A Bikepacking Journey In Search Of Sustainability – Bicycle Touring Professional

by jpc_touring-bicycle

Ryan Mlynarczyk and Mandy Creighton are in the midst of an 18-month journey by bike during which they’re researching, partaking in, and spreading the message of sustainable residing. 

If you’re unfamiliar with the thought of sustainable residing, otherwise you merely need a greater explaination of what it’s that Mandy and Ryan are doing, I encourage you to observe the brief video under. After the video is over, proceed to scroll down and skim the interview I performed with Ryan and Mandy about their epic bicycle journey and documentary mission.

Initially Mandy and Ryan, the place are you from and what do you usually do? What was life like earlier than you left in your journey?

What’s “regular” actually? Effectively, previous to devoting our lives to residing the nomadic life by bicycling 12,000 miles across the US, Mandy spent her time within the Midwest primarily centered on non-profit improvement and help for small enterprise start-ups. Ryan spent a lot of the final 30 years close to the San Francisco Bay Space, and previous to the journey had been specializing in environmental activism {and professional} wedding ceremony images. With the intention to make investments ourselves absolutely right into a extra sustainable life-style, we selected to stop our “company” jobs, promote our automobiles, and stay an alternate life-style within the loft of a barn at Laguna Farm, a CSA (group supported agriculture farm) for about eight months. Throughout this time, we did worktrade on the farm to earn a spot to stay and a field of contemporary domestically grown veggies every week. We additionally labored exhausting on www.withinreachmovie.com, lining up company sponsorships, acquiring crucial biking gear, and getting the phrase out about our non-profit movie mission. As well as, we cycled over 2,000 miles throughout these eight months to organize our our bodies for the street forward.

Are you able to clarify what precisely you’re doing and the way your bike journeys is totally different than most?

Our Mission is to movie and doc how sustainable communities operate all through the USA. We’re “bikepacking” to the East Coast and again to California, utilizing solar-powered electronics and a number of other totally different kinds of leg-powered bicycles. The result’s a function size documentary movie that may current a practical expertise of searching for out and residing in a sustainable group. Our bike journey is totally different than most as a result of we’re self-supported, and subsequently we feature all the standard gear used on a motorbike tour (tent, sleeping bag, clothes, meals, and many others.) and as well as, all of the gear to movie a documentary and keep a resourceful web site. This consists of skilled digital camera gear, laptops and exhausting drives to again the whole lot up.

As well as, our journey is exclusive in that we’re driving a wide range of bicycles and trailers and methods for carrying gear, together with an in-line tandem recumbent, which we swapped out for the ‘bicycar’ (quadribent or side-by-side tandem recumbent), and at the moment are driving two Novara Safari touring bicycles. At one level, we additionally used a photo voltaic powered electrical help bike trailer with pop-up sleeping tent (that we invented and constructed), and a small plastic tub trailer. For the subsequent leg of the tour, we’re going extremely mild and have ditched the trailer and opted for much less gear.

How do you two know one another? What’s your relationship? And have you ever been getting alongside?

We met in 1999 throughout school on an eco-mission journey to Central America, and have become quick buddies. We had been out of contact for a lot of the final ten years, however the universe introduced us again collectively. After a number of months of telephone and electronic mail time, we realized we have been destined to share greater than a friendship, and we at the moment are engaged to be married on the finish of the journey. We determine, if we are able to make it via 12,000 miles on a motorbike, we might be ready for marriage!

We’ve definitely skilled some large pleasure, in addition to some powerful challenges. Bicycling and residing on the street requires an immense quantity of effort and time, then add in making a film and making the required connections alongside the way in which to collect wonderful footage and also you’ve obtained extra work than two individuals can probably deal with. Thus, we’ve skilled a good quantity of stress, resulting in the occasional energetic disharmony, want for area and most not too long ago, the choice Mandy made to bike forward a couple of week to go on a private retreat. As a result of we selected such a protracted tour (18 months), we understand that it’s wholesome to take a day right here and there to get some area from each other. Most individuals don’t spend as a lot time collectively in a whole lifetime as we’ve within the first 4 months of the tour. Fortuitously, we’re not solely lovers, however greatest buddies, co-workers and in the identical sangha, or religious group. Due to this fact, we additionally share an unimaginable quantity of pleasure as properly.

How precisely did you first discover out about bicycle touring? Or “bikepacking” as you consult with it.

