Today we’re being bombarded with reports from academia, mainstream and social media, and the government. This announcement is not intended to condense all those reports, politicize them, or provide our own set of recommendations, other than to reinforce one particularly important issue – to come together as Americans and stay home. Now is not the time to get out and travel.

Instead, spend some time with family. Work on other projects.

One principle we sincerely believe in is that American Adventurist is a vehicle which allows for the individual, who shares our passion for this pastime and community of interest, to be something greater than yourself through fellowship, stewardship, and leadership. Now is the time to do just that.


Lately, many social media organizations have been advocating for “social distancing” through self-quarantine by camping. On Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook we see people essentially bragging that they’re packing their gear and heading out to the most remote location imaginable, typically only a few hours away from their home. While romantic conceptually that’s not practical, nor is it contributing to the health of our community. Let’s take a closer look at why we’re convinced this isn’t a good strategy.

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“Coronavirus is just like the flu – it’ll all be okay.”

COVID-19 is similar to the flu in how it’s transmitted – via respiratory droplets and contaminated surfaces. And that’s why many of the preventive measures we talk about are the same as the flu. But the two viruses are different in ways that are significant and dangerous, and current data supports the FACT that COVID-19 is on the rise in America.

Meanwhile, flu has a vaccine; COVID-19 does not. The flu vaccine protects all of us, including our vulnerable populations who are frail or who have medical conditions. People who get the flu when they’ve taken the vaccine tend to have milder, and shorter illnesses. A vaccine for COVID-19 won’t be available for at least 18 months, if even then. Everyone is vulnerable.

Flu has established treatments; COVID-19 does not. Our flu treatments make the illness milder and shorter. When someone does get hospitalized with the flu, the health care team have experience and material for treating the flu. With COVID-19 we don’t have a treatment, other than supportive care, which means they can keep you alive longer, whereupon you either survive or die.


“I don’t need to worry about getting sick. I’m healthy.”

Sixty percent of Americans have at least one medical condition whether it’s high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, or something else. Feeling healthy and being young isn’t a good reason either. The majority of hospitalizations in China were over age 30.

“Coronavirus is not in ‘the wilderness’, so I can go out.”

You don’t know it’s not in your area. There’s been a shortage of testing in the US, so we don’t have an accurate idea of how many people – or what areas – have truly been affected. The fact is, it is already here and has been for some time.

Did you know that individuals can shed the virus (infecting others) for up to 2 weeks before they get sick? That’s why the quarantine for COVID-19 is 14 days. You can be standing by someone who is infectious but not yet sick; in a queue at the grocery story; punching in your PIN at the ATM; pumping fuel into you adventure vehicle; and quietly pick up the virus. A virus which can survive on some surfaces from a minimum of 1 to 3 days. On every gas pump handle or debit card device you touch.

Alternatively, you could be the one who is positive and inadvertently spreading it to others. This is part of what explains the rapid spread of the disease. People don’t realize they are infectious. It could be anyone.

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If you do decide to retreat to the “safety” of your remote camping site, what might happen if you have COVID-19 and you begin to exhibit symptoms? Even with the latest communication and locator gear, rescue could be hours away, while the respiratory effects of this infection rapidly progress and you slowly suffocate. Additionally, you have now initiated a cascade of human rescuers that you’ve exposed which ultimately consumes more scarce resources and threatens more lives. This is why social distancing is so important. By severely limiting our interactions with each other (even if we think we’re healthy), we have a chance of slowing the progress of the virus.


The Bottom Line in a Pandemic:

Naysayers may be acting out of a false sense of security. They may be downplaying the seriousness of the situation out of fear. But with lives at stake, we simply can’t afford to deny the danger. Stay at home. Take the opportunity to do that deferred maintenance on your vehicle, or perform that modification or installation you’ve really wanted to do. Take time now to do deliberate trip planning for later on. Study things and do things and be well. At home.

If you happen to already be out there on extended travel far from home, consider hunkering down someplace safe until the situation improves.

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If we each do our part, we will make a difference and flatten the curve. Look at polio – with global collaborative efforts polio is now 99% eliminated in the world. Today with the COVID-19 crisis, social distancing buys us the critical time we need to save lives. Be part of something bigger than yourself, and don’t forget to support small businesses during this time of uncertainty.

Stay home, hang out in your garage, and be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.

Poster images courtesly of Duke Cannon

Photos by Chad de Alva

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The Basic MTB Kit

In years of riding I’ve come to realize a few laws of nature that can rarely be defied:

  1. The worst crashes occur on the simplest terrain, and when we least expect it.
  2. Whether you run tubes, tubeless, or tubular, tire failures are a fact of life.
  3. The one time you don’t bring it will be the time you need it.

When heading out on any mountain bike adventure it’s important to ride prepared for the unexpected. The following is a list of essentials that belong on every adventurist’s pack when pedaling off into the great outdoors.

Water: Carry extra water. A compact water filter can extend your range, and come in handy if you become stranded. I like to throw a strong mix of electrolyte in a water bottle on the bike in addition to regular water in the hydration pack bladder.


Food: Always bring more food than you think you need. I keep an extra bar or two tucked in the bottom of my pack as a reserve, while keeping other snacks close at hand in one of the side pockets.


Windbreaker/Shell: Up in the mountains weather can change quickly. When riding new trails I never head out without a waterproof shell of some kind.


Shelter & Fire Starter: Although I’ve never actually had to use a space blanket or build a fire to survive overnight, there’s been times where I’ve come very close. The added comfort from knowing you have them when things get sketchy make them worth the small space they take up.


First Aid Kit: Standard bandages for a range of scrapes and lesions. The most used piece of this kit is the tweezers. Living in the West, pulling cactus from arms and legs is a part of life.


Leatherman®: I used to carry a lightweight single blade, but the amount of times I’ve needed or wished I had a good set of pliers makes the Leatherman® worth the extra weight.


Compass: Growing up in SoCal it was pretty hard to get lost. Find a high point and you can almost always see far enough to a landmark or housing development. However, when heading into new territory with dense forests or expansive wilderness, it only takes one wrong turn…keep a compass in your kit so you can easily reorient yourself.


Toilet Paper: Also known as “trail money.” When nature calls, don’t be without the goods.


Bike Multi-tool: Multi-tools designed for bikes have unique tools for handling repairs to your ride. There’s a million options out there, this Crank Brothers multi tool has all the essentials including a chain breaker that doubles as a spoke wrench.


Tire Lever(s): I opt for carrying one. However, carrying a set is never a bad idea, particularly if you’re dealing with thicker downhill tires.


Master link: Chains break. A spare link will keep you rolling like nothing ever happened. I often carry both a ten speed and an eleven speed to accommodate whomever I may be riding with.


Derailleur Hanger: Modern derailleur hangers are designed to break before your frame does. A clipped rock or branch is enough to snap your hanger and swiftly end the day’s fun.


Tube(s): I try and carry 2 most of the time. Just because you’re tubeless doesn’t mean you don’t have to carry a tube. Another tip, 26” tubes will easily stretch into 27.5” or 29” allowing you to always have a tube for whatever wheel size you or your buddy is running.


Patch Kit: You can go ten years and never use it, but when both tubes have been used and there’s thorns up ahead you’ll be grateful you have it.


Pump: Co2s are great for a quick fix, but they’ve been known to fail and are sometimes not enough to air up. They’re great on race day or for resealing a burped tubeless tire, but when heading out into the backcountry take a pump as well.


Zip Ties & Duct Tape: When all else fails, zip ties and duct tape will get you home.