Click to return to the store
Roughly 120 miles of road, dirt, gravel and hills.
7 pizzas and an uncounted amount of tacos and bagels were consumed.
1 armadillo sighting.
2 campfires and many cups of campfire coffee enjoyed.
The first weekend in May was beautiful: Warm, sunny days and clear, cool nights. A weekend made for bike camping. Thirteen of us gathered to drink coffee and do some reconnaissance for Swift Industries’ Summer Solstice Campout. Three days of riding alongside ranches teaming with young livestock, past a ghost town and finally through the charred pines of Bastrop sprinkled with new growth. We rolled out Friday morning armed with sunscreen and coffee.
The scenery in Bastrop is pretty surreal. In 2011, Bastrop State Park was ravaged by wildfires. All along our route there was evidence of that terrible summer, epic pines charred and cut down and bald spots existed in what was once a lush forest. But new growth was everywhere- bright green little pines against the black and grey giants. There were even blackberries growing in abundance. We set up our camp and then split into two parties. Party One set out on pizza duty, while Party Two got the fires going and made friends with three other bike campers who happened to roll through: a German woodworker taking 5 months to ride from Atlanta to Vancouver; and two women riding from San Diego and Phoenix, respectively, en route to Florida.
We let the sunrise wake us up and sleepily made our way to our various coffee set-ups. The rustling we heard that night was identified to be an armadillo bumbling around camp, bumping into our bikes and tents. We figured it was a good sign, since the armadillo is considered Beat The Clock’s spirit animal.
We said goodbye to our new friends as they headed to Houston and then hopped back onto Park Road 1C. Part of the group branched off for a dirt ride into camp while the rest revisited the hills. The camp vibes were strong with us- Bastrop’s pool opened 20 minutes after we arrived at the park.
Day 2 was full of burgers, swimming and plenty of lounging. We enjoyed a mellow night following a sun and pool soaked day and turned in early. The moon was almost full that night, making our headlamps almost unnecessary.
Up with the sun, we made our way home to Austin and back to work, grad school work and to take a nap (yours truly). Our yoga teacher and fellow Swift Navigator was Houston bound for a criterium race, where he ended up placing in the top 10. The final group out took advantage of Bastrop’s Main Street for a second breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes and waffles.
Words by Laura Clemens Trujillo of helloclementine.com
Photos by Gideon Tsang and Crew
Swift Campout is a month away and we’re getting hyped! Make sure to sign on and mark the map with your own adventure. Hit the open road for a night under the stars, and remember to share your #swiftcampout stories to win amazing gear from Tenkara Rod Co., Ibex Wool, Horse Brand, Ocean Air Cycles, and Enlightened Equipment!
We’re calling for short vid submissions so grab your cameras and start documenting your overnight! Winners will get set up with a full touring set up from Swift Industries and more.
Ventura, CA Established: 2010
There’s no question about it: the Perks Family is passionate about bicycles. What’s more, they’re committed to high quality goods made in the good ol’ USA. We’ve been honored by the opportunity to work with the Ventura company on the Ocean Air Cycles X Swift Industries Docena Demi-Porteur Bag. The morning ritual of #coffeeoutside spread like wildfire when Rob shared his weekly routine and now folks all over are inspired to get out and gather with friends new-and-old for morning coffee in a beautiful spot. Whether you’ve been following the family grow and the business from its inception, or if this is the first you’ve heard of the mom’n’pop company, I think you’ll love the insight Rob drops about Ocean Air Cycles.
San Francisco, CA Established in 2012
There’s no better match than Swift Campout and a homegrown touring company in San Francisco called Pedal Inn. When the founders, Nick and Lindy, discovered their love for travelling by bicycle they set out to share their delight with the public. When we discovered Pedal Inn it was in the form of a beautiful bike-camping recipe book the duo published called the Pedal Inn Weekender. Nick and Lindy’s passion for food, cycling, and the social and geographic connections that come with bike travel, shone through in their compilation. We were smitten!
Sit back for some story telling, a huge dose of inspiration, and an invitation to the grand opening of the Pedal Inn pop-up shop in San Francisco’s Alite Outpost on April 16th, 2015
Pedal Inn is about sharing our passion for bikes, cooking, and the outdoors with everyone.