Ryan went on his first bikepacking tour alongside the Oregon coast with Widespread Circles Expeditions in January 2005. Learn his photo-blog about this journey right here. Each of us have owned bicycles our complete lives and had dreamed of happening an journey of this nature. Nevertheless, neither of us had a lot expertise in any respect! Thus, we determined to go car-free for a couple of 12 months previous to hitting the street for Inside Attain. This conditioned our our bodies and by the point we departed on October 5, 2007, we had every already put in about 2,000 miles of bicycling simply round city, and a number of other 100-200 mile lengthy weekend bikepacking journeys. We name it bikepacking as a result of it’s self-supported and we pack all our personal gear, much like backpackers.

Why did you resolve to provide bicycle touring a attempt? And why did you resolve to go the place you probably did?

It’s crucial that every of us reduces our carbon footprint in the way in which that works for us. That is the easiest way that we noticed this to be attainable. It’s totally different for everyone, however neither of us are very, um, good drivers to be trustworthy, and we simply really feel safer and extra wholesome on bicycles vs. automobiles or vans. We determined to tour 12,000 miles across the US to go to sustainable communities and make a documentary movie as a result of we consider it is very important make a distinction at house. Belief us, we’ve typically considered taking our presentation and movie mission to Mexico, Central America or different far-off locations, however the actuality is, there may be loads of work to be completed, and provoking tales of hope to be shared in our personal “yard”.

You talked about this a bit already, however what sort of motorcycle and kit (trailer, panniers, and many others) are you utilizing and why did you choose these specific gadgets.

We initially took our personal invention of a solar-electric energy help bike trailer with pop-up sleeping tent for 2, pulled by an in-line tandem that was donated to the mission. You may watch a brief movie about this distinctive mission right here. Nevertheless, the trailer proved to be only a prototype and rapidly went again to the engineers for additional testing and refinement, and the bike was simply not sturdy sufficient for a ’round-country tour.

So, we then switched to 2 Recumbents donated by Raines Cohen, and a BicycleR Evolution trailer discovered on craigslist in San Francisco. All through, we’ve held quick to our Novara waterproof panniers that are AMAZING. They’re fully rainproof, and never inflexible, thereby simple to pack and carry odd-shaped gadgets. As well as, we’re sponsored by Lowepro, who has offered us with padded digital camera baggage. These work GREAT for bike touring! A few of them even strap properly to the handlebars for easy-access gadgets reminiscent of lip balm, mace spray and the iPod shuffle. We use these baggage for almost the whole lot you may think about – one is even used for our rest room package.

As is typical of prolonged bike tourers, we’ve persistently downsized our gear at every main metropolis. We began with about 200 lbs of drugs (we have been weighed at a truck scale!), then right down to 125 and we at the moment are right down to about 110 lbs (55/every) and we are going to most likely stick with that for the remaining 9,000 miles of the tour.

Are you touring with any cool/neat gadgets/electronics/toys which are price mentioning? 

We’re on a journey towards sustainability, and we consider strongly that the motion is aided by “acceptable know-how”. We take into account the Web a part of this (it has even been described as the brand new telepathic communication!), and thus, we every carry a laptop computer to communicate with the “exterior world”. As well as, we’re sponsored by Solio and Actual Items, every whom have offered us with actually cool light-weight photo voltaic panels to cost cell telephones, iPod and AA/AAA batteries for our lights. One of many neatest gadgets donated to us is our Reelight battery-free security lights that connect to the hub of every of our wheels. These are a “will need to have” for anybody whether or not you’re touring or not. In fact, we additionally carry an “all-in-one” telephone machine; and after a lot analysis, our good friend/technical marketing consultant Arsen Yeremin steered the htc Mogul by Dash. It serves as our telephone, textual content messages (together with Twitter Texts), GPS, road-side web entry and likewise has a “telephone as modem” function that enables the cellular phone to ship a wifi sign out so our laptops can entry the web wherever there may be cell service.

What did your loved ones and buddies take into consideration you leaving on such an epic bike journey and taking pictures this documentary? Did they assume you possibly can do it? Had been they nervous? Excited? Scared?

Family and friends…ahhhh. They’re all supportive in wildly alternative ways, starting from giving sound recommendation reminiscent of suggestions on locations to remain in addition to gear to carry, and many others. to easily sending constructive power and prayers. In fact there may be concern and concern as properly. Shut members of the family and buddies have expressed their want to have us rethink happening or persevering with the tour as a result of there may be an excessive amount of danger related to it of their minds. Nevertheless, in addition they understand that their fears are rooted in naivete – an absence of understanding what it takes to journey a motorbike 12,000 miles. Don’t all of us are likely to have fears of the unknown? We perceive their considerations and do our greatest to maintain in good communication through telephone calls, emails and even a Twitter feed on our homepage with nearly a play-by-play of the place we’re and what we’re studying.

