The Outside Blog

Dispatches : Jan 2013

A Graphic Mapping of the Damage Caused by Sandy

Screen Shot 2013-01-25 at 2.22.28 PMPhoto: Spatial Information Design Lab

The Spatial Information Design Lab at Columbia University has built an informative and easy-to-use online graphic that shows the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy. Currently, users can view maps of the New Jersey and Long Island coasts and click on different areas to see the number of heavily damaged buildings estimated by FEMA, how the damage maps up against various socioeconomic factors, and what the affected locations look like in photos.

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An Ode to the Fat Bike

All Smiles on the Fat Bike

Earlier this week on a side street in Santa Fe, I passed a guy bike commuting the opposite direction from me. He was riding a fat bike.

Like any good cyclist, I'll often crane my neck to see what a passing rider is pedaling or what pretty frame is adorning the roof rack of that Subaru. But this time I nearly crashed looking because, other than the handful of fat bikes that come through the Outside offices for testing, this was the first big wheeler I've ever seen in my town. In addition to the fatty, this guy was wearing royal blue short shorts and technicolor knee socks—as if he needed more than the monster truck tires to draw attention to himself.

What you have to understand is that Santa Fe is no Boulder, Colorado. No Portland, Oregon. A small contingency of dedicated cyclists lives and trains here, but this is no bastion of cycling culture. So the arrival of fat bikes in Santa Fe is akin to the arrival of, say, women in military combat positions—it's a sign that the trend has moved from outlier to mainstream.

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Ragnar Puts the Team in Trail Running

Screen Shot 2013-01-25 at 2.22.28 PMNo more lonely trails. Photo: Courtesy of Ragnar

On January 22, the increasingly popular relay running series, Ragnar, announced that it is partnering with Salomon to launch the world’s first overnight trail running series. "For years we have dreamed of taking Ragnar to the trails and now it’s a reality," says Tanner Bell, who founded Ragnar Events a decade ago with a 200-mile team road race in Utah. Since then, the series has grown to 15 events in the U.S. and Canada, with nearly 100,000 racers competing last year.

The new two-day trail series will feature 120-mile courses and teams of four to eight runners. Unlike the road series, in which teammates who aren’t running drive by van to meet up with their runners at pre-determined transition points, Ragnar’s trail relays will consist of three loops run out of a central base camp à la traditional 24-hour mountain bike races. Not only does this alleviate the discomfort of cramping muscles during long car rides, but it also caters to parent runners who want to bring their kids to check out the action. Simply pitch a tent, set up a few chairs, and voila—front row seats to the race. (Kids must be at least 12 to enter.)

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Can Idle No More Save the Great Bear Rainforest?

ProtestsPipeline protest. Photo: Dogwood Initiative

Amid an increasingly conservative Canadian government focused on exploiting the land's resources, the country's indigenous people have risen up through a grassroots protest movement called Idle No More.

The Idle No More protest movement was born in late 2012, started by four activists in Saskatchewan who wanted to garner support to rally against a wide-ranging bill, C-45, that would remove significant tribal authority over Canadian waterways by overhauling the country's 130-year-old Navigable Waters Protection Act. But the bill passed just before Christmas. Its passage has only stoked the movement, which is also galvanizing indigenous groups not only across Canada but those in the U.S. and South America, as well. Demonstrations linked to the movement have sprung up from California to Wisconsin to Maine.

Environmental justice is one of the major themes being addressed, and in British Columbia, protests are focused on Northern Gateway, a proposed pipeline that would run 730 miles, traversing the Rockies and Coast mountain ranges and hundreds of waterways before its terminus in British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest, one of the largest contiguous tracts of temperate rainforest left in the world.

While the press in the United States has not covered the protests a great deal, Idle No More is major news in Canada and the movement gained significant momentum via Twitter (which you'll see by searching #idlenomore). Idle No More protests, often taking the form of flash-mob style drum circles in shopping malls and other public areas, have been attracting thousands of participants and resulting in civil disobedience arrests.

While the links between Idle No More and the Northern Gateway protest movement are informal, they're part of a wider reaction among indigenous Canadians to an increasingly conservative government, says Chris Darimont, professor at University of Victoria Geography Department and science director for Raincoast Conservation.

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Outside Television Adds New Shows, Expands Original Programming

Outside Television, America’s only network for active outside enthusiasts, today detailed two new exclusive original series, The Final Cut: Outside’s Adventure Film School and EpicQuest, to bolster another aggressive expansion of original programming through the end of this year.

The Final Cut: Outside’s Adventure Film School will premiere early this spring, while new weekly hour-long adventure EpicQuest, featuring Alaska’s international expedition operators of the same name, anchors a late fall and early winter surge of still more new series. Those originals include the return of renowned producer Warren Miller Entertainment’s Season Pass, which has received a second-season renewal, plus at least two more original series from Red Bull Media House, which entered into a sweeping original programming alliance with Outside Television last June.

"Outside Television attracts some of the most passionate and active people on the planet who are constantly challenging themselves against the most exotic locales and dangerous natural elements," says Rob Faris, senior vice president of programming and production. "They demand a sense of immersion in all that we do, and while lush visuals and action are hallmarks of our network, we are equally as interested in creating compelling characters and multifaceted stories."

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