Spoke Talk: Bikepacking adventures | SteamboatToday.com

Spoke Talk: Bikepacking adventures

Jon Kowalsky/For Steamboat Today

Bikepacking — the combination of camping and cycling — is a popular activity these days in Steamboat Springs. Like most things we enjoy here in Ski Town USA, it can be a pricey hobby to pursue. The gear includes packs, tent/bivy, sleep system, provisions, cook system and the main component — the bike.

Chances are, though, most of us currently have items in the garage that can be used — dig around, I'm betting you'll find a starter set. You don't have to have brand-new, shiny stuff to get out and enjoy an adventure.

There are many routes you can scheme up in Routt County, tying gravel roads into single track, and if you can figure out how to use a GPS and the Routt County Assessor Page, you can make a phone call or two and have your own private tour of pristine ranchland in our beautiful corner of this state. It isn't that hard to end up well into Wyoming on one of these adventures.

We've had some great adventures in some of the biggest mountains in our state, and it's simply amazing. Riding at nearly 13,000 feet with a couple of your favorite people and the marmots, who are sunning themselves, is a special experience. It is hard to forget cruising past snow in July while the sun is hitting the surrounding peaks and the wildflowers are in full bloom. Dinner is always that much better, and so is dessert – just find my partners in crime and ask how many cookies I typically carry; there's a reason for all those packs on the bike, right?

You can always head out with a friend and have an amazing trip, but doing it on your own can be equally fun and rewarding. From overnight loops in Routt County to classic routes, such as the White Rim or the Kokopelli, riding solo on these will most certainly change the experience.

While on a solo adventure on the White Rim, I had some of the most unexpected and intriguing conversations with total strangers. They were travelling by vehicle, and I was on the bike.

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Being self-sufficient can be pretty daunting – but it can also be very empowering; you've only got yourself and your bike.

Whether you are seeking an overnighter with friends or an epic route through the mountains, it is time to get out there and begin the adventure.

Jon Kowalsky is managing broker at The Steamboat Group, a Routt County Rider board member, team rider for Griggs Orthopedics — gO — and race director for The Bear — a Fatbike adventure north of Steamboat. Routt County Riders is the local source for grassroots advocacy and information for all types of cycling. Find the group at facebook.com/rcriders or routtcountyriders.org or email rcriders@routtcountyriders.org.

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