We offer bike camping tours based out of San Francisco to the most captivating nature destinations in the Bay Area. We’ve crafted what we believe is the perfect all-inclusive, active outdoor adventure for locals and visitors alike. We supply the camping gear, adventure bikes, food, expert guides, and all the special details in between.
We believe in setting off on bikes and going camping as way to excite people’s spirit of wonder and adventure. By slowing down and staying local, possibility and discovery abound: nature tells a story, you get a unique perspective on a place, the food tastes even better, and you’re able to reconnect with what really matters. Pedal Inn brings the full experience together, makes it accessible, and shares it one memorable overnight Bay Area bike camping tour at a time.
We feel really lucky to live in a place like San Francisco where a bike can take you to a diverse range of environments, all with a distinctly beautiful perspective on nature. It’s what inspires us, keeps the ideas flowing, and rewards the effort we’ve put into the Pedal Inn. Every tour we go on has those Aha! wilderness moments that surprise us, bring new discoveries, and make us forget we just rode in from the city.
“We’ve explored a lot but really
just scratched the surface here—
you could get out there every
weekend for a year and camp
somewhere distinct and spectacular,
all within a reasonable day’s ride from the city.”
Pedal Inn Favorites
Apart from our Swift panniers, we packing the usual camping kit necessities but with a few extras stashed in to liven things up. You’ll find a couple Trangia stoves for cooking, a pretty extensive camp kitchen (with lots of spices), aluminum foil, strands of LED lights to set the mood, Alite camp chairs, a weather-beaten Japanese hatchet, Nick’s harmonica, our trustly Olympus OM-D camera with vintage glass, a smallish tripod, and plenty of Four Barrel coffee. Of course, we’ll also be stopping along the way to pick up essentials like cold beer and a bottle of whiskey to share. We don’t put too much emphasis on packing light, rather we follow our interests, stay comfortable, and eat ridiculously well ‘cause it’s only one night and we want to do it in style.
Pedal Inn’s top choice Bay Area Swift Campout Destination
Looking for a stellar spot for your Swift Campout? Pedal Inn’s top choice is Tennessee Valley in the Marin Headlands, about 20 miles from the Mission District. You can strike out from San Francisco on a tour through the city, including Golden Gate Park and the Presidio, before crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and taking in sweeping views of the Pacific. From there it’s biking paradise on the waterfront trails and sublime bike path of Marin County.
Tennessee Valley is a short turn from the Bay, nestled between rugged, wind-swept hills with the campsite nestled in a tranquil little valley. There are some great trail riding with fun rollers that reveal a small, untouched beach that delivers some of the most memorable sunsets anywhere. It’s part of a vast network of protected parkland that makes up the Marin Headlands and features some of the best trail riding anywhere.
Go on and check out an outright celebration of Pedal Inn and bike-camping in and around the Bay Area!
Based in Driggs, Idaho Established in 2013
We had a chance to connect with the fine folks at Tenkara Rod Co and get the skinny on their up-coming Swift Campout to a local creek. Fly fishing is one of those pass times that fits bike-camping perfectly–read on and you’ll see why we’re especially stoked to be a Tenkara Rod Co. dealer. What’s more, you’ll have a chance to win their amazing goods through Swift Campout.
At Tenkara Rod Co we love the outdoors and we love to fish. Tenkara gives people a chance to get out and enjoy the outdoors while fishing with a lightweight packable rod. It does not matter if you are new to the sport or maybe you can shadow cast better than Brad Pitt, tenkara is fun for a skill levels.
We have four different tenkara rods; The Teton, The Sawtooth, The Cascade and The Owyhee, all named after beautiful mountain ranges that a full of fishing opportunities. The rods range in lengths from 8 to 13 feet long so you can fish everything from high mountain lakes to small streams and big rivers. The rods collapse down as small as 18 inches and the Cascade weighs in at just over 2 ounces. The most popular are the rod packages, in a package you receive the rod, rod tube, a hand tied tenkara line, line holder, and 3 flies to get started.
We saw the simplicity in tenkara and figured fishing does not need to be complicated. A friend let me try his tenkara rod and I quickly learned how much fun it is to hook and land fish using tenkara. The rods are very sensitive so even hooking small fish makes for a good fight. We are not just fish bums. At Tenkara Rod Co the great outdoors plays a role in nearly everything we like to do. Tenkara Rod Co is gathering up friends and family, packing up bikes and rods to head up-river for a Swift Campout. The actual name of the creek on the map is a derogatory term that also means “female dog”. So they’re are going to (female dog) creek!
