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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.


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.


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.

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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.


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.


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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.

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.

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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