What’s the greatest place you’ve gotten been to this point? Why?

We’re requested this query so typically and it appears to vary as we progress! Essentially the most peaceable camp spot was in Lemon’s Hole – on the Southern Tier ACA route between Marathon and Longfellow, TX. The sky was SO BIG and I’ve by no means seen so many stars. At one level Ryan awoke in the midst of the night time and went exterior the tent the place he felt essentially the most darkness and calmness he’d ever skilled in his complete life. After having bicycled via San Francisco to Los Angeles to Phoenix to Tucson to El Paso…the true peace present in West TX was a welcome change.

Our favourite Sustainable Neighborhood we’ve visited to this point on the bicycle tour might be Sonora Co-housing, in Tucson, AZ. They’re an amazingly open, enjoyable, and caring group of individuals, who stability unimaginable use of their minds and their hearts. Their infrastructure (buildings, landscaping, swimming pools, pottery rooms, gardens, and many others.) are aesthetically lovely and extremely properly thought out.

What has been the very best expertise of the journey to this point?

We maintain a small journal with us during which we write down Miracles and Manifestations. Within the entrance half, we log each “miracle” we expertise on the street, and within the again, we log issues that we hope to “manifest” for the journey and the world. The miracle that stands out to me is our most up-to-date addition of Joanna Perry-Folino as Affiliate Producer of Inside Attain Film. We have been in Austin, and after a pair days of stressing out about our low checking account, inefficiency of our “bicycar” (the side-by-side tandem recumbent we rode for the primary 2,000 miles), and simply having a usually low day, we lastly obtained affirmation that this wonderful filmmaker we met again in Berkeley, CA wished to contribute financially and energetically to the mission!

What has been the most important shock to this point? What’s the greatest factor you’ve gotten discovered?

We’re each shocked that we’ve made it over 2,000 miles. We believed we might do it, however whenever you truly get out on the street, trusting the universe to get our wants met, trusting our our bodies to get us from place to position, that’s an entire totally different story. So I assume we’ve discovered that we now converse the language of chance. Nothing is unimaginable.

How a lot is the tour costing you per day? How a lot have you ever spent?

As a result of we’re a non-profit movie mission, accepting donations, we maintain file of our month-to-month funds and put up these studies right here. So we spend on common about $1,500/month. This figures to about $50/day for the 2 of us. This consists of $20/day for meals and the rest spent on cellular phone invoice, gear substitute (i.e. tires and tubes), the occasional film (we’re filmmakers in spite of everything!), and paying a movie editor. Thus, since we departed on October 5 (about 5 months in the past), we’ve spent about $7,500.

In the event you had only one piece of recommendation for somebody who was new to bicycle touring, what would you inform them?

You are able to do it! Anybody can! Mandy has had power bronchial asthma for her complete life and not too long ago conquered it via pure treatments and train. Ryan, who has a nasty again, has discovered to take higher care of his physique and he’s on the market daily biking wherever he goes.

In the event you had simply as soon as piece of recommendation for somebody who as eager about studying extra about sustainable communities/sustainable residing, what would you inform them?

Go to www.withinreachmovie.com and click on on CommuniMedia and Assets. There are actually tons of of communities in the USA doing issues extra sustainably, starting from ecovillages to cohousing to complete cities making the transition towards sustainability (try Transition Cities). There’s one thing for everyone, whether or not you need to share earnings or just share a garden mower.

You’ve nonetheless obtained a number of your tour left. Are there any components of the tour you’re actually trying ahead to?

We’re each actually trying ahead to visiting The Farm in Tennessee. It is without doubt one of the authentic “communes” from the 70’s and one among few that’s truly nonetheless round. There’s additionally, Earthaven Ecovillage in North Carolina, which our ecovillages mentor Diana Leafe Christian lives, and a number of other different rural ecovillages that excite us, since that’s the model of group during which we’re most eager about residing after the tour wraps up. We even have many extra family and friends across the nation with whom we’re excited to go to.

And eventually, what do you propose on doing as soon as your tour involves an finish?

When the tour wraps up, we hope to hitch one of many Sustainable Communities that we go to. We’ll then spend about 6 months in post-production, enhancing the tons of of hours of footage to create a feature-length documentary. We’ll then submit it to movie festivals and doubtless find yourself happening some type of tour once more to advertise the movie (though we’ve mentioned happening a “Skype” tour from our lounge as a substitute of again on the bikes immediately!).

For extra data on Mandy & Ryan’s adventures, please go to: www.withinreachmovie.com


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