The first rule of traveling in Nepal is: don’t bring anything.
Famous last words on some adventures, but literally true in this populous, mobile, friendly, and enterprising nation. Even the smallest hamlet has a “tea house” or lodge. And while the accommodations are basic to say the least – generally not too different from camping – they are extremely cheap. It’s sort of like a cross between bike-packing and credit card touring. Since my style of travel leans heavily towards self-sufficiency, it took some getting used to.
We set out from New Delhi, India, a bit overloaded and determined to get out of the heat and crowds by heading into the Himalaya as quickly as possible. We pumped up our tires, oiled our chains, and put in long days toward the border.
Characteristically we had done no research about Nepal. We didn’t even have a map. So all the rice paddies, water buffalo and houses on stilts came as something of a surprise. As it turns out, Nepal has rather a lot of jungle lowlands. Complete with elephants, rhino, and tigers –or so we were told –we never saw any. The lowlands were beautiful and culturally diverse, but hot and humid, and the mountains were calling. So we kept up the long days, stopping only to swim. Making tracks for Annapurna, one of the two places we knew by name in the country (the other being Mt. Everest).
Several weeks in, and halfway across the country, we had seen exactly one other bideshi (or foreigner) so it was something of a shock to arrive in the idyllic tourist town of Phokara. Not only were there signs we could read, plenty of foreign travelers, fancy hotels, internet cafés, and other trappings of a world-class travel location; but restaurants which served food other than Dal Bhat: the national food of Nepal. We tarried for a week by the shores of a famously beautiful lake nestled among the foothills of the Himalaya, enjoying the wonders of western civilization, like espresso and salad.
According to our map, the route out of town was supposed to turn from jeep track to trail soon after Beni. But as we fought our way uphill on a dusty dirt road — full of slippery rock and loose cobbles– it became clear that the path was a rather popular motorbike destination. We were sharing the road with hordes of motorcyclists flogging totally inappropriate slick-tired street bikes up this decidedly difficult jeep track. The mottos were often doubled, and always right on the edge of out-of-control. I suppose l sound a bit curmudgeonly when l say I’m not sure if the popularity of the road was blessing or a curse. What I am sure of though, is that it led through some wild and beautiful country always in sight of snowcapped peaks. After a few days of continuous steep climbing, we reached the end of the road where we took a rest-day to acclimatize.
One rest day turned to two when we awoke to a nasty snow storm. We settled at the BobMarley hotel, eating what is quite possibly the best apple pie in Nepal. Fascinated, we watched pilgrims struggle past on their way to Mutkinath temple who moved along–suffering from altitude sickness and half naked in the freezing storm. Several appeared to be clad only in trash bags and shower sandals.
Sadly, the shivering pilgrims weren’t the only ones put out by the unseasonable storm. Some three-hundred tourist trekkers (and their guides and porters) decided to attempt the 5,416m (17,769 ft) pass despite the snow. Sixty people died in the blizzard. We watched as the survivors struggled into town, heroically carrying the weaker members of their teams.
The next day dawned cold and clear, turning all the slush into spectacular ice and rendering the trail impassible without crampons, especially while dragging bikes. The police closed the pass and set out on search-and-rescue missions.It was time to turn back and drop our gear in Katmandhou, with aims to head toward Mt Everest.
Our route to Everest dropped to 300 m above sea level before climbing to 4,000 meters at which point the road become passable only by foot. We ditched our bikes, gathered a few belongings, and set out on foot towards Mt. Everest. The unconventionally sparse gear we carried, coupled with my bare feet, made us the talk of the trail. We ended our trek in the unrivaled mountain beauty of Gokyo, a cute little town nestled between the worlds longest glacier and some stunningly beautiful sacred lakes.
Back at our waiting bikes we discovered that some unscrupulous passers by had lightened our load for us. Our bike bags were empty, so we made our way back to Katmandhou without even a patch kit to weigh us down.
Fast and light is just the way to do it in Nepal.
–Words by Goat, photos by Matt
and you’ll find Goat exploring the world at wandergoat.com