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By Ashley Korenblat 

The below is an update from Ashley about the 30×30 America the Beauty initiative. The original blog on this topic focused on what it means for the bike community.

The Biden administration’s America the Beautiful initiative was inspired by the idea that we need to protect 30% of the earth’s surface by 2030, thus 30 x 30. This goal was first proposed by climate scientists from around the world. Yet some elected officials, particularly in Western States are painting this effort as a land grab. They see 30 x 30 in the black and white context of land is either available to use or it is locked up for the benefit of ‘nature’ not humans.

Of course, there is a natural tension between using the earth’s resources to improve the human condition and the inevitable disruption of our natural systems. The question is at what point does our short-term use of the land to meet today’s needs threaten our long-term survival?  We can all probably agree that if we disturb 100% of the earth’s surface that it will be very difficult for the planet to produce the clean air and water critical to our survival.  But at the same time, we need resources, including food, and our current systems require us to disturb natural ecosystems. The question is the ratio—how much of the earth can we disturb to meet our needs without throwing off the whole system?

For now, the answer is 70% since our best researchers have told us that we need to keep at least 30% of the planet in its natural state. This does not mean that all of the lands involved must be owned by the federal government or that they must be protected by the Wilderness Act.  If we look at the problem from a county-by-county perspective, the question is what lands in your county are contributing to processing carbon? –to protecting water supplies?  –regardless of who owns them.

We know that all people need access to healthy landscapes. Green space of all types is in high demand, a trend that the pandemic has intensified. Prosperous cities and towns across the country are planning with nature in mind for all of their citizens. Quality of life is a key component of economic progress and businesses of all types are investing in places where their employees can get outside.  Land in its natural state has economic value that will only appreciate over time.

The America the Beautiful initiative is a framework we can use to break the dichotomy between development and conservation. We can find the right balance between use and preservation using these components of the program:

  • Pursue a Collaborative and Inclusive Approach to Conservation
  • Conserve America’s Lands and Waters for the Benefit of All People
  • Support Locally Led and Locally Designed Conservation Efforts
  • Honor Tribal Sovereignty and Support the Priorities of Tribal Nations
  • Pursue Conservation and Restoration Approaches that Create Jobs and Support Healthy Communities
  • Honor Private Property Rights and Support the Voluntary Stewardship Efforts of Private Landowners and Fishers
  • Use Science as a Guide
  • Build on Existing Tools and Strategies with an Emphasis on Flexibility and Adaptive Approaches

The administration has made clear that America the Beautiful is an opt in opportunity which nearly every county in America could use to their advantage. If you are a western county with large amounts of public land, are you optimizing that use to keep your air and water clean? If you are an eastern county with very little green space, what steps can you take to make nature available to your citizens? Today’s challenges require new ways of thinking about the land around us and America the Beautiful is an opportunity to do just that.

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There is no doubt that, whether we like it or not, the oil and natural gas industry plays a big part in our day-to-day lives. As oil and gas users, it is crucial that we take on the responsibility of asking our government and the producers to use best practices when developing oil and gas, as we all work towards a transition to more climate-friendly sources of energy.

Methane is a primary ingredient of natural gas, and when wells are drilled, methane escapes into the atmosphere. Methane traps over 80 times more heat than carbon dioxide. (Note: Methane referenced here is specific to oil and gas. Cows do affect climate, but that is a different topic.) Methane from oil and gas production is responsible for around 25% of the environmental impacts we are experiencing today. 

The oil and gas industry knows that leaking methane is a problem, and there are many companies working to produce better valves, piping, storage tanks, etc., to better control methane leakage. The Obama administration issued a Methane Rule that was established to require operators to use these improved products and techniques on their well pads. However, the Trump Administration rolled back this rule. In the past few weeks, both the House and the Senate voted to reinstate this rule, and President Biden is expected to sign the joint resolution.

Many bike trails around the west travel across and through active oil and gas fields where methane and other unhealthy gases are affecting air quality. It is therefore in the best interest of trail users to encourage and require oil and gas operators to put best practices in place to stop the leaks. 

Additionally, by producing, installing, and monitoring new equipment to capture more methane, oil and gas producers will have more natural gas to sell while simultaneously creating jobs, and reducing the leak of Methane into the environment. The Methane Rule is a win/win solution for both the oil and gas industry and recreation, and we look forward to its reinstatement immediately.

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Earlier this month, the Biden Administration launched the America the Beautiful Initiative, a ten-year, locally led, voluntary effort to restore and conserve America’s lands, waters, and wildlife. This program was inspired by the goal of preserving 30% of America’s lands and oceans by 2030, dubbed the “30×30” initiative.

The goal is to make real progress on the climate crisis by protecting ecosystems and keeping more land in its natural state. By doing this, we can capture more metric tons of CO2, while simultaneously protecting wildlife habitat and providing more places for people to recreate. America the Beautiful is a nationwide project that incorporates existing efforts to protect and conserve land, while also encouraging new ones.

This effort focuses on both the quantity of land preserved – by adding some level of protection to federal, state, county, or private undeveloped land – and the quality of protections for the land; for example, bills that upgrade federally-owned BLM land to a National Recreation Area, or, if the acres qualify, to a designated Wilderness area. While the America the Beautiful initiative does include many such proposals, these areas have been examined by the bike community and  no existing bike trails would be closed.

In fact, the America the Beautiful initiative is much more likely to provide additional acreage of all types where new bike trails can be built. Much of the emphasis is on providing access to natural places to more people, and this means more trails near more cities. With a nationwide push to preserve open space, we can protect the trails we already have and gain land to build new ones, and everyone in the biking community will benefit.

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Starting in mid-March, just in time for the Western Spirit season to kick off, we introduced our Ask a Guide Facebook Series. The goal of this series is to answer the questions YOU have about what a Western Spirit Guided Cycling trip entails. Each episode features a different topic with different Western Spirit staff and guides answering questions, giving you an opportunity to also get to know the people behind the scenes. To-date we’ve recorded four of these Ask a Guide episodes and if you missed them, check them out in detail below. 

Tune in every other Thursday to learn more about our guided bike trips and if there’s a topic you’re curious about, feel free to drop it in the comments and we’ll be sure to add it to the show lineup.

Episode 1: What IS a bike trip?

In this episode, Mark Sevenoff, co-founder of Western Spirit Cycling and Sean Hayes, a longtime Western Spirit guide from Harleysville, PA and member of the sales team talk about “What IS a bike trip?” They answer questions such as, “What’s included?”, “What’s the food like?”, “How do I choose the right trip?” and maybe the most important question of all, “Where do I go to the bathroom?” During the live video, other audience questions included:

  1. Q: What is the best sales pitch to have my wife buy into your trip? A: Maybe tell her about the Backcountry Hot Springs Bike Trip in Ketchum, ID? During this intermediate and fully supported mountain bike trip you’ll get to enjoy clear natural hot springs at every camp! We begin our trip in Ketchum, Idaho and bike to the edge of the Sawtooth Wilderness Area. Imagine riding a mountain bike over a mountain pass surrounded by wildflowers and then cruising into the valley below to spend the evening in a clear steaming natural hot spring. Just when you think it can’t get any better, we arrive at the tiny town of Atlanta, Idaho below the dramatic shadow of Mount Greylock. During our layover day in Atlanta you can choose to hike into the Sawtooth Wilderness, ride the singletrack to Grouse Lakes, or simply soak in one of the three hot springs for the whole day. The riding on this mountain bike trip is primarily on dirt roads. Climbing to the top of each pass is a good workout, but the descents on the other side make it all worthwhile. 
  2. Q: Can I ride with my own clips? A: Yes! You can bring your own pedals and shoes and the guides will happily put them on for you

Looking for more general info about bike trips? Check out our FAQ page which is sure to answer any and all additional questions you may have. 

Episode 2: New Riders & Bike Vacations

In episode number two of our Facebook Live Ask a Guide” Series, Sean Hayes returns with second year guide Britney Charme to talk about new riders and bike vacations.

Questions like, “Who should I go with?,” “What do I need to bring?,” and “Will I have to fix my own bike?” are all answered in this episode. If you’re new to riding, check out our full list of introductory trips available this summer. One question that came out of the live video:

  1. Q: What is the average MPH on these intro rides anyway? A: Mark replied with, 7.77 mph is just about perfect.

Are you more of a checklist person and looking for more of a written rundown of what’s included in a Western Spirit trip? Check out our What’s Included page to get the full overview.

Episode 3: Family Trips

In this episode of our Ask a Guide series, Adam Rosenfeld and Mark Sevenoff talk all about Western Spirit family trips. They answer some of the most popular questions regarding these types of trips such as, “How young can we start them?” and “Are s’mores offered every night  – or just the last one?” One question and response that came out of the video was:

  1. Q: What’s the best part of a family trip? A: As a mom, the best thing about going on a family trip is getting to enjoy your kids while the guides do all the cooking and cleaning and organizing and even most of the kid wrangling!

Check out all of our Family Trip options available this summer – either our trips for Younger Kids or our trips for Teens!

Episode 4: Advanced Singletrack Trips

In our most recent episode, senior guides Weston Shirey from Park City, Utah and Justina Liss from Back River, MI talked about our advanced singletrack tours. They’re both expert riders that guide a variety of our tours but really shine on the more challenging ones. In this video they discussed what to expect from this type of trip and answered a few audience questions.

  1. Q: I am wondering about tours that include hikes. Do people bring their hiking shoes or ride with them? A: On any trips that include hikes most people keep their walking shoes in the truck until the hike. But some folks use the same shoes as they ride in.
  2. Q: Does the Prescott Singletrack trip use groovers or established campgrounds? A: 3 nights are at established Forest Service campgrounds and one night is spent at a dispersed site with a groover.

We’ll continue to update this blog post with future episodes to hopefully answer all of the questions you have about our guided bike trips! If you have any immediate questions, don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll get back to you shortly. If you want to hear more about our trips from outside sources, check out our customer reviews. Follow along with the Western Spirit season on Instagram at @western_spirit, Facebook at Western Spirit Cycling Adventures and Twitter at @western_spirit.

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Are you tired of planning family vacations? Are you the one in charge of all the meal planning, lodging, rentals, activities, and transportation? Isn’t vacation about getting away from all of this? 

We think so! 

Join us on a fun-filled, all-inclusive, family vacation without all the planning. All you need to do is show up, jump on a bike, and pedal away with us into the sunset. We have it all covered at Western Spirit, saving you from the dreaded reservation and travel websites you’ve been scrolling through the past few months.

Whether you are just getting into biking, or you’ve been ripping for years, Western Spirit has a trip for you. We guide rides all across the country, including 11 national parks, ranging in difficulty from introductory to advanced. We also offer fantastic accommodations for all of our trips, so the only thing you’ll be thinking about is the ride ahead! 

What really is included with an all-inclusive biking experience with Western Spirit? 

Every trip we offer comes with that coveted ‘all inclusive’ experience you’ve been looking for. No need to pack meals, drinks, or sunscreen – we got you covered! Our experienced guides have your best interests in mind, helping to make the experience one you’ll always remember. That means all campsites, shuttles, National Parks Passes, and food is covered – even cowboy coffee when you wake up! The only thing you have to bring is the beer, the right clothes, and a great big smile. At the end of a long day of riding, there are few things better than a cold drink, a sweet snack, and a fully cooked meal. The Western Spirit famous backcountry brownies are also included!

A truly underrated feature that is included in a trip like this is planning and organization. If you have ever planned a backcountry trip of any kind, you know what it takes to make everything come together seamlessly. Our guides have it all covered, from meals, to packing, and cooking to camping reservations and breaking down tents. A Western Spirit trip is about riding in incredible locations with those you love, like these folks!

Another underestimated aspect of Western Spirit trips is the escape from reality. On our trips, your guides are able to create an atmosphere that lets guests truly ‘sign off’ from their everyday lives. While the cell service is spotty (yay!), groups always have a great time and enjoy the break from reality with daily doses of breathtaking views, morning coffee chats, and many miles ridden.  Past guests often talk about how WS trips offer a spiritual recharge and a perfect escape from the everyday hustle. 

Can the kids come? 

Yes, bring the kids! We offer awesome trips for your youngsters and teens that are tailored to their age and riding abilities. One of our favorites is the White Rim teens trip, action-packed with trail rides, slot canyon hikes, afternoon swim breaks in the Colorado River, and some of the best views Canyonlands has to offer. In total there are 50+ trips to choose from – why not explore them all!

Who makes it all happen? 

Our incredible guides are like swiss army knives of bike trips. They do it all! Our guides will be your backcountry:

  • Bike mechanic
  • Adventure locator
  • Gourmet chef
  • BFF
  • Doctor
  • Photographer 
  • Travel assistant
  • Trail leader
  • Encyclopedia
  • Hot springs locator 
  • Side adventure guru
  • Storyteller (if you’re lucky)

These folks have spent more time on two wheels than most people spend on four, making them the perfect people for all things biking. 

