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About Us

The history of Western Spirit

The early days: Burb and bar ends

“Back in the day”, as our oldest guides say, Western Spirit Cycling was founded by a charismatic mad bike rider named Lu Warner. It was 1989, Lu couldn’t get enough of riding his bike and decided he should impart some of his joy on the masses. He acquired a Suburban, dubbed “the burb”, and a couple of guides and started taking people around the White Rim. Now Lu can be found in some semi-state of retirement in Crested Butte, CO, but his vision was just the beginning.

Ashley Korenblat bought Western Spirit in 1997 and since then has spent many days riding unknown trails creating the plethora of trips that Western Spirit now offers. Ashley is a graduate of Dartmouth and Tuck Business School, a former bike racer, former wall street captive and possessor of entrepreneurial spirit. She was president of Merlin during the titanium mountain bike heyday and served as the IMBA President working to sustain trail availability to everyone. Combine all that with the desire for a Moab lifestyle and an alternative view of a fulfilling career path, and you have the perfect recipe for the owner of a cycling tour company.

Enter Mark. Mark is our charming, wicked-fit, voice of reason, miraculously lured from his ski town tradition to live in the desert. Ashley and Mark got married in 2000 and now run the company together.

All of us in the office have worked outdoors and are familiar with what you will experience on a Western Spirit trip. At any given time when you call you can talk to someone who has been on any trip that interests you. That’s because we love to be out there too!

Our Guides

The guides "training" in Moab, Utah

At Western Spirit, the staff is the heart of our company. Our guides love what they do and are dedicated to providing you with a memorable vacation. Each of them has received extensive training in backcountry travel, cooking, natural history, and first aid, not to mention their cycling and mechanical skills. They are committed to the outdoors and have a great deal of knowledge and experience. Their attention to every detail leaves you free to enjoy the riding.

Our Philosophy

Lizard Head Pass, Telluride CO

In our busy world, we often don’t get to be outside enough. Even if you do, there’s some phenomenon that just makes you want more. Nothing like going somewhere to make you realize all the other places you still need to go! Traveling outside makes you see Mars when it’s the closest to earth it’ll ever be, makes you smell the fragrant lupine covering the mountain slope, makes you feel the wind, see the perfect sunset, catch an eclipse of the moon, experience the herd of elk in the alpine meadow, and start to tell time by the location of the moon in the night sky.

What’s that all worth in our busy world? Well, it is our world.

On all of our tours, we strive to protect our fragile mountain and desert environments. Many of our campsites are remote and unimproved, and we seek to leave them better than we found them.

IMBA

Western Spirit Cycling strongly supports the International Mountain Bicycling Association. With the right to ride on public lands comes a responsibility to preserve those lands for future generations. You can hold up your end of the bargain by joining IMBA. Once you are an IMBA member, your bike flies for free on selected airlines.

Photo Thanks

We have nothing but praise and admiration for the incredible photographers who have contributed to this web site. We are constantly awed by their talent. Our profound thanks to:

Anne Keller, Whit Richardson, Mike Schirf, Sandra Salvas, Chris Barlow, Chris Giles, Stephen Trimble, John Humphries, Chris Gardner, Glenn Oakley, Piper Watson, Gary Colet, Marc Weinstein, Clint Bogard, Stephanie Hager, Jim Kimble, Russ Aubertine, John Minor, Larry Baldwin, Jeff Troutman, Carl Nasr, Nancy Whyte, Erik Proano, JC Coughlin, John Thomson and Karen Kefauver.

Permits

Western Spirit Cycling, Inc. operates under special use permits from the USDA Forest Service in the Boise, Coronado, Dixie, Grand Mesa, Gunnison, Kaibab, Manti La Sal (Moab and Monticello Ranger Districts), San Juan, Sawtooth, Uncompahgre, Salmon-Challis, Clearwater, Beaverhead-Deerlodge, Caribou-Targhee, Black Hills, Coconino National Forest, Mount Hood, Gifford Pinchot, Umpqua, Nantahala, White Mountain, Monongahela, and Pisgah National Forests and by Dakota Prairie Grasslands. As well as under permits issued by the Bureau of Land Management in the San Juan Resource Area; Henry Mountain Field Station; Moab, Arizona Strip and Grand Junction Field Offices; Grand Staircase National Monument; and by Bryce, Zion, Capitol Reef, Grand Canyon, Crater Lake, Glacier, Mount Rainier, and Redwood national parks. Western Spirit is a concessionaire in Canyonlands National Park.

Responsible Travel

Western Spirit Cycling works to be a reliable and valuable partner to all our public land managers and to the land itself. We travel only on designated routes at all times and camp only in designated campsites. We work to leave the land better than we found it by leaving no trace of our visit, and if necessary those who came before us.
 

Western Spirit and the Environment

One of our greatest joys at Western Spirit is introducing our guests to our incredible public lands. Many of our guides and staff have been involved in environmental issues of all types, and we share our concerns and enthusiasm with our guests. After a week in the backcountry and countless campfire conversations about the earth and our role in its future, we hope to re-energize our selves and our guests to get involved with issues that affect the environment.
 
Western Spirit is a founding supporter of the International Mountain Bicycling Association, and has worked with The Wilderness Society, the Nature Conservancy, National Parks and Conservation Association, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and many other groups around the country.  Western's Spirit's owner, Ashley Korenblat has served on numerous land focused committees and boards including the Utah BLM Resource Advisory Council, the Utah Governor's Outdoor Recreation Taskforce, and the Western Governor's Associations, Get Out West Committee focusing on the protection of public lands. Many of our staff and guides have also worked issue by issue with these organizations.
 
It is our policy to encourage environmental engagement within ourselves and our customers, and Western Spirit works to facilitate and support staff and guides in these efforts.  We donate both funds and trips to many of our customer's and staff's causes and are constantly seeking creative ways to motivate and inspire more people to get involved.
 

Western Spirit and Sustainability

Western Spirit works to eliminate packaging and waste from our trips and has worked with the National Park Service to share our best practices for limiting food packaging and waste on backcountry trips.  We have recently changed to an electronic system for our confirmation packages, greatly reducing our use of paper.
 

Western Spirit Giving Back

In addition to our work on sustainable tourism and environmental issues, Western Spirit supports employee participation and provides funding for variety of social programs in our area, these include the Moab Youth Garden Project, Friends of the Manti LaSal Avalanche Center, Seek Haven Shelter, and the Moab Music Festival. Western Spirit also hosts an annual Bike Swap and Rodeo at the local elementary school, which insures the kids growing up in Moab all have bikes to ride.
 

USDA Non Discrimination Statement

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in its programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call 202-720-5964 (voice or TDD). USDA Forest Service is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Western Spirit Cycling – The Best Cycling Tour Company In The United States

 
 
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