Wandrer Encourages Riders to Explore New Roads and Trails by Bike

Craig Durkin is the founder of Wandrer.earth, an exploration game that encourages people to explore new places by bike and by foot. He and his wife Pearl are also good friends, and we’ve been riding together regularly for a few years now.

In this episode we ask Craig:

  • Are you still biking abandoned railroad tracks with this contraption?
  • Why did you first get into mountain biking?
  • What is Wandrer and how does it work?
  • What are some of the interesting things you’ve see on your rides?
  • Are there plans to create specific challenges for mountain biking, and MTB trails?
  • Who would you say is the best MTB trials rider of all time?

Learn more and sign up for a free account at Wandrer.earth.

A full, automatically-generated transcript of this podcast conversation is available to Singletracks supporters.

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Transcript

Jeff 0:00
Hey everybody, welcome to the single trucks podcast. My name is Jeff and today my guest is Craig Durkin. Craig is the founder of wander dot Earth, an exploration game that encourages people to explore new places by bike and by foot. He and his wife Pearl are also good friends. And we’ve been riding together regularly for a few years now. Thanks for joining me, Craig. So this actually isn’t your first time on single tracks. Back in 2016, Aaron interviewed you about a contraption that you built to ride bikes on abandoned railroad tracks,

Craig 0:40
I had forgotten about that.

Jeff 0:44
So yeah, we posted a video of it, and he interviewed you and stuff. I think I didn’t really even know you at that time. So I’m curious, you got any updates on how that project turned out?

Craig 0:55
That I feel like I got about as far as I wanted to. With that. The design, I had actually kind of ran into some kind of challenges in that it was two bikes side by side. So it’s one bike on each rail. Yeah. And where that gets tricky is when you’re going around curves in Rails, because, well, the inside rail is shorter than the outside rail, right? And so, like, you need things to be really rigid in order for you to not like fall off of the rail, generally. Yeah. But then, yeah, going around curves like that would make it really tricky. We actually took it up to Maine, and rode on some abandoned rail up there, with these train guys that were like, they were like, really into trains. And they like sent along these permission forms in order for us to be able to get permission to ride on this specific stretch of abandoned rail. And they had their own rail bikes that were like, there was like one bike on each trip, one bike on each track. And like, yeah, they had like a good design. And then they also knew kind of every stretch, like every five minutes, they’re like, Okay, we’re coming up to this bridge. We’re coming to this bend, we’re coming to this old factory or whatever. It it kind of took some of the like, mysterious adventure out of it for me. Like there’s kind of narrating the entire trip beforehand. Yeah. But yeah, it worked. And also a lot of the bobbin and rail around Atlanta has been ripped up at this point. And so there’s just, it’s just harder to play with.

Jeff 2:39
Yeah, yeah. I mean, it seems like a kind of a limited use type of thing. There’s only so much rail and yeah, I mean, it sounds like the guys you rode with to they ride the same rail, like over and over again.

Craig 2:50
They go all over the place. Like I heard from one of them recently, because he was gonna go ride this kind of famous stretch of rail in North Carolina called the Saluda grade, I think. And I think there’s a ton out west, tons of abandoned rail. And then I assume the Northeast still where they are. So one of them actually brought a small train with them. It which was like something powered by like a lawnmower engine, and he towed it on his car with this trailer. And we got to we got to ride around on that. It was pretty fantastic. Did I not tell you about this?

Jeff 3:31
No, no. The last I heard you’re riding on the BeltLine, which doesn’t exist anymore.

Craig 3:39
Anyway so we’re up in like rural Maine. And we did our like real ride, we rode out to like the New Hampshire border and came back. And then we got back and pulled out the little mini train that they brought in put, like all four of us on there. And everything that we had been riding, you know, is abandoned. And so like, you get to a crossing where the rail crosses the road. And it’s, it’s like been paved over. There’s no rail left there. Yeah. And this train that we have, like, doesn’t have a steering wheel. It’s a train, right. And so you get to these road intersections. And the only thing you can do is just gun it and hope that the train like goes straight

Jeff 4:23
And picks up the tracks on the other side.

