A VERY BIG “thank you” to the following companies that have made the commitment to sponsor me on this journey. This mission would be darn near impossible for me to undertake without them.
Please take a moment to peruse their sites if there’s an item that interests you. I have personally chosen to approach each of these companies based on previous experience or their reputation, or a glowing recommendation.
For each sponsor, and the ones to come, THANK YOU.
Primal Wear Cycling Apparel is the maker of high quality competitive cycling apparel. I chose to seek their sponsorship based on the fact the company a) makes awesome apparel, b) they are known industry-wide for their gear, and c) they seem to really give back in the form of supporting the U.S. Armed Forces, cycling teams from high school to amateur to professional, and those who are riding to help others. I will be wearing Primal Wear gear exclusively on the trip, and am really excited to have these guys on board.
Adventure Cycling Association donated a full set of every map I needed on this trip, in addition to any extra maps that might be necessary if there was any change in route plans. Their maps include over 40,000 miles of United States roadway real estate, covering over 23 different routes, and are all meticulously crafted to provide the safest possible roads for bicycle travelers. With special features showing average monthly rainfall & temperatures, highlights, topographical and elevation charts, and bike shops and the like, these maps were a lifesaver.
BlackRock Gear sponsored me on my PCT through hike, and on this ride I will again utilize their amazing BlackRock Hat. I will wear this hat in much the same way I did on my hike. It was INCREDIBLE for using as an extension of my sleep system. A lightweight down hat on my uncovered head, poking out from my sleeping quilt? Perfection. And at 27 grams (really?) it was the right answer to a cold head. It looked fragile when I first held it, but it was far from it. The thing is bombproof. Their gear is awesome. They made me a fan for as long as they make stuff.
Crank Brothers has sponsored me with a very generous discount on their gear, which I am very excited about. They make a variety of products for bicycling, most notably mountain biking. I will be able to apply this discount to many of the parts I will need for the bike, without worrying about the quality of the parts and whether they will be able to withstand the rigors of the journey I’ll be taking. Their products are excellent.
Jacks’R’Better was one of my most amazing sponsors from my PCT hike. They sponsored me with a Sierra Sniveller quilt, and not a day went by that I didn’t crawl in under my quilt and thank them. I had never used a camping quilt before, and I’ll just say that I’m hooked. I doubt I will ever go back to using a traditional sleeping bag. I had more than one group ask about the effectiveness of a quilt over a sleeping bag, and I’ll just say this: I only had two nights where I was ‘cold’ on the trail, and both were my fault, not the quilt’s. Out of 4 /12 months sleeping outdoors on the trail, I’ll take that. I’ll be using the same quilt on this journey. Made of 900 fill down, rated to 20 degrees, weighing just 18 ounces and packing up to the size of a football, it’s the perfect choice. On top of everything, Jack Tier and Jack Myers know customer service. Incredible product, incredible people.
I’ve been a fan of Jandd Mountaineering for decades. I’ve been given gifts of Jandd products and bought others on my own throughout the years. I was very excited to find out that they actually produce a bag specifically for recumbent bicycles, and I they agreed to sponsor me with one when I reached out to them. If you have never had the experience of owning a Jandd product, you won’t be disappointed. Their gear is amazing.
I was searching for bamboo products, and came across Proof. Proof Eyewear makes wooden sunglasses. Since I’m going to be riding across the country on a wooden bike, I thought the idea to tie in wooden products that made sense to the ride would, well…make sense! Then I looked into the company. They have set up a business model similar to that of Toms Shoes, where giving back is a huge part of their company profile. Whether it’s recycling, planting trees, or support for eye clinics in India, they are very much invested in helping others. This sold me. That, and the fact that my favorite model of glasses, the “Boise,” is set up to handle prescription lenses. If you get a chance, check them out. You’ll see their glasses on my face as I make my way across the country.
