Outside Magazine, Sep 2014

Best Towns Ever



Ben Hewitt’s essay on “unschooling” in our September issue has sparked some heated debate. Few parents are willing to do as the Hewitts do, and turn their kids loose entirely. But how can we give our children more freedom?

With a series of impressive 100-mile wins under his belt and perhaps the most fitting name ever bestowed upon a shoe-salesman-slash-ultrarunner, Mike Foote seems to be doing everything right.

There are two sides to the story of the biggest environmental lawsuit ever, but a new book tells only one of them.

A new global racing series aims to make the electric car cool.

Swiss explorer Mike Horn looks to grind out a big first—again.

There’s a reason more and more amateur athletes are turning to professional trainers to retool their workouts: it’s the best way to improve performance.

Yosemite Valley, the birthplace of rebel climber culture is supposed to be all cleaned up and mellowed out. But as a new film shows, the outlaw spirit is alive and well.

Six new ways to power up without sacrificing taste

The former road cyclist from Easthampton, Massachusetts, is quickly taking over the European-imported sports craze, cyclocross. Here's what keeps him going up, down, over, around...

The finalists in our Best Town Ever competition have a lot in common: Thriving food scenes, walkable neighborhoods, and, of course, incredible access to trails, rivers, mountains, and lakes. But no place brings it all together like our winner.

What makes a Best Town Ever? Access to adventure, healthy eating options, bike lanes, and green spaces. And these places have it all.

At least not of the traditional, compulsory, watch-the-clock-until-the-bell-rings kind. As a growing movement of unschoolers believe, a steady diet of standardized testing and indoor inactivity is choking the creativity right out of our kids. The alternative: set 'em free.

In the half-century since the Wilderness Act was passed, almost everything has changed. All the more reason to go wild.

Something in the Water
You cast more than 1.5 million votes in our biggest Best Town Ever contest to date. Duluth, Minnesota, may have triumphed, but you loved 15 other amazing places, too—from Burlington, Vermont, to Anchorage, Alaska.

We Don’t Need No Education
Thanks but no thanks, say Ben Hewitt and a growing movement of unschoolers. Dissatisfied with classrooms that leave kids staring out the window all day, they want to set our little learners free. PLUS: How to rewild your child.

Fifty years ago, Congress passed the landmark Wilderness Act, setting aside 9.1 million acres of mountains, canyons, and forests in perpetuity. Today that number has grown to 110 million acres. And as bestselling author Barry Lopez writes, they’re the secret to our sanity.

From Dusk Till Dawn
Gathering for moonlight mountain-biking sessions and grueling early-morning group rides, Los Angeles’s cycling community is small but vibrant—and it doesn’t fade away when the sun goes down. By Sam Moulton

First Look: As the new documentary Valley Uprising shows, the outlaw spirit is alive and well in Yosemite.
Tech: Formula One-style electric-car racing leaves the roar to the crowd.
Media: A lopsided account of one of the biggest environmental lawsuits in history.
Rising Star: Ultrarunner Mike Foote used to sell shoes; now he’s wearing them out.
Epic: Serial adventurer Mike Horn goes the long, cold way around.

In the Lead: Amateur athletes are using pro coaches to significantly up their game. Should you?
Tools: Hydration gear that’ll never leave you thirsty. 
My Body: National cyclocross champ Jeremy Powers on the power of core work—and naps.
Fuel: Energy bars for quick lifts, recovery, or going the distance.

Design + Tech: A wetsuit made of biorubber. Running shoes woven from a single strand of yarn. Skis constructed from a supercarbon that’s lighter than paper and stronger than steel. Get an exclusive peek at the next generation of gear.


Parting Shot