If you’re ready to ditch the headache of trip planning, and are past the days of dirtbag vacations, and are prepared to experience a trip like no other, come join us on one of our super fun and unique adventures. Make 2021 the year that you find a vacation that lets you be active, have fun outside, and  let the whole family enjoy riding beautiful trails! 

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Here in Utah, in the midst of February’s blustery winter weather, we’ve been daydreaming quite a bit about shorts weather and the activities that come along with it. If you’re also catching yourself daydreaming about beautiful sunny weather and thinking about heading out on a bike trip later this year, we’ve compiled ten good reasons why you definitely don’t need to hire a bike guide.

  1. You’re excited to cook your own dinner after an 8 hour day in the saddle.

It was a longer day than you expected, with a few wrong turns that led to a lot of extra miles. You had an early lunch and have been eagerly anticipating your freeze dried dinner. You roll into camp, 3 hours later than expected, lightheaded and stomach growling. You think about sitting back and relaxing but instead, you remember you have the pleasure of cooking dinner yourself as a perfect cap to the long, long day. 

  1. You’ll have the opportunity to troubleshoot a new mechanical problem, right as the sun starts to set. 

You’re always up for a mechanical challenge! The past few days have been going great, no major issues, no flats, no hiccups, and thus you convince yourself to push the extra 10 miles to camp. After all, luck has definitely been on your side this trip. Around 7:30pm you’re a few short miles to camp and it’s an all downhill technical trail from here. Suddenly your dropper post is stuck in the highest position and won’t go down. What a fun opportunity!

  1. You can make up your own stories and unique facts about the landscape.

You’re a storyteller. You always have an answer to share at weekly trivia (whether it’s right or not). Therefore, even though you haven’t been to the area you’re biking through, you can convince almost anyone about the history of the land with elaborate details made up by yours truly. Who needs to know the actual factual history of the land anyway? 

  1. You’ll get to ride the road or trails most traveled since that’s where the Outside Online article told you to go. 

The article was “The Next Great Undiscovered Adventure Hubs” and it showed up as the lead story that went out to Outside’s 350,000 Dispatch newsletter subscribers. The narrative and descriptive language brought this destination to the top of your bucket list. You show up a few months later prepared for a real adventure, only to find yourself standing next to dozens of like-minded, like-looking adventure seekers ready to take on this adventure, which will include following one another turn after turn and flip flopping for days. 

  1. You get to weight-train by carrying your own gear, beer, and food for your multi-day trip. 

Your pack might weigh more than your suitcase when you went on a month-long trip to Europe a few years ago, but that doesn’t bother you – you’re looking forward to the extra workout. Halfway through your trip after your tenth technical ascent, you start giving away cans of beer to anyone you run into, in the hope that dropping those ounces might get you up the next big climb with a bit more ease.

  1. You enjoy putting yourself in stressful, uncomfortable situations way over your comfort level.

Walking your bike is part of the fun, right? It doesn’t bother you to walk your bike 4+ miles on trails that are way over your ability and comfort level. That’s what mountain biking is all about, right?

  1. You took a first aid class 10 years ago.

You are prepared. You have vague memories from a first aid class you took back in college that will definitely come back if you get yourself into a tricky situation. You’ll absolutely remember what to do if your partner falls and you have to stop excessive bleeding from their knee and elbow. You got this, saving their life is all part of the adventure.

  1. You enjoy being glued to your phone to follow the GPS directions and trail maps.

Your partner often jokes that you’re “addicted to your phone” which you always just laugh off. For your upcoming trip, you are glad, however, that your eyes won’t have to take a screen time break since you’ll be required to have your phone with you to check your map and gps signal to make sure you aren’t getting lost. It’s not that you couldn’t leave your phone behind (remember: not addicted), it’s that you need it too much for your safety. 

  1. You enjoy spending half the day in your car setting up a shuttle. 

Half the fun of a bike adventure is the part where we squeeze too many bikes and people into one car to leave the shuttle vehicle. We all get to drive to the end location and then double back to the start, spending half the day getting car sick on windy roads so that we can enjoy the epic ride.

  1. You love making online reservations through Recreation.gov

Who wouldn’t enjoy sitting in front of their computers waiting to compete with thousands of other adventurers for those prized White Rim campsites. Never mind those conspiracy theories of bots grabbing the best sites milliseconds after they come available. After all we used to score Bon Jovi tickets on Ticketmaster no problem! And if we strike out, surely they’ll be some scalpers just outside the park boundaries when we get there for my wife’s 40th birthday trip. She’ll understand if we just end up doing some Ahab laps with the crew.

And there you have it, 10 reasons you definitely don’t need to hire a bike guide for your upcoming trip. If for some crazy reason after reading this you think, “wait, maybe a guide sounds nice” then head over to WesternSpirit.com and inquire today about one of their many customized, fully supported trips that are available for all levels of riders and in some of the country’s top (lesser known) riding locations.

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Our Favorite Cycling Route Planning Apps

We hope this finds you in good health during this very challenging time for our world. Although our primary focus is on the health and wellbeing of our staff and communities, we are still planning for and designing backcountry bike trips on our public lands.

To break-up the constant news feed, I thought I could share a few tools that we use to research new trips. Of course, the heart of our research is going and getting lost down a forgotten gravel road, or searching out rumors of an improved trail and sleeping underneath the stars. Still, we do put a significant amount of time into researching the details behind the scenes. Being that many of us are spending more time on our computers and devices right now, I thought I would share some useful online apps to create incredible backcountry experiences.

We spend most of our time in the field (90+%), but solid “screen time” research is necessary.

Comparison View

It’s worth mentioning that APP ≠ BACKCOUNTRY, right? The most enriching aspect of a backcountry trip is the non-human part of it. Most of us spend the better part of our lives engulfed in manufactured environments. Our public lands are our national treasures because they remain relatively unimpacted by humans, and that is the very reason that we go there. To engulf one’s self in technology while in the backcountry easily removes the magic. It’s essential to get out into wild places without your phone, ignoring the omnipresent social media impulses to share so that you can enjoy it. Yet, technology by its very nature is always improving and the tools below can add value to your experience. I hope that this list of tools is used in moderation and is used to enhance your adventures when help is needed.

Each tool has its advantages and disadvantages, and if you spend enough time planning out backcountry adventures, you start to use each tool for what it does best. Of course, this list is not exhaustive, and I would love to hear about the tools that you use to plan adventures (make comments below).

Ride with GPS

Ride with GPS is one of my favorite tools for mapping out road or gravel bike rides. Ride with GPS is mapping software for cyclists. As you will find with most, if not all of these tools, they all have similar features and especially for planning out rides, and Ride with GPS does it best. One of the best features is the accurate elevation gain profile with a friendly interface for viewing. The app has an incredible selection of map overlays to choose from such as topographic, standard road, satellite, hybrid and more. Here is a quick gravel/road ride that I quickly made. You can send it to your device and view all of the stats prior to the trip.

This is a live map. Check it out. Zoom in, out, and change map layers

Ride with GPS excels in the gravel bike and road bike world as the map interfaces well with paved and dirt roads. It doesn’t interface with trails as well as some of the other options available. You can easily export files to your GPS device or use their native app for your phone.

Strava

Okay, nothing new here as Strava is the #1 social cycling and athletic tracking app. Strava is a mapping and tracking app for athletes and I bet you are familiar with it. My guess is that Strava’s primary use for most people centers around training and social media. What might be worth sharing here is how it can be used to plan trips not in your area. Strava comes in handy when you are trying to gauge how popular specific trails are. For example, here is a snapshot of the ‘Segment View’ of a popular trail in Moab. You can see the elevation loss (or gain), mileage, number of times Strava subscribers rode it.

Strava Screen Shot

Strava’s route planning tool seems to work best for road biking and gravel biking, but doesn’t have the tools available to plan well for trail and backcountry trips. Here is a road bike ride into Arches National Park that I created using Strava’s ‘Route Planner’ tool. It provides you with an excellent elevation gain profile along with some other useful stats. As you can see in the photo, you can export this to GPX file for your GPS device.

Strava Screen Shot

Gaia GPS

One of the go-to tools for explorers, mountaineers, climbers, backcountry cyclists, and map nerds, Gaia is incredible. Gaia GPS was not built with a ‘cycling first’ approach, so its main disadvantage is that it doesn’t assume you will be traveling by bike. Gaia’s advantages are too numerous to mention here, but it excels at planning out backcountry routes that require the use of different types of maps. You must subscribe to the premium version of Gaia to get access to the map overlays, but it’s worth the 20+ dollars a year. Let’s say you are planning a bike-packing trip from Grand Junction Colorado to Moab and you want to figure out how many total miles you will need to ride. Gaia allows you to interlace USGS, Forest Service and their impressive in-house topographic maps and create a seamless route on trails and roads. Even more, Gaia is global. You could plan your next weekend hike or next year’s trip to the Andes in Peru.

Here is an example of a Gaia route for a popular hike outside of Moab.

This is a live map. Check it out. Zoom in and out.

trailforks.com

Most mountain bikers have the app loaded on their phone, and I’m sure most people reading this are familiar. Trailforks is the go-to app for mountain bikers looking for trails. The app is a database, mapping tool, and social app that has most mountain bike trails in existence uploaded to the platform. Trailforks also has a great route planning tool that is mountain bike specific (it does expand to other disciplines also). You can research your rides and map out your specific routes before you get to the trailhead. You can research trail popularity quickly with their color-coding trail overlay that highlights the spectrum of ‘most popular’ to ‘not popular.’ The picture below highlights trail popularity, with the most popular being red and the least popular showing green.

Strava Screen Shot

One impressive feature is that trail building organization and land management agencies that maintain the trails are listed on each specific trail’s webpage. Also, you can use their nifty ‘Land Owner’ overlay to learn about where trails cross public and private boundaries. This type of research is useful if you are going to a distant place at some point in the future, and you cannot just look at the ‘live’ or ‘recent’ trail conditions. You might want to reach out to a trail group, or local bike shop to get info on the trail quality. The image below shows a few of these impressive features, such as land ownership and last time the trail was ridden.

Strava Screen Shot

The tools above can help you plan your next destination cycling trip. As always, we are standing by in our office if you are ready to go fully guided! As I mentioned before, we are interested in the tools that you use. Please feel free to comment below.

Hope you enjoyed!


Eric Donley
Western Spirit Guide

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What’s A Guide To Do?

So, you may think the most significant, most rewarding part of being a mountain bike guide is getting paid to ride bikes. While that is pretty awesome, in my opinion, the most fulfilling part of the job by far is helping others enjoy the sport. Guiding is a 24/7, all hands on deck, gig. We’re used to fixing flats, diving headfirst into the cooler to grab pickle juice when someone starts cramping, running after tents through the desert (that may not have been properly staked down) in a windstorm – haven’t you heard, camping can be pretty “in-tents”!! – and coaching folks though challenges faced on the trail from sunup to sundown. At this point, it feels like helping people is something I’m just programmed to do.

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, now confined to the living room and backyard, I’m feeling a bit useless. As someone who thrives off of post-ride high fives and putting a tasty meal out on the table for my group to enjoy while chatting about the day on the trail – it’s been tough. Of course, I am very fortunate that my worries seem pretty minor in the broader scope of things.

So, I wanted to share a few bike-related tips, tricks and resources that have helped me get through this difficult time – with the hopes it will make your day just a little bit better!

  1. Build a Manual Machine
    It Will help your riding skills on the trail, and garner style points at the trailhead parking lot, which is arguably more important, all from your backyard!

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    Manual Machine Build video

  2. Chef It Up
    Prepare something that you’ve always wanted to try making at home, but never quite made the time. I finally made homemade pasta for the first time, and it worked! You’ll be hungry after practicing those wheelies – I promise.
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  3. Yoga
    Stretch it out. Yoga is a great tool to build strength, flexibility and balance. All super useful out on there trail, and for injury prevention!
    Pinkbike has a great series, specifically for mountain bikers – Yoga With Abi
  4. Give your bike some love
    Some call it Youtube University… You can find lots of instructional videos out there on the web on all sorts of bike fixes. Buy parts from local shops that remain open, and lots are doing call ahead / curbside service! If you’re like me, and not incredibly naturally mechanically inclined, you may have to hit replay just a couple of times.
  5. Virtual Happy hour
    Host a happy hour on Skype, Zoom, or Facetime. If you’re missing post-ride beverages with your crew, put on your helmet and riding glasses to make it feel like the real deal. (Plant and hand sanitizer, optional but recommended)
  6. Turn your favorite trail view into a puzzle
    Then do it! Shutterfly – Custom Puzzles
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  7. Build A Custom Bike Online
    Put together the custom bike of your dreams on Fanatik’s Custom Bike Builder – no purchase necessary, but it can be tempting!
  8. Plan Your Next Bike Vacation
    Things may be uncertain right now, but one thing is for sure – bikes will always be fun and the trails aren’t going anywhere! Chat with one of our Trip Experts to get the ball rolling for your next Western Spirit bike trip!

