Bike adventurers assemble in Spain as part of Blackburn's Ranger Program.

Six nationalities, 160km in the mountains, 1500m ascent, four seasons of weather in one day, 12 Spanish omelettes, 14 chorizos, 2kg of Jelly Babies and a dog. It’s the Blackburn Ranger Camp.

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What happens when you take twelve individuals from across the globe, bonded only be a shared love of riding and exploring and put them together in the middle of Spain?

You get the 2017 Blackburn Ranger Camp! And not just any Ranger Camp, this was the first one ever to happen outside of the United States.

MBR went along to find out what it was all about…

blackburn ranger camp

The Blackburn Ranger Program

For the past several years Blackburn has been running its Ranger brand ambassador program. Asking ordinary riders with a passion for adventure to submit a compelling video application and to choose from a list of epic rides such as the Alpine Bike (413 miles/21,000m of climbing) or the TransAmerica (4,228 miles/64,600m of climbing!).

Successful applicants benefit from support from Blackburn to enable them to embark on what should be an epic adventure. Not only do they receive all the Blackburn products they could possibly need but they are also provided with a spanking new bike of their choice from Niner, Bell helmets and camping equipment from Big Agnes. This year is the first year that the program has been opened out to riders from outside the U.S. A. Of the four chosen this year, three are from Europe.

This year’s successful Rangers and their chosen rides are Jenny Graham from Inverness (Highland Way), Fabian from Germany (Adventure TransGermany), Pablo (and his dog Hippie) from Spain (El Camino de Santiago) and Nam from the US/Tibet (Alpine Bike).

The rain in Spain

Madrid was chosen as the muster point for the first meeting of the four, alongside representatives from Blackburn and a select group of world media. It was a flurry of excited activity as each received their shiny new Niner bike, with Jenny, Nam and Fabian all favouring mountain bikes. Each was bedecked with SRAM Eagle, RockShox Pike forks and carbon SRAM wheels, so there were certainly no complaints! Blackburn provided a full set of their Outpost range of bags including seatpack, expandable frame packs and handlebar roll as well as pumps, lights and tools. Big Agnes provided ultralight tents, sleeping bags and sleeping mats to ensure a good nights sleep when out on the trails.

The plan was to test the kit and get to know each of the other Rangers. What better way than over a little expedition into the mountains far to the north of the city.

We’ll be publishing the reviews of the kit in the near future. In the meantime, we’ll let the pictures tell the story of the trip.

blackburn ranger camp

Riding the singletrack out of Madrid. Pic: John Watson/The Radavist.

blackburn ranger camp

Enjoying a little rest on the way up to 2000m. Everyone was thankful for the 50t cassette the SRAM Eagle groups comes with. Pic: John Watson/The Radavist.

blackburn ranger camp

And still we climb… Pic: John Watson/The Radavist.

blackburn ranger camp

So much for the sun. Driving rain and cold northerly winds made it a decidedly British experience. We were grateful for the shelter at the summit. Pic: John Watson/The Radavist.

blackburn ranger camp

Spanish Tortilla in a bag made for a welcome snack for cold bodies. Pic: John Watson/The Radavist.

blackburn ranger camp

Descending at speed in the wet when fully laden is an eye-opening experience! Pic: John Watson/The Radavist.

blackburn ranger camp

At least Pablo’s adventure companion Hippie seemed to enjoy it! Pic: John Watson/The Radavist.

blackburn ranger camp

It’s not a proper adventure without a bit of hike-a-bike. Pic: John Watson/The Radavist.

blackburn ranger camp

Pitching a tent for the first time in the dark is fun. Pic: John Watson/The Radavist.

blackburn ranger camp

The full contingent of adventurers. Pic: John Watson/The Radavist.

The popularity of bikepacking

You would have to have been spending the last few years hidden from all forms of contact not to have noticed the rise in the popularity of bikepacking.

Social media is full of it and thanks to the likes of the late, great Mike Hall and Sean Conway, more of us are inspired to head off on adventures with our bikes.

Blackburn (not the town in Lancashire but rather the Californian cycling component/accessory brand) is run by a bunch of people who are passionate about getting out on adventures.

In fact, the founding principle of the company is ‘the spirit of adventure’. This has shaped the way the company has been designing and producing its products since its inception way back in the mid seventies. Alongside the myriad options of pumps, lights and mudguards, Blackburn is all about its bike luggage.