This Swiftmas we’re showcasing 9 standout gift guides from community members from Seattle to Manila.


On the 6th Day of Swiftmas…. Ron Lewis

A Gift Guide for Bikepacking

Hello Ron! Tell us about yourself: Well, let’s see…my name is Ron Lewis. I’m a Scorpio. I love the studio output of Steely Dan (1972-1980), woodfired pizza, and long walks on the beach. I’m a former touring musician. I initially got into cycling as a way to recalibrate to home-life after long stretches on the road. My riding started in Seattle. Fixed-gear bikes. Mid-00’s. Fairly typical story. But it was my first STP (Seattle-to-Portland) that was the turning point that changed everything. Riding 200 miles in one go opened up an entire world of freedom and human-powered exploration in ways I could not have anticipated.

For the past eight years, I have been developing and cataloging adventure cycling routes under the name Along with collaborator Ryan Francesconi, I aim to create, document, and share the type of routes we enjoy – which is to say creative, visually compelling and sometimes weird, open-ended adventure riding that blends elements of gravel, mountain biking, and backcountry exploration.

What are you riding here? I’m riding a custom steel adventure hardtail built by Chad Smeltzer. It is the perfect platform for what I enjoy most – which is to say, adventures w/ lots of backcountry singletrack, big days and also small days over a wide range of terrain, plenty of trail time…but not specifically a mountain bike. It is optimized for singletrack, but also riding TO the trails – fire roads, gravel, pavement, chunky-chonk – this bike will do it all with style and grace.

What are your favorite Swift bags for this ride and what are you packing in them at this time of year? This season my bag lineup has been a trifecta of Kestrel Handlebar Bag on the bars, Hold Fast Half Frame Bag in the frame and an Olliepack Seat Bag when I need a bit of extra room for weekending out of town. Beyond the usual abundance of snacks, they are typically loaded up with gloves, merino liners and extra layers – waterproof and puffy. One can never have enough layers.

Tell us about a highlight of riding in 2023? I spent the fall chasing as much high-elevation singletrack as I could before the seasonal window closed. This inspired a solo road trip through central Washington, into the Methow Valley and over to Bellingham via the North Cascades, bookended by two different variations on Gunsight Ridge, a classic backcountry trail just east of Mt. Hood. It was a great opportunity to slow down, take lots of photos, steep in some new locales and kinda ride that line between fall and winter for as long as I could.

2023 Favorite Ride Snack? I’m so glad you asked. I use every available opportunity to pitch the benefits of the Japanese Sweet Potato. They are neatly self- contained. They travel exceedingly well, needing no refrigeration in the short term and are almost universally palatable. In their purest form, they are absolutely loaded with beta-carotene, fiber, potassium, manganese, vitamin A and instantly-available natural sugars. They need nothing outside of a quick scrub and 45 minutes at 350 degrees, but can be dressed up or down according to preference using things like sea salt, smoked paprika, chili powder or brown sugar. Highly, highly recommended.

Shop Ron’s Gift Guide