Kurstin Graham

I live in Reno, Nevada. It has been my home since 1999. I moved here for a temporary research position in Entomology at the University of Nevada. But as things turned out I made Reno my permanent home and my livelihood in the outdoor industry. Currently I manage Reno’s community bike shop, the Reno Bike Project. But, where am I from, how did I get here, what am I going to do with this blog? Come ride with me…

I grew up overseas as the curious son of two school teachers working at American/ International schools. We spent my first 15 or so years in Japan, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Brasil. I finished high school and college in the States while my folks taught in Romania and Burma before retiring. So adventure travel runs deep in my family. As a third culture kid, when asked where am I from I just say I grew up overseas.

My home is Reno. My home is within the bicycle riding and outdoor community here. My bike rides never fail to wow me with Northern Nevada scenery. I am proud of where I live to the point that I consider myself to have a chip on my shoulder regarding those who look west to our near neighbor, Northern California, for recreation and beauty.

My goal for this blog is to entertain you with my explorations of Northern Nevada. If the trips and their stories inspire or inform you to come out and enjoy Northern Nevada then even better. If the stories inform or inspire you to get out on your own explorations then even better. I am motivated by these prospects as well as improving my vanishing writing skills. Serendipitously I am enjoying my new found blogging community.

5 Years into Bikepacking Northern Nevada: I am still at the Reno Bike Project and have met some of you there. It is rewarding to meet and hear from readers, talk about bikes, or building bikes to get out and explore on, and finding routes to meet every need. Just recently after updating the Map Room I noticed a distinct void in the pins-on-the-map. Route finding inspiration comes that easy. Between Midlegate and Austin, north of US 50, I traced a dirt road headed past Peterson’s Mill Hot Spring that could become a loop around the New Pass Range with many roads to explore.

9 Years into Bikepacking Northern Nevada: I have left the Reno Bike Project after 10 years as the manager. I volunteer with the Friends of Black Rock High Rock as a board member and lead a series of bike tours called Rides with Friends. I have refined my bicycle quiver to include a 27.5 Plus rigid mountain bike by Falconer Cycles, a long-tail fat bike by Meriwether Cycles, and a 650b gravel bike by Manzanita Cycles. Each bike is fitted with custom bags by Nuclear Sunrise Stitchworks. Bikepacking Northern Nevada can be found Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Substack.

22 thoughts on “Kurstin Graham

  1. Please contact me before your next adventure out in Austin area. Ill show you the good stuff 🙂 I work for the Chamber of commerce and I am a local of 30+ years and really looking for this kind of promotion and marketing. Also looking for volunteer help to maintain bike trails and help build a new single track

  2. Jim Shafer

    I am new to fat tire bikes, would you go with a 3 inch tire instead of a 4.5? What would you suggest for a first bike for someone who isn’t rich?

    1. Hi Jim,
      Tire size really depends on what type of riding you want to do. A decision between 3 to 5 inch tires depends on how much soft snow or sand you wish to ride. But for the other 95% of the riding you do 2.75 – 3 inch tires are fantastic! My Surly Ice Cream Truck is quite versatile. It came with massive 4.8 inch tires which give me maximum flotation and traction in snow and sand. They also do a great job of crawling over rock. I bought a set of 4 inch tires for most other conditions and to save the wider tires for winter. Now I have built a set of 29+ wheels for running 29×3 inch tires.
      My Salsa Fargo is a 29’r that I have run up to 29×2.4 tires on. I also ride 700×40 gravel tires and 29×2.1 studded tires for winter commuting. About a year ago built 27.5+ wheels for the bike to run 27.5×3 tires. I am very happy with that set-up.
      With all that said and ridden in a variety of conditions, if I were doing it all over today and on a budget I would start by going to bikesdirect.com and reviewing their plus bikes and fat bikes. I checked out a few models of 29+ rigid mtb’s starting at $600 with hydraulic brakes that advertise they could also be equipped with 26×4 wheels and tires. I think the 29×3 set-up will carry you far in adventure touring.
      Once you get an idea of the value offered by bikesdirect you can compare with other online sites. Most used fat bikes get lightly used but the sellers want top dollar so there don’t seem to be the bargains there.
      Please don’t hesitate if you have more questions. I hope this has helped.
      Ride bikes,

