Looking for a set of bikepacking bags ?, or maybe you are looking for extra storage to carry your tent or sleeping bag - if so check out Alternative Bicycles as they carry a huge range of the best bikepacking bags . They have a complete range of frame bags, seat packs, top tube bags, feed bags and handle bar bags. For more details check out the following link http://altbikes.jugem.jp/?cid=28
For those of you who love following GPS trackers the leaders in the Tour Aotearoa brevet are getting nearer to the finish line in Bluff . The Brevet which includes some amazing scenery started on the 21st of Feb and takes riders from the top of New Zealand to the bottom a total of 3000 km. There are about 300 riders taking part with New Zealands Oille Whalley leading the field followed Australian Seb Dunne both finishes of the famous Tour Divide race in the USA , in fact Oille held the record for a while after winning it in 2012. This course was designed by the Kennett Bros and features off road, single track, gravel roads, sealed roads, jet boat rides and ferry crossings just to make things interesting !. Check out the following website which has the live map tracker plus some great instagram photos. http://www.touraotearoa.nz/ Pictured below is what the map tracker currently looks like and Oille posing for one of the photo check points !.
These are rides for busy people. If you are on Strava, go to 区間エクスプローラ. Segments are under a kilometer to several km long. I have indicated the bike I rode on the Strava feed. If you want to share feeds, search for Brian Southwick.
Meet the maker of the original Salsa mountain bikes, Ross Shafer. In this fun interview, Ross discusses the early (and often wild) days at Salsa Cycles, his inspiration, and what’s next for this MTB pioneer. The bike shown in this video, Salsa #5, is on display along with other notable vintage bicycles, at The Pro’s Closet’s Vintage Bicycle Museum in Boulder, CO.
Read more at http://www.bikemag.com/videos/meet-the-maker-ross-shafer/#ReZIeTLKYCWPtO2t.99
I'm from a really small farming town in the South Island of New Zealand the land that is famous for sheep and the Lord of the Rings movies , one other thing that New Zealand is famous for is the great outdoors. Kiwi's love hiking, bungy jumpy, fishing, rock climbing and they really love Mountain biking some of the best single track in the world is in NZ and with a vast network of off road cycle trails it's a mountain biking paradise. I should know as I grew up in a village called Geraldine just a short ride from the Southern Alps , this week has seen a brand new event was launched in NZ called The Pioneer which is a fantastic 7 stage MTB race attracting pro riders from the USA and Canada , day 2 started in my village and used trails I started out mountain biking on in the late 1980s . Pictured below is a video from stage 2. For more details of the event check out their fantastic home page http://thepioneer.co.nz/
Even though its winter , its a great time to start thinking about your Castle to Castle brevet kit such as - tent , sleeping bag, air mattress, cooker etc. There are lots of great outdoor shops in Japan and a wide variety of products to suit everybody's budget. When you go shopping , do some research and remember you have to carry it - where will you put it on your bike and will it fit in your seatpack, handle bar bag etc. Once the weather warms up get out on an overnight trip and learn how to use the items you purchased . Even before then you can test other items of kit out at home such as cooking some lunch on your new stove or sleeping the night on an air mattress in a sleeping bag. Everybody has a different kit list that pack for brevets so do not copy them but find out what works best for you.
While there is not much cycling to be done in Japan at this time of the year, in my home country of New Zealand there are many events happening right now . And starting on the 21st of Feb is Tour Aotearoa a 3000 km brevet that makes use of some of the most scenic off road trails around. The brevet is organised by friends of mine the Kennet Bros who are famous in NZ for publishing cycling books e.g MTB guides and history books related to NZ cycling and planning large cycle events. The bikepacking scene in NZ is gaining popularity quite quickly and the Tour Aotearoa has even attracted riders from Europe and the USA . To follow the action and to see daily updates from the tour check out their facebook page which is linked on the main page. http://www.touraotearoa.nz/
I would advise that everybody on this years castle to castle stop here , you will need to re supply before the climb over the border into Fukushima . The climb is about 3 hours long and this is your last chance to see a 7/11 until Aizuwakamatsu . Stock up on water and some energy bars etc as there is nothing available until you reach the Tadami river in Fukushima !
On this years Castle to Castle just before the final decent to the Agano river you will bypass an onsen , most likely you will not have time for a bath but if you missed out on breakfast or would like an early lunch you are in luck , I recommend the Katsu curry with brown sports drink !
Over the last few years Brian & I have been discovering the mountain roads of Mikawa, there are quite a lot of them and one of them will be included in this year's Castle to Castle bikepacking event. Pictured below are some local mountain bikers out for a shop ride on a section of the Mikawa rindo.