One of my favorite and more unexpected perks of my job as a guide is that I have learned A LOT from the awesome folks I have taken on bike rides. As much as I’ve gotten to share with people, it’s all come full circle. So, in that spirit, send us your ideas!

Happy Trails,
Kate Pearce
Western Spirit Guide & Sales Manager

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Campers enjoying the night sky.

The era of experience is alive and well. More and more people are devoting their time and resources toward meaningful experiences versus owning more physical stuff. Look no further than your social media community, and most likely, you will witness most engagements focused on experiences. People are interested in pushing their boundaries by doing new activities like hiking or mountain biking, achieving sought after goals that test their endurance, or visiting our beautiful public lands. But why? We put our heads together and came up with some ideas about why people are choosing experiences over stuff.

 

    • 1. Experiences create opportunities. Whether it is meeting new people, finding out about a new passion, or learning a new skill, experiences build upon themselves. Think about the effect a class or course has on someone’s future. Riding a challenging trail, climbing a mountain, or overcoming a longer distance on your bike pushes boundaries. These experiences create new opportunities.

 

    • 2. Experiences make us happier (vs. getting more stuff). The evidence is all around us; getting more stuff doesn’t have a lasting impact on our overall happiness. Experiences, on the other hand, can have a powerful effect. For example, going to see your favorite band, or enjoying a great meal, or spending time being active in nature away from everyday stresses. All of these activities help release endorphins that have an overall positive feeling in our bodies.

 

    • 3. Experiences create lasting memories and enrich our lives. In many cases, getting a new product or thing makes life more comfortable, but does it create memories for years to come? In contrast, going on a vacation with your favorite people creates lasting memories that you will continue to share. Spending time doing something different from your everyday routine stands out from the mundane and helps to develop impressionable moments.

 

    • 4. Experiences help us make connections and meet new people. When you leave the comforts of your own home, your regular job, or your normal routine, you expose yourself to new places and new people. We have witnessed long friendships form on backcountry bike trips. Maybe it’s the fact that like-minded people choose similar experiences, or perhaps it’s because bonds form around significant experiences.

 

  • 5. Experiences last. At some point, our new device, product, or thing will eventually make its way to the corner of our closet. Most physical products have a life span that is not that long. Experiences don’t share that trait. Experiences and their memories are alive with us and continue to grow with us for years to come.

We hope this list helps shed some light on the value of experience. Western Spirit Cycling has been creating incredible bike vacations for 30 years. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome the era of experience. Creating memories has been our passion for decades and continues to inspire our efforts to share the beauty of our public lands and innovate incredible off-the-grid cycling trips.

Click Here to Learn About Biking & Camping with Western Spirit

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Report details visitor spending, job support

 

According to a Department of the Interior (DOI) press release sent out Thursday, visitors to national parks contributed $40 billion to the U.S. economy and supported 329,000 jobs in hotels, restaurants, transportation, and recreation.

The annual National Park Service report showed that, in 2018, more than 318 million park visitors spend $20.2 billion in communities within a 60-mile radius of a national park. More than 268,000 of the 329,000 jobs supported by visitor spending are also in gateway communities. The report also showed that economic benefits from visitor spending have increased $2 billion and total output has increased $4.3 billion since 2017.

Photo via NPS

The peer-reviewed economics report was prepared by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Egan Cornachione of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. It includes information by parks and by states on visitor spending, the number of jobs supported by visitor spending and other statistics.

The report also showed, through visitor surveys, that people are spending more time inside national parks, staying longer in gateway communities, and spent more money during their visits than in previous years. Lodging and food expenses account for the biggest share of the spending, with lodging totaling nearly $6.8 billion and food costs coming in at $4 billion in restaurants and bars and another $1.4 billion at grocery and convenience stores.

The number of visitors varies from park to park, with large parks like Blue Ridge Parkway to Grant Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site in Montana. Blue Ridge attracted 14.6 million people and more than $1 billion in spending and supported more than 15,900 jobs. Grant Kohrs Ranch drew more than 26,000 visitors who spent more than $1.5 million in the area and supported 25 local jobs.

Report authors also produce an interactive tool that enables users to explore visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies.

For more state-by-state information about our national parks, visit the National Park Service website.

How To Choose A Family Vacation That Counts

Mother and daughter riding bikes

Exposing young kids and teens to our national parks, national forests, and to the wilderness is extremely beneficial. It helps young people connect with nature in a meaningful way, it gives kids and teens a chance to step away from digital devices, it is a great way to stay active on your vacation, and most importantly, it’s just fun! Getting outside and riding a bike or hiking and looking over a canyon rim or around a snow-capped peak is not something everyone gets to do every day. Making smores’ next to the fire, and eating a delicious meal during sunset are memories that last a lifetime.

But how do you decide where to go, or what to do? Should we bike, should we hike, should we raft, and should we camp? There are plenty of choices… camping versus hotels, the Northwest versus the Southwest, national parks versus national forests? Fully guided vacations versus DIY style vacations. The possibilities are endless. This guide will help shed light on some considerations to make if you aspire to visit a national park or national forest with your family.

1.Choosing the right place

If you are considering a family vacation that ventures off the beaten path then consider going to a national park. We are very lucky in the United States as we have set aside large expanses of land to be preserved for future generations. Over 3.5% (80 million acres) of all land in the United States has been designated as national parks. National forest also comes in at a whopping 180 million acres of land. That is a tremendous amount of open space.

FIND YOUR NATIONAL PARK HERE

Even with all of that land and the beauty and enjoyment that awaits in these destinations, there are real challenges to choosing a good location to take your family. For example, in places like Grand Teton National Park, or Yellowstone National Park the visitor centers and hot spots can be over-crowded. If you are interested in a national park you should enter the park early in the morning and have everything you need to be packed in your car for the entire day. This technique will help you avoid the areas of congestion during mid-day. Then, use tools like Hiking Project, or Mountain Bike Project to learn about trails in the region rather than relying on the standard maps distributed at visitor centers that everyone uses during their visit. This will help differentiate your hikes from the hikes the masses are doing. Take it one step further and check out the distance, technicality, elevation, and quality ratings in order to gain a deeper understanding of the trail.

National forests are certainly less crowded in most cases. Yet, national forests share being highly protected and coveted pieces of open space. Use national forests as a tool when you plan your vacation to national park hot spots. For example, when you plan to visit Yellowstone National Park take a couple of days and visit the Gros Ventre Wilderness in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. There are hiking, backpacking and camping options in this national forest, yet it will be far less crowded than its national park counterparts in the region. This same technique can be translated in almost any location with a national park close by.

2.Choosing the right adventures

Finding the right adventure can be challenging due to the logistics of making it all happen. For example, if you aspire to bike with your family through Zion National Park then you have to either bring or rent bikes for the entire family, find rides that will work for everyone and hopefully avoid congestion and crowds.

One technique that travelers can use is to hire a day guiding service on the first adventure of their vacation. During that experience, you can ask the guide about her/his favorite hikes, bike rides, and camping spots. This will help you get first-hand information from well informed and knowledgeable people about the specific geographic location.  Rather than spending your time searching for online comments, you can get first-hand information from someone who knows you and, in some cases, will be able to assess your specific abilities.

A second important factor when planning your adventures in and around national parks is BOOK YOUR CAMPING EARLY. Not all campgrounds are reservable online, but some are. In busy areas you should book 6 months in advance. To book campground reservations you can use recreation.gov/. This site will allow you to view national park and national forest campgrounds and it will either allow you to make reservations, or it will let you know that the particular campsite is not reservable online.

3.Choosing the right services

Finally, deciding whether or not to hire a guide service, create your vacation DIY style, or a combination of both can be challenging. One of the most common questions that we hear from our family vacation customers is wondering if they should just try to pull off their vacation without a guide service. Some of the pros to planning your own vacation are being able to change your itinerary on the fly, in most cases, it can be less expensive if you already own all of the necessary equipment, and there is a great feeling of accomplishment when your family succeeds said mission. The pros of hiring a guide service are centered around eliminating stress by allowing experienced professionals to handle the itinerary and letting go of all of the tedious planning necessary for meals and driving. This creates the necessary space so that you and your family can spend quality time together riding bikes, hiking, and camping.

There are pros to both methods and every family has their own experience and goals that will help them decide on what is right for them. If you’re unsure, we recommend a mixture of both options. For example, if you are planning a trip to Grand Teton National Park you can hire a multi-day guide service to handle the technical biking and camping portion of your vacation. Before or after your bike trip you can visit restaurants, hotels, and local attractions where guidance isn’t as helpful. Again, using the guide service at the beginning of the trip is usually the best practice so that you can squeeze all of the information you can get before embarking on your DIY adventures.

Planning a vacation for a national park road trip is a good idea… at least we think so! It can be challenging to pull off all of the logistics to maximize your family’s experience. We hope this list sheds a little more light on the process of taking your family to beautiful places where memories are created.

LIST OF WESTERN SPIRIT FAMILY TRIPS

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We all love to think it will never rain on our vacation, but we know the reality. We often say “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices!” Having been taking guests in the backcountry for nearly 30 years, we’ve worn our fair share of rain gear. “Whether it’s a quick-hitting spring hailstorm in Canyonlands National Park or a multi-day rain event at 12,000’ on the Colorado Trail, our guides need to be prepared and they need the best” says Western Spirit owner/guide Mark Sevenoff. “We’ve known about Showers Pass for years and are proud to get our guides kitted out for the season. Only when they’re feeling good and prepared can they do their #1 job of taking care of the guests.” Showers Pass rain gear is designed for the trail, both as a mountain biking rain shell and to double as protection when it is time to get your hands dirty putting the tire chains on an F450.

Showers Pass makes technically advanced cycling apparel and gear to inspire and enable the pursuit of outdoor adventure. All Elements Covered.
https://www.showerspass.com

Western Spirit Cycling has perfected week long bike trips for first timers to seasoned pros. For nearly 30 years we’ve shown folks the best week of their lives.
https://westernspirit.com

Decades of Adventure: The White Rim

View of Washer Woman formation on the White Rim Trail, Canyonlands National Park, Moab, Utah.

There are very few established mountain bike routes that are as well known as the White Rim. For good reason, this iconic ride has been in the hearts and minds of mountain bikers for decades. But why? What draws riders here season after season? Here is a quick history to put this biking legacy into context.

The National Park system has been one of the keystone aspects of land conservation in the United States. The White Rim is nestled within the heart of Canyonlands National Park and crosses a 190 square mile piece of conservation history. To be able to ride through this place is truly unique. Around each canyon bend, up and down every wash the rider will wonder, “Has anyone ever stepped foot here?” The remote nature of this place is at the forefront of each visitors mind.

Interested in the MAP of the White Rim?

Hikers on the trail to Fort Bottom ruins from the White Rim Trail near Moab, Utah. Canyonlands National Park.

“Not only is the mere beauty of the landscape something to savor, but the geologic history is something to ponder”

Anyone who steps foot on the White Rim cannot help but wonder how the canyons have developed. Not only is the mere beauty of the landscape something to savor, but the geologic history is something to ponder. Layers and layers of rock have been carved and shaped by water and wind over the millennia. Bikers are given a front-row seat to this story because their tires are rolling across the most prominent piece of this history: the White Rim layer of sandstone. This layer of stone is much harder than other layers and therefore erosion of this rock happens at a much slower pace. Some moments can feel almost effortless and others are quite slow going, but every biker can appreciate the experience of riding across this unique surface.

Here is a VISUAL AID for the layers of sandstone found in the Canyonlands National Park

Mountain biker on the White Rim trail, Canyonlands National Park, Moab, Utah.

“The undeniably rugged nature of the trail holds years of history and travelers cannot help but tap into that history while passing through.”

Evidence of the humans that inhabited these canyons for centuries can be witnessed along the trail. Ancestral Puebloan rock art and dwellings are scattered among the cliffs and canyons. As Westerners came to the region this area was used for winter cattle grazing before it was designated a national park. Riders will notice that many of the names come from those early ranching days and bear the names of the families that grazed their cattle in the canyons and mesas of the region. However, the White Rim Trail wasn’t created by ranchers. It was blasted and carved out of the canyons by uranium miners during the 1950s when the nuclear arms race was in full swing. The undeniably rugged nature of the trail holds years of history and travelers cannot help but tap into that history while passing through.