Craig 4:27
Yeah. And of course it like starts veering, some of these are like fresh pavement and it’s just totally gouging. Oh my going off to the side. So that in that situation, everyone gets off. And there are these two handles that pull out like a wheelbarrow and you just kind of hook it up from the back and then redirect it and lay it back down and then go forward and you just kind of keep repeating this process until we eventually get back onto the rail. How am I going? So we felt kind of bad for chewing up their asphalt like that, but it was really sweet. I mean, you go like 30 miles an hour and you see Deer and lakes and everything is good time. Wow, that’s awesome. Yeah, rail biking itself. Not not super viable in Atlanta anymore.

Jeff 5:11
As fascinating as that is to this is a mountain bike podcast. So let’s talk about mountain biking.

Craig 5:18
What about mountain biking? Yeah.

Jeff 5:19
Well, so how did you get into mountain biking?

Craig 5:22
I got into it through a friend of mine. Because he was really he was like a big cross country runner and road rider and stuff. And yeah, it’s just like, brings back some of the joy of like being a little kid and riding your bike and yeah, getting lost in the woods.

Jeff 5:39
How old? Were you? Were you a little kid? No, this

Craig 5:43
was actually in like, freshman year of college. Okay. And then eventually, like, I got really tired of having to get off my bike to like, carry it over logs or rocks or whatever. So then I got really into trials for several years to be able to ride everything. And that started messing with my knees and is also like, super hard to be good at. So back to mountain biking. Yeah,

Jeff 6:06
well, I mean, yeah, you’re being modest, though, saying you’re not good at trials riding because yeah, I’ve seen you do some pretty, pretty cool stuff on mountain bikes and playing around on different rocks. And

Craig 6:18
I’m good. Yeah, I’m decent from like a mountain biking perspective, but from like, a competitive trials riding perspective, like, along with long ways to go,

Jeff 6:29
yeah. What’s the appeal for you about mountain biking? Like, what do you? Why do you still do it even? I mean, it sounds like you’ve done a lot of different things for a while, and then kind of moved on and found a new thing, but, but you’re still mountain biking.

Craig 6:45
I mean, the exploration is great. I do really, really enjoy the like, technical parts of it too. And kind of, yeah, having to like pay attention to balance and body position. And it’s just like the fun challenge of like, can I get through this? You know? Yeah, yeah. But yeah, it also just like takes you to beautiful places, and you meet cool people. And yeah, can’t go wrong.

Jeff 7:14
Yeah. Yeah. Well, speaking of that idea of like, finding new places go into beautiful places. So talk about wander dot Earth. Yeah. Tell us a bit about that. Like, how would you explain it to somebody who’s like never, never heard of it?

Craig 7:30
Say Wanderer is a game that you win by going places you’ve never been before?

Jeff 7:37
Yeah. Very mountain biking concept, even though it’s kind of, you know, at this point, it’s about exploring roads, mainly, right.

Craig 7:46
Roads are the main thing that are on there. We definitely have mountain bike trails, and even more informal trails that are, you know, not necessarily official or sanctioned. But those, those are fewer, just because there’s fewer of them in general. And then they’re sort of harder to map. People don’t pay as much attention to them, or you can’t see them as well, because they’re covered with trees on satellite imagery. But they’re definitely on there. A lot of the like, kind of janky bandit drills that we read are down there at this point.

Jeff 8:23
Right? Yeah. Well, like what was the idea for creating wanderer? Was this something that you had been doing before? Like, did you have your own sort of map of places you’d explored? Or what’s How did you come up with it?

