"With one wheelset, it’s a fast gravel bike. With another wheelset it’s an endurance road bike...Fewer bikes – more wheelsets."
1. What is the goal/mission of Benedicto?
The goal of Benedicto is to be a source of creativity and ideas for cyclists. Gravel riding and long distance mountain biking has been a focus for me recently, so my idea was to share my learning process as a cyclist – in terms of finding the right gear, food and nutrition, routes, thought process, etc. I want to be inclusive with Benedicto and my hope is cyclists of all levels can find something of interest in our ride reports, features, and gear guides. I want people to be inspired to go out and ride more and have fun adventures on their bikes!
2. What is your backstory?
I’ve always been drawn to art, starting of course with drawing. Professionally I began with graphic design and art direction for 15 years, then I moved to full-time photography for 11 years, now I’m more multi-creative, working on projects that make the most of my entire experience. So, part content creation, storytelling, freelance photography and creative direction. Cycling – wise, of course it began with typical suburban fun as kids, building jumps, trying to make your Montgomery Ward bike look like a bmx/motocross bike. In junior high and high school I was all about vert skating. At the end of high school the skaters bought mountain bikes and began that obsession. I raced XC a bit in the 90s, but mostly just rode for fun. I bought my first serious road bike in 2002, and just rode more and more since then. I raced cross for a few years, but now mostly riding for fitness, fun, and adventure. I try to drive as little as possible, so I’d call myself a commuter as well. I try to combine my work and passions, so I was glad to help pitch the Rapha Continental and be the first photographer on that project. I’ve been lucky to work with Rouleur Magazine, and doubly lucky to have shot the Giro d’Italia in 2009 and 2012. Shooting an entire issue of Privateer magazine as a California MTB road trip was another highlight.
3. What is your favorite cycling route in the NW and why?
I honestly can’t pick just one, because I love different routes for different reasons. I love the landscape around the Dalles, so for an accessible fun route, I’d pick Dalles Mountain 60. My favorite way to ride is door-to-door, meaning riding from home and not driving to a trailhead or parking lot. In that spirit, last year Steve Mathras, Mike Chamblin and I did Velodirt’s Barlow Trail route from Portland and back in 3 days. We camped the first night in Parkdale, the second night in White River. Highlights of that ride were riding over Lolo Pass and having dinner and beer in Parkdale. Climbing Barlow Trail and bombing down Still Creek Road were the highlights on day 3.
My favorite one-day ride was NF41 to Bridge of the Gods in Washington. I had been wanting to connect the Silver Star/Tarbell area with the Wind River/Carson area for awhile and was pretty intimidated by the route, so it felt significant to complete it. Both Dave Guettler and Paul LaCava have great experience with long rides, so I was in good company.
4. What is your go-to bike in your personal lineup and why?
Different bikes for different rides! Top two are the Seven Sola SL 29er (titanium) and the Parlee Chebacco (I’m ride reviewing). They’re both so comfortable and capable. I ride the Seven when I do my dirt route in Forest Park and on bikepacking routes.
I’ve been riding The Parlee a lot because it’s so comfortable and versatile. With one wheelset, it’s a fast gravel bike. With another wheelset it’s an endurance road bike. If I wanted to race cross on it I could. The Parlee has Ultegra Di2 group with compact gearing, disc brakes, and tubeless road tires. It’s been a great bike to ride through winter, because of the brakes and 32c tubeless tires. Zero flats and increased traction and confidence on wet descents! It’s changed the way I think about bikes. Fewer bikes – more wheelsets.