May 16, 2017 - Emma Wimmer is a tours specialist at Adventure Cycling.
With just a little under a month left before Bike Travel Weekend, June 2–4, I’m getting excited! While I just got back from riding Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road this weekend (See photos. Yes, I’m bike-travel spoiled.), I can hardly wait until I pack everything on my bike again and ride a little closer to home.
The best part about my own backyard in western Montana might be the Bitterroot Valley. It is so beautiful! And so is the Blackfoot River. My friend April and I are still deciding which way to go ... up the Bitterroot River and Lolo Creek to my favorite little camping spot, complete with bear boxes? Or something new? How about riding up the Blackfoot River to Ovando?
Shameless plug: If I were going on the Cycle Montana - Missoula tour, I wouldn’t have to choose. This fully supported loop tour hits both of those parts of western Montana! Catered meals, a luggage truck ... why am I doing this thing on my own, self-contained? Oh right, because I live here. Besides, I’m planning on riding the Glacier Waterton - Inn to Inn tour this year, hotels and restaurants, so a little luxury is on tap. And I'll be riding this road again!
But I love getting out and camping on public lands in my own backyard. It’s the perfect opportunity to test out new gear and load up your bike for a shakedown ride! For example, while I think I’ll use my trusty rear panniers, I’m going to try to find a solution to my front rack with something lighter, as it affects the steering some. I also want to try out my new camp chair, as well as my new sleeping bag!
What about you? Planning a bikepacking adventure? Or what about a gravel grinder along quiet forest roads? That’d be the perfect shakedown ride for, here’s another shameless plug, Great Divide - Colorado Alpine tour in August! That’s ten days, self-contained on gorgeous Colorado high country. I think that’s on my bucket list!
Top photo courtesy of Emma Wimmer | Bottom photo by Whitney Ford-Terry