Craig 8:36
So it came about from some work that I do with a nonprofit here in town called Concrete Jungle. And for Concrete Jungle, we pick fruit that grows all over the city. And we donate it to local homeless shelters and food banks. And as part of doing all that, there’s a lot of planning of just like, Okay, it’s mid June, like, what are we going to pick this weekend? You know, where are we going to tell volunteers to go. And fruit trees, at least in Atlanta, probably everywhere are really unpredictable, especially ones that we’re picking where people don’t care about them, right. And so, in order to plan an event, we have to just go to the tree and look at it and say like, oh, yeah, there’s fruit on it, and it’s ready, or it’s late and everything’s rotten or whatever. Yeah. And so there’s a lot of that of just like going by bike around around the city and seeing what’s there. Yeah. And just kind of had the idea of one day of like, I wonder how many roads inside Atlanta have actually biked? You know, because as you know, we have the perimeter circling Atlanta and you’re ITP inside the perimeter. Or you’re not

Jeff 9:50
right. Yeah, yeah, the perimeter is is interstate 285 For those who don’t know, you know, it’s a lot. Most cities have them. There’s like a ring car. No. Going around the city and so yeah, inside the perimeter

Craig 10:03
ITP kind of. Yeah, kind of the unofficial boundary. Yeah, city. Yep. So yeah, kind of whipped up some code to just analyze my rides and see, you know, how many like unique places have I been? And it was really small. It was like 12% or something? Yeah. ITP is about 3300 miles. So yeah, it was like 300 something 400 miles. Yeah. And then, you know, kind of made it sort of a simple web page, let people connect their Strava accounts, and then put a leaderboard up. And that is the like, the thing that just bikers cannot resist is when they see someone with a slightly bigger number than them. Yeah. They’re like, it’s on. Yeah. So yeah, then it kind of grew from there from Atlanta to I think the next place was Louisville, because someone had a connection. They’re like, Hey, I go to Louisville a lot. And I want to do this there. And then yeah, the whole world.

Jeff 11:09
Yeah, that’s awesome. Right. Yeah. So all over the world. And so I was on the website, doing some research for this conversation. And you mentioned a couple of reasons that people might want to wander on the website. And yeah, a couple of them, like, you know, particularly connect with for me, and I’ve been, I’ve been using wanderer for, I don’t know, probably pretty early on. Yeah, from when you launched it. But just over the last couple of months, yeah, I’ve kind of kind of gotten obsessed with it. So one of the things you mentioned is, it’s a cool way or a good way to see how your neighbors live. And tell us what what do you mean by that?

Craig 11:53
Yeah, I mean, so like, you know, when you live in a place long enough, you like, get to know, okay, like the bakeries here, the grocery stores there, the pizza place, whatever. And, at least me, I kind of fall into this like, mode of thinking of like, yeah, like, this is my spot, like, this is a good spot. And like, kind of not necessarily, like, why would I want to live everywhere, anywhere else, but sort of like, this is like, this is good, I gotta get set up here. Right? And you don’t really think about like, any other part of town. But then, like, actually going there, and not just like, you know, passing through on a car, but kind of like saying, I’m gonna, like, actually bike, every road in this neighborhood or something. Yeah, you sort of start to realize, like, hey, like, it’s pretty good here, too. You know, it actually kind of looks a lot like, where I live. And they’ve got a lot of the same stuff. And I mean, this is totally obvious. Like, everyone needs a bakery. Everyone needs a grocery store. Everyone needs the pizza place, a library, whatever. But I don’t know there’s something about doing it on a bike, or like running it or walking it that just kind of makes it a little more familiar and less a place that you’re just like passing through. Yeah. Yeah. And like, there’ll be places, you know, like a mile from my house that I had never been to. And like growing up in Atlanta, after a while that turns into like, 15 years, where you’re like, Wow, I’ve never been like a quarter mile that way from that place where I spend every day of my life. Right. And it just seems really weird to not know, like, what’s down there? Yeah.

Jeff 13:39
Yeah. I mean, the thing that, that I’ve been struck by and that Yeah, I mean, that that alone, seeing how your neighbors live, like, it’s really opened my eyes because Yeah, going down some streets that are like you said, like a mile away from my house. You see all kinds of different living conditions. I mean, yeah, I’ve seen extreme poverty. Yeah, I had no idea there were people living that way. Yeah. So close by. And then on the flip side, there’s neighborhoods that, you know, maybe I’ve driven past and then like, oh, that place looks sketchy. You know, like that. That must be a dangerous place. And then I go down, and I’m like, huh, this is actually nice. Like you’re saying, like, you’re like, I could see myself living here. And like before, I was kind of judging it and being like, Oh, this is totally not a good place.

