The Great Western Road Trip, 2012: Recap

One of the main things that stokes the fires of my mountain biking passion is travel. While mountain biking is exponentially more interesting than road riding, if I had to ride the same trails day in and day out (and year in and year out) I could easily imagine the flames dying down to low, glowing embers, and then finally fizzling out altogether.

Thankfully, we don’t have to ride the same trails all the time! Right now, in 2013, we are blessed to have thousands of miles of entertaining singletrack trails spread across the landscape of the United States, just begging to be explored! Add in all the singletrack in neighboring Canada, Mexico, and all the countries abroad, and there is truly more singletrack on this planet than any one person could ever hope to explore in a lifetime.

Riding the Jamis Dakar 650b Pro in Big Bear, California

While I know there is no way I can ever ride all the trails even in the United States, that doesn’t have to stop me from trying! Last summer, my wife and I embarked on a road trip of truly epic proportions. Leaving from our home in Georgia, our main goal was to spend 3-4 weeks exploring and documenting the trails in the San Francisco Bay area and the greater Los Angeles area. What started off as a month-long trip quickly turned into so much more than that…

As we explored, I logged GPS data of every trail, took well over a thousand photos, collected trail maps, and took copious notes. Once off the trail and on the laptop, I added all the information to the Singletracks trail database and then later wrote articles about some of the best rides–all in an effort to help grow the best mountain bike trail resource in the world!

Most of the stops on our journey.

We stretched what was initially supposed to be a three-week journey into an almost two-month excursion. While we spent over a month of that in California alone, there were numerous trails to ride (and friends to visit) along the way that we just couldn’t drive past.

In the end, we put about 7,000-8,000 miles on my pickup truck and I rode almost 700 miles of trails. Some of those trails were out of this world and some of them weren’t worth writing about, but in the end this experience was one that I will remember forever!

The trusty T-100 just outside of Moab.

I had the privilege of getting to ride numerous types of singletrack trails with all sorts of different trail designs, soil composition, and surrounding ecosystems. Each trail I rode and each place we visited was a little different and had its own unique character.

The more I travel and the more places I ride, the more humbled I am by the vastness of the mountain biking experience. There are millions of riders around the world riding bikes on dirt, and each place is special.

Unfortunately, we can’t all ride every single trail, but thankfully we can write about them so others can share a small taste of what the experience was like!

All the trails I rode in the Los Angeles area.

Many of the articles from this trip were published out of chronological order, and some were published several months after the fact. So, I decided to compile a chronological list of posts in case you want to read about my journey from start to finish. With 26 chapters in this saga, who needs to spend money on books or magazines? 🙂

Comprehensive, chronological list of blog posts from this road trip:

Bay Area trails that I rode.

Not nearly all the trails I rode over the course of those two months were worth writing about, and of the ones that were, many were lumped together into a single post. But if you are looking for more detail on which trails I actually rode, here is as close to a comprehensive list in chronological order as I was able to compile:

All of the trails I rode this summer.

Toward the end of our journey, both my wife and I were ready to be back home sleeping in our own bed. Life on the road is exhausting, but it is well worth it!

But after being home for only a couple weeks, I was already surfing through the Singletracks trail database with a far-off look in my eye, dreaming again of magical singletrack in a distant mountain range.

Share your thoughts with us about traveling to mountain bike in the comments section below!

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