The Intermountain Connectors are here at long last! We’ve teamed up with the Adventure Cycling Association to release six routes linking our Western Wildlands Route (WWR) to the iconic Great Divide MTB Route (GDMBR).
The WWR was inspired in part by the GDMBR. Since we released it in 2017, riders have been asking for routes to link the two. After years of reconnaissance, they’re finally here.
You can use the Connectors to create loops with easier logistics or ride them as free-standing routes. Each one is a unique adventure in its own right, crossing diverse desert, mountain, and plateau landscapes.
The Connectors are non-technical riding, mostly off-pavement, created for wide and knobby tired bikes. Water sources and resupply stops are regularly available and detailed in route resources.
Bikepacking Roots will be accepting applications for the 2022 BIPOC Bike Adventure Program from between April 14th and May 15th.
The BIPOC Bike Adventure Program is an effort to reduce the barriers to bike adventure by providing grants and mentorship to BIPOC bike adventurers.
We recognize that this is a small step in the face of massive systemic racism and entrenched inequality, but we believe that bicycles and the outdoors are for all, and that everyone should have access to the freedom, joy and self-actualization they engender.
We also know that there are many barriers to multi-day self-supported adventures to be dismantled before beginning to bikepack, such as finances, equipment, confidence, experience, camping skills, and access to routes. So we're not creating many constraints.
The program will support BIPOC cyclists' fun and empowering bike adventures. We’ll leave it up to applicants to define what adventure is for themselves.
The BIPOC Bike Adventure Program:
If you have any questions about the program, please contact Program Coordinator Brooke Goudy at firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2021, the program distributed nearly $30,000 to 22 BIPOC adventure cyclists, for everything from mother-son day rides to Great Divide MTB Route finishes:
Brooke Goudy is an athlete and bicycle advocate. She has a love for cycling, but her greatest joy is introducing cycling to women of color as a co-leader of Black Girls Do Bike Denver. As the community events manager for VIDA MTB Series, she co-leads an Impact committee that works to eliminate barriers to make mountain biking more inclusive, equitable, and diverse. Her love for biking extends to conservation and advocacy for trails. She recently became a member of the Board of Directors for Boulder Mountainbike Alliance and co-leads the Women's Colorado Mountain Bike Association Program as their Program Marketing Manager.
Representation matters and so does making long term policies and laws that break down barriers for marginalized communities to enjoy nature in any way that they see fit. Brooke serves on the Denver Mayor Advisory board, and is a member of the Denver Parks and Recreation Technical Advisory Committee. Having a seat at these tables allows her to identify the communities’ needs, and prioritize opportunities to support equity, inclusion, and diversity in outdoor adventure sports.
Last summer, she rode the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route and developed a love and enthusiasm for bikepacking. She is looking forward to competing in the Westfjords Way Challenge, 960 kilometers/ 595 miles around Iceland's most beautiful and remote landscape.
The BOLT Act is in Committee in both the House and Senate, and we need your help in moving this bill forward!
What is the BOLT Act?
The "Biking on Long-distance Trails" Act is federal legislation that would result in the identification of potential new long-distance bike trails on federally managed lands.
What does the BOLT Act mean for the future of trails and bikepacking?
If passed, the BOLT Act will mandate that federal land managers identify potential for new long distance bike trails. This could lead to support for restoration of existing long distance bike trails that need resurrection, completion of long distance trails that are in progress, and federal support for existing and new long distance trails.
How has Bikepacking Roots been involved in the BOLT Act?
We have been working with the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) and the Adventure Cycling Association (ACA) in communicating with the Congressional committee staff involved in refining the BOLT Act language. BPR, with support from IMBA and ACA, have specifically recommended refining the language used to define “long-distance trails” in the context of the BOLT Act to those that:
In refining this language, the BOLT Act will be more specific to dirt oriented, off-road bikepacking rather than paved or gravel trails. We recommended this change because we currently can create exceptional gravel and road routes without substantial land manager involvement, but singletrack routes require much more of land managers like the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.
Bikepacking Roots has submitted testimony to the House Committee on Natural Resources to voice our support as representatives of bikepackers. Now we’re calling on you, the bikepackers, to join us in voicing your support for the BOLT Act! Committee votes are likely to happen soon, so let’s all help this bill advance.
How can you support the BOLT Act?
Call or write your member of congress and share your support for the BOLT Act. You can use the Advocacy Toolbox for Bikepackers for tips to make your call or letter effective, or you can submit a comment through the Action Network set up by ACA. When submitting a comment through this platform, be sure to customize the text to reflect your personal values around bikepacking on long distance trails! You can refer to the bikepacking talking points provided at the bottom of the Advocacy Toolbox for Bikepackers. Including your personal story goes a long way! Beyond this, encourage your fellow bikepackers to speak up, too.
