Liquid Gold – June/July ’23 Bikepacking News

We’re back for a Summer roundup of bikepacking news, and as always, we’re excited to share with you a collection of stories and other tidbits that caught our attention. June and July are full of endurance racing in the Northern Hemisphere, and with the Tour Divide being the big draw, we decided to cast a wide net and pull together a variety of stories from the big race back in June. Along with this, you’ll find news on new routes, advocacy organizations, and stories from around the world.

Our feature for this edition is all about water, which feels especially fitting for those of us caught in the extreme heat of the Southwest. Hope you enjoy this collection, and thanks for reading!

“Liquid Gold: How to Find Water on Big Desert Rides”

As I sit down to put together this roundup from the last couple months, Tucson is recording another 110F day. Other Southwestern cities are scorching hot too – Phoenix, 116F; Yuma, 113F; Las Vegas, 111F. Clouds are starting to build in the evenings, but the monsoon rains are taking their time to fully arrive. As such, it seemed like a good time to focus on water – how to find it, treat it, and carry enough of it while out bikepacking.

In a recent article posted on The Radavist, Arizona resident and extensive desert bikepacker Kurt Refsnider put together his thoughts on how he finds reliable water sources in these arid environments. After building a route that suits his interests for a given ride, Kurt then pokes around for a variety of water sources – springs, wells, windmills, etc.- using online tools such as Google Earth, Gaia GPS, or USGS topo maps to gauge the plausibility of actually finding water. Not all maps have been updated to reflect the changing conditions caused by drought, so what’s marked on a map can’t always be relied upon. Kurt emphasizes the importance of never needing to rely 100% on a single source, and for my part, I try to never arrive completely dry at a potential water source.

The article is full of other helpful info and ends with a little trick on how to use alum powder to clean up the particularly muddy water we tend to find in stock ponds here in Arizona. To accompany Kurt’s writeup, make sure to check out this supplemental article on water filtration systems from Logan Watts.

More news here!

  • Josh interviewed on Mountain Cog Podcast: In Episode 47, Josh talks gear, bike setups, and the merits and transformative nature of traveling by bike. Excellent listen!
  • Tour Divide: As mentioned above, here’s a collection of news items from June’s race:
  • New Adventure Cycling Routes: The premier advocate and route builder for long-distance bike travel adds three new routes and expands in Alaska and Minnesota.
  • Celebrating the Art of Framebuilding: Inaugural MADE Bike Show to be hosted in Portland, Oregon August 24-27th. Focusing on US-based builders and makers!
  • RAR Tucson: After a successful fundraising campaign back in the Spring, Tucson gets its own RAR chapter. Events are already happening, so be sure to give them a follow.
  • Female Hygiene on a Bike: Gotta keep clean on those long tours – here’s some tips and tricks to help you out. 
  • Shadow of a Wheel: Four part PBS series recounting the journey of 31 teenagers who rode cross country in support of multiple sclerosis in 1982. 
  • Bike Touring in Iran: I’ve long wanted to ride in Iran, but for us Americans, this reportage will have to do for the moment. 
  • Borderlands Bike Drops: Evan Christenson spends a day with the all-volunteer, pedal-powered group that drops critical supplies for migrant crossers.
  • Swift Campout 2023: If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out the recap of our Swift Campout in the Catalina Mountains outside Tucson.

Leaving you with a scene from finding water in the Pedirka Desert of South Australia.

Post navigation