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June 27, 2017

Rad Business Profile: Andrew Wracher on the Growth of Bikerafting

Photo Gallery, Athletes & Ambassadors

Bikepacking + Packrafting = BikeRafting

Mid route sunscreen break while on a bikerafting adventure.

Andrew Wracher started Bedrock Bags back in 2012 when he had heard about “this thing called bikepacking”. He sewed personal projects for a decade, building up a set of bags for his own bikepacking adventures. He mostly copied existing stuff, but threw some ideas of his own in. One day he took his work to the local bike shop, Velorution Cycles, and the owner, Joey Ernst, said he’d sell them if Wracher made more. After solid sales, the two partnered up, and Bedrock Bags was born. Combined with the bike shop, it’s now one entity–and the shop and sewing operation operate side by side at the mouth of Horse Gulch, Durango, Colo. Some of Wracher’s Instagram posts popped up in our feed recently, and we wondered about him, his enthusiasm and his company, so we decided to feature him in this week’s blog. Check out his website here, and follow us on Instagram to see more of his photos over the next few days!

What do you love about running your own business?
Andrew Wracher: I personally like to sew. I like to push the line between sewing at the highest level I am able while trying to haul ass. We have a very high bar for quality at Bedrock, right down to the individual stitches. So trying to go fast and not make the slightest mistake actually adds kind of a rush. I also thrive on the development side of things. At Bedrock we quickly developed our own designs and ideas that were and still are unique in the bikepacking market. Joey and I make for a good team on this side of things as we can identify a problem that needs a solution and get in the trenches until an elegant and practical design comes out at the other end. At times there is head butting, but there is an underlying respect in knowing what the other person has to offer and also knowing that finding new ways to do things is rarely easy.

Photo of boat and people getting ready - Inaugural voyage in our new boats. Bakers Bridge, Animas river

AR: What do you think about the growth of the sports of bikepacking and bikerafting? 
AW: Well, personally I think bikerafting rocks because bikes and boats have been a part of my life for a very long time. To combine the two is awesome! From a business side of things, I am happy to be making a modest living doing something I love. More importantly from a perspective as an American I am thrilled that small companies can provide a product of the highest quality to others while providing jobs to our fellow community members. When I visit Alpacka in the sleepy little town of Mancos and the place is bustling with workers and high tech gear, I can’t help but be proud of what I see, as a citizen. The company provides jobs, tax revenue, and hopefully a sense of purpose. I know at the shop we always get a kick out of building bags that are going on big trips or are going to far flung parts of the world. Our work makes a difference in other people’s experience. (Hopefully for the better!)

AR: What has contributed to this growth?
AW: Well bikepacking bags and packrafts are completely unique concepts in how people can travel in the wilderness. They literally didn’t exist until creative companies like Alpacka built the first packrafts and started a revolution. Once the technology is out there then all the creative explorers of the world grab a set of bags, a boat and take it to a new level.

AR: Is there anything I’m not asking that you want to share with our readers?
AW: Yes, I want to share how much I love my Alpacka raft. I’m not just saying this for this post. I love it. I love the attention to detail, I love the design (I know how hard pattern making is), I love the weight and how well it carries gear for overnights. The boat has changed the way I look at the landscape. New possibilities are only limited by my imagination. That’s pretty exciting. Thanks for pushing the limit of what is possible.

We would also like to thank Bedrock Bags for their recent support as a Class II Sponsor for the Mancos Valley River Film Fest–much appreciated!