Camp along the White Rim trail, Canyonlands National Park, Moab, Utah.

“Outfitters like Western Spirit have been guiding people around the White Rim since the early days of mountain biking.”

Outfitters like Western Spirit have been guiding people around the White Rim since the early days of mountain biking. Year after year people continue to pursue this adventure. Endurance cyclists circumnavigate the 80-mile trail in as fast as 1 day, but most riders choose to ride in 4 days to allow for ample time to experience the awe and wonder of this place. Each campsite has something unique to offer such as side hikes, new vistas, and places to explore. The wildness and remote nature of this place quickly draws you out of everyday life and into something very new and different. Many of our guests who rode the White Rim back in the 1990s have returned with their children, spouses or friends to share the cherished adventure.

Every bike ride has the potential to be great, but by reaching out for new experiences and adventures we can re-inspire our lives. The White Rim offers this type of adventure and for this reason it will continue to inspire more and more bikers throughout history.

Ride the White Rim with us.

Mountain bikers on the White Rim trail, Canyonlands National Park, Moab, Utah.

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What is Outerbike?

With Spring Outerbike right around the corner we thought we’d share a little Outerbike history.  Outerbike is a consumer demo event dedicated to helping riders pick their next bike. It was founded by Western Spirit owners Ashely Korenblat & Mark Sevenoff of Moab, Utah. With changes in sales channels and continual improvements in design and technology, todays cyclists want to try new products and test ride bikes on real trails before they purchase.

For the first several years Outerbike took place each October at the MOAB Brands Trailhead. A few years later a spring event was added and then a summer venue in Whistler, BC followed by Crested Butte, Colorado.

The 2018 Outerbike schedule will be: Moab Spring Outerbike 4/6-8 Crested Butte Outerbike 8/17-8/19 Moab Fall Outerbike 10/5-10/7 Bentonville Outerbike 10/26-28

In 2018 Western Spirit will be partnering with the OZ Trails to bring Outerbike to Bentonville.  “The riding in Northwest Arkansas is truly world class and the OZ trails are a perfect place to test your dream bike” says Mark Sevenoff. 

“Outerbike is focused on one thing: providing world class demo opportunities for riders. We are working to give riders across the country a chance to get in on the action, and the amazing OZ Trails in Bentonville will be a great compliment to Outerbike in Crested Butte and Moab.” said Ashley Korenblat, CEO, Western Spirit Cycling. “By adding new dates and locations, more cyclists will have the chance to try before they buy and meet the companies directly.”

Outerbike events so far have attracted riders from all 50 states and 8 foreign countries. Cyclists start lining up at 7am  for the 9am Le Mans-style start into the exhibit area, and while the morning dash to the bikes is thrilling—before the weekend is over, everyone will have had a chance to try a wide variety of models. Several trails right from the Outerbike venues give riders a chance to compare bikes back to back on the same trails, while additional rides on nearby purpose built singletrack take place each day via shuttles.  In Crested Butte the chairlift starts spinning at 9am taking riders to the top to access the Evolution Bike Park and trails beyond.  Lunch is served to exhibitors and attendees under the big tent from Outerbike chef Ken Moody. Friday and Saturday’s beer garden is brought to you by our friends at the Moab Brewery ,Upslope Brewery  & Bike Rack Brewing.

Scot Nicol, of Ibis Cycles said, “Ibis has participated in every Outerbike since its inception. Outerbike is the perfect storm for manufacturers who want riders to try their bikes in real-world conditions that are essential to evaluating a bike’s capabilities. Held in world renown cycling destinations, Outerbike is not only fun, it provides an easy upgrade path for riders to determine which dream bike is going to be next for them. The format allows for test rides that are long enough and with enough varied terrain for a legitimate test. Customers frequently validate our participation by telling us ‘I bought my Ibis after test riding it at Outerbike’.”

“I know a great event and vibe when I see it. From the beginning Outerbike has manage to keep it all about riders who want to demo bikes. Outerbike is the best. There are other great independent events but few/none of them are as consistent year over year,” said Jordan Huckee from Orbea.

“The location!! Outerbike always does a great job of organization and the Crested Butte venue was icing on the cake!” said Tristan Brandt, Demo Coordinator, Pivot Cycles.

“We love the Outerbike events. They stand alone as a way for us to work directly with consumers. Outerbike is our favorite event,” says Ken Miner, Director of Sales Haibike USA. 

For more information, or to speak with Mark Sevenoff Contact: mark@westernspirit.com, 435-259-8732 .

Western Spirit Cycling is headquartered in Moab, UT, and runs multi-day bicycle tours and outdoor events on beautiful public lands throughout the country. Our trips cover a life-time of bucket list destinations whether you’re a first time beginner or a hard core expert. “If you don’t do it this year, you’ll be one year older when you do!”

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100% and Western Spirit Cycling Join Forces

This season sees the Western Spirit guides putting 100%’s line of cutting-edge eyewear through its paces while guiding. While on the bike, 100% sport performance models such as Speedcraft and Speedcoupe will offer the clarity and protection our guides demand. “We’re stoked to bring new insights into the performance needs of our guides and guests and offer a refreshing perspective on the evolution of trail riding” says Western Spirit owner/guide Mark Sevenoff. “The guides are the heart and soul of our company and demand the very best. They’re outside seven days a week in the most extreme conditions you can imagine.” When traveling the West, or back at camp, they’ll be sporting active lifestyle models including the Centric & Type-S sunglasses.

About Western Spirit

Western Spirit is a cycling company who organizes road and mountain biking trips in our National Parks, National Forests and BLM lands. The trips range from mellow family-style outings to 5-day package rides above 10,000 feet on world-class single track. They also run product launches, press events and team building trips for corporations interested in giving their employees and corporate partners a challenging bike experience that will be both emotional and physical. It’s all about connecting people with their equipment, the trail, their guides and themselves.

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About 100%

The roots of 100% date back to the early 1980’s, when the popular logo graced the jerseys of the biggest stars in motocross. Thirty years later, the passion for the Spirit of Racing is greater than ever, being now an influential icon in mountain biking and cycling that inspires a whole new generation of racers, still asking them, “How much effort do you give?”

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Bike Love – Part 1

I have seen bike love in many forms.  When I was 27, I became the president of a small company called Merlin.  I’d just graduated from business school and put everything I learned to work.  I had to order titanium in the same quantities as Boeing, six months in advance.  To do this I had to raise private capital and create a board of directors who were committed to cycling.

At the time, Merlin made arguably the best bikes int he world and for about five years we simply could not keep up with the orders.  People sent us photos of the Merlin logo tattooed on various parts of their bodies.  While I was flattered by their devotion, I have to admit the photos were kind of frightening.

I briefly dated a professional tennis player.  We were at a party once and two men in their fifties found out I was the president of Merlin.  They walked over, got down on their knees and bowed before me.  My date was not impressed – what was I thinking, dating a tennis player?

After half a decade at Merlin I was ready for a new challenge, and Saucony, the shoe company, offered to buy the company.  Hoping I had left it in good hands, I moved to Moab to run Western Spirit Cycling.  My focus was no longer the bike itself, but where to ride it.

We run multi-day trips in the national park and forests.  Many riders return year after year and so the pressure is on us to always find new places to explore.  The trips range from fun and cruisey to five days above 10,000ft, and we have a very wide range of people, from core cyclists who have all the skills and fitness to those who really only ride once a year with us.

About half bring their own bikes.  Sometimes when they arrive before a trip, the mechanic shakes his head.  These bikes have been loved too much.  We do worry that the bike won’t make it through the week, but we don’t want to tell the customer.  So we just throw another spare on the support truck and hope for the best.  The price of the bike has nothing to do with how much a person loves their ride.

When riders arrive they are usually a bit pale and nervous, wondering what they have got themselves into.  When they return, they are glowing and it is not just the dirt or the sunburn.  The trip has given them at the chance to reconnect with themselves, the planet and the bike.

And then we came up with the idea of Outerbike, a demo event for consumers.  The bike manufacturers all build their new models for the autumn trade show in Las Vegas, but the public are not allowed to attend, and while you occasionally find a demo truck at a trailhead ro at big races, there really isn’t anywhere you can test out bikes on real trails.  So when the Bar M trails were built in Moab – a classic stacked loop system with 10 to 15 miles of beginner, intermediate and expert trails, all from one starting point – we knew it was perfect for Outerbike.

At the first Outerbike in 2010, several hundred people showed up.  At the second this autumn, it was over the top.  It was 40°C and raining but by 7:30am there was a line to get into the demo area, which didn’t open util 9am.  I was a bit worried that folks would be grumpy about waiting but when we opened the gates, they ran to the booths hooting and hollering.  It was bike love in the form of 800 people charging through the desert in the rain.

I wonder what form it will turn up in next.

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Kicking off the New Year at Western Spirit Cycling

Happy 2018 and welcome to a new year! We’re entering our 28th year in business based out of the mountain bike mecca of Moab, UT and have some great new things to share with you.

To start with we’d like to welcome two new employees to our office team. Many of you remember Eric Donley one of our senior guides from a few years back. Eric and his fiance moved down to Moab this fall and he will be helping to spearhead our sales and marketing team while doing a bit of guest guiding. If he happens to pick up the phone when you call you’ll be immediately at ease with his calm demeanor and friendly voice. Not to mention his keen knowledge of all our trips from his years in the backcountry.

Our amazing Operations Director Don Wiseman retired this December making room for Scott Greiner to fill his shoes. Scott moved here from Reno, NV and brings with him a wealth of experience from both guiding and organizational work in the adventure travel industry. We couldn’t be happier with our crew, but that’s not all. We’re also in the midst of a website refresh so in the next month be on the lookout for a fresh look and some exciting new online offerings.

On the physical side, we’re proud to continue our long-running partnership with Specialized bikes for the 17th season and will be upgrading our fleet to the 2018 Camber Comp for all mountain bike rentals. Just like some of the pro peloton, we’ll be running disk brakes on our all carbon Specialized Roubaixs this year as well. The Roubaix provides you with the tools you need to explore the road less traveled and we’re confident you’re going to love them.

On the vehicle side, we’re adding two more 15 passenger Ford Transit E350s to our growing fleet. After investing in two a few years back, we’re convinced they’re more comfortable, safer, easier to drive and with the twin turbo Ecoboost motor, even more powerful than our old V-10’s (thinking of a fully loaded trip climbing 7,000′ up to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon). For our guests that just means you get to the trails in more comfort and more safely than ever before. We’ve been with Ford now for over 25 years and they like us so much they even featured us in a commercial last year!

Enough bragging for now, but you’ll be hearing more from us rest assured:) While there’s snow on the ground in Moab right now, it will all be melted before you know it and we’ll be gearing up for spring trips down south. Hope to ride with you this year and share some time around the campfire.

Cheers,

Mark Sevenoff

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Guest Blog – Meg Huffman – South Dakota

The following blog post is from a Guest on a trip. We wanted to feature it as it answers a few questions that we get quite a bit. We hope you enjoy. 

My family is very choosey about vacations.  As our three boys get older, it is harder and harder to find a time when we can all be together. Between school, college, sailing, skiing, and all the other activities we do over the year, finding time for a bike trip was a serious challenge.

When we settled on a week that worked for everyone, the folks at Western Spirit suggested biking the Black Hills in South Dakota. I have never even thought about going to South Dakota and it was definitely not on my bucket list. Still, I listened to the folks at  Western Spirit about riding though the forest and camping on some beautiful lakes and decided the combo of nature’s beauty, exercise, and great food might be just the family vacation we needed.  Plus, the whole trip is at a reasonable altitude–compared to Colorado or other famous out-west destinations – so I was pretty sure everyone would enjoy the biking.

There was the uncertainty of the other people on the trip…I wasn’t at all sure I wanted strangers joining us on vacation.  We had done a couple of Western Spirit trips before, but they were private trips, so we knew everyone already. This was the biggest and best surprise of all. We thoroughly enjoyed the other folks we met on our trip.

Bottom line, on a scale of 1 to 10, the trip was a 12. The guides Chris Abell and Terrin Frey made it easy, fun, relaxing and, well, just tremendous!  The riding was a nicely balanced combination of cruisey downhills and nice climbs. The camps were in great spots with easy access to the lakes.  Our family goes boating all the time, but there was something especially fun about the trip across the lake on the party barge.

This trip was all about being outside, getting exercise, laughing, smiling and being grateful to have the chance to be in a gorgeous part of the world with my family and other fun, interesting people. Further, I had no responsibilities—I didn’t have to think about what time it was, when I needed to start dinner (or breakfast or lunch!), if the boat had gas, whether the gears on my bike would work smoothly—I just got to enjoy my husband and sons, pedal my heart out and kick back.

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How Monuments Create Jobs.

