freeloadersWe love to hear about what you get up to with our gear - Send us your photos and tales of adventure and we'll share them here. Of course these don't have to be epic journeys in remote locations, or super-human feats of endurance (though we like those too), we also like to see the types of things you're carrying in your daily routine, on picnics with the kids, or overnight trips into the back (or front) country.
Telluride to MoabBettina Younge and friends ride from Colorado to Utah via the San Juan hut systems:
"We - 7 women with our bikes, 9 Freeload racks (6 rear racks, 5 with panniers; 3 front racks) - biked from Telluride to Moab over 7 days. We were incredibly lucky with mechanical mishaps (none), medical mishaps (2 band-aids), and weather (2hrs of rain the entire week). The racks held up fabulously: we spent a few minutes every night making sure the screws and bolts were tight which turned out to be unnecessary after the 3rd day of tightening them, and we nightly checked the webbing that secured the racks which also eventually became unnecessary unless it had rained. The racks were incredibly versatile and fit our bikes well, whether they were hard-tails, suspension bikes, 26-, or 29-inchers. Best of all, we were able to move racks and panniers easily between bikes to help shift luggage weight from one rider to others as necessary."
Jay Graham's San Juan Hut-to-Hut Mtb adventure"This July eight of us with nine Freeload racks rode the San Juan Hut System - Durango to Moab route. All nine racks made it through with only one minor (operator error) problem. We lost a bolt and nut that hadn't been tightened properly on installation. We were able to do a field repair and complete the trip with no other mishaps. Great racks!"
Here's the story as told by John Boeschen:
The numbers tell a tale about our San Juan Hut-to-Hut mt. bike adventure:
8/9: Eight mt. bikes with nine Freeload racks start and the same bikes and racks finish all in good shape.
8/8: Eight mt. bikers start, the same eight finish. John Boeschen, David Coyle, Arnie Graf, Jay Graham, Michael Lipson, Tom Sellars, Jeff Troutner, and Jay Weill.
7/6: Sevens days and six nights of incredibly diverse terrain.
26,000/215: Twenty-six thousand feet of climbing in 215 miles.
12,500/4026: Thinnest air at 12,500 feet in the high alpine tundra of the San Juan Mountains on the first day, the thickest at 4026 feet in Moab on the last.
46/113.4: Forty-six degrees Fahrenheit in the rain on the first day the lowest temp, 113.4 degrees on the fifth the hottest.
0/0: Zero serious injuries and zero major mechanicals. Those are the numbers and their tale.
You can see more of Jay's beautiful images from the trip here.
And more of his work here: www.jaygraham.com
Gabriel's Freedom Challenge rig"The Freedom Challenge is a 2300 km Ultra Endurance MTB event that takes place during the heart of the winter in South Africa. During the event you need to carry all your own clothing, spare parts, toiletries, food for the day and emergency supplies. No GPS allowed, so you'll only get to use 1:50 000/1:150 000 maps, narratives and a compass to finish in 26 days. You can either carry all this on your back (8-10kg) or spread the load using a rack. But the nature of this Freedom Challenge is not kind to ordinary racks as I can confess after having broken my Topeak rack not even half way to the finish. This year my training and preparation has been focused on keeping the back pack light and let the bike do the work with the aim of breaking the Single Speed record. There will be a lady (Ezanda Grobler) gunning for the Womans record using a Freeload rack as well. To follow us during the race please go to www.freedomchallenge.org.za and track us live. Our starting date is 18 June 2012."
Gabriel du Plessis
Chris's brevet muleChris Gilbertson just finished his second Kiwi Brevet, and sent us this photo and glowing testimonial - thanks Chris : ]
"Hey there freeload team, just want to give you guys a massive high five for design such a quality rack.......I have just completed the kiwi brevet and the racks held up so well especially in the Big River, Porika and Maungatapu trails all of which are really rugged!!!!! So thanks very much and be assured that you will get my recommendation as the number one off road bike rack. This was my second kiwi brevet and in the first year my pannier rack completely shat itself, so was great to ride with the freeload system."