Craig 14:29
That’s one of my favorite neighborhoods in Atlanta, have been places that are kind of like, ooh, like in that like, the bad part of town or whatever. Yeah. But then you go in there. And it’s just like a bunch of old timers like sitting on their porch. Yeah, everyone’s waving to you. Or you know, just like having a good time. You’re like, this is great. Like, yeah,

Jeff 14:48
what I’ve seen cuz I’ve been doing it this summer is there’s kids everywhere, right? Like, again, you think like, oh, that’s a bad neighborhood or that’s, you know, somewhere I shouldn’t shouldn’t go but It, like there’s people living their lives in these places, and there’s kids playing in the street, and they’re having a good time. And it’s like, I don’t know, I just feels like way more of a connection to my neighbors after doing this being like, we’re all. We’re all just living our lives here. Like,

Craig 15:16
yeah, and I don’t know if this is gonna be like, too political or anything, where you don’t want to go. But I think there is like a real equation in at least in the United States, in our minds of like, poverty with danger. Yeah. And it’s like, when you see poor places, like, they’re not criminals, like they’re just poor. Yeah, you know, and like,

Jeff 15:41
yeah, it is scary. But, but really, the feeling is more just like, I think we avoid it, because we don’t want to see it. You know? Yeah. It can be emotional. I mean, it’s like, Oh, my goodness, like these people having to live like this and making making us thankful for what we have. And yeah,

Craig 15:58
definitely. Yeah, it really. Yeah. Kind of opens open your, your eyes to just yeah, just some bigger, bigger things that you don’t normally see or think about.

Jeff 16:10
Yeah, for sure. So one of the other things you mentioned is why we should wander is to be someplace new and unfamiliar in your own city. So you’ve traveled around the world a good bit, like how does wandering around your own city compared to the rise that you do in other countries that are like just completely unfamiliar.

Craig 16:32
So we knew each other primarily from our Tuesday night mountain bike ride? Yes. And this is a ride that happens Tuesday nights, and everyone’s bringing lights, and we’re just kind of exploring, you know, some like more official trails, less official trails,

Jeff 16:54
basically, any trail we can find dirt, basically want to see where it goes. And

Craig 16:59
if it’s, if it’s passable, then we’ll, we’ll try to go through it. And this still happens, but less so you know, these days now that I’ve been doing the ride a bunch, but in the early days of doing the ride, like it all it happens mostly in like near neighborhoods, or areas or part of town that I’m kind of familiar with. But since people have been doing this ride for so much, they know about all the secret stuff. So when you’re just like starting the ride, you’ll be biking down a road that you knew all about. And then someone will just like, make a sudden turn and sneak into this little trail that you never even noticed. And then suddenly, you’re just lost. In your in the woods in your riding funds single track. You’re just like, What is going on? Yeah, how long has this been here? How did I not know about this, and it’s dark. And so you’re like, you’re twisted around, because whoever built the trail, like they’re trying to pack it in, in as much of a small land parcel as they can. Yeah. And then eventually, you pop out someplace totally different. And you’re just like, I knew where I was, like, 10 minutes ago. Now I have no idea. And like, I don’t know, any of these landmarks or anything, you’ll bike for a little bit more along the road, and then come up to an intersection of something that’s familiar. You’re just like, Oh, I get it. Like, here I am. And it’s just a really fun feeling to me of like, just being, you know, totally aware of your surroundings and knowing where you were. And then just like instantly transported to like, Where the heck am I like, what is going on? And also like by doing that, by way of like, fun secret single track makes it extra cool. Yeah. But that’s kind of the feeling that I’m chasing is just like, yeah, just being transported a little bit in a place that you like, thought you knew well. And then being just totally like, what? What’s going on?