Cyclist in Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument 

President Trump’s Executive Order on the Antiquities Act calls for a review of the national monuments designated over the last 20 years. As an outdoor business owner, I have had a front row seat for many of these monument designations and have seen the on the ground impacts.

In many cases local residents and stakeholders from mountain bikers to energy companies to environmental advocates began the process of updating plans for their public lands by asking for new laws. People worked together to understand each others goals and craft public land legislation that would protect key areas for conservation and recreation, while leaving other places available for development of oil, gas, and mining. And after all the blood, sweat, and tears of negotiating a deal, many communities in the last 20 years were stymied when congress failed to pass their bills.

Hell’s Backbone Grill at the Boulder Mtn Lodge feeds hungry people visiting the surrounding National Parks and National Monuments 

You can’t really blame folks if they turned to the President and requested an administrative action in the form of a National Monument Proclamation to achieve virtually the same goals they were seeking through public land legislation.  President Trump’s review will find that many communities are quite happy with their National Monuments, not only are they benefiting from outdoor recreation visitors, but they are seeing steady economic growth through new and diverse businesses who want to locate near America’s great outdoors.  Competition for top talent is tight, and if you can boast access to everything from hiking and paddling to jeeping, hunting and fishing, plus treasured cultural resources and uniquely American landscapes, your community—and the businesses that locate there— have a competitive advantage.


Pictographs in Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument.

In reviewing these monuments, Secretary Zinke is also going to find a few places where people aren’t so happy, and while they are quick to complain about their public land managers, the real source of the problem has little to do with federal land ownership or monument designations. Macro economic forces and technological advances of the 21st century are playing out in commodity prices, and extractive industry jobs are disappearing on both public and private lands, while county budgets suffer due to sharply decreasing mineral royalties.

Western Spirit Cycling Adventures was started to run trips in Canyonlands National Park and today runs trips all thought out many of the country’s National Parks and National Monuments.

Meanwhile, the outdoor recreation industry continues to see steady growth generating $887 billion in consumer spending and 7.6 million jobs.  America has a proud history of self sufficiency through living off the land, and our ranchers and coal miners have been major contributors to our country’s progress. Key leaders in congress are trying to find ways to honor this heritage. Pivoting to recreation economy jobs in product design, manufacturing, or retail can be challenging. For that matter, just getting along with the new neighbors can be hard. Change is never easy, but rolling back the clock is downright impossible.


Lower Calf Creek Falls – Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument.

Monument designations jump start recreation economies and bring a wide array of reliable and growing business opportunities to rural residents and their children. This change is playing out in communities across the country whose economic development strategies are paying off precisely because they have set aside public land in its natural state for outdoor recreation.

Riders enjoying the incredible views the National Monument has to offer 

If the President wishes to honor his promise to those who have lost their jobs in coal country and other rural areas that have been hurt by a changing economy, he should maintain all of America’s existing monuments, and use the powers of the Antiquities Act to create new ones.

 

Ashley Korenblat is CEO of Western Spirit Cycling in Moab, UT, and a Managing Director at Public Land Solutions

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Public Lands: It’s All Yours – Part 2

Important Public Land Designations: Wilderness and National Monuments

In Part 1 of our public land series we clarified the three major federal land managers: US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and National Park Service. All three of these land management agencies manage different types of lands within their jurisdictions. In the forest and on the BLM most of their lands are usually open to multiple uses—that means they are available for harvesting trees, grazing cows, mining, and/or recreation of all types. But both agencies and the park service also have lands that are special for one reason or another.

Lands can achieve special status for many reasons: perhaps they are critical wildlife habitat, or they may have some special recreation status like a reservoir or motorized recreation area—in which case they many have a special name, a special color on the map, and special rules for visitors. Many of these special designations can be made by the agency itself through planning processes that include public input. But the two most special designations: National Monuments and Federally Designated Wilderness Areas are made by the president in the case of national monuments and by the Congress in the case of Wilderness.

The Wilderness Act of 1964 was the first time we as a species decided to put the needs of nature above the needs of man. Until this time, and for all of human history, the earth was here for us to use. By the early 1960s the pace of development around the globe became a concern and many people began to think that it would be wise to leave some portions of the planet in their natural state, thus the Wilderness Act of 1964 was born. The act itself is fairly simple in that the goal is to leave areas designated as wilderness ‘untrammeled by man.

Since the mountain bike was not invented in 1964, there is no specific mention of bicycles in the act. But the act does clearly state that mechanized transport is prohibited. Horses however were allowed continued access, partly because they are animals, partly because it was a historic use, and partly because the act would never have passed if horses had been excluded. Every act that congress has ever passed has includes compromises.

Many people have tried to slice and dice the wording to find a way to allow mountain bikes in Wilderness Areas but none have succeeded. Instead many bike advocates have worked with wilderness advocates to sort out Wilderness boundaries in a way that keeps established and legal bike trails open. With one exception, none of the Wilderness bills passed since 2009 have closed bike trails.

This is one of the important distinctions between Wilderness designations and national monuments. When a Wilderness bill is proposed by a congressman to designate either BLM or Forest Service land as Wilderness, the process is long and detailed and the public is part of the process at every step. The public can see drafts of the bill, they can submit testimony at the hearing, and they can lobby members of congress to vote for or against the bill.

National monuments go through a process that goes through the executive branch rather than the legislative branch, and in some ways is the opposite because the public input come primarily after the designation has been made. The president was given the power to unilaterally issue a proclamation designating a piece of public land as a national monument by Congress when it passed the Antiquities Act. The purpose of this act is to protect places of historic or cultural significance. Many of our national parks started as national monuments. At first the locals were angry because they found themselves losing the right to use these lands for grazing or mining or other traditional ways to make a living. But over the years most (but not all) residents have come to appreciate their national parks.

Today, many people who live near public lands may agree that a particular place deserves a higher level of protection, but they would prefer achieving that protection using legislation—a bill in Congress that would include their input and ideas as it was developed. The national monument designation rankles some residents because the proclamation process does not officially include public input.

However—and there are two ‘howevers’ involved here. The national monument process DOES include public input in the management plan that is developed to sort out exactly how the new monument will be managed. In this process, many of the same types of decisions that are made about Wilderness boundaries and other public land designations, that are part of public land legislation, are addressed in the monument management plan and the public is involved.

The second ‘however’ involves gridlock in Congress that prevents any legislation from passing. In many cases locals have been working on public land bills that would designate some Wilderness and perhaps create some other designations, but Congress has failed to pass these locally supported bills. In those cases, the public had had no choice but to by pass Congress and ask the president to act unilaterally to implement the protections they have agreed upon via a national monument designation.

Whether these special designations are achieved via a public lands Wilderness bill or a presidential national monument proclamation—there are still people that think any increased protections are a bad idea. The current thinking of the Trump administration is that all regulation prohibits economic growth, and many of the recent updates in land management and environmental protections have already been rolled back. There are many ways that these changes could affect a mountain bike trail near you, but before we head down that dark path, our next post will be about communities that are prospering precisely because they have access to protected public lands.

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Public Lands: It’s All Yours – Part 1

Why you need to know about public land: As mountain bikers, we are dependent on public lands. Through my career in bike manufacturing, racing, and as an outfitter I have had the opportunity to ride on trails of every description on public lands of every type.

Today there are increasing pressures on our public lands from all directions, so we here at Western Spirit thought it would be useful to use our blog as quick and easy place for mountain bikers to get informed on public land issues that are likely to effect the trails you love.

Land ownership through the ages: The first land owner was probably someone from a nomadic tribe that accidentally planted a seed and decided to stick around to watch it grow. Or maybe it was someone who found some type of ore coming out of the ground and figured he could trade it for food. For most of human history, land ownership has been the best way to generate wealth to take care of yourself and your family.

The Homestead Act of 1862 encouraged immigrants to head west and claim some land. Lots of land did get claimed but quite a bit didn’t. Why not—nobody wanted to live there. In most cases the problem would have been lack of water, but in other place the topography itself just wasn’t very hospitable.

Thus more by accident than by design Americans ended up owning large sections of public land, primarily in Western States. These lands are in three major categories: National Parks—the jewels of the program, National Forests, and Bureau of Land Management Lands. And in all three there are places that are considered: front-country—near roads, near towns and easily accessible; and backcountry—which are further away, usually you need to camp out there. In general more skills and experience are needed to reach backcountry places.

National Parks are the most unique and special places in the country and are also often historic locations. Front country lands within National Parks include visitor centers and short hikes to points of interest. Backcounty areas in National Parks are often sensitive landscapes where visitation is limited by a permit system. The good thing about a permit system is that when you do get out there, you have the place all to yourself! Like we do on the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park. National Parks are managed by the Department of Interior. Congressman Ryan Zinke from Montana was just appointed Secretary of the Interior and while we don’t know if he mountain bikes—he does hunt and fish so we are hopeful!

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is also managed by the Department of Interior. These lands include all kind of incredible deserts and canyons and are primarily designated for multiple use. That means oil and gas, grazing, and mining, as well as motorized and non-motorized recreation. In recent years, recreation on BLM lands has grown exponentially, partly due to strong partnerships between local BLM Managers, local mountain bike groups, and the International Mountain Bicycling Association, IMBA. But conflicts between recreation and resource extraction like oil and gas and mining are starting to pop up around the country. Because oil and gas operators pay for leases on these lands, they have more rights than we do. We are making progress zoning some lands for recreation through the land planning process as business owners and trail users get involved, but when we don’t show up, resource extraction usually wins the day. More on this in future blogs.

National Forests are managed by the Department of Agriculture, primarily because much of the original focus was on harvesting trees. Today there are lots of trails on forest service lands and in some places near ski areas or other resorts ‘the trees are worth more standing up than they would be lying down.’ Timber management remains the focus of the Forest Service, but the Outdoor Industry Association along with other groups have recently launched a process for improving recreation management on Forest Service lands and this program is progressing.

These are the major categories of federal land managers. These lands are owned by you. Its all yours!! Next week Wilderness and National Monuments demystified!

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5 Tips from the Guides About Packing Your Gear.

One of the most-asked questions from people about going on a Western Spirit trip is what to bring. So, I sat down for a few minutes to write down some tips. These come from my personal experience guiding trips. They are helpful for me and hopefully helpful for you also!

1. – Avoid things you don’t need

Going on a trip with Western Spirit is awesome! We do just about everything for you except ride your bike and set up your tent. We bring all the food and drinks, a kitchen to cook for you, tools to fix your bike, an extra bike if we can’t fix it, chairs for you to sit in after a long day, and amazing knowledge about the topography and local lore. We also bring stuff you may not even think of. We have been doing this for 25+ years, so we know what our guests are going to need to have the trip of a lifetime! The best thing to do is follow the packing list in your itinerary for the trip you are doing. Oh, and make sure to bring a camera. You will see amazing places during your trip; you need a way to capture it!

2. – Keep clothes and camp gear separated

Using a little organization while packing your bag goes a long way. I could write a whole blog post on things to have in your gear bag for the trip! But, that’s another post. One of the most basic things you can do is have a way for keeping your tent and gear away from your clean clothes. The easiest way to do so is to have them in two different bags. Why? Well, your tent might get dirty, muddy, wet, dusty, who knows! Being able to keep that away from you clean clothes is a must. Keep your gear separated and everything will be good. Another tip is having multi colored stuff sacks for yor gear. Separating out camp clothes, riding clothes, rain gear, and dirty clothes is a great way to keep your bag totally organized and keep your clean clothes clean and easy to find.

3. – Bring cans, not glass.

While this might sound like a weird one, we have our reasons. When bringing your adult beverage, cans are much preferred. We will be going to locations that not a lot of people go and sometimes the roads are not so smooth, so if we have a lot of glass bottles in a cooler, they can break. Also, we have to pack out everything we bring in. Pack it in, pack it out. Having glass bottles in our recycling takes up much more space then smashed cans. You can get almost everything in can form now, from fancy brews to wine. And if your tastes are for something a little stronger, consider getting it in a plastic bottle. If cans just aren’t possible, don’t worry; we know how to best protect glass during the trip.

4. – USB recharger

Let’s face it, most things charge via USB. Phones, cameras, GPS, lots of things that you will want to use during the trip. Being able to charge those up at camp is really nice. Bringing along a USB recharger lets you do just that. That way you will be able to have everything you want with you and charged. We want you to take as many pictures as you wish, track your ride with your GPS, and listen to that audio book at camp. I like this recharger from Goal Zero but there are many options available.

5. – Rain gear!

This might be the last thing on the list, but it might actually be the most important. We would love to promise everyone amazing sunny weather on every trip. I even joke around about us having a team of zeppelins to drag the clouds around. However, we don’t have zeppelins, and we can’t guarantee the sun. So bring rain gear! I recommend at least one set to ride in and one set for camp. That way you are able to take off the wet gear after riding and will have a dry set for camp. Nothing feels better than warm dry clothes after a wet ride. We do trips in some very remote places, and it’s awesome to get away from everything. But, this means we are away from everything. No stopping at the store halfway through the trip to buy a jacket. Bring rain gear so you will have an amazing trip no matter the weather. 