Jimi in PatagoniaMy brother Jimi is building a suspension bridge in Chile at the moment, and sent us this photo of his commute home from work... awesome bro. Nice work if you can get it!
ArmeniaIain Ritchie sent us some great images from his recent trip, along with this note:
"... your product was very successful and worked perfectly in very difficult terrain in Armenia.
A very mountainous country with rough roads leading to 3000m passes. The Freeload system was put to the test and came out the other end unscathed."
Thanks Iain : ]
Mike's Great Divide tourMike Cowlin is a fellow kiwi who emailed us with this request to help him out with a trip he had planned:
I have just recently purchased one of your tour racks to hitch up to the rear end of my Giant Reign. Against all sane advice from more seasoned and experienced bike tourers that have done it...some in as little as 22 days, I am going to be using my beast to hit up The Great Divide. There is a purpose to my insanity though. I like downhills, and with the US an BC being an all-mountain riders wet dream, with the likes of Whistler, Kamloops, Boulder and a plethora more places then i care to rattle off (but will care to ride), what better place to mix up long distance touring with the adrenaline of epic trails and lift assisted downhill parks! Your racks have opened up the possibility for me taking this epic journey.
But after having a test load up last night it came to my attention that one rack is not going to be enough for all the gear that I'll need to shred and party it up at whistler's Crankworks and live by camp for two months on the trail. So out came the credit card just moments ago for another rack and side frames. But as you can imagine...funds are tiiiiight. Thus the proposal....
I leave in just over a month, and had planned to set up a blog to chronicle the mission. If this sound like something you guys would like to help out with by way of a hook up with this extra rack I could write directly onto your guy’s site!
Now I'm pretty sure I'm probably not the first person you've had asking for sponsorship to hit up the Great Divide. But what better way to showcase the rack across a range of mutilday-ers in BC, the multi-month-er of the Divide, as well as showcase how quickly you go from shredding A-line on whistler to hitting the road on bike with all your gear on the next gravity fed adventure!
If this sounds at all like something you guys would be keen to explore let me know. If not, then at least I tried and ill still sell my left testicle to pay for that extra rack!
How could we possibly say no?
You can follow Mikes adventures on his blog here.
Rob in HokaidoRob Thomson is a Kiwi, living in Japan, where he is a Masters student at the Graduate School of International Media and Communications in Hokaido.
Rob is also a 'hard-end' user in the human-powered transport community, having undertaken a 12 000km bike journey across the Eurasian continent.
He also happens to be the world record holder for long-distance skateboarding (12,159km miles across Europe, the US, and China).
Rob got in touch with us a couple of months ago, as he was building up a new Surly Karate Monkey and liked the looks of our rack system.
It took us about two seconds to decide it would be a good idea to send him some racks - we can't wait to see where he goes next, and look forward to the valuable feedback he'll be able to provide.
Keep up with Rob's adventures here, and click here or here to see some great interviews with him during and after his record breaking journey.
St. James cycle trailNga Haerenga - The New Zealand Cycle Trail network are a series of 18 'Great Rides' that will take cyclists through some of New Zealand's most iconic and picturesque country.
Nga Haerenga - meaning 'the journeys' in a physical and spiritual sense - is a New Zealand Government project to develop a national cycleway network.
The St. James is the first of these 'Great Rides' to open to the public - and traverses 64 km of the St James Conservation Area near Hanmer Springs in Canterbury.
The NZ Government has invested NZ$50 million into the New Zealand Cycle Trail project, and the aim is to have the 18 'Great Rides' completed and ready for use by summer 2012 - 2013.
It is envisaged that the 'Great Rides' will be progressively linked with other cycling routes and facilities, and will cater for a range of cycling abilities, types and purposes.
Once completed the 18 trails are expected to provide more than 2,000km of cycleways.
