It's been on my mind that I should ask some people about the maps I am printing for them – so many stories must be encapsulated within those simple lines. I kept putting it off until recently I had someone order 3 maps with a combined distance of over 7,000 miles and I just had to ask... What's the story?
The maps are minimal by design, it's how I like it, but being a cyclist I want to know a bit about the journey.
So here is our first exploration map stories with Eric.
So let’s start at the beginning. What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Eric Schraufnagel and currently reside in Denver, Colorado, USA.
Bike Across America
How did you get into cycling and how long have you been turning cranks?
I started cycling in 2006 after finding out my best friend had cancer and breaking up from a 6-year relationship. My life took a 180:, ate healthier, reduced alcohol consumption, lost weight and bought a road bike off of eBay. Cycling initially offered an escape that turned into a life-altering activity.
How many bikes have you got and what's your favourite?
I currently have 4 bikes (not including my wife’s 3): a cargo bike, commuter, single-speed mountain bike, and a gravel/adventure bike.
The Niner RLT 9 Steel gravel bike is my favorite bike that I have ever owned, allowing for some fun adventures mixing pavement, gravel, and single track all in the same ride. A jack of all trades, master of none.
Colorado Trail Race
Let’s talk about the maps. What’s the story?
Bike Across America 2007 – A self-supported bike ride from San Francisco, CA to Oshkosh, WI. When I started cycling in 2016, I was approached by a friend in 2016 who asked if I would be interested in doing the ride with him after we graduated from college. I thought it sounded like a good idea…little did I know how much this experience would impact the trajectory of my life. I rode a Trek 520 with panniers until Oregon where I was hit by a car, totalling the bike. Picked up a Surly Long Haul Trucker in Portland and rode that the rest of the way.
Learning lesson: Contrary to the news, the world is full of good people with good intentions.
Colorado Trail Race 2011 – A self-supported mountain bike race along the Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango. I was approached by my adventure buddy in 2010 who asked if I would be interested in doing the race with him. Having never mountain biked before, I agreed. I rode a Niner Air 9, setup tubeless with bikepacking bags.
Learning lesson: The Snickers candy bar is the only food you need to pack.
Tour Divide 2012 – A self-supported mountain bike race spanning the Continental Divide from Banff, AB Canada to the border of Mexico. A friend mentioned this race in 2011 and after finishing the CTR, I knew this was the next step. It became an obsession for the next 10 months with training, packing, and logistics. I rode a (different!) Niner Air, setup tubeless with bikepacking bags.
Learning lesson: There is beauty in solitude.
I wanted to capture the adventures that had the biggest impact on my life in a minimalist way. The English Cyclist hit all the marks I was looking for and very happy with the overall experience.
I'm happy I got around to asking Eric about his maps... They are the result of life pushing him on. I love the little quote: Beauty in solitude. It makes total sense o me. Although I like riding with friends I really love those special moments where I find myself in some random location out on my own. You just have to stop an appreciate it. I can't wait to find some space in my diary to get out for a long ride now....
If you have a favourite ride you want to 'map' then checkout our design tool and build your own.