Alex investigated the Baja Divide with Nicholas and Lael from January to March, 2016. His facility with the Spanish language was invaluable while working to solve routing challenges. He is famous for inventing the Helmbrero– a modified helmet with a sombrero brim– and for carrying a guitar on his bike. Note, Alex lists two bikes below as he switched bikes in the middle of the trip during a brief layover in San Diego to begin our second routefinding ride down the peninsula. Header images by Alex Dunn, all others Nicholas Carman.
Name: Alex Dunn
Bike: overbuilt Surly Pugsley Necromancer with belt drive Rolloff, switched to very awesome and much more apt Advocate Cycles Hayduke with suspension fork and 1×11 SRAM drivetrain
Previous touring experience: Riding the west coast a couple times (1989 Trek 520 and Surly Pugsley 29), Baja Hwy 1 (Surly Big Dummy), and a tour around Denmark, as well as many weekend off-pavement campouts in Colorado and Wyoming and Washington.
Luggage/packing strategies: Carradice Camper saddlebag; Revelate Designs framebag, Sweetroll, Pocket, and Gas Tank; Anything Cage and 64 oz. Klean Kanteen under the donwtube and water bottles on the fork.
I carried my camera in a chest strap bag which was beneficial for quick access but kind of a burden since it couldn’t really be tightened enough to keep it from swinging about without squeezing my chest too much. My favorite piece of gear was obviously the Helmbrero. Trail running shoes are ideal in my book for traction on and off the bike, helpful when pushing up sandy climbs.
I strapped my guitar to the rear rack with ratchet straps and wrapped the guitar with a large trash bag inside the stock soft case.
Wheels/Tires: WTB Scraper rims (45mm internal diameter), 27.5×3.0″ Maxxis Chronicle tires with EXO casing
Shelter: None, but Nick Carman’s pyramid tent. I picked up some plastic in San Diego for a groundcloth.
Navigation: Mostly I navigated by the stars, but sometimes I followed Nick and Lael.
What would I change? I would develop a better easy-access weatherproof guitar bag to be mounted to the rear rack. A better camera bag. And better custom attachments for the Carradice from the bottom of the bag to the rack, to reduce swinging about. I would also like a stouter fork like a Pike, carbon rims and a generator hub to power my own navigation system and lights.