You can find out more about the St. James and the other great rides at NZ by BIKE, and the Department of Conservation websites.
Earlier this year Richard Schofield embarked on a multi-day trip through the St. James sporting some pre-production samples of our Tour racks and Side frames. Thanks for the photos Richard, and the valuable product feedback... it is greatly appreciated.
Precious cargo"We had the Biggest Morning Tea at work yesterday, a fund raiser for the Anti- Cancer Council.
The Lemon Syrup Cake arrived still in one piece after my commute through the inner city traffic.
Not sure if you designed it with round Tupperware cake containers in mind…but it works."
Moron to Moron"It has long been a dream of ours to cycle from Moron to Moron. Back in 2000, we first noticed that there were two towns in Mongolia, both called Moron (or Mörön, or МӨРӨН). Ever since, a single question has burned in our hearts and minds. How could we not cycle from Moron to Moron? It has to be done, and we are the two morons for the job."
Big day racing around Beijing, doing last-minute errands. Finish packing around 11pm. Our stuff: three big cheap stripey bags, one zip already broken, crammed full of our otherwise expensive-looking and numerous panniers and miscellany. We have lots of sensible cycling gear, sensible outdoor gear, and some good silly for-the-camera gear: 2x Star Trek: New Generation sunglasses, 2x gay disco welding visors, 2x spandex unitards (skeleton and leopard-print). Also: two cardboard bikes boxes, crammed with brand-new UCC cycles (anyone heard of UCC? We haven’t), purchased in Beijing yesterday from a lovely young woman called Heaven, and this dude called Rhino who couldn’t speak a word of English, but seemed to know what he was gesticulating about...
Read more about Tama and Tom's adventure here.
And check out their proof of concept preview below:
Tour d'AfriqueThe annual Tour d'Afrique is an 11,718 km bicycle expedition and race from Cairo to Cape Town.
It features 94 stages race broken up into 8 sections. It includes 22 rest days, 2 untimed stages, and 2 days of travel across Lake Nasser for a total of 120 days. The overall winner is the cyclist who achieves the lowest accumulated time.
The daily stages average 123 km (77 miles) in length, and range from 80 km (50 miles) to more than 200 km (125 miles).
Each full tour racer is allowed a limited number of grace days, whereby their worst stage times are deducted from their total time. In addition, there are also a number of mando days, on some of the toughest stages, which cannot be used as grace days. The winners of each mando day receive a time bonus, as does any racer who rides EFI (every f…ing inch) of the Tour.
This year we supported four riders taking on the challenge, they are:
Father and son from Colorado USA Len and Scott DeMoss and Carrie Buckmaster and Lindsay Gault, both from Wellington NZ.
Good luck guys!
Haulin' stuffDave Gray is a designer of bikes and components for Surly in Minnesota.
We met at Interbike in Las Vegas back in 2009, and since then Dave has been finding all sorts of uses for his racks... and testing them on more bikes than you can shake a stick at.
He's a self proclaimed' tinkerer' and a damn good engineer, he's a dedicated commuter, an endurance snow-biker, bike camper, longboarder...
He regularly rides his cargo bike, cruisers, road bikes, mountain bikes, 'cross, touring, BMX, electric-assist, folding bikes, unicycles...12" - 36" wheels...single-speed and geared...fixed and freewheel...classic and modern.
Variety is the spice of life...right? But, if pressed to pick one: "it would be my Pugsley. It travels over and through the widest range of terrain."
Read more about Dave here at Dirt Rag's 'Bicycle Industry Insider Profile' page.
Ollie and Michi in Nepal"Michi and I have just returned from Nepal where we followed the Annapurna Circuit on our 29ers. Quite a bit of carry early on, but once we got above 3000m the tracks opened up and were just amazing.
The highlight for me would have to be the descent from Thorong La Pass at 5416m. Almost 1800m descent down some crazy steep switchbacks, all with beautiful peaks and distant villages as backdrops.