Yama Mountain Gear (formerly Alpinlite) sponsored me on my PCT trek as well. Gen Shimizu, the owner, was one of my most supportive sponsors, even shipping out a prototype shelter he was working on for me to field test. Anything I needed he was there for. The good part: I didn’t need much, because his products were designed & built so well. I will again be using the Stratiform III tarp on this trip, along with the lightweight Bug Tent 1.25. Both were indespensible on my hike. As long as Gen is making tarps and outdoor gear, I will be purchasing strictly from him. (Also: Gen will be riding a unicycle almost 3,000 miles from Canada to Mexico on the Continental Divide bike route this year to help victims of human trafficking as well! Follow him here.).
Klaus Volkmann is a professional musician…but in his time away from being a concert flautist, he makes bamboo bicycles, and is setting up to open his own brand shortly. I initially had thought I would ride the Continental Divide on a mountain bike, but then my plans changed, and my desire to ride a different style of bike became apparent. “Who makes recumbent bikes from bamboo?” I wondered….after a very short search, I found out who: Klaus. Problem? He lives in Brazil. Problem solved: He jumped in to offer sponsorship of a custom made, hand built bamboo recumbent bicycle. You can see the process of the build through the “Bike Update” profiles on the blog. His craftsmanship is beautiful. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Klaus through this process, and feel like I have made a friend for life.
Grove makes wooden and bamboo products for your iPhone, iPad, Macbook and even beautiful wall art. Based out of Portland, Oregon, they were very excited about my trip, and especially about my cause. It turns out there are several Grove-ites in the (very small) company that are passionate about the issue of human trafficking as well. They offered to sponsor me with one of their custom engraved iPad cases. Grove is a company that takes pride in their craftsmanship, and looks like the kind of company that would be incredibly fun to work for. More like a family! If you haven’t heard of Grove, head on over and check out their stuff. I know there must be at least one or two people out there with some Apple products in need of stylish, renewable protective cases!
Monkey Mirrors makes small, helmet mounted mirrors that help bicycle riders see what’s coming up behind them. One great concern I have on this trip is very simply, safety while riding. I have tried other mirrors, and Monkey Mirrors works. Not only that, if you send them artwork, they will customize the backside of your mirror with it! Very cool. If you need a mirror, and have not been satisfied with the one you have, check them out. Their mirrors don’t jar loose or swivel at the wrong moments, based on a unique design.
Keen Footwear came highly recommended to me by another PCT hiker last year, and the results were hard to argue: One pair of boots, that were replaced with no hassle when they wore out. I was on my fifth pair of shoes by the time I got off the trail after 2,000 miles. So I contacted Keen when I found out they offered a bicycling sandal that has a built in clip plate on the bottom of the shoe. Without hesitation they sent out a pair, and they look amazing. I have never worn clip-in shoes before on a bike, and to be truthful, don’t like shoes that much. So since going barefoot is pretty much out of the question, sandals were the next best thing. And I found an amazing ally in protecting my feet in Keen. Many thanks.
I first learned about Cycle Tune Up through a bicycle website forum. It seemed that once I looked into the product – which had a great review – the more it sounded like an ideal way to keep the chain conditioned while on the trip. I needed to talk to the owner and get more information on this product! Besides living in the same town that produced Neil A. Armstrong (first man to walk on the moon and one of my childhood heroes!) and Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters fame, this was a down to earth, sincere, good gentleman. I liked him immediately. We talked about his product, and he said he would love to sponsor my ride. The thing that really drew me to Cycle Tune Up was that you can spray it on, or soak it, then wipe it down. It leaves no oil residue, and isn’t sticky to the touch, so road dirt and grime won’t build up in all the nooks and crannies of the chain, and ultimately cause it to wear out as quickly. Which means, fewer times, potentially, I am on the side of the road, with the rear wheel off, fixing or cleaning a messy, nasty, burnt out chain. Like all my sponsored products, I’ll be posting a video review on YouTube. Keep your eyes peeled!