I never thought I’d do this. My tires have been making the rhythmic sound of rubber peeling from asphalt for the last three hours. You could call it rolling, but I’m almost convinced the compound has adhesive properties. And there’s not just two wheels under me, but a third. In tow is a trailer filled to the brim with camping and camera gear. Neither is very weight conscious.
The idea of touring with a mountain bike and trailer to destination trails is not a new concept. This story has been told before. I’m just not convinced it’s been told enough.
Any mountain biker has at some point hit the wall of irony that is driving a motorized vehicle to a destination (usually not more than a few miles away) in order to ride their non-motorized one, the bike. Sure, driving allows us to access a wide swath of trails in a timely matter that fits our schedules. Not to mention you can devote more energy to just riding. But that bike atop your car? Yep, that’s you transporting transportation. And as it turns out, there’s a lot of enjoyment and physical challenge that is forgone when fall back on your motorized option.
But evading the driving guilt is not really what bike touring is about. Touring takes that hour-long drive, and turns the journey into several hours of (hopefully) scenic riding. Throw in countless passes from cars and climbing some puckering road grades, and touring begins to seem more difficult and mentally taxing than trail riding. Nevertheless it’s just you and the bike, turning pedals. Simple. And that’s the beauty of the tour.
But now back to the tour: Once I’ve got 60 miles of road and ferry rides behind me I arrive at the trailhead. A wave of appreciation for the trails to come washes over. Legs are all warmed up too. No, wait – I’m drained. Sleep. Wake up with the sun and grind to the top of the mountain, without the trailer. The word ‘enduro’ gains a whole new meaning. From the top I look down the barrel of empty brown ribbons of singletrack. And simply ride, ride, ride. Much like your vision while on the bike, tunneled and blurred, the days morph into one.
Before I know it, the trailer is back on the bike and I hit the road. Same distance back, and hours of pedaling once again pass by. Wheels stop spinning and the tour comes full circle. I never thought I’d do it, but here I am, already thinking about the next time I will be trailing off.
A big thanks to Canfield Brothers, who quite literally got the wheels turning on this project.
Produced By Ryan Hasert
Fun touring fact: the steepest hills are often right out of a ferry, after your legs have cooled down.