So there you have it. A few tips for packing your gear for a Western Spirit trip! Have you been on a trip with us before and have some tips of your own? Leave them in the comments below. 

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Easy Bike Checks Everyone Should Be Doing

Every bike needs love every now and again. So I wanted to fill you in on a few things you can do to keep you and your bike happy and running smoothly.

Before every ride.

1 – Check your tires – Checking the pressure in your tires is something that you should do before every ride. Not only will it make your bike ride nice, It will also help prevent pinch flats and keep your tires from feeling all squirmy in corners. Dont know what pessure to pump them too? Look on the side of the tire for the recommeded pressure.

2 – Lube your chain – A quiet bike is a happy bike. Nobody likes a squeaky chain. And I mean nobody. I keep a rag and chain lube in the door of my truck so I can always make sure its nice and lubed before every ride. Its also super easy to do. Take a rag and hold it on the chain while turning the pedals backwards. Next drip lube on the chain while you backpedal. Rotate the pedals a few more times. Grab a rag and wipe off the excess while back pedaling. Boom! You’re done. Its just that easy.

Every few rides

3 – Check shifting – Checking shifting is also easy. Hang the bike up or flip it upside down, rotate the pedals forward and shift through the gears. Click up one gear and make sure the chain moves up one gear,all the way from hardest to easiest. Then back down. If it’s slower going up than down or vice-versa its time for a tune up.

4 – Bolt check – Its always a good idea to check all the bolts on your bike. Just using your bike will cause some bolts to loosen. Check them in an order of your choosing. I always go front to back. Starting with stem bolts and ending at the back of the bike. Using a torque wench is a good idea for many bolts on your bike. Doing so will prevent you from over tigthening any. Pivot bolts are also a place where you should use a toque wrench and tighten to manufacturer specs.

5 – Check your chain – Checking your chain for wear is a good thing. Replacing your chain is much cheaper than new chainrings and cassettes. You can either use a chain checker tool or take your bike by your local bike shop and they will be happy to check it for you. As far as how many miles you should get out of a chain can widely very. Its a good idea every few rides just to check it out. It only takes a minute to do and will save you $$$ in the long run.

 So there you go! 5 easy things to do to keep your bike running smooth.

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Telluride and Moab are two of the most charming destinations in the West. Destinations for adventurers, historians, and families alike, you’ve likely heard of them. Western Spirit’s ride from Telluride to Moab is one of our favorites. Here are five things to know before you go.

This is the perfect first off-road adventure

This ride is challenging, but not too technical, making it ideal for the road cycling enthusiast who is ready to try some dirt-road riding. If you’ve never ridden on fat tires and dirt before, prepare for an exhilarating experience, away from cars and the noise of other people as you roll through the beautiful landscape between these two adventure hotspots.

The terrain is challenging but accessible

Short climbs are intense, but allow time for recovery. This trip is awesome for pushing yourself with plenty of support from your guides and your fellow cyclists. The days are long, and altitude is a factor, so we recommend plenty of cardiovascular training before the trip. Just keep in mind that you won’t need technically advanced mountain biking skills.

The weather is predictably variable

The weather is typically sunny and dry, but the temperature can change quickly, and when storms come in they come with a vengeance. Packable layers are a must for this ride that spans from aspen forests to sagebrush deserts. When the sun goes down in the desert, it gets chilly! So bring warm layers for night time, and plenty of breathable, sweat-wicking clothes for daytime riding.  Here’s a list of our recommended gear for desert riding.

Bring a camera

Okay. This one is obvious, but we mean it. The scenery on this ride is unparalleled and will make you look like a pro photographer—even if you’re just using the camera on your iPhone. The trip begins in the Colorado Rockies and crosses the Uncompahgre Plateau. Telluride’s wildflowers are incredible in the early summer and the yellow Aspens will take your breath away in the fall. As you ride down from the mountains into the desert, panoramic views will follow you the whole way. Plateaus give way to canyons as you get closer to Moab, completing the eclectic sample of western landscape.

There’s nothing like it

Have I mentioned that this is one of our favorite trips? That it is the best way to see the American West? That it’s a great way to bond with family and old friends, or to make a great group of new friends? If you’re on the fence about a mountain bike adventure, give us a call and we’ll answer any lingering questions. I have no doubt that you’ll have the time of your life.

Full details about this trip and many more are available at westernspirit.com or call us to talk cycling at 435-201-6310. Check out some stories and testimonials from riders past, and then get out there and start training!

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Our Five Favorite Views Around Telluride

We have a couple of great trips involving the amazing town of Telluride, Colorado: Telluride to Durango and Telluride to Moab. What makes this town such a favorite among road and mountain bikers, travelers, socializers, and artists? Among other things, the views. Here are some of our favorites. 

Mt. Sneffels

The view of the Mt. Sneffels wilderness area on the way out of the town is dramatic, to say the least. Each season offers a different color palate to highlight the contours of the stunning mountain ridges. Wildflowers, fall colors, and even snow adorn the landscape elegantly. This view provides a great start to Western Spirit’s Telluride to Moab trip. There are great hiking trails up to the summit and along the ridge too, for visitors looking to get up above town on foot.

Bridal Veil Falls

This 365-foot cascade is the tallest waterfall in Colorado, located just a few miles outside of the town. Hiking trails provide the best view of the falls and the historic hydroelectric power plant that sits at the top. For a while, the falls were a well-known and very challenging ice-climbing destination, but now climbing is prohibited and we recommend just enjoying the view.

Top of Ski Resort

The view from the top of Telluride ski resort provides the perfect multi-faceted view of a modern mountain town. You can hike or ride the gondola up and look down at the streets nestled in the box canyon. The man-made structures seem so tiny and insignificant compared to the breathtaking mountains that stretch across the horizon in all directions. This is one of my favorite views to put everything in perspective—either in life, or just when planning out your hikes and bike rides for the next few days.

The Night Sky

Far away from city light pollution, Telluride is an amazing place to look up at the night sky. From a hammock, through a tent skylight, or simply from laying on the ground, you can’t beat an evening of stargazing after a long day of cycling. The alpine meadow at the top of the Galloping Goose railroad grade is one of my favorite spots to lay down and look up. We camp there on the first night of our trip from Telluride to Durango.

Main Street

The town’s main drag is a colorful display of Victorian architecture that looks great against the mountain backdrop. Historic sites and stories line the street, with signs of the rich mining history, the more recent establishment of the ski industry and outdoor adventure travel, and the subsequent cultural ripening. Art galleries, boutiques, world-class restaurants, and spas provide plenty of activities for your days off from the trails.

While our trips around here are more on the difficult side, we recommend checking out the town and then working your way up with some of our easier trips first! Give us a call if we can help you make your plan.

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Gearing up for your first mountain biking adventure? Here are few tips from those of us who have been around the block a few times.

You Can Bring or Rent Camping Gear

If you are a seasoned and equipped camper, feel free to bring your own gear on your Western Spirit trip. If not, we’re happy to rent you some! We have North Face tents, 20-degree sleeping bags, and Thermarest pads to keep you comfortable and warm. Same deal with bikes, though we really recommend renting them from us. Most airlines charge extra for flying with a bike, and we’ve got great equipment that’s been diligently maintained. If you do bring your own bike, make sure to have it tuned up before you travel.  Here’s a packing checklist for other things you’ll want to be sure to remember!

We’ll Bring the Food, You Bring the Booze

On Western Spirit adventures, we take care of all the food, from lunch on the first day through lunch on the last day (and many guests tell us the food is a highlight of their trip!).   We are also experts at storing and transporting your favorite alcoholic beverages, but we rely on you to supply them. Let us know if you’re flying in and need some advice on where to stock up before the trip.

It’s Going to Be Awesome

Okay, you might already know this, but if you’re not sure—trust us. There’s nothing better than getting outside with friends (new or old) and riding trails through forests, mountains, and deserts. No matter your skill level, you can find challenges, growth, inspiration, relaxation, and the best environment to connect with the people around you.  If you’re looking to up your training game, we’ve got a few tips.  But know that our guides will be there to support you at whatever ability level you’re at.

Relax

Like, really. Relax. We’ve got it! It always amazes me to watch people transition into vacation mode. So often we don’t even realize how excellent we’ve gotten at being busy! Shorten your adjustment period by mentally preparing yourself beforehand. Our guides will take care of everything. You just need to get on your bike and ride. At the end of the day, we’ll be waiting for you with a cold drink and a delicious camp-cooked meal. So leave your worker-bee mentality at home.

And, most importantly, we are happy to answer any questions that you have. Give us a call at 800-845-2453.

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When to Start Planning a Biking Trip

People always ask us how far in advance they should plan their biking trip. Here’s some insight from our years of experience to help you decide.

When You Get Back From a Great Ride

After a good, hard training ride, we recommend a little cool-down stretch. Maybe you’ve got a whole post-ride ritual with water, snacks, or a logbook. Or maybe your rides aren’t as frequent as you’d like, but each time you get out there it reminds you of how much you love to spin those wheels. Whatever the case may be, channel your post-ride energy and inspiration into a little trip planning. Making plans now means you won’t have to later. Once you select your Western Spirit trip, our guides make all of the decisions, and all the food!

When You Need Something to Look Forward To

If you’re feeling a little weighed-down by your everyday responsibilities, planning something exciting for the future can make a big difference! Check out our mountainroad, and family cycling adventures and then put one on the calendar! You can even use one of those handy countdown apps to keep you posted on how many days are left until your trip!

When You Want to Experience a New Place

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there is no better way to see a new place than from the saddle of a bicycle. The perfect pace between walking and driving—cycling is slow enough to take in your surroundings and fast enough to cover some real distance. We love riding in the desert, the mountains, and on the coast. Lots of our rides even take you through very contrasting scenery. Nothing beats it.

When You Want to Get Together With Friends in a Unique Way

Got a great group of friends who are sick of just sitting around eating and drinking together? Why not ride some bikes, and then eat and drink together? If you don’t see a trip in our catalog that looks perfect, give us a call and we can create one just for your crew. We’ve been doing this for years and would love to set up an experience that provides attainable challenge and maximum memory-making for everyone you invite.

Right Now!

There’s no time like the present! Give us a call at 435-383-1821 to start planning today. Whether you’re riding solo, with family, with friends, or with coworkers—if you’re looking to sight-see, push your physical limits, or just try something new, we’ve got the perfect trip for you.

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All About Telluride Hiking

Telluride, Colorado is a town like no other, surrounded by peak after peak of amazing mountains with endless terrain to explore. Hiking is surely the most popular activity in the summer, and there’s plenty of great cycling as well. Here’s what you need to know about hiking in Telluride.

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Allow for Plenty of Time

There are over 90 different hiking trails in the immediate vicinity of town, so if you are visiting from out of town, make sure you stay a little longer than you think you should. There are also tons of attractions to visit, from restaurants and shops to museums, and all kinds of special events like the Telluride Film Festival and Telluride Blues & Brews music festival.

Keep an Eye on the Weather

Telluride is situated at the mouth of a box canyon, which can make for some sudden changes in weather patterns. In the late summer, afternoon thunderstorms are common, so be sure the sky is clear before you get too far above tree line.

Choose Your Adventure

Telluride hikes span a wide range of difficulty, from meandering trails through town to gnarly climbs up 14,000 foot peaks, known familiarly as “fourteeners.” Know your hiking group’s ability level and intention when selecting your hike. It is also a great area to put together a multi-day hiking and camping trip, similar to the ones we lead on bikes. You’ll need to pack in and pack out your own provisions in this case, of course. Here’s a basic map of the trails close to town. Keep in mind that the town of Telluride is at 8,750 feet above sea level, so if you’re coming from lower elevation you will feel the difference!

A Few Highlights

Rest assured that whatever type of hike you’re looking for, it exists in Telluride. Bridal Veil Falls is definitely one of our favorites. It’s the tallest free-falling waterfall in Colorado, and it’s a short hike from town. This is a fairly accessible hike, suitable for active families. If you’re looking for a challenge, Mt. Sneffels is said to be one of Colorado’s most beautiful mountains. The hike to the summit is short and steep, requiring a bit of class 3 climbing, but the views on the way up are absolutely stunning.

We love multi-faceted adventures. If you do too, start off with a few days hiking in Telluride, and then join Western Spirit for a point-to-point ride to Durango or Moab! Give us a call and we’ll break down the details.