Jeff 18:51
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, I found that’s what? Yeah, I’m like you. I mean, I’m addicted to the Tuesday night ride for the reasons you mentioned. And yeah, what I found with wonder is I get that same feeling like, this is totally new, like, How did I not know this was here? Or like, this is a really cool street or like, yeah, there’s a lot of a lot of that feels like, you’re somewhere new and like you, you’ve escaped? And I imagine that’s a bit like, like traveling to another country. I mean, is that or is it different for you? Like, I don’t know, I when you go to another place, you expect that right. You know, you’ve been there. You think everything is new, everything is new? Is it is it a different feeling for you? Or is it similar?

Craig 19:38
It is yeah, it’s a little like, it’s sort of pleasantly disorienting when it happens locally, whereas like in a foreign country, like you just kind of expect to be kind of disoriented the whole time. Right? It it can be sort of exhausting. I mean, it’s fun in its own different way. But there’s yeah, there’s an aspect of surprise when it happens where you live. Yeah, just Like, whoa, this whole thing is here. Yeah, I’m also always looking for like fruit trees, and of course, little trails that cut through to places too. And so it’s kind of makes it an extra bonus of like these are, you know, I have things I actually want to find also. Yeah.

Jeff 20:19
Yeah. That’s that’s a good point. So I’m curious to do you think, you know, I think Atlanta may be, you know, where it started in this idea of, of writing all the roads inside the perimeter. I don’t know if other cities are set up the way Atlanta is, but like, we have a lot of trees. And we have, we don’t have a grid of streets, really. I mean, like outside of kind of the core downtown. In a few like, smaller areas. The roads are just, they’re crazy. They twist and turn. And it’s like, everything, it feels very mysterious. Like, do you think, do you think this concept works in other places? Like, I don’t know, say, someplace like Denver out west, where it’s like, there’s a grid, and like, you could just go up on some mountain? You could see everything from there. Right. But But here, it’s like, there’s there’s kind of a mystery?

Craig 21:13
I do. Yeah, I do think it works in a lot of places. And in part, maybe it’s a I mean, it works in other countries, too. But one thing that I think kind of comes into play in the US is that we don’t have a lot of like, urban planning or design. And so in, we have a ton of land. So you know, people are just kind of doing what they want most of the time. Yeah. And I think we have a lot of roads that are actively built not to connect to other roads. Yeah. And so for various reasons, for various reasons. Yeah, they could get into bends. But you know, sometimes, like little connections do form people sneak trails, through the creeks or whatever, at the dead ends. And so, yeah, I feel like the grid, where everything is connected is kind of more the exception, rather than the rule for how a lot of American cities develops that you might have like a sort of grid downtown, of kind of the older town. And then the suburbs sort of grew from there. And whatever. Weird spaghetti, or they

Jeff 22:19
want to do, yeah, lots of cul de sacs too, which is

Craig 22:22
lots of cul de sacs. Yeah, that’s, that’s kind of a not like, controversial, but I feel like wanderer users sort of fall into two camps of like, I’m getting everything, you know, down to the last meter. And that includes every single goal to sack Yeah. And then others that are just like, I don’t have time for this.

Jeff 22:42
Yeah. Yeah. It is crazy. You don’t realize how many like dead end streets there are. And and yeah, I mean, I’m curious because I haven’t, haven’t tried this in other cities, to see if it is just an Atlanta thing, or if this is everywhere. So I would add another reason or two for using wander that you didn’t have there. And one of them is for me, it makes road riding suckless I don’t like you know, mountain biker. I don’t like doing road rides. And so yeah, it gives you something to look at. It’s not the same old road that you do every time.

Craig 23:21
Yeah, that that, again, with mountain biking reasons. Like I find it less boring. Like with road riding, I do just kind of like, I sort of lose interest. And so that definitely draws me more to mountain biking in that, like, you can engage with it a little bit more. And like what you’re saying with wonder of like, yeah, Kevin kind of gives you a little more structure or like kind of a sort of bigger goal you’re chasing, rather than just like, well, I’m out on a long ride.

