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On Assignment: Venice > Armenia. Dispatch 1

Note from Stephen: In late May may dad, who lives with my mom in Armenia told me that the country was overly ripe for exploration by bike, and that Rodeo should put on a bikepacking race there. I was at first skeptical. If the riding there is so good why haven’t I heard more about it? But after I flew over the country in 3d on Google Earth and looked at some of my dad’s photos I was convinced that further exploration was at least necessary. The only problem was that it is quite difficult, nay close to impossible for me to get there any time soon. As life would have it Evan Christenson had just finished a bikepacking tour of the the Baja Divide with his girlfriend Bo Shan. Evan was looking for what was next in life and was in no mood to settle down for anything mundane. In nearly no time at all the idea hit me: Perhaps Evan and Bo could be sent ahead to scout the country and report back? I pitched the idea to Evan, and then Evan pitched me back a more rounded out concept. It was decided that Rodeo would create its first ever On Assignment For Rodeo Labs project, and Bo and Evan would be the first to undertake an expedition such as this under such a title.

Evan and Bo’s trip is well underway. They are currently wrapping up the Slovenia leg of their journey as I write this. Evan sent me 467 photos from the Italy leg of the journey, and I’ve very painfully narrowed them down to a more manageable 39 beautiful moments from their journey so far. So without further adieu. let’s get to the good stuff with an intro from Evan:

“I left recently with my girlfriend Bo on our journey across Europe to ride to Armenia. We left Milan and headed through the Alps, up the Gavia and Stelvio, and over to the Dolomites for a long, beautiful, and incredibly tough reintroduction to riding. Next, we’re headed through Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, the rest of Eastern Europe, and then into Turkey on our way to Armenia. 

This ride so far through Italy has been so much of everything. Good food and bad weather and nice people and weird moments, like all long bike rides. I’m excited to be back with Bo and on the pedals. We ride so well together. She helps me explore and softens the blows from our first long days with the bikes. She’s strength and she’s grace. I hope these photos show some of that.

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