My phone pinged with a link to this enticing video and the message “When are we going?”
Nevermind I didn’t have a mountain bike. With a $1,000 budget for a bike, gear, and flight I replied, “This summer!” And so it began.
Now, admittedly $1,000 is monumental for many. In the biking world though….. Can a bike less than $1,000, no $600, even last on the terrain? Poking around shops I tested numerous bikes. I insisted on my $600 budget and resisted the temptation to test ride nicer bikes. Could I have bought a more expensive bike on a credit card? Sure. But my Dad inculcated in me a passion for exploring the outdoors on a budget.
My first pair of skis were killer hot pink hand-me-down Rossignols previously loved by my older cousin Hannah. My Ma skied on the same pair of boots and skis for 20 years before upgrading. Now collecting dust in my garage sit a formerly used pair of K2 backcountry skis my Pops bought me in college. Time and again my folks loudly declared “Use what you have and get out there!”
A 20% off sale landed me a Specialized Rock Hopper Sport. I jerry-rigged a backpacking stuff sack to an old bike rack and splurged on a Revelate designs sweet roll bag. One $60 Spirit flight from GA to MN and one long car ride later we found ourselves at the Canadian border heading south, bound for Bannick, MT. We relished the 500 delightful miles fueled by ice cream and beer.
A new Revelate seat pack. A mountain bike helmet. A solar camp light. Gifts from my family confirmed we were going again.
We set out at the New Mexico/Mexico border, bound for Montana. Steep rocky hills, soft sand, and sloppy muddy clay made the going rough. One phone call and were done with our trip two states shy of the plan. But, amnesia sets in after a long car ride and a calendar year.
New bike and some fancy bags. Same spirit. 1,200 miles remain. Let’s go!