Notes from a Ramble

Story and Illustrations by Chris McNally

As I packed my bags, my excitement was so high I forgot a few essentials such as a headlamp, an extra pair of socks, a spork and a tooth brush. Who needs hygiene when you can schralp any surface thrown at you?


Each Ramble Ride has been completely different. Different vibes, terrain and riding conditions. The Oregon Ramble was short in miles, high in hanging out. We finished every frostie that came our way and even got snowed on (in June!). Colorado was breathtaking in its beauty and its lung busting elevation, and ended with screaming single track through aspens and ferns. Asheville had it all, river side single track, unbelievably steep gravel climbs, tacky road descent, and endless false summits.

Pinhook Valley Campground and RV Park

This was my sorta place, at least from a visual standpoint. We camped in a large open grass park, surrounded by cultural textures in every direction. In one corner there was a covered structure half crushed under the weight of a massive fallen oak. The campground host advised not to camp underneath it. Next to the splintered structure, an impromptu landfill was being taken over by nature. A dirty Raggedy Ann doll sat guard at its perimeter. Across the park, a mid 70’s era RV was outfitted with multiple additions, a vestibule here, a guest bedroom there. Oh yeah, and there was a rogue bull that roams the property at night.

Highway Jammer

I almost always prefer riding dirt over road, but our descent down the Pisgah Highway was so other worldly I might reconsider. Diffused fall sunlight illuminated shifting colors of foliage before our eyes. Red, orange and yellow leaves hung in the air as if suspended in time as we ripped through them. Every apex was pushed to the limit with the soft hum of rubber sticking to the smooth road surface.

Brew Buddy

Our crew stashed carbonated beverages in quantities along the trail. This location was marked with an inviting friend.


The difference between racing and rambling becomes apparent as day turns to dusk and we still have miles to go. There are times where there is just too much depth in the natural world to rush by it. Somedays you need to take your time and savor the moments of being outside with friends.

Time keeps on ripping

Some of my work is done outdoors on location and some is finished in my studio where there is no pull of trailside distractions. This is the speed i work... minus coffee breaks, a walk around the block, a snack or maybe a full lunch, a nap, a couple hour long trips down internet rabbit holes and finally a quick ride to just to get in the right mood to work.