Old Man Mountain has formed The Loam and Gravel Society and, Following the tradition of the Royal Society of London For Improving Natural Knowledge, Old Man Mountain has granted it a charter to define the course and purpose of this not-so secret society.
The purpose is something most any cyclist can get behind. In simple terms The Loam and Gravel Society wants people to do more with their bikes. To see bikes as a means to support other activities like, bikefishing, bikerafting, gourmet backcountry cooking just for the sake of having a good meal in a beautiful place, photography, coffee outside, rock hounding, flying kites on a mountain top, painting, whatever you can think of doing while using a bike along the way. Most importantly, bikes are a means to connect with the places we ride, and the people we ride with, in emotionally intimate ways. Check out their official charter below.
First Charter, A.D. 2022 Old Man Mountain, by the grace of soil, trees, and stone, provider of trails and roads, to all whom these presents shall come, greeting!
We have resolved ourselves to pedal. To place one foot in front of the other in pursuit of the next bend in the road and turn on the trail. We now resolve to do more. To extend Our utility of the bicycle, to see it as a tool to be adapted to many tasks and utilized whenever possible. Therefore We look upon with favor all forms of cycling, but with particular grace We encourage the exploration of Loam and Gravel, especially those by which We find new experiences and new friendships, altering Our perspective of the bicycle and those who ride beside Us. In order, therefore, that such rides, which have not hitherto been sufficiently gnarly in any part of the world, may shine conspicuously amongst Our people, and that the world may recognize Us not only as the Defender of Bikepacking, but also as the universal disciple and patron of every kind of cycling. Know that We have ordained, established, and granted, that henceforth forever there shall be a Society consisting of a President, Council, and Fellows, who shall be called and named The President, Council, and Fellows of the Loam and Gravel Society.
To further the goals of The Loam and Gravel Society and adhere to its charter, Old Man Mountain has elected Evan Christenson as its inaugural president. Evan will be tasked with living in an adventure van provided by Carefree Camper Co, and exploring the western United States for three months, and dipping into Canada for a spell. Evan will be documenting his explorations for the Society as he rides in diverse locations and explores the adaptability of bikes and the people that ride them.
Throughout the three-month expedition, Evan will ride with and interview folks who use bikes in a myriad of ways. Evan will go bikefishing in Montana with Gabaccia (@Gabaccia) and Serene (@FattyOnTheFly), bikerafting with Steve Fassbinder (@RepublicofDoom) in Southern Colorado, adaptive bikepacking with Bowhead Corp (@BowheadCorp) in Canada, and a whole lot more. Astrophotography? Food Foraging? Surfing? Geology-packing? Birding? We’ll see.
Evan will document his findings via an eight-episode series that will be available through Old Man Mountain’s Youtube channel. In addition to the eight episodes, he will be posting trip logs to the channel as well, covering his day to day life on the road and trail.
Old Man Mountain asked Evan to introduce himself by writing a few words about his motivations as a cyclist, photographer, and documentarian. Here’s what he had to say;
Rolling down the road, with an undefined route, with the wind at your back, the sun in your face, four liters of water, and a few meals left in the saddlebag, is true, rebellious freedom. While camping in Mexico for three months I learned how to be resourceful, using my hands more, fixing things, fishing, cooking with fires. In Uganda I learned how to be alone in an entirely different world, how to search for solace when there is none in sight. In Bosnia I learned how to be graceful in the face of tragedy, a skill learned deeper in Armenia. In Morocco, well there, I mostly learned what not to do.
I found the bike early, racing most of my life, but I found the road much later. For years I poured my soul into racing, I broke my neck. I lost all feeling in my legs, and the thoughts that began to spin when death was next unraveled the rest of my life.
I gave up racing. I picked up a camera, and I was lucky enough to start traveling. It’s become the thing I love most. No longer racing bikes, I’ve still found excitement in pushing my boundaries, testing limits, seeing new things. No longer digging deeper and deeper into what my body is capable of, I am more interested in what others are capable of, what nature can throw, what the neighbors say, what that village around the corner looks like. I’m proud to have left racing and not left the bicycle, because the bicycle, to me, is the best way to see the world. With nothing to get in the way, and only the bare necessities to keep you going, the bicycle is the most intimate way to be introduced to culture, and all the ugly and beautiful things associated. All of the best days of my life have started groggy, with aching knees, and an unknown destination on a map. So this year, I’m really excited to say I’ll be the President of the Loam and Gravel Society and do some more of that. I can’t wait to go see more parts of this country, on my bicycle, and to share it with you all in the process. Cheers!Evan Christenson
If you would like to become a Fellow of the Loam and Gravel Society, to be known as a defender of bikepacking, but also as a universal disciple and patron of every kind of cycling, we encourage you to check out their site and subscribe to Old Man Mountain’s YouTube channel.