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Why Telluride is The New Aspen

Aspen is a legendary, Rocky Mountain town, famous for its skiing, hiking, art, and distinct culture. But have you heard about Telluride, it’s slightly more secluded, just as epic cousin? Here are a few reasons why we think Telluride is the new Aspen.

Similar History

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The two cities have similar origins. Both were first inhabited by the Ute tribe, who hunted the land every summer. White settlers made their way into the valleys around 1870, in search of silver. The towns grew over the next twenty years or so, until the price of silver fell and populations dwindled into the early twentieth century. The terrain surrounding both towns makes it easy to imagine yourself venturing over mountain passages in search of wild game, and old mining structures keep memories of the silver age alive. These remnants of the past make significant contributions to the old-west feel of both Aspen and Telluride.

Ski Town Revival

After the boom and bust years of mining, it was “white gold” (snow) that finally started to bring people back into the two towns. In both cases, enterprising businessmen established ski resorts on some epic terrain, bringing adventure seekers back into town. It’s pretty safe to say that if someone lives in Telluride or Aspen, someone in their recent lineage was into doing challenging and fun things outside. This makes for an adrenaline-fed culture with plenty of outdoor adventure companions. When the snow melts, of course, many skiers take to their bikes, and ski trails often make for great mountain bike rides.

Smaller, Well-Kept Secret

Aspen Skiing Corporation was founded in 1946, and soon after became recognized as a premier international ski resort. Along with skiing came people from all over the world, which prompted the growth of businesses, restaurants, and boutiques, all with a very unique “wild west” appeal. The ski bums of the 60s and 70s stuck around to become the entrepreneurs of the 80s and 90s, and now Aspen is a full-on resort town. The natural beauty remains, but it’s not such a secret anymore. What used to be an escape from the bustle of everyday life has grown into somewhat of a mountain metropolis. There are still some great gems to discover, a bit out of town, and in the off-season. But personally, we’re a little more excited about Telluride these days.

The Telluride Ski Resort got started about 25 years after Aspen, so it hasn’t had as much time to be discovered. Today, Telluride’s population is still only about 2,000 residents (compared to Aspen’s 6,500 or so). But with similar geography, the culture of the place is similar to the culture that made Aspen famous. In addition to its fantastic outdoor appeal, Telluride is well-known for its Film FestivalJazz FestivalBlues & BrewsBluegrass Festival, and lots of newer festivals centered around things like wine and yoga. It’s an amazing destination with plenty of old western charm.

Check out Telluride the Western Spirit way—through the surrounding San Juan mountains on a journey to Durango, or out into Utah to our home in Moab. Call us today to start planning your trip!

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When you travel with your family, it’s nice to have access to a variety of activities that allow you to take advantage of all that a destination has to offer—without too much research or mid-trip decision-making. Here are our three favorite resorts to take our family—and then a fun idea to take things to the next level!

Crested Butte, CO

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At first glance, Crested Butte is a sleepy mountain town, nestled in the southwestern corner of Colorado. If you keep looking, you’ll realize it’s one of the most amazing natural playgrounds in North America. “CB” has year-round offerings for all ages. In the winter months, skiing and snowboarding bring visitors from all over the world to this uniquely situated mountain. While other Colorado resorts have grown to lose some of their character, Crested Butte has maintained its charm, even while boasting some of the best terrain in the state. If you’ve got a freestyle skier among you, they may also be interested in the Butte’s world-renowned terrain parks. In the summer, enjoy fly fishing in the legendary Gunnison Valley, or explore Colorado’s ranching roots on horseback. And if you haven’t heard, you’ll find some of the best mountain biking in the world. If you’re looking for a cycling-centric trip, we’ve got one of those for you too.

Whistler, BC, Canada

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One of the awesome things about ski resorts is that most of them run their lifts in the summer, and this one has access to some of the most amazing alpine running and hiking terrain I’ve ever seen. Ancient glaciers, alpine lakes, and wildflowers will treat your senses as you make your way through the wilderness. Whistler-Blackcomb boasts the world’s longest gondola (the Peak 2 Peak) connecting the two mountains. It can be intense for those afraid of heights, but offers unparalleled views and connects two of Canadas most epic ski resorts. If you’ve got little ones, they’ll marvel at the giant snow walls that stick around through early summer. And there’s biking for all levels of riders.

Snowshoe, WV

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If you’re looking for the full-on Appalachian experience, Snowshoe, WV has you covered. Standup paddleboarding, biking, and golf in the summer give way to a great family ski resort in the winter months. Smaller and slightly more manageable than its Rocky Mountain counterparts, Snowshoe is a great place to teach your kids to ski. They offer great deals on lodging and family packages for ski lessons, mountain bike lessons, and more. Summer concerts, festivals, and races fill the events calendar and offer something for everyone.

Resorts are great because they offer lots of options for your family, all in one place. At Western Spirit, we create this resort-style convenience, and take you on more rustic adventures that span a bit more area. We intersperse activities off the bike as well, and we’ve seen families take the opportunity to bond in pretty special ways. If that sounds up your alley, give us a call today to start planning your off-resort mountain bike adventure. You can also check out our family trips here.

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Four Active Family Vacation Ideas

As you get the kids ready for school and catch up on laundry from summer adventures, it’s a great time to start planning next summer’s activities! If your family is anything like mine, you have the best time when you’re active together. Vacations scheduled around physical activities can be challenging to plan and execute, but we’ve got some ideas to help you get your family outside next summer, or even before.

River Trips

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Time on the river is one of the best ways to unplug and enjoy the company of those around you. What you may not know is that there are a lot of different ways to enjoy the river—under the guidance of experienced adventurers. Whether your vessel of choice is a canoe, a kayak, or a raft, there is an outfitter that will make sure you have everything you need. Lots of them will join you for the journey and even take care of the cooking for you. Others have the option to rent all the gear you need and head out on your own. Try canoeing Minnesota’s Boundary Waters, kayaking the Colorado River, or rafting Westwater Canyon.

Surfing

If you want to let the water toss you around a bit more and get in a little beach time, try a surfing trip for your family! Living in Utah we love rivers and lakes, but some ocean time with the family is always amazing. Surfing is physically and mentally challenging, and fun for all ages. Our friends at WildMex offer surf and stay trips in Sayulita and Punta Mita, Mexico. We had a blast with them in Sayulita last year.

Hiking

Hiking is a great way to get the family together outdoors. You can set your own pace and keep things from getting too technical, or if you want a challenge, you can push it a little harder. If you’re up for rustic accommodations (tents) and minimal amenities (no showers!), multi-day backpacking trips are awesome. But if you’re just breaking into the art of family adventures, there are great places to visit, stay in town, and take day hikes. Of course we love Moab. In addition to hiking and admiring the breathtaking natural rock formations and canyons, you can dabble in world class biking and rock climbing. Telluride and Crested Butte, CO are two other fantastic natural playgrounds worth exploring.

Cycling

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Well, I have to admit, this is our favorite. And the reason we created Western Spirit Cycling Adventures. We want to help you and your family get out and enjoy the outdoors on two wheels. We have seen countless families make memories as they roll down picturesque descents and cheer each other on up challenging climbs. We have trips throughout the West, from Oregon to Idaho, through Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. We offer a variety of trips for all skill levels, and if you don’t see one that looks perfect for your family, we can build a custom trip to fit your needs and occasion. Give us a call any time and we can start planning your adventure.

Whichever direction you choose, it’s never too early to set aside the time and start researching your trip.  Enjoy the rest of your summer, and prepare for another school year to fly by!

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Six Fun Things to do at the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is inarguably one of the most overwhelmingly beautiful places in the United States. Its magnitude, color palate, wildlife, and history have fascinated countless visitors for hundreds of years.

Rainbow Rim

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The North Rim of the canyon is a higher elevation than the South Rim, and provides our favorite views. The Rainbow Trail is surely a North Rim highlight not to be missed. It is 18 miles long and was designed and flagged by Ranger John Kneeling, of the North Kaibab Ranger District. He spent three months flagging the route to make sure the trail never rose or fell by more than nine degrees. This makes for attainable climbs and fun descents. The Rainbow Rim is a beautiful ride that’s doable for cyclists of varying levels of experience, and it’s one of my favorite parts of our Grand Canyon Mountain Bike Trip.

Arizona Trail Singletrack

The Arizona Trail runs along the east side of the canyon and provides dramatic views of its upper sedimentary rock layers. Millions of years of erosion have exposed these layers of Kaibab and Toroweap limestones, Coconino Sandstone, Hermit Shale, the Supai Group and Redwall limestone. The singletrack on the Arizona trail also winds through Ponderosa pine forests as it makes its way across the state, covering 800 miles of terrain.

River Trip

Seeing the canyon from above is one thing, but it is also pretty awesome to see the geological masterpiece from the perspective of the water. You need a permit to get on the river, so it’s best to find a guided outfitter to lead your trip. Ceiba Adventures is one of our favorite crews in the canyon, running custom trips that include whatever your group needs. They’ve been taking groups into the canyon for 30 years, so they know the ins and outs of the adventure.

North Rim Lodge

Every time we visit, my wife Ashley sits quietly for as long as she can on the porch of the North Rim Lodge. Don’t get me wrong, she is a force on the singletrack—but after a long day of riding or hiking, the view from the Lodge can’t be beat. If you’ve never seen it, it might sound cliché, but the sunset over the canyon is absolutely amazing to behold.

Hike the Bright Angel Trail

If you’re anything like me, you’ll see the canyon and want to hike down into it. I’ll caution you to remember that what goes down must come back up. Canyon hiking is interesting this way! The Bright Angel Trail was one of the first trails down into the canyon and an awesome way to get down into it. Just bring plenty of water, and expect the way up to be much more challenging than the way down. There are great views all along the way, so you can turn around at any point and still have a great hike. The National Parks Service issues stern warnings not to attempt to hike from the rim to the river and back in one day.

Visit Phantom Ranch

If you take the Bright Angel Trail all the way down to the bottom of the canyon, you’ll find the Bright Angel Campground and Phantom Ranch. If you want to hike from the rim to the river, you’ll want to camp at the bottom before hiking back out. Space at the ranch is very limited, and reservations are required. You’ll need to book about a year ahead of time. But it’s well worth it to sleep in a rustic cabin on the banks of the Colorado River, at the bottom of a geological masterpiece. Keep in mind that the hike out is not for the faint of heart!

The Grand Canyon deserves a spot on every bucket list, and these are just a few of my favorite ways to enjoy it. The National Parks Service and GrandCanyon.com are great resources for more information about the park. And of course, we’d love to take you there on a Western Spirit Adventure.

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All About Whitewater Rafting

Whitewater rafting is a thrilling, fun, and unique way to get outside and connect with friends and loved ones. When we think of rafting, I think most of us picture big rapids and major adrenaline rushes. While there are plenty of ways to up-level your rafting experience, there are also plenty of opportunities for guided beginner rafting experiences. Whether you’re looking for an idea for a week-long family vacation, a shorter retreat for coworkers, or a reunion for old friends, rafting is a great safe and team-oriented way to bring your group together.

Where to Go

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Rafting outfitters take trips all over the country. The Grand Canyon is probably the most popular rafting destination in the United States, but there are great rivers to run in Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, West Virginia, Maine, North Carolina, and lots of other places in between.

When to Raft

Rafting season is generally in the summer. Rocky Mountain rafting outfits typically operate from about May to September, but conditions definitely vary based upon how much snow fell over the winter. Particularly snowy winters result in higher water levels in the rivers, meaning the water flows faster and can require varying skill levels to navigate.

How Do I Know How Difficult a Trip Will Be?

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For your first handful of trips I definitely recommend choosing an experienced rafting outfitter. Our favorite Moab outfit is Canyon Voyages Adventure Co. These experienced guides can help you select the perfect trip for your group. Rapids are rated on a Roman numeral system, ranging from Class I to Class VI. Class I rapids are mellow and easy, with clear passages and small waves. Class VI rapids are turbulent waterfalls that even experienced rafters should stay away from. As you get a couple of trips under your belt, you’ll get a feel for what Class I—Class III rapids are like.

Guides provide all the instruction you need to get started. Once you’re in the boat, your whole group will work together to maneuver and steer the boat down the river. It’s a great way to practice clear communication and teamwork, and any reputable guiding company will take care of all the safety concerns. So decide where, when, and who, and then connect with an outfit in your area to start planning your adventure. Have fun! And if you plan to come to Moab, be sure to stop by our office and say hi!

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Tips for traveling with a group on any trip

It’s no secret that traveling with people can come with challenges. Leaving the comforts of home often brings out the best in people—and can also bring to light some less desirable traits. If you’ve taken trips with groups, you’ve probably learned lessons of your own, but here are some things we’ve learned over the years that might keep you from learning the hard way.

