We thought we were done for 2023, but in the spirit of tallies and tidy wrap ups, we’ve got one last collection to share with you. Read on below for our Campfire recap where we reminisce on our events, trips, and shop happenings this past year, along with the usual collection of inspiring stories and intriguing gear from around the backpacking world.
Campfire by the Numbers
Just over two years ago we re-ignited our bikepacking series after a Covid hiatus, and ever since then, we’ve been hosting a variety of rides for all ability levels from local overnighters to more advanced bikepacking routes. February was a big month for us, hosting an advanced 2-nighter down in the Santa Rita Mountains followed by a guest speaker series with the route’s creator, Sarah Swallow, where she entertained a crowd of folks at Borderlands Brewery with tales from past tours around the world, tips on route creation, and an update on her Ruta del Jefe event.
In April we continued our involvement with the Adventure Storytelling Series with Roadrunner Bicycles. The theme was “Bonded by Bikes: Tales of Adventure in the Desert,” where a wonderful panel of creative storytellers kept us entertained with stories of bonding through adventure in the Sonoran Desert. Towards the end of the month we returned to ride and push the Tombstone Hustle overnighter with our biggest group to date of 30+ riders!
As the heat started to crank up, we never slowed down or missed a beat with our Breakfast by Bike Series. While the groups were smaller and the coffee tended towards cold brew, Toby and Dan still offered up custom pancakes and scrambled eggs on the first Thursday of every month to whoever braved the temperatures. Come June, most folks start to hide away or leave Tucson all together, thoughts of a Sonoran bikepacking trip the furthest thing from our minds. With support from Swift Industries, we conjured up a Lemmon Top Traverse to get folks out on the annual Swift Campout over the Summer Solstice. Around 25 riders convened at Windy Point to ride and push their way up to Summerhaven and the control road on the back side of the Catalinas for an evening of bocce ball and cool-weather camping. I can’t not mention the few hardy souls who braved the heat and rode from town for a car-free roundtrip adventure!
With a Co-Motion demo day wrapped up in early August, Summer seemed to drag on, and just as it felt like it would never cool off, a small group headed to New Mexico for another advanced 2-day loop in the Lincoln National Forest. Following Matt Mason’s beautiful loop of the mountains outside Cloudcroft, we climbed and pushed in the heat, froze at night just down the road from Bluff Springs, and finished off the ride with a ripping downhill and black bear sighting right outside of town.
We capped off the year with our now-classic beginner overnighter to Catalina State Park and an intermediate lap of the Buenos Aires/Arivaca overnighter, where a small crew made the side trip into Sasabe for stiff drinks and burritos from the crockpot.
Along with all of this, we continued to support Cyclovia and helped co-lead Pueblo Vida’s Summer Ride Series, along with one last Adventure Storytelling Series to cap the year. Of course, it would be a shame not to mention the talented and patient crew who kept so many bikes going and got so many folks stoked to ride and build community in Tucson. Thanks to Josh, Toby, Jake, Ellie, and Dan for keeping the wheels turning!
Looking back on all of our events and rides, it’s been great to see such a wide variety of abilities and experiences ride and share stories with us this year. From first-time bikepackers to seasoned tourers, from full squish to fully-loaded with a dog in a trailer, from spoken word to mime acts, we’ve seen it all and can’t wait for what’s to come in 2024! Read on below for some tallies and a heads up on our first events of the New Year.
Number of trips: 7
Number of riders: ~ 150
Miles ridden: ~515
Events hosted: 15
Coming in 2024!
Join us on Thursday, February 1st for our first Breakfast by Bike of the New Year with a special edition ending at the Tucson Drawing Studio. We’re also tentatively planning an advanced 2-nighter on the Gila River Ramble on February 9th, so take a look at the route here and sign up early to grab a spot!
- Escape LA: Bikepacking sucks in LA unless you know where to look!
- 7 shots: Ryan Le Garrec’s creative photography takes a look at the stories behind a few shots that wouldn’t orindarily make the cut.
- This rack!: This bike is a beauty, but it’s the rack I’m really diggin’.
- Dynamo breakdown: We love a dynamo-powered light for touring and bikepacking, so here’s an excellent primer if you’ve ever been curious.
- Chris King mix n’ match: If Chris King wasn’t bling enough, how about some special bling for that headtube?
- Lachlan’s Tour Divide: Regardless of what you think of his ride, the storytelling is as good as always.
- Wood is good: One of my favorite reads from the year and a level-headed approach to art and subtlety of frame materials.
Leaving you with a scene from a chilly morning on the Sky Islands East Loop. That’s Tim the Legend on the left, and he saved our cold, soaked group with pizza, drinks, and dry firewood on our last night. Thanks Tim!