SATW Award Winner–Bronze

Hello, everyone.

Below is an update that I posted on my MTBeer Substack newsletter. I simply copy/pasted it here. Thank you for following/supporting my work!



From MTBeer:

Mike Hermann is an award-winning map maker and founder/owner of Purple Lizard Maps, some of the finest maps you’ll find anywhere. He’s a mountain biker and avid outdoor adventurer. A few years back, I met up with him at Michaux State Forest in Pennsylvania (my home trails since childhood) and went for a ride, that ride and conversation turning into an article/profile on Mike and Purple Lizard that appeared in Mountain Flyer.

Trina Ortega was the editor at Mountain Flyer at the time, which was also about the time that Mountain Flyer was turning a page, with Height of Land Publications in Vermont becoming the publisher of MF. Through Trina’s scalpel-like precision as an editor, we turned out a piece that I was proud of, as a fan of Purple Lizard Maps and as someone who loves riding in Michaux.

I’m a member of the Society of American Travel Writers, a professional organization that is a bit difficult to get into, as you need a substantial portfolio to meet their requirements. Basically, it takes some years to build your credentials to be an SATW member. Moving on, each year, they have competitions/awards and for me, living in San Diego, one of those annual competitions is the Western Chapter one. This year, I was awarded Bronze in the Adventure/Health category for my article on Mike/Purple Lizard Maps in Mountain Flyer.

From the judges:


James Murren, The Art of the Mapmaker, Mountain Flyer: The Mountain Bike Journal  

In a world where GPS only gives you the next turn, this story makes you reconsider the true adventure of charting your own course — with a map. The writer journeys to Michaux State Forest in Pennsylvania to meet a mapmaker with deep insight into how following a contour map will push you toward your ultimate journey. 

To begin a round of thanks, I’ll start with Mike Hermann and his vision for Purple Lizard Maps. As Mike says in the article, there is nothing quite like opening up a paper map and scanning/reviewing the contour lines and looking at sites/names, blue lines, the scale of the land, etc. The article is not possible without Mike and his commitment to developing the best maps so we can go on adventures with a little planning/preparation that is accurate, which in some ways keeps us safe. I also owe many thanks to Trina and Mountain Flyer. Working with editors can be challenging, though I’ve been fortunate and have had little of such occurrences. Trina/team MF were great to work with, as is the current MF editor/team. Sometimes writer/editor/publisher synergies are easy.

Mike Hermann and one of his offices. Michaux State Forest, PA.

Thanks to SATW and the competition judges at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. I’ll admit, being recognized by an organization of SATW’s caliber for writing about mountain biking (maps) is quite satisfying. Mostly, truly — it pleases me that mountain biking is at a place where it’s not only a “rad” thing to do, but also a place where travel/adventure writers see it as maybe not “rad.” Last, but certainly not least, thank you to my wife/family/friends for supporting my mountain biking/writing side-gig-job-of-sort.

A few plugs: Mike has offered numerous discounts to MTBeer paid subscribers from the very beginning. He’s one of us, for sure! His maps are works of art. Go to and check out Purple Lizard Maps. Note: some of the first maps ever to appear in Dirt Rag were Mike’s hand-drawn maps!

Also, check out Mountain Flyer. If you haven’t checked it out lately, and if you do pick up a copy, you’ll see that it’s not your old MF. The current issue has an article I wrote about riding the Palm Springs, CA area (Pines to Palms). Go here for offerings: Mountain Flyer Subscriptions

Photo courtesy of Mountain Flyer

Nearly forgot to mention, the Lizard article is in issue 66, which is available for purchase on MF’s website. Cover looks like this:

That’ll do it for my shameless plug(!). Coming up here on MTBeer in the next week is the latest installment of my monthly Fully Rigid column. Also, I’m recently back home from a Moab and Front Range, Colorado trip. Anyone ever ride Pipe Dream and complete the No Dabs Challenge? I’ll feature that and then we’ll have a Colorado Springs trails/rides/local breweries perspective.

Hope all’s well where you are. Take care. Be safe. Have fun. Ride on.



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