Jeff 23:53
Right. Yeah. Right. And it’s motivating. I mean, I guess the leaderboard is part of that. You know, I mean, I’m nowhere I’m waiting on the leaderboard. So that’s not even like, on my radar. It’s more like a personal quest to be like, Okay, I’ve written this whole area, and in for me to it kind of encourages me to do these, like, shorter rides from home, like on the road, whereas, you know, seems like for a lot of road rides, people are gonna go out and they’re like, well, I need a ride, like two or three hours for this to be worth it. But with wander, it’s like, oh, there’s this neighborhood couple miles away that I haven’t done yet. I’m just gonna go do that. Let’s go check it out. Yeah, it’s been an hour or so.

Craig 24:34
Yeah, that does get a little harder as you fill things in. But

Jeff 24:39
right. I’m approaching that at that point. But it’s taken. I mean, it’s surprising how long it’s taken me just to get to that point. I mean, hundreds of miles before you know I live in a small city in the metro area called Decatur that’s four square miles. I think it’s like you Two miles by two miles, roughly. Yeah. But there’s almost 100 miles of roads in that. Yeah. So and just to do my little town, it took me several days, spread out over weeks.

Craig 25:14
Yeah. And even like, from a so there’s there’s kind of fun routing algorithms that you can do to come up with like an optimal route for, like everything within one area. And they have kind of a fun history that we could talk about, if you want, but the even in kind of a like, mathematically optimal way, at least, how I’ve seen it implemented and how I’ve done it, you’re the closest rouse still have kind of like a 20 to 30% kind of buffer. So that like, if you have a neighborhood that’s like 10 miles, or 100 miles, like you’re not doing that 100 miles in less than, like 120 or 130 miles, because there is just kind of like connections in sort of duplicates that you need to do all

Jeff 26:08
those dead ends to every one of those you’re doubling. So I wouldn’t exist. It’s got to be more than 20 to 30%.

Craig 26:15
Yeah, yeah. It just depends on kind of the like, topology of how everything’s linked up.

Jeff 26:22
Yeah. So you’ve been doing this for a while. What are you at like 40 50% of

Craig 26:29
it? Yeah, I think I’m in the in the 40s. Part of it is, I don’t feel like I should be like dominating anyone part of it. There’s a little conflict of interest of like, I don’t want to

Jeff 26:42
there’s no prizes, though. Are there?

Craig 26:45
But there should be I feel like I need like stickers or patches or shirts or something. Yeah. But yeah. And I used to lead rides around Atlanta called all of ITP. That, yeah, they were fun. And just, you know, we were saying, all right, we’re gonna go do like every road in this one area in this one neighborhood or something. I should start those up again. But they just kind of like building wander and then like doing the rides sort of get to be a little much. So haven’t not not done those in a while.

Jeff 27:15
Yeah, but so you’ve done that you have to have done well over 1000 Miles ridden over well over 1000 miles of roads inside the Atlanta area. What’s the most interesting thing that you’ve seen or found?

Craig 27:31
You? I mean, I think like, we sort of touched on it earlier, that like, just kind of seeing the, like stark differences of like, you know, you’ll see like, burned down houses that have people living in them. Yeah. And two miles away, like you’ll see big gated mansions, and just kind of the like, yeah, they’re really on the unexpected stuff like that. Definitely found some like fun. Secret trails that I didn’t know about that are always good to have mysterious temples, like you’ll find just like a random, I don’t know, like Buddhist temple or something in a neighborhood that, like, we don’t have a strong connection to Buddhism in the US, or especially in Atlanta, or especially in this neighborhood. So yeah, just sort of, it’s just the, the unexpected, like it’s hard to say any one thing of like, this was super interesting, but kind of seeing it sort of, when you when you don’t expect to is what makes it interesting. One of my favorite things is in the southern part of the city, we have not quite a highway, but this road called Langford Parkway, it’s sort of it’s like a limited access but not quite freeway thing. And we went down one dead end road near Langford Parkway and saw basically like a homemade on ramp. Like they just turned down the fence and they were car tracks like leading from this very quiet residential road like just straight on to the to the highway. Wow. And then you know, I get where they’re coming from there. You don’t see that a whole lot.

Jeff 29:16
Yeah. Well, so I I’ve actually started keeping a list of like, the weird and unusual things that I found. I was doing a ride one evening and I saw a woman riding a horse down the street. Black Woman black horse, just trotting down the street. You know, this is like a regular neighborhood.

