Posted by Logan Watts
Over the next couple of weeks, Chris Reichel (@dirty_biker) will be tackling a rugged new bikepacking route across the Annapurna Massif in the Mustang District of the Nepalese Himalaya. No strangers to bikepacking in Nepal, Chris and his riding partner will use the Annapurna Circuit as a launching point for their attempt to piece together a new route along gnarly singletrack and down a few stretches of water via packraft. To help accomplish his mission, Chris was outfitted with the new Alpacka Caribou Packraft and this one-of-a-kind machine…
About the Wheels
Chris is rolling on a custom set of Industry Nine Enduro 305 wheels. Each hub is laser engraved with the Tibetan “Om Mani Padme Hum,” a mantra said to contain all the teachings of the Buddha, giving the hubs a resemblance to the Tibetan prayer wheels commonly found in the region. Even more impressive, each spoke is also engraved with the chant. To top off the wheelset’s artistry, Industry Nine gave it a rainbow array of anodized aluminum spokes to represent the Tibetan prayer flags that decorate many high passes within the Himalaya.
But Industry Nine conceived this wheel design with more than just aesthetics in mind. The build combines the ideas of the prayer flags/wheels from this rich culture to help draw attention to the area, and hopefully inspire more bikepacking adventures there in the future. Conscious, low-impact tourism provides important economic benefits to Nepal. This is especially important after the devastating earthquake of 2015. With a typical annual income of around just $500USD, many Nepalis rely on tourism dollars to survive.
From Industry Nine: “The prayer flag/wheel theme was an obvious choice when it comes to how to celebrate this area and convey some of the objectives for the trip. Though we are no experts of Nepali culture or Buddhist practices, it is our attempt to honor this amazing land and respectful way of living. Chris, riding his bike throughout Nepal, to its highest places, seemed a great way to spread these intentions and messages while supporting the efforts being made to rebuild after the earthquake.”
For information on the post-earthquake rebuilding efforts taking place in this remote region, and to support these efforts, visit the DZI Foundation.
About the Ibis Ripley LS
There are many full-squish bikes that can be taken bikepacking, but only a handful that seem well suited for the job. With two bottle mounts, DW-Link suspension, adequate space for a frame bag, and 29×2.6” tires (one of the few bikes that fits them), the new Ibis Ripley LS definitely looks like a great choice for Chris’ trip. Learn more about the Ripley LS in our original press release.