Bikepacking Roots is partnering with Adventure Cycling Association on their BOLT Act action campaign. "The Adventure Cycling Association is a non-profit org that inspires, empowers and connects people to travel by bike. We manage a route network of more than 50,000 miles of mapped routes around the country, work with AASHTO to designate the US Bicycle Route System, and lead guided tours on both road and trail routes. We want to create more places for folks to travel by bike, and make our existing route network safer."
Bikepacking Roots is hiring a program coordinator to lead and help expand its BIPOC Bike Adventure Grant Program thanks to generous support from Salsa Cycles.
The BIPOC Bike Adventure Grant Program was created in 2020 to help reduce the barriers to bike adventure for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) individuals. The program provides funding, in-kind assistance, and mentoring for recipients to pursue fun and empowering bicycle adventures and skill building of all kinds.
In 2021, the BIPOC Bike Adventure Grant Program received 96 applications and gave 13 grants to 20 recipients. The grants ranged from $1000 to $3300 and included in-kind equipment grants from gear manufacturers.
The Program Coordinator for 2022 will:
Qualified applicants will have:
To apply, please submit a cover letter and resume to email@example.com by Friday, January 7th 2022.
Bikepacking Roots (BPR) is excited to welcome its new Executive Director, Ally Johnson, a passionate bikepacker and experiential educator based in Salt Lake City. Ally has a master’s degree in Policy, Organization, and Leadership from Stanford University, undergraduate work in nonprofit leadership, and last taught US history and civics at the high school level. Ally was chosen from a large candidate pool of highly qualified individuals, a testament to the passion and diversity of experiences in the bikepacking community.
“After serving as Executive Director of Bikepacking Roots for four years since the organization was founded, it’s time to pass the torch,” shares our Founding Director Kurt Refsnider. “I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Ally - she brings a wealth of valuable experience and perspective both on and off the bike that will help BPR continue to expand our support and advocacy for the growing bikepacking community.”
Refsnider is moving into a director role overseeing route development while co-founder Kait Boyle remains the Education and Events Director. Both will continue to race off-road ultra endurance events professionally. BPR is also welcoming Nan Pugh moving into the Board chair role. She has volunteered with BPR since 2018 and is an experienced nonprofit organizational leader and outdoor educator based in the Teton Valley of Idaho.
BPR invites you to get to know Ally, who will begin in a part-time role while also spending time riding many of BPR’s routes. The organizational goal is to expand the executive director position into full-time as quickly as possible to facilitate BPR’s continued growth.
What excites you about Bikepacking Roots and this role?
Bikepacking has had such a transformative, positive impact on my life. I’m passionate about Bikepacking Roots because they help people have those life-changing experiences, connecting them to landscapes and communities.
I am excited to enable Kait and Kurt to do what they do best. They aren’t going anywhere. I’m joining them to help grow our organization’s capacity to connect people, protect public lands, and map new routes.
Personally, I’m most passionate about the community and education piece. I went to a Bikepacking Roots GoBikepacking event during the interview process and it was an incredibly connecting experience. I’m stoked to put on more in-person events post-pandemic.
What was your first bikepacking trip?
The Tour Divide in 2019. I thru-hiked the PCT in 2009, and toured the Northern Tier route in 2015. I figured I had the experience to combine the two and have the best of both worlds - I had no idea how hard or transformative it would be.
The Tour Divide Grand Depart wasn’t as welcoming as I expected, but a few women encouraged me that I did belong even if I wasn’t racing. That support carried me through the ride, and it made me passionate about ensuring our community is inclusive and welcoming.
During the Tour Divide, my future husband met me up in Aspen Alley, outside of Rawlins, Wyoming. He told me to ride towards him so he could snap some photos. When I reached him he dropped down on one knee and proposed. Later that evening, he offered to lance my saddle sores with the diamond ring. True dirtbag love.
What do you love about bikepacking?
The breadth of the sport is incredible. You can push your body to the absolute limits if you want, or you can ride slow and silly. I love the symmetry that Kurt [Refsnider] once had the fastest known time on the Tour Divide and I was DFL. Fifteen days vs. fifty. I love that Bikepacking Roots has the space to encompass both of us and our experiences. That’s the source of our strength; we one-hundred percent want to have and welcome both.
What is something you can’t live without on bikepacking trips?
Fuzzy slippers. My biggest challenge bikepacking is staying warm while sleeping. I need something between sleep socks and down booties, and cheap, old-lady fuzzy bunny slippers are the sweet spot.
What does the future of bikepacking look like to you?
Bright! Our sport is growing so fast. I’m hopeful that we can harness that energy to create an even more engaged and inclusive community. As cheesy as it sounds, I really do believe in the power of people on bikes to change the world.
