Adding Adventure to Life with the Bike Travel Weekend Gataway

June 20, 2017 - Mike Lessard, Adventure Cycling's Tours Assistant Director shares his Bike Travel Weekend experience.

Bike Travel Weekend

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to join the fun of the nationwide Bike Travel Weekend with our group taking an overnight trip up the Bitterroot Valley near Missoula. It had been a while since I took an overnight bike trip, always blaming the hustle and bustle of everyday life as an excuse to not get out the door, but this quick weekend getaway re-prioritized my perspective of balancing adventure in my life.

Even in a group tour, there is always time to relax and have a little quiet time.

The trip was simple, but the outcome was spectacular. I met up with a group of families and together we rode 27 miles of bike path, set up camp, slept, and reversed home the next day. The most amazing part to me was the makeup of the families, with large groups of first, second, and fifth graders leading the way. Having their energy and enthusiasm, many of them completing their first ever bike overnight, kept a fun and adventurous spirit the entire way. 

The Bitterroot Trail was our turf for a two-day ride, offering a vehicle-free path and making it a great experience for everyone.
Some of our youngest riders were true champions! I know I never rode 50 miles in two days when I was in first or second grade.

In total, we were about 40 strong, stopping for ice cream, photo opportunities with the local bison, and meeting new friends along the trail. I forgot how fun it is to ride in a big group tour with people you’re excited to get to know. It gave me the opportunity to learn new things about so many different people. I was truly inspired talking to my new companions about why they decided to join the fun, and hearing from them at the end that it was even better than they expected!

Ice cream in any fashion is a mandatory stop in my book on an overnight adventure.
A friend we met along the way, soaking up the summer sun.
A group campfire and s’mores to celebrate a job well done.

I get excited, and honestly a little jealous, as I hear stories and see photos from our riders out on our Adventure Cycling guided tours. I look at all the opportunities Adventure Cycling offers to make my daydreams a reality, and I catch myself drifting off into another world when I’m out on a ride. I sometimes smell the salty air on the Oregon Coast, feel the cool mountain breeze of the Sierra Sampler, or hear Zydeco music off in the distance on Ragin’ Cajun Country, and only come back to reality after being slapped in the face by a bug.

I came to a realization after my quick Bike Travel Weekend excursion — I need to make this a reality … but now which one to choose?

Enjoying every minute on the road!

Photos by Lisa Mckinney | Photos 3, 4, and 6 Mike Lessard


ON THE ROAD is written by the tours team— Paul, Mandy, Emma, Mike, and Arlen — tours specialists and intrepid bicyclists, helping you bring your cycling dreams to fruition. Check out our 2018 Guided Tours today!


Eva Dunn-Froebig June 20, 2017, 10:48 AM

Such a fun weekend!

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