      1. Robert

        Hi Jim and Kurstin,
        I realize I am a year late to this discussion. My solution/evolution is similar to yours, Kursin, and your recommendation (BikesDirect). A few years ago I moved from Alaska, where I had ridden snow and “trails” for years on a Pugsley and then Moonlander. Loved it. Moving south I sold the Moonlander and bought a Krampus (29+), which was an absolute delight to ride trails with here on the Olympic Peninsula, putting a grin on the face. I tried riding beaches with it, but it was a bit of a slog. I had been reading about the Ice Cream Truck, learning about its great trail ability, but also about the ability to both use as a 29+ and with suspension (Bluto). In January 2016 I lucked into an ICT Ops on Craigslist someone had bought during Surly’s unprecedented 50% off end of year sale, and bought it as-new for $1000. So I sold the Krampus and bought 29+ carbon wheels and a used Bluto.
        So that would be end of story, a true OmniTerra Surly that can float on sand, rip trails or serve as an ideal bikepacking rig. BUT. I had been looking at BikesDirect for years, and when I saw last fall, during a period where an injury kept me off a bike (always a time I tend to fiddle with bikes), a titanium Motobecane fat bike with a carbon fork that weighs 26 pounds, a great drivetrain, and everything interchangeable with the ICT, I couldn’t resist. So that is my ultimate rig now, a super tough and light chameleon of a bike. I think BikesDirect is a great option for people.
        Maybe see you sometime in northern Nevada; looks like a great place for bike play.

  3. Hi Kurstin,

    Love your blog! I’m looking for a 2-day loop this weekend (before the weather gets worse). I live in Truckee and was thinking about starting in Verdi or Reno.

    Can you recommend a good route? Looking to do 50 to 80 miles a day.



    1. Hey Forest, A two day loop from Winnemucca Ranch Road to Gerlach and return via Pyramid Lk would be outstanding. This is the route made with Garmin Connect. There are some slight computer glitches that I am sure you can smooth out. Consider Jungo Rd to Frog Pond before heading south. Gerlach and Nixon are your two spots with services. Smoke Creek has filterable water. This is just on of many possibilities in my head.
      Thanks for contacting me!
      -Kurstin Graham

  4. Jon Boether

    I just spoke with you at the Bike and Ped conference in Tahoe. I might be able to help you out with your north south route and some other routes.

  5. Nice blog Kurstin! So rad that you work at Reno Bike Project. I’m at Bike East Bay in Oakland, and ride a lot around Plumas County. If you ever stray over the state lines, hit me up.

    1. Thank you for your generous offer! I would love to tour the East Bay Regional Parks sometime. A comprehensive tour from the perspective of a bikepacker would be neat. Though I would not be surprised if it has already been done. I’m sure we will meet up!

    2. Tim

      Thank you so much for all your beta on these NORNV rides. I leave on the 20th (april) to start my tour season. Im gonna start with a warm up from Tonopah to Warm Springs to Rachel. Then I wanna start ticking off some of these awesome and well documented routes Ive found on your blog. Ultimately i want to finish the Caldera 500.

      Im STOKED for this season and maybe we’ll see ya out there in the remote.

      Keep up the great work.


      1. Tim,
        It sounds like you have a great season ahead of you. I hope you can share your adventure. The Rachel area is still a blank spot on my map. I too hope to see you in the remote.
        Keep in touch,

  6. Patty H.

    Hey Kurstin, glad to have found your blog. Looks like some great shoulder season routes! A friend and I are planning to combine the Black Rock Hot Springs loop with the High Rock Canyon loop for a little longer trip in May. When I look at the USGS map and satellite map it appears there are MANY “springs” along this route. Are these springs and related creeks safe for filtering? Or are they full of sulfur or mining runoff? Or are they all actually hot/warm springs? We’re very excited about these loops, so long as we can find water to filter. Thanks so much!!

      1. Patty H.

        Thanks for the info! Hopefully we’ll figure something out. We’re very excited about this route!

  7. Liz B

    Hi Kurstin, so happy to have found your blog. A friend and I are headed down from Boise next week and looking for a 2-3 day bikepack loop that would be decent weather and good riding this time of year. Looks like Black Rock Desert or High Rock Canyon would be great options. Are there any others you’d recommend for mid-May? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Liz! I definitely recommend High Rock Canyon as one of the best loops you could do in the area. The seasonal closure is lifted. You can stretch it out to three days in a variety of ways. If you would like some route stretching ideas let me know what your daily mileage goals are and we can make it happen. Let me know how your trip goes as well. Your feedback is invaluable. -K

      1. Liz B

        Thanks so much for your response, Kurstin! If we were to stretch it to three days, looks like it would be roughly 30 miles per day or perhaps we’d stay in one spot for a day and do some exploring. Looks like one option would be staying at Mahogany the first night and Stevens Camp the second night (after going to Massacre Lake viewpoint). Is that what you would recommend for three days? Thanks so much!

  8. Pingback: Kurstin’s 29” Torker build shots – Meriwether Cycles

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