Our Freeloads worked very well despite a sound thrashing on some brutal terrain (heaps of steps). Mine only slipped once and on tightening it didn't move again.
Michi had a slight issue with overtightening one of his straps and breaking it, but the great thing about your design is that we were able to repair it with some webbing from a spare strap we'd brought. "
Read Ollie's full report on his blog here.
Paul Smith - Hawkes Bay to Wellington...fixed"30 hours door to door, 15 hours day one (13 hours riding), 290 km, 8 hours day two (7 hours riding), 130 km, 7 hours mid-ride rest and sleep, 1 hour fog, 7 hours sun, 3 hours overcast, 5 hours rain, 7 hours darkness, 40km state highway, 30km urban roads, 300km rural backroads, 40km off-road path, 10km singletrack, 0 freewheels, 1 gear (42:17), 1 toolkit, 1 sleeping bag, 1 set warm clothes, 1 toothbrush and toothpaste, 2 rear lights, 3 front lights, 5 muffins, 1 cooked breakfast, 8 salami sandwiches, 1 panini, 1 cinnamon loaf and jam, 1 dutch honey loaf, 1 portion hot chips, 12 litres water, 4 espressos, 1 chocolate milkshake, 4 hills too steep to ride up, 6 hills too steep to ride down (without dragging brakes), 4 disused railway tunnels, 8 logging trucks, countless friendly greetings, 0 close calls with traffic, 1 close call with an angry dog, 1 close call with American tourists (in a disused railway tunnel), 1 hour riding at night with no lights, 0 punctures, 0 mechanical problems, 0 house keys (forgotten), 1 hour frustration trying to remember where the spare key was, 4 numb fingers, 2 bruised buttocks, 1 sense of satisfaction, 2 well-earned beers."
Jamie Nicoll in Chile
Brian Brown - Old Dunstan road No.1"Another year has rolled around and it was time for me to spend some time in the South Island. This time it was for nearly 2 months along with my wife Sue and friends Jo and Dave from the UK.
This trip was not solely about mountainbiking, the first part was a two week mini tour, doing a loop around Southland on the 2 tandems, taking in the Catlins, across to Manapouri then down to the South Coast through Tuatapere and Riverton, finishing back at Invercargill where we started from.
From here we worked our way slowly North, Jo and Dave going off on the tandem for a few days at a time, Sue and I doing likewise. As well as me riding some of the MTB routes I wanted to do last year but didn't...
The Dunstan route has been on my to do list for about four years now and I finally did it. I was spoilt as Sue drove the van with all the gear - all I had on board was water and clothes as the weather changed from very hot to very cold and back again in seconds. Once again this ride was sandwiched between two good climbs, with huge open country and The Great Moss Swamp lake dominating the landscape for a good part of the ride. We even had to pull a FWD out of a water hole! When I arrived on my bike and asked if they'd like me to pull them out, they looked at me rather strangely, till I added, Sue is following in the van..."
Ariel Kirtchuk - Israel Bike Trails"I used the Freeload rack on the rear of my Turner 5.Spot for the last 5 days (out of 9) of the Trans-Israel journey. It performed perfectly in the toughest desert rock gardens, and in both technical ascents and descents.
Freeload rack helped me complete each of the 5 days fresher and recover faster than I did in the first 4 days, even though the first 4 days were technically easier and the weather was much better."
See more here.
Oliver Whalley- First rider home on the inaugural Kiwi Brevet 2010"My Freeload rack performed exceptionally well in the Kiwi Brevet. It withstood 4 solid days of abuse without a whimper. Running a 35L dry bag with up to 12kg of gear, there was none of the shifting or failure of other racks, some of which required MacGuyveresque repairs to make it through.
I was most impressed on Day 3 heading from Reefton through Big River to Waiuta. Techy singletrack with nuggety climbs and root strewn descents and the Freeload still didn't budge. Top marks Freeload!"
Check out the brevet here.