Craig 29:40
Yeah. And like, where did she come from? Yeah, where do you see no

Jeff 29:43
stables or anything? I live it. Yeah. Another time there was a boy who was riding his bike. And it was one of these cul de sacs and I rode past him and had to turn around, came back by he flagged me down and he said Guess how far I rode my bike today? And I was like, I don’t know what to say. I was like, I don’t know how far he said, two hours, a road to Six Flags. And Six Flags is like, you know, that’s the other side of town. Yeah, there’s, like, very far away. And I was like, No, you did. And he smiled. And then he laughed a little bit. And he’s like, Nah, I’m just kidding. He said, but I did go to the waterpark. And I was like, Cool, man. That’s awesome. And it’s just like, those kind of inner actions that it’s like, Man, that was a cool ride.

Craig 30:36
Like, yeah, you just have like fun fun little connections with folks. My wife calls it my are my target demographic is kind of like eight to 13 year old kids out on their bike and because you know, you’re just like going through a neighborhood. There’s a bunch of kids hanging out on on on their on their bike. You bust out one wheelie for them in their in the palm of your hand. Like they’re like, do another one. Do really do another one. And yeah, every time we see like, kind of eight to 13 year olds, she’s always like, what’s your target demographic coming up? The Pied Piper wheelies? Yeah,

Jeff 31:17
that’s funny. There’s another spot that I saw. A there was like, this door is in a doorframe and everything is kind of like some bushes around it. And it had a sign on it. There was like, pool rules, right? And it was like, you know, no lifeguard on duty, like, you know, it was like a door to a pool. But there was no pool, like, used to be there. There’s a field behind. No fence anymore. Anything, literally just a door. And I like how to do a double take. And I was like, what, how is this still here? It looked perfectly like as somebody had been painting it. And the sign was still like completely legible. No pool,

Craig 31:57
some final fun kind of urban decay or neglect or something? Yeah. There was a guy out in Arizona, who is a wonder user. And he’s actually so there’s an organization, a company out in Tempe called cul de sac. And they’re building basically like their businesses building carfree neighborhoods, as I understand it, and actually actually, the, if anyone has ever looking for an E bike recommendation, the guy that started called the SEC runs this page that’s like, all dedicated to like, what E bikes should I get. And he has like 40 e bikes. And it’s like a really useful resource. But anyways, this guy out there is their artist in residence. And his whole thing is basically just riding every street in Tempe, and kind of documenting it. He’s also gathering some huge quantity of cans. I think he’s trying to get like 30,000 cans that he finds on the streets of Tempe. Wow. And he really manages to find quite a few. Yeah. And also seems to like documenting the just ridiculously jacked up pickup trucks that people drive around there. Yeah. And yeah, he’s just sort of like, has picked has picked a, a thing to focus on. And then it kind of comes to him as he’s exploring.

Jeff 33:19
Yeah, yeah. You start to see patterns for sure. Like things you hadn’t noticed happening? Like, in terms of Yeah, like, wow, there’s a lot of cans on the street. Like, how come nobody picks those up? Or

Craig 33:31
yeah, it’s also like, way harder. A lot of the riding, at least a lot of the, like, major streets in Atlanta, are built on ridge lines. And so when you start getting into the neighborhoods, like the hills come up big time. And we also really like building dead ends that end at creeks. Right. So they’re expensive. Bridges are expensive. Yeah. So there’s a lot of dead ends there at the bottom of the hill. And when you’re turning around to come back up it you have zero momentum. Yeah, it’s just it’s so they can be a lot more challenging than traditional routes that you would do.

Jeff 34:11
Yeah, yeah. I mean, that’s part of getting back to like making road rides suck less, like, I’m getting in really good shape from this, because, yeah, I’m getting a crazy amount of climbing because what I found too, is a lot of the streets that I’ve never written before. The reason I haven’t written on this, because they got a big hill on it, right? Like, I’m gonna find the way around that hill, or like stick to a flatter Street, rather than go up those. So yeah, it’s good. So there’s a separate wonder challenge for exploring on foot. Are there plans to create a challenge specific to mountain biking mountain bike trails?