We are excited to officially release the long-awaited Northwoods Route, a 600-mile-long circumnavigation of the western half of Lake Superior through northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Following primarily gravel roads, relatively smooth two-tracks, rail trails, and short sections of pavement through thick forests and along countless lakes of all sizes, we created this loop to be inviting to riders on both mountain or gravel bikes. And for riders looking for more technical riding opportunities - loaded or unloaded - along the way, the route includes singletrack alternates and trail networks in route communities along the way. The loop is closed by utilizing the passenger ferries that travel to Isle Royale National Park to cross Lake Superior (note that bikes are not allowed on any of the trails on Isle Royale!).
Each of the three states along the route offers unique landscapes and riding experiences, from the cobbly beaches and cliff lines of Minnesota, to the heavily eroded ancient mountain belts of Michigan, to the glaciated and remote countryside of northern Wisconsin. Small towns along all these segments offer regular resupply and lodging opportunities.
Singletrack alternates along the route include the 43-mile-long Duluth Traverse, the relatively new Jackpot Trail near Tofte, Minnesota (with more trail construction coming soon), and some of the most popular trails in the CAMBA trail system near Cable, Wisconsin. A dozen additional mountain bike trail networks along the route provide many more opportunities for singletrack riding.
“This was an especially rewarding route to create,” says Kurt Refsnider, Bikepacking Roots’ Executive Director and lead route developer. “I grew up in Minnesota and rode and hiked extensively in the Northwoods, and I had ambitions to do some bike tours in the region before I moved away. That never happened, but now we’ve been able to create an amazing route for others to experience and learn about the region by bike.”
In the summer and fall of 2020, several dozen members of our volunteer Route Test Team test rode sections of the route and alternative alignments to provide feedback and help refine the loop to provide the best possible riding experience. These riders also helped identify cyclist-friendly businesses along the route to include in the route guidebook.
In order to make trip planning as easy as possible and to help riders more deeply connect to the landscapes through which they ride, Bikepacking Roots has also developed a 70-page guidebook for the Northwoods Route. In addition to providing all pertinent logistical details, educational chapters explore the region’s geology, forest ecology, the recovery of the gray wolf, and the story of the world-class CAMBA trail system in northern Wisconsin. The introductory chapter by Alexandera Houchin, bikepacker and member of the Fond du Lac Band of the Lake Superior Ojibwe, shares her perspective on her homeland and the treaties through which that land was ceded to the U.S. Government.
More information about the Northwoods Route, the digital navigation and waypoint data, and the full 70-page route guidebook (in both e-book and print formats) are available here. Development of the Northwoods Route was made possible with support from Bikepacking Roots’ members and from Otso Cycles and Shimano, companies that both believe in the transformative power of bike adventures.
We are no longer accepting applications for this position. Thank you to everyone who applied!
Bikepacking Roots is seeking a new Executive Director to take the reins from our founding ED, Kurt Refsnider, and continuing to expand the organization's capacity and impact as we support and advocate for the bikepacking community and the places we ride. A complete job description and instructions on how to apply are included below, and this letter to our members shares Refsnider's decision to step out of the ED role and his excitement for the transition.
Bikepacking Roots Executive Director Job Description
Bikepacking Roots (BPR) is the only non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and advancing bikepacking, growing a diverse bikepacking community, advocating for the conservation of the landscapes and public lands through which we ride, and creating professional routes. We value human-powered experiences and our inclusive, engaged, and informed membership (7,000+ strong) that makes a positive impact as we adventure by bike.
The Bikepacking Roots Executive Director (ED) provides the leadership to successfully implement the strategic goals of BPR while working alongside a diverse volunteer Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers. The ED is the visible figurehead of the organization and must positively represent the organization. This is a part-time salaried position, working 25 hours per week.
Written by Kurt Refsnider
Back in 2017, Kait Boyle and I founded the Bikepacking Roots organization with the goals of supporting the responsible growth of the bikepacking community, advocating for bikepackers and the places we ride, and creating bikepacking routes of the highest quality. No other non-profit was doing more than bits and pieces of this, and despite knowing nothing about starting a 501(c)(3) organization, we went about establishing Bikepacking Roots. I ended up stepping into the Executive Director (ED) position, learning as we grew, and balancing the work with my other steadily-evolving responsibilities as a geology professor, professional athlete, and cycling coach. Since that time, bikepacking has experienced nearly exponential growth in interest and participation. Bikepacking Roots has grown to more than 7,000 members, attracted a diverse and talented Board of Directors, and engaged volunteers from all across the country. Together, our contributions to the bikepacking community have been substantial, we’ve laid the groundwork behind the scenes for so much more, and we’re poised to expand our staff to further expand our capacity.
