A casual cruise featuring PRO Alex Howes to camping and (dirt) roadside hot springs.
You might have caught a hint of this had you been following along with Yonder Journal as we rode, camped, slept, hiked, joked, suffered, failed, succeeded and rejoiced our way through two years of Dead Reckoning: by this point we have found some clarity as to what this whole thing is about. This thing being adventure by bicycle. Call it bikepacking, call it adventure biking, call it human-powered two-wheeled multi-day natural experience recreation, call it what you will. What we’ve found is that there is no specific form, box, or template that I could hand off to you and say, “Here, this, you just do this.”
But perhaps then we can postulate two rules:
- You’ll need to have and ride a bicycle.
- You’ll need to experience the world.
“But where’s the adventure?” comes the call from the masses, “How is this different from smashing out a couple hours on a training ride or just rolling with some pals to the local craft brew fest?” At a base level it’s not, you’ve satisfied our two stipulated elements. We have no desire to be the Simon Cowells of adventure cycling, so if you want to call those adventures please, by all means—it could be argued that one of adventure’s best virtues is its scalability. But if you’re being honest with yourself and we’re being honest with ourselves then maybe your training loop isn’t quite up to adventure standards and maybe the craft brew thing doesn’t qualify either, unless of course you’re gluten intolerant and you indulge in a battery of hefeweizens; but isn’t that something different altogether?
So what else needs to be included in our list? It seems to me that the element of the unexpected plays a pivotal role in the making of an adventure, and by including the unexpected we can fit in all sorts of things: obstacles, challenges, wayfinding, foreign cultures, uncomfortable meetings, dead ends, unsavory characters, twists, turns, surprises, et cetera et cetera. Therefore I am going to go ahead and add it to our list. To recap we’ve now got:
You’ll need to have and ride a bicycle.
You’ll need to experience the world.
You’ll need to encounter the unexpected.
Now this list isn’t codified, there might be more to add. But for our current purposes we don’t need them, so let’s consider these the three tenets of bike adventure.
With this in mind our group descended on the great state of Idaho and more specifically Sun Valley. We were on a quest for hot springs and buffed trails. Our plan was loose; we knew we were going to hub and spoke out of the area near Frenchman’s Bend hot springs, we knew we were going to ride some trails, and we knew we would we do our best to fish, soak, cook, eat, hike, loiter, and take any other opportunities that arose.