Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Rider Profile: Andrew Wracher, Bedrock Bags

Exploring the White Canyon complex in southeast Utah

Andrew Wracher is an avid cyclist and camping enthusiast living in Durango, CO.  A couple of years back his love of the outdoors and bikepacking led him to start designing and handmaking his own frame and bike packs. He calls his business Bedrock Bags. Earlier this year he became the owner of a 2014 Soma B-Side, our 650b hardtail frame.

What kind of cycling do you enjoy most?
I enjoy bikepacking in and around the Four Corners, as well as riding local singletrack around Durango during the workdays.

For the folks who might not know, what is "Bikepacking"?
Bikepacking is a unique form of bicycle touring that typically relies on rackless pack systems to travel lighter than traditional bicycle touring. Traveling without traditional racks and panniers allows the rider the option of traveling on rough terrain such as mountain single track or rough four wheel drive roads. Bikepacking can range from a recreational overnight to a 500 mile race on the Colorado Trail.

Andrew's B-Side frame does have rack eyelets, but in bikepacking
participants usually forgo conventional racks. Build highlights: 120mm travel
Fox fork, Stan's No Tubes wheels. Michelins in front, Schwalbes in back.

Great shot! See more of Andrew's
photos on Flickr.
You seem like an individual that can't get enough of the great outdoors. Why is that/where does that come from? What other outdoor activities are you passionate about.
I started backpacking at a very young age with my family. Since then being outdoors has become a way of life. It's just something I need. Canoeing, fishing, kayaking, rafting, cycling, backpacking, surfing...It's all a way to interact with and explore the world we live in. It doesn't get much more complicated than that.

What do you like about your Soma B-Side?
For bikepacking I wanted the ability to run adjustable dropouts in case the derailleur failed. If I'm stuck in the middle of nowhere with a broken derailleur I can run a single speed setup to get home. I also wanted wheels that would roll efficiently while maintaining stiffness. 650b (compared to a 29er) allows for greater clearance between the rear wheel and seat as well as a slightly larger main triangle. This is important for making room for bikepacking bags. The B-side is a great bikepacking platform. 
For my backyard single track I wanted a bike that could turn on a dime and manual off a drop with out feeling like a tobaggon. Short chain stays and fun geometry really make this bike a blast. Efficient, fun, flickable, steel, trustworthy. What else do you need?
What kind of research do you do come up with your designs?  
At first I just looked at what everyone else was doing. Lately I rely on my own experiences in addition to input from some seriously talented cyclists that are at the top of their game. To be honest, the feedback from these folks is invaluable. Almost daily some small detail of one of my bags is tweaked or refined to improve the product. 

I love providing people with the gear they need to explore places they have never been to. My part is small, what people do with it is incredible. I don't have a big fancy job, but if people can do great things with something I have made...well, that feels pretty good.

Do you have a background in sewing or industrial design? You didn't just wake one day and found you had a talent to make bikepacking bags, did you?
Open road in the Valley of the Gods, Utah
I have been sewing outdoor gear for my own needs for the last ten years. When I think of a new design I can see it in three dimensions. I can literally spin it around in my brain like I'm watching a video. One day I made a set of bags because I wanted to give bikepacking a shot and they worked out alright. I showed them to a friend who was the new owner of a bike shop (Velorution Cycles) and the rest is history.

What is your most sought after creation currently?
 At this point it is a tie between the Entrada Handlebar bag and custom frame bags.

[Soma did not provide a B-Side for his review. Andrew did not provide us any free bags to wrangle an interview, though we wouldn't refuse one if he offered. We are totally grateful to Andrew for the interview and sharing his photos.]

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