Having led Bikepacking Roots to this point, I’ve come to the decision that it’s time for me to step down as ED (once a replacement is hired) and transition into a role within the organization focused on some of our expanding programming needs alongside Kait. This will allow us to hire a new ED who can bring new perspectives to Bikepacking Roots and build the director role from a part-time to full-time position, something I don’t have the capacity to do. I’m particularly excited by all this, and I hope you, our members, are as well. If you're interested in learning more about the ED position, you can find the full job description and information on how to apply here. And as we make this transition and round the corner toward the tail end of this pandemic, we have quite a few new routes, events, and opportunities we’ll be announcing. Here’s a glimpse of what’s to come:
New routes! We’ve already developed thousands of miles of routes and extensive route guidebooks that are enabling riders to have empowering experiences of all scales on two wheels, and we have thousands of additional miles of routes currently in development. First up is the new Northwoods Route - guidebooks should be available within just a few weeks, and you can pre-order yours now. We also are wrapping up work on the Intermountain Connectors between the Western Wildlands Route and Adventure Cycling Association’s iconic Great Divide MTB Route, and we’ll be seeking more members of our Route Test Team for final refinements of the Pony Express Route this fall. The singletrack-oriented Orogenesis epic is entering a new phase of on-the-ground trail development planning, and Chuska MTB Route on Navajo Nation, a project of our partner Navajo Y.E.S., will be unveiled before too much longer.
New events! We’re about to announce our new community-building Go Bikepacking! event series - the first of these will be in the Northern Rockies, the South, and on Navajo Nation. Each of these gatherings will support a different cause, and we’ll have travel grants available to help make the weekends as accessible as possible.
New opportunities! Last summer, we created the BIPOC Bike Adventure Program as a first step toward addressing inequitable access to the bikepacking experience. We’ll be sharing more about the first ~20 grant recipients in the coming weeks, and we’ll be creating a new position within the organization to expand this program thanks to support from Salsa Cycles. Our 4th Annual Bikepacking Community Survey recently focused on accessibility topics, providing us with valuable data regarding specific concerns and barriers to entry impacting BIPOC and FTW+ cyclists. These data will enable us to develop more specific strategies to support a more diverse and inclusive adventure cycling community.
New advocacy strategies! We’ve been engaged in a range of advocacy issues around the country over the past few years, primarily in a reactive posture. But in recent months, we’ve developed a collaborative strategic plan for proactively expanding our advocacy influence for bikepackers, for public lands, and for the landscapes through which we ride. We’ll share more about this in the coming months as we develop more opportunities for you to get involved.
I hope that in reading through this you feel the same excitement as I do writing it. Bikepacking Roots has so much in the works for you, the bikepacking community, and I’m eager to see who our Board of Directors chooses to take the reins in leading the organization forward. I also want to personally thank the bikepacking community for the enthusiastic support of Bikepacking Roots thus far. If you haven’t already, please consider becoming an annual member of Bikepacking Roots to support all our efforts. It’s through the generous support of the community and our business partners that we’ve been able to accomplish as much as we have in such a short time. We’ll also be looking for a few new members for our Board of Directors in the coming months, so if you’d like to get more involved, please keep an eye out for announcements about that opportunity.
Kurt Refsnider, Ph.D.
Founding Executive Director
If you consider yourself an adventure cyclist or an aspiring adventure cyclist of any type, Bikepacking Roots wants to hear from you in our 4th Annual Bikepacking and Adventure Cycling Community Survey. It will take just 5 minutes to complete, and you could win one of nearly three dozen prizes. These include a Specialized Turbo Creo SL Comp Carbon e-bike, bags from Revelate Designs, Oveja Negra, Rockgeist, Outer Shell, and Makeshifter Canvas Works, a prize pack from Stan’s NoTubes, Ride with GPS and Gaia GPS app subscriptions, and many more.
Through this survey, we are striving to better understand accessibility challenges, barriers to entry, personal safety concerns, and individuals’ outdoor backgrounds as they all relate to the adventure cycling experience. This knowledge is critical to supporting the growth of a more diverse and accessible community. So if you’re a bikepacker, road tourer, gravel enthusiast, or backcountry mountain biker, one who embarks on bike adventures of any type, or are aspiring toward any type of bike adventure, your perspective is important to share.
News and updates
Bikepacking Roots is a 7,000-member-strong 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and advancing bikepacking, growing a diverse bikepacking community, advocating for the conservation of the landscapes and public lands through which we ride, and creating professional routes. We value human-powered experiences and an inclusive, engaged, and informed membership that makes a positive impact as we adventure by bike.
Our Business Partners support the bikepacking community, conservation, and public lands:
Our organizational partners that support bikepacking, advocacy, conservation, and outdoor recreation: