The Year of the Overnight; 2021 Pedaling with Friends

Bike Your Park 2020 started it all Matt, Mike, and Shay, friends sharing a trip experience

A year of hosted overnight rides began in September of 2020 with a smokey trip to Dry Valley as a part of Adventure Cycling Association’s Bike Your Park event. This year had events every month and through the widest range of conditions. But as we close in on two years of living with COVID I find I rely heavily on my social media to remind me “who, where, what, why” but those fond memories come rushing back!

Ray Hill and I getting out for a January spin above Reno

When it comes to things I have written about, this year really focused on those monthly trips. But between those trips there is route planning, trip announcements as Facebook events, Instagram posts, non-Bikepacking Northern Nevada things, and so on that has replaced some of my regular ride reports. I find it curious how all this evolves in my time management framework.

KC, Nick, and Shay braved the elements touring the Seven Troughs Range

2020 ended with a Bikepacking.com inspired Goodnight 2020 S24O. It was an outing I wanted to repeat without snow. A whole year went by, I thought there might be a night out this December, but the snow came back. The evenings are full so the repeat will have to wait until 2022.

A cold trip to the Lagomarsino Petroglyphs, Lennart, Nick, Carrie, Ky, and Me. Photo Shay

January started with Doug Artman’s loop of the Seven Troughs Range. It was an outstanding loop through several well preserved mining ghost towns. February had a short overnight to the Lagomarsino Petroglyphs. March was a great S24O organized by Matt Soileau to the High Basin Petroglyphs in the Pah Rah Range. April was a ride on the Pony Express route. May was an overnight to the MGL Tungsten Mine. June was a trip through Ione Valley over the Shoshone Range, as a part of Adventure Cycling’s Bike Travel Weekend. July was a trip to Elko for the Basque Festival. Then there was a second trip bikefishing on Desert Creek. August was a smokey overnight in the Granite Range. September was an overnight in Northumberland Canyon as well as riding the rim above Washoe Lake for Adventure Cycling’s Bike Your Park Day. October was the incredibly popular Black Rock Hot Springs loop. November took us north to Thacker Pass/Montana Mountains. And I finished out the year with using December to prepare for my solo winter tour, a 5 day loop from Rawhide to Tonopah. I got back to Reno in time for a New Years S24O to participate in #GoodNight2021. By my simple calculations, over 2021, there were 73 riders out for 616 miles! What a year!

Matt hosted a S24O to the High Basin Petroglyphs, Shay, Nick, Carrie, Marc, Caille, Lennart, and Matt

One of the year’s highlights was riding with Lennart Fiederling. Lennart was a German exchange student at UNR in the field of transportation. His world view and perspective on things were absolutely refreshing. Not only did he participate in all our overnights I made it my mission to take him out every week possible for my favorite day rides. He has an open mind that really appreciates the wide-open landscapes of the west. Plus he is such a strong rider there was nothing I could throw at him that he didn’t take in stride.

When asked for a favorite trip/route I quickly respond with Bikefishing Desert Creek. It was, locally, one of the hottest weekends of the season. I thought the elevation, aspen groves, and proximity to water would give us a break. They did, and we were cooled by thunderstorms as well. The route is called a pack-trail which translates to single track. The route was remote enough that we were our only company. And everyone who fished, caught fish! But they were all great trips.

Galen and Marc riding between the raindrops to the MGL Tungsten Mine

I have become more involved with Friends of Black Rock High Rock. Our trip through High Rock Canyon, October 2020, was written up by Jim Scripps, photographed by Rick Gunn, and published by Adventure Sports Journal. This was a milestone in promoting bikepacking in the National Conservation Area. This year there were two overnights, I brought Lennart out for the day, and participated in Black Rock Rendezvous and the Perseids Meteor Shower Campout by bike. I have joined the board and am co-chair of the Programming Committee in hope to expand non-motorized recreation within the NCA. I pitched 6 bike trips to them for 2022. The FBRHR is committed to equity in the outdoors, a strong wilderness ethic, and a sense of place that comes through stewardship of our public lands. I believe bikepacking can be one program to fulfill this commitment.

A hazy stormy sky on the way to the Perseids Meteor Shower Campout, FBRHR
Nick Jensen of Manzanita Cycles is always up for a gravel grab

BurritoPackingNV continues to be a strong local bikepacking club. The Facebook group is a place to share inspiration in the form of ride pictures and routes. We share online information, tips and hacks. We promote group rides and trips. This year has already seen a flurry of successful group rides and trips. The calendar is filling with potential rides/trips. All are welcome!

BurritoPackingNV

I didn’t make much progress, if any, on my past projects such as abandoned railway grades or high roads above 9,000′, or bikerafting. But they were never far from my thoughts. I did get out on an Emigrant Trail with Pete Rissler. We crossed the Fortymile Desert following the California Trail – Carson River Route. I will be seeking out more of these historic routes.

Making friends on the way to the Elko Basque Festival

I visited Ely this summer and had a great chat with J Kyle Horvath, the director of tourism at White Pine County Tourism and Recreation. Ely is quickly becoming a, if not “the”, bike riding destination for Nevada. We discussed possibilities for developing bikepacking routes in the area. Ely has done a superb job of marketing a handful of bike events, has the support of federal and state land managers, as well as a tight-knit and supportive outdoor community. If you are in Ely be sure to stop by the visitor center, chat with Abby Elvidge, and if you have any bicycle needs, Chris Tuma will take excellent care of you at Sportsworld bike shop.

New friends made touring the Black Rock Desert Hot Springs

Every year I meet bikepackers coming to Northern Nevada. Sometimes they pop into the Reno Bike Project for some last minute beta, sometimes we correspond to discuss routes and current conditions. These connections are highlights of mine. This year I met Sean Miller and Bonnie Smerdon. First Sean shared his route with me covering Basin and Range. It was the most detailed route planning I had seen and inspirational. After crossing northern Nevada, from Elko to Gerlach, they dropped into Reno and we went out for dinner. Awesome! I’m kicking myself for not getting a selfie with them, ha!

Always time to goof around with friends, Shay, Michael, Carrie

There are going to be plenty of opportunities to ride with friends and make new friends in 2022.

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