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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Tags: #itsbetterwithaguide, #westernspirit, bikes, campin, Utah
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.
Interested in learning more about our bike trips? Subscribe to our newsletter to learn more.
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.
Tags: #AmericaTheBeautiful, #mountainbiking, #OutdoorRecreation, #PublicLands, #WSC, #WSCGuide
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
- Travel assistant
- Trail leader
- 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!
Tags: #camping, #familycamping, #itsbetterwithaguide, #moab, #mountainbiking, #westernspirit
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:
- 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.
- 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:
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Tags: #familycamping, #itsbetterwithaguide, #moab, #mountainbiking, #westernspirit, #WSCGuide