Choose Your Group Wisely

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A trip really begins when the planning process starts. I find that trips focused around a particular activity can help to filter potential travel companions. At Western Spirit a focus on adventure, challenge, and being outdoors helps to bring together the perfect group for every trip. If you’re putting together your own group for one of our adventures, or a made-from-scratch adventure of your own, listen to your gut when extending invitations!

Communicate About Needs and Expectations

A pre-trip conversation, in person or via e-mail, can help to get everyone on the same page. Keep in mind that there’s a lot of variety in people’s self-care regimens, meal schedules, budgets, and physical shape. At Western Spirit, we clearly outline the itinerary for each of our trips, including sample menus, packing lists, and levels of physical challenge. We have particular trips that cater to multiple ability levels, including custom trips, and we let people know about the options available to them long before their bike tires hit the trail. So if you’re planning your own vacation, remember that there are no silly questions. Find out what the people in your crew are expecting and hoping for, and communicate clearly about the plan. Here are 10 of the most common questions we get about our trips.

Don’t Be Afraid to Do Your Own Thing

Resentment in a group of travelers usually comes from someone (or a few someones) ignoring their own needs in efforts to accommodate someone else. Know yourself and build in time to do the things you need. Make sure to eat when you need to, get enough sleep, and take time to yourself when you need it. Making these self-serving choices will keep you functioning at your best in the full group activities. If you join us for a Western Spirit adventure, your guides can help you to get just what you’re looking for out of your trip. But don’t forget to ask!

Have Plenty of Food

The number one way to make a group grouchy is to let them get too hungry! Every group seems to have a person or two who are particularly prone to getting “hangry” (hungry+angry). Whether that person is you or someone you’re traveling with, it can’t hurt to throw a Clif Bar or some extra trail mix in your luggage! At Western Spirit, we’ll be sure to keep you well-fed. We’ve been doing this group travel thing for a while.

Delegate Responsibility

When you start planning, you may realize that different people have varying skill sets or priorities for the trip. Capitalize on your group’s diversity by delegating responsibility. Make one person in charge of certain meals—whether it’s grocery shopping or dinner reservations. Choose someone else to organize transportation, group activities, and accommodations. If you’re traveling with Western Spirit, the good news is that we basically take care of everything. We plan the itinerary, and our world class guides make decisions during the trip, so you and your fellow travelers don’t have to worry about it.

So the short answer is: travel with us! But these tips are the ones we keep in mind for our adventures and we hope they might help you plan your own as well. Let us know what other lessons you’ve learned in your travels. And we hope to see you soon! Get in touch today. 

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Outdoor Summer Vacation Ideas for the Family

Looking for something a little different to do with your family this summer? How about investing some time and energy into developing a skill that you can all enjoy together? Learning and having adventures together are guaranteed to make meaningful memories with your loved ones—and there are usually plenty of laughs along the way. Here are a few of our favorite activities that make for great family vacations, and some even include a pastime that you can enjoy together all year round!

Mountain Biking

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It might be obvious, but this is our favorite activity. Intimidating to some, but loved by many, mountain biking is the perfect way to bring your family together and keep everyone happy and healthy for a lifetime! Kids and adults of all ages get a thrill out of cycling through deserts, canyons, forests, and mountains. Beginners and experienced cyclists can find a great summer adventure with Western Spirit, and if you’ve got a group of mixed abilities, we can accommodate that as well. Our family trips provide lots of additional activities along the way, including fishing, hiking, and swimming. A trip together can ignite or deepen your connection to mountain biking, which will continue to bring challenge and adventure to you and your family for years to come.

River Trips

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River trips are another great way to get your family together outside this summer. If you’ve got some experience on the water, but could use some help getting your gear and provisions together, check out an outfitter like Ceiba Adventures. They operate out of Flagstaff, AZ and can set you up with the whole shebang—everything you need to take your family through the Grand Canyon.

If you’re looking for a more intense and guided river trip, Canyon Voyages Adventure Co takes groups on awesome guided day trips. They’re based in Moab and they join us on our river kayak and mountain bike combo trip. From the Green River to the White Rim, this trip is the best way to see the canyons from every angle. This trip isn’t specifically designed for families with young kids so if you’re looking to get your little ones on the river, try one of Canyon Voyages’ day trips from Moab.

Rock Climbing and Mountaineering

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Immerse yourself in natural history and geology, while using your mind and strength to defy gravity. Sounds like a great way to bring the family together, right? Everybody brings something different to their first rock climbing experiences. Asking for more than brute strength, families are often surprised at how naturally their kids take to scrambling up sandstone. For adults, with or without prior rock climbing experience, guided trips provide all the support, equipment, and education you need to have fun, rewarding, and safe climbing experiences. Moab Cliffs and Canyons has unique trips centered around “Rockaneering,” which combines their favorite aspects of rock climbing, canyoneering, and mountaineering into family friendly excursions.

So get outside this summer! Let nature be the backdrop for your photos and memories together. Contact our team with questions here.

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Five No Fail Fun Family Vacations

Getting away with your family is a great way to make memories, celebrate different parts of your kids’ lives, and have new experiences together. But let’s not forget that getting the family away together can be a big job! Here are five trips where you’ll have a little support with logistics, making it a bit easier to travel with your family this summer.

Grand Canyon

Any list of family vacations in the United States would be incomplete without mention of the Grand Canyon. Even if you’ve seen a million photos, nothing can prepare you for the majesty and absolute magnitude of this natural masterpiece. Given its popularity, it’s important to make reservations early at any of the area’s hotels and attractions. There are a number of ways to experience the canyon including on foot, on horses, or in a raft. Our favorite is by bike. A guided mountain bike trip with Western Spirit Adventures is the perfect way to show your family the canyon, and have someone else take care of the logistics. Our Grand Canyon family adventure explores the South Rim of the canyon. The terrain is perfect for beginning cyclists, and we include some hiking, to show off the canyon from a different perspective.

Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park provides an unparalleled combination of attractions for kids and adults of all ages. Geysers, canyons, rivers, waterfalls, and forests provide a varied landscape that is home to hundreds of animal species. Tourism in the park has developed to include a wide variety of activities and educational opportunities. It’s also a beautiful place to just relax! Roads in the park provide ample opportunity to explore by car, and there are thousands of miles of trails for those who prefer to explore on foot or by bike. This is another of our favorite Western Spirit family trips. The Yellowstone and Gravelly Range trip begins just northwest of the park, and we explore the park on the last few days. Whether with us, or on your own, Yellowstone truly has something for everyone.

Washington, D.C.

If your family is looking for an educational vacation, our nation’s capital is a great place to visit. D.C. is steeped in history, and can provide some great experiences to compliment what your kids might be learning in school. The cities innumerable museums provide opportunities to learn about history, art, science, and aerospace. And most of these attractions are very affordable. If your kids are middle-school-aged or older, this is a really navigable and interesting destination. Like many cities in recent years, D.C. has also implemented a bikeshare program, called Capital Bikeshare, which provides a fun and affordable alternative to the metro, or… driving!

Redwoods

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If you’re interested in getting out of the city altogether, Redwood National Park is definitely a place to consider. It offers some of my favorite views in the whole country. Redwood trees are nothing short of awe-inspiring when viewed up close—especially for people who aren’t very tall! Hiking and biking are certainly the best way to learn about and appreciate the magnificent landscape, and it’s remarkably close to the coast as well, providing an amazing variety of terrain to explore. Western Spirit Adventure runs trips for families in Redwood National Park as well, and it’s certainly one of our classics.

San Diego, CA

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And of course, there’s always the beach! Coastal towns have come to learn the benefits of catering to families, and San Diego is no exception. We love Coronado Beach for it’s great lifeguards, tame surf, and soft sand. It’s easy to play in the water with young kids, but there are enough attractions nearby to keep older kids entertained. The locals actually consider this peninsula to be very separate from San Diego, though it’s just over the bridge from the city. The San Diego ZooSea World, and Legoland are close by, if you’re looking for some time away from the beach, but my kids could stay in the warm Coronado water all day!

So, the biking is our favorite, of course, but there are lots of ways to get your family out and about this summer—and lots of ways to make it more manageable. If you’re considering a bike trip, give us a call and we can help you choose the one that’s best for your family!

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10 Health Benefits of Cycling

In case you haven’t heard, this cycling thing is pretty good for you. Physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially, spending some good time spinning on two wheels is sure to improve your quality of life. Here’s how:

Fresh Air

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Getting outside is a surefire way to keep your system functioning optimally. Fresh air in your lungs and a little sun on your skin increases levels of vitamin D and invigorates your cardiovascular system.

Weight Management

This might be an obvious one, but cycling burns calories and regulates your energy and appetite. Cycling is especially great for weight management because cycling workouts tend to be longer than others, like running or weight lifting. Working out for a longer period of time at varied levels of intensity helps to keep your body in fat-burning mode for longer, including after your workout.

Stress Management

Stress reduction is a by-product of many of the other benefits on this list—and it’s an important thing to consider in our busy, technology-ridden lives. Any form of exercise is known to reduce stress by balancing brain chemistry and increasing physical well-being.  Cycling in particular is a great stress buster because it is achievable and attainable for people of varying levels of fitness. Cycling provides significantly less physical impact to your body than other sports like running, making it a perfect activity to ease into.

Social Bonding

Cycling is awesome because you can do it alone or with friends. If you need some time to yourself, head out for a quiet ride. Or, if you’re feeling like a more social interaction, plan a trip with friends, or just a morning ride to a favorite restaurant for brunch. Connecting with friends and family in this different context helps to deepen relationships and create meaningful bonds.

Strength Development

Cycling makes you strong! The leg workout might be most obvious, but cycling is actually a pretty comprehensive workout. If you pay attention (and want to improve) you can increase core strength, and even your upper body. It’s great cross training for other sports, like running, swimming, and skiing.

Sense of Accomplishment

There’s nothing like making it to the top of a hill on a bike to make you feel accomplished! The tasks in your life may be a little more complicated to tackle, so why not build a few hill climbs into your days, your weeks, your summer?

Endorphin Boost

It’s no secret that exercise sends feel-good chemicals to your brain. Endorphins released by exercise improve mood, decrease stress, and increase our capacity for connection with others. Once again, these benefits last long after your ride is finished.

Time away

Stepping away from your desk, your phone, your family, and the laundry can all help you return to your tasks with a fresh mind and more balanced perspective. This will make you more effective in all areas of your life, and prevent the accumulation of stress over time. It’s simple, really. Just a little bike break goes a long way.

Mental Agility

Just like crossword puzzles and adult coloring engage different parts of your brain, focusing your mind on physical coordination helps to keep it balanced and healthy as you age. Cycling keeps your brain connections firing on all cylinders.

Perseverance

In case you ever question your ability to grow and improve, to stick with a challenge, or to learn something new, you can always hop on your bike and track your progress. I would venture to say it’s impossible to commit to regular training and not see changes in your experience on and off your bike. These little rewards can keep us going through the challenges in life, and remind us of what we are capable of!

So plan your trip, start your training program, hop on your bike, and get ready to see the ripples through all aspects of your health.

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What are Mountain Bike Vacations?

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just need to step away from my regularly scheduled programming to get some perspective. My life is busy and filled with family, work, and all kinds of responsibilities. It can be a challenge to keep up, and even some of the things that I love can start to feel like burdens and obligations. There’s no better cure for the everyday doldrums than a vacation. And I think the best ones are on two wheels—on the dirt.

A Fun Challenge

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Whether you bring friends with you or make new ones on the trip, there’s nothing better than cycling in a group. The whole is always greater than the sum of its parts, with the group energy helping people through challenging sections of terrain. Our guides are great coaches, and our guests self-select to be pretty awesome, so even if you come on your own you’re bound to thrive with the encouragement of the crew. If you bring friends or family along, you’ll feel an unparalleled sense of collective achievement. Not to mention the photo ops!

A Healthy Getaway

Some vacations send you home feeling overfed, hung over, or feeling like you’ve spent a lot of money. Not a mountain bike vacation! Pay one price so you don’t have to worry, bike every day to keep yourself stoked, and enjoy our delicious and well-balanced meals. After a few days or a week of cycling and healthy food, you’ll return home feeling rejuvenated, energized, and motivated to keep cycling.

A Way to See a New Place

Checking out a new vacation spot can be overwhelming and even stressful. FOMO (fear of missing out) can kick in and make you wonder if you saw the best sights, ate the best food, and experienced all that your destination had to offer. On Western Spirit Cycling Adventures, we take care of all of the details. Select your trip, choose your dates, and then we make the rest of the decisions, ensuring that you see and ride only the best!

So as you look forward to summer, get a mountain bike vacation on the books. It’ll keep things fresh, charge you up, and get you out into some gorgeous scenery. Call us any time for recommendations, custom trips, or any questions you might have. Or check out these answers to some of the most frequently asked. Then get training!

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