the temps were hovering in the 30s. In addition to the evening programming, there were also great daytime presentations on gravel riding and packing for bikepacking or biketouring trips.
Of course, one of the reasons we wanted to attend was to throw a leg over some of the new bikes (a few of which haven’t made it to dealers yet). Specifically, I had my heart set on trying out the Deadwood, Salsa’s new supersized Fargo with 29+ tires.
All the Deadwoods in existence were at this event (production runs haven’t shipped yet) and I was the first to break in the size small. It’s the sort of bike you take when you’re not quite sure what sort of road conditions you’ll encounter, but aren’t riding on snow or extended sandy stretches. For me, it was the first time riding the 29+ tire size and I was surprised how much I really enjoyed it. The big tires are confidence-inspiring, especially on sketchy washboard descents. Despite the wider tire width, the handling is playful and it is a decent climber.
We don’t usually ride extended snowy or sandy stretches, so a fat bike doesn’t make sense for us, but the 29+ size is perfect for taking more exploratory forest service roads and trails. Even Laura, who was a bit skeptical in the very beginning, came around and was bombing down hills with a smile on her face.
RideCamp was great for a first time event by Salsa and we are looking forward to seeing what they do next year. We really appreciated how mellow and approachable all the staff were and also enjoyed meeting new people and even some blog readers! We were also blown away by the bucolic rolling Wisconsin countryside that the event was held in and are making plans in the future for further exploration.