Craig 34:50
That would be yes, I would love to do that. And there’s actually not really a reason why I can’t do that so far. There’s some like a few technical Will things that would make it? Yeah, they’re solvable. But yes, I think definitely having kind of a, like, you’ve done, you’ve at least written on, like every mountain bike trail in your county or in your state or whatever, I think would be very doable. And yeah, totally shouldn’t be on there. So, yeah, you have public documentation now.

Jeff 35:22
Chris, at least acknowledged that it needs to happen. Yes. When it will happen.

Craig 35:27
That’s, that’s a that’s a tricky thing. With wonder is kind of like this criteria of what is a road or like what counts or shouldn’t count? Because there’s a lot of people that are like, I want to ride like, absolutely everything. Like I want to ride every crappy alleyway. And like old, you know, horse carriage way that’s just cobblestones, and like, it all counts. Yeah. And some people even go a step further. And they’re like, doing zigzags inside a parking lots and like, sneaking into bus stations and riding everything. That’s that’s not super common. But then, you know, there are other people that are like, I don’t really want to ride anything that’s like not paved, like, I’m riding a road bike. Yeah, I don’t want to be going in sort of like, where do you draw the line of like, well, this counts, but this doesn’t is. Yeah, there’s no, there’s no right answer. And yeah, you know, there’s a guy that’s done almost 100% of ITP. So yeah, 3000 plus miles, but pretty much none of the mountain bike trails. So yeah, maybe maybe the there’s some room for kind of changing how these things are scored that you have, like, a base quantity of roads that you can get to 100% and then extra stuff that gets you like above 100%, or bonuses for that or something.

Jeff 36:52
Yeah, yeah. I mean, I know that single tracks. Members are into that as well. You know, like, we have the ride list and stuff where you can keep track of which trails you’ve written. And I know, know, a number of people, even our friend Chris Kelly, he’s got like the list from single tracks of like, the best trails in Georgia. You know, he’s like, I gotta ride the top 10. And then he’s like, now I gotta ride the top 50. You know, like, that’s, that’s definitely a thing that is mountain bikers, like, we love to do we love to explore and yeah, yeah, feel a sense of accomplishment at, you know, tackling all the trails.

Craig 37:30
Yeah. And whenever you’re going, you know, like taking a road trip to visit your cousin or something. You’re like, maybe there’s like, maybe there’s trails nearby. Going to see the aunt and uncle for Thanksgiving. Bring your bike. Yeah,

Jeff 37:44
right. Yeah, yeah. Super cool way to explore. Alright, so final question for you. What would you say is the best mountain bike trails rider of all time?

Craig 37:55
That would be Chris at Greg. Oh, of course. Okay. I mean, you know, we love Danny MacAskill.

Jeff 38:02
But Chris, he’s, I mean, he rides like everywhere, right? I mean, a lot of them everywhere. Yeah, he’s he’s riding ridiculous bikes on ridiculous trails,

Craig 38:11
and like, there’s stuff. There’s stuff in his videos that he does. That is just like a total throw away move. And if you don’t like ride trials, or ride mountain bikes, you don’t really have even a concept of like, how hard it is to do or how hard it is to do that smoothly. And it’s like not even the focus of what he’s doing. It’s like a setup move for like some big rock that he’s gonna ride up or some big log that he’s gonna ride. Yeah, but he’s just has like such a kind of natural. Yeah, ease with just so much. So many different like styles, so many different types of bikes. Like if you’re listening because, Greg, you’re the best. Yeah.

Jeff 38:52
Yeah. Such a talented writer. Well, Craig, thanks so much for telling us about wanderers, fun to podcast with a friend. Yeah, man, for sure. So if you’re listening to this, and you’re like, What the heck are they talking about? You gotta look at Wonder dot Earth. We’ll have the link in the show notes. Give it a try. All you got to do is connect your Strava to it and stuff will start happening and you might get addicted like I am. So check it out. Check it out. So we’ve got this week. We’ll talk to you next week.

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