This is mostly a dirt route from Banff, AB to Antelope Wells, NM. A skinny-wheeled road bike won’t be up for the rough terrain. It’s easy to get carried away researching equipment online. We used the Big Agnes Seedhouse SL tents on our Canadian ride, which set the gold standard for light, functional tents. Both Cane Creek and Singletrack Solutions make small bar ends that don't look as goofy as traditional bar ends on riser bars. The Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes provide stopping power that nearly equals their hydraulic brethren but without the scary, fluid-filled cables and mechanical complexity. Unless you feel like riding Cindy Whitehead-style, you'll also want a comfortable seat. Riding the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route was an amazing experience, and we hope that sharing our journey here will inspire, inform and prepare others to embark on a similar adventure! Here is what I packed, with emphasis on warm and dry. Trailers, specifically BOB trailers, are a good choice if you like to carry lots of stuff. Essential Guide to Riding the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR). One last option, and probably the best option for those traveling light, is the new frame, seat, and handlebar bags made by Jeff Boatman at Carousel Design Works. A favorite of many endurance mountain bike racers, the Titec H-Bar is a funky alternative to standard handlebars that offers a dizzying variety of possible hand positions, including a forward-leaning aero position. On steep climbs like the notorious Fleecer Ridge in Montana, there are obvious advantages to a lighter set-up. But since you can't buy those anymore, you could either run a pair of Microsensors under the shell short of your choice or try out one of the baggies from Pearl Izumi, Nema, or even the new generation Swobos. The Great Divide Route is the world's longest off-pavement cycling route. If you plan to ride the entire Great Divide Route, durability should be your top priority for all of your gear. The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route actually goes right through our own backyard (in Clark). The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR) is a journey from Banff, Canada, to Antelope Wells, New Mexico. Most of the route is forest/county dirt road, but a significant percentage is 4x4 roads, trails and pavement. For our ride, I went in what I call my "luxury light" style, meaning I carried some extras — a pair of hiking shoes, a book, an extra shirt — and strapped my gear in waterproof Granite Gear compression bags to front and rear Old Man Mountain racks. Made by AMAYA Copyright © 2019 Great Divide Route. While traditional linear-pull brakes will work just fine most of the time, the best option for many riders will be mechanical disc brakes. The entire route is basically dirt-road and mountain-pass riding every day. The trail is regarded as one of the weightiest off-road tracks in the cycling world and it sounded so much fun when reading about it in books and web pages back home on the sofa. The added complexity means one more thing to possibly break, but there are plenty of bike shops along the way and nothing makes washboard tolerable like a plush rear shock. Risking failure is the hardest part on setting out to accomplish something difficult. What: bike tour of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR). Sun hat for lunch time. A sturdy mountain bike fitted with racks would also work. You'll be spending a lot of hours riding over rough surfaces on it, so even if you've got glutes of steel it's smart to get one with some extra cushion. And, most importantly, have a great ride. People do ride the route on fully rigid bikes, usually cyclocross or rugged touring bikes, so it's certainly possible and I wouldn't discourage anyone from trying it. Most cyclists will want to use tires on their bikes when they ride the Great Divide, and there are many excellent choices. It is North America’s premier long-distance mountain bike route. Sugoi helmet cover for rain. Bar ends are great for this, but have become passe for many mountain bikers. currently manufacture highly regarded suspension seatposts). For more information on minimizing your gear weight and riding as light as possible, check out our ultralight pages. When: August 5 – October 2, 2007 (54 days GDMBR + 5 days to Tucson). Some people prefer panniers for various reasons (easier to transport, ford creeks, and keeps the bike in a "tighter" configuration), but you should look at beefing up your wheels if you plan to pack them with a lot weight. 2007 Great Divide Mountain Bike Route We bicycled the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route in August and September of 2007. Montbell's lightweight down offerings are a great choice -- lighter, warmer, and more compactible than fleece. For anyone who questions the extent of goodness in humanity today here is a list of random acts of kindness or trail magic experienced in the past 5 weeks. One thing that I learned on my last trip is that each piece of gear is critical. Don't forget warm clothes for cold nights in camp. On our ride in Canada, my three companions used BOB trailers. The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route was put together by Adventure Cycling in the late nineties. (note: Rock Shox posts are no longer available. It also leaves lots of bar-space for lights, computers, bells, platters of gourmet cheese, etc. ultralight). Tips on what to take as you ride the Great Divide. Sign up and get new stories and inspiration delivered right to you. We saw these bikers every year and we would cheer them on, (but) I didn’t know it was on the route. Billed as the world’s longest mountain biking trail, the Great Divide was mapped by the Adventure Cycling Association, which has developed a variety of cross-country and long-distance routes for bicycle touring. Cane Creek and U.S.E. But don’t fret if you don’t have bikepacking gear, a traditional set-up will work just fine. We rode the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route by bicycle, August 5 to September 27 2007 (54 days on the GDR). My favorite website for Great Divide gear advice — gdradvice.blogspot.com — gives a good explanation of how to do this. The choice is yours. Get at least one pair of really good riding shorts. The trend for Great Divide cyclists is to go with a bikepacking setup. You’ve got lots of choices for a bicycle on the GDMBR. Rest assured, with a little tinkering, the trusty steed you’ve got in the garage can probably tackle the Great Divide. The Singletrack Solutions bar ends are particularly light and can be ordered directly from the website. The Tour Divide is a 2,745-mile bike race from Banff, Canada, through the Rocky Mountains of the U.S., to the border of Mexico. gloves not being worn (either full-fingered or regular cycling gloves) knee warmers. This multi-day ride consists of dirt roads and steep mountain passes that cover over 200,000 feet in elevation gain. On steep climbs like the notorious Fleecer Ridge in Montana, there are obvious advantages to a lighter set-up. I've been using the Laser V on my Great Divide rides over the last few years and find it to be the perfect balance of comfort and weight. © 1997-2021 Adventure Cycling Association, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, From the Magazine: The Year of Cycling Dangerously. Brakes are another handy thing to have on your bike when riding the Great Divide Route. The GDMBR is mostly dirt road riding. 6’x8′ tarp with 2-mm cords pre-attached for quick setup in the rain (to cook under) Kryptonite cable lock. One advantage of trailers is that you can ride your normal mountain bike wheels, since they don't add any weight to the bike itself. Sure, trendy bikepacking gear looks cool, but it’s not essential. On our trip, I rode a Specialized M4 hardtail with an old Rock Shox suspension seatpost, which was plenty comfortable by my standards. Seems like you shouldn't have to do this, but until manufacturers start making baggy shorts with serious chamois it's a good option. If this is the way you like to tour, and lots of people do, a BOB is a great choice. Some sections of the route are quite rough and others feature extended washboard (the bane of dirt cyclists everywhere) — all doable without suspension, of course, but if you want to enjoy yourself, ride with a front shock. It doesn't offer the same level of traction as the WTBs, and it's definitely not light, but the riders I've talked with say it provides enough traction for the route and that it's an incredibly durable, smooth rolling tire. Consider a handlebar configuration that offers multiple hand positions. Geisinger Trail Notes: on the Geisinger trails, I realized that my seat was a little bit high because it was still set up for the Great Divide Ride, which was much less technical. Twenty years ago, Adventure Cycling altered the bicycle touring landscape by releasing the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR), the longest mapped, off-road bicycle route in the world. The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route September 28, 2001— Great Divide. When you're descending a steep, wet slope and that feisty bull moose runs directly in front of you, you'll be glad you've got disc brakes. If you plan to ride the entire Great Divide Route, durability should be your top priority for all of your gear. Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR) description from Wikipedia: Following the Continental Divide as closely as practicable and crossing it 30 times, about 90% of the GDMBR is on unpaved roads and trails and requires basic off-pavement riding skills to complete. From May to July 2010, I rode my bicycle 3,000 miles from Antelope Wells, NM to Banff AB, Canada following Adventure Cycling's Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, then to Jasper AB, Canada. Jeff makes each bag to fit your bike, so a perfect fit is assured. Where: Banff N.P. But the GDMBR is not serious singletrack riding either, so don’t scramble to set yourself up with a fat bike or high-tech mountain bike. The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route was created and is maintained by the Adventure Cycling Association, a national non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle. Panniers or bikepacking bags, tents and filters. One way to do this is to bring only what you can fit into two small-ish rear panniers (I'm quite fond of the Ortlieb Back Roller Plus. The route follows the Continental Divide north to south covering about 2,500 miles of mostly dirt and gravel roads, with some single-track and paved roads thrown in. I used the WTB Nanorapter and Exiwolf tires on my ride and highly recommend either; the Nanorapter for unbeatable rolling resistance in a knobby tire, and the Exiwolf for still above average rolling resistance with a bit more traction. Bike the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, an off-pavement route that crisscrosses the Continental Divide for 2,768 miles from Banff, Alberta to Antelope Wells, New Mexico. You'll be spending a lot of hours in the saddle on the Great Divide, and you won't be standing as much as on a traditional mountain bike ride, so a good chamois is essential. Plus, I love their side cargo pockets for holding little stuff. Lake makes a fine pair of wool-lycra-blend cycling gloves that are warm and dextrous. I won't get too much into camping gear, except to say that if you're going for a short ride, take a light tent. Its remoteness equates with spectacular terrain and scenery. You can dust off those panniers, fit your old bike with some robust tires and still make it all the way to Antelope Wells. There's one thing everyone can agree on: if you want to ride the Great Divide Route, you'll need a bicycle. Marmot and Western Mountaineering are two of the better choices. I'm also a big fan of the handsome and durable Filson Merino Wool Skull Cap in cold weather. The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR), developed and mapped in 1997 by the Adventure Cycling Association, is approximately 2,700 miles long and is considered by many to be the birthplace of bikepacking as a sport. If you're riding the entire route, you might consider getting a tent with extra space, since you'll be living in it for at least a few weeks and maybe a few months. The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. We then rode for another five days to Tucson, where we picked up a rental car and drove home. Completed in 1997, the GDMBR was developed by Adventure Cycling Association, who continue to maintain highly detailed route maps and a guidebook. Riding the Great Divide is a unique adventure of backcountry bikepacking and requires cycling equipment, backpacking equipment and survival gear. The divide of roughly 2,800 miles between Canada and Mexico splits the North American Continent in two. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions about the route. Size, weight, comfort, durability are all important factors when packing. While traditional linear-pull brakes will work just fine most of the time, the best option for … Now, last year when I rode the Divide bike route, I did it on a rigid MTB with 4 panniers and very heavily loaded. It winds through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico, crossing the Continental Divide 29 times. But don’t fret if you don’t have bikepacking gear, a traditional set-up will work just fine. Adventure Cycling Association inspires, empowers and connects people to travel by bicycle. We discuss what to pack for the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR) trail. The Pearl Izumi Microsensor shorts are the long-ride standard for comfort, but not everyone wants to wear crotch-wrap shorts. 2,700 miles is a lot of dirt road, however, and the vast majority of riders will be more comfortable on a mountain bike with front suspension. They also, in my opinion, carried a lot more stuff than they needed. I'm also always carrying a truckload of camera gear in a backpack and can slip one or two additional items in there if needed (like extra food if I'm going a few days between resupply). If it is not critical, then you mail it home. Canada to Antelope Wells on the Mexican border and then on to Tucson. Before you know it,  you’ve ended up forking over 4,000 dollars for the latest bike with full suspension and an integrated USB charging feature. After that, you've got a choice from a spectrum that starts with cyclocross bikes and ends with full-suspension mountain bikes. Taking a few days first to acclimatize to the heat, we then started off on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. The added pucker power of disc brakes is even more advantageous on a loaded bicycle, but, as reliable as many hydraulic disc brakes can be, most people want to keep their brakes (and bikes) as simple and durable as possible on a long trip. Brakes are another handy thing to have on your bike when riding the Great Divide Route. I would have hated a 26er. GPS Data. My personal favorite, and the favorite of many Great Divide riders, are the saddles from WTB. We take on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR) Trail during the summer of 2020. It was the 2.5 years of unexplained knee pain that was making me the most nervous on setting out on this new adventure. The annual Tour Divide typically follows this route except when detours persist. You’ll spot everything from traditional panniers to the latest bikepacking gear on the Great Divide Route. Tour Divide challenges a fixed course annually called the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.Not only is the Great Divide Route a true classic, its 'primary track' is pursued with consistency by TD athletes so that year to year, finish times may always be compared directly to the record books.. You could go with a robust touring bike and traditional panniers. I always recommend going as light as you can — it makes the act of riding a lot more fun. Also, don't try to save money on your sleeping bag. We are beginner bike packers and bikers for that matter. They make it easy to carry everything you might possibly need, plus lots of other stuff you definitely don't need but might want anyway. The value of a good sleeping pad cannot be overstated. Bike – I rode a Jamis Dragon 29er. Though I prefer a hardtail with a cushy seatpost on dirt roads for its simplicity and efficiency, lots of people happily ride the route with full-suspension. Trip Summary. If comfort is your priority, a full-suspension bike is a good choice. I've had good luck touring over the years with a Santa Cruz Blur, both with a BOB trailer and Old Man Mountain racks. It has since become the definitive route for dirt road bikepacking. They're a great option for the Great Divide. The route follows the Continental Divide and is 90% off-pavement using high-quality dirt roads, gravel roads, trails, and a few short sections of unmaintained tracks. A down vest and/or a jacket is great at camp. Of course, a great achievement. Bike and Touring Gear for Great Divide Route. Riders in the Great Divide Race have been using his system with great success in the last few Great Divide races (www.tourdivide.org). The two favorite brands for Great Divide riders tend to be WTB and Schwalbe. For more information, please visit the Adventure Cycling Association Website. Routes » Great Divide Mountain Bike Route by ScottM. The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR) is Adventure Cycling's premier off-pavement cycling route, crisscrossing the Continental Divide in southern Canada and the U.S. It is probably a bigger challenge to traverse the United States from North to South over the dirt roads of the Rocky Mountains, following the Continental Divide. The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR) is a 3,083.8 mi (4,962.9 km), off-road bicycle touring route between Jasper, Alberta, Canada and Antelope Wells, New Mexico, USA. At 4pm on Monday, September 3rd, I waved goodbye to my girlfriend Ellie B while rolling across the Wyoming border into Colorado. You have three choices for carrying your gear on the Great Divide: a trailer, panniers, or neither (i.e. A light, compactible down bag with a rating in the 30-degree range is ideal. Take a moment to check out the  sheer variety of rigs used by Great Divide riders. If I had a mountain bike with 29-inch wheels, I would have ridden it. This route is defined by the word "remote." Now, having a full suspension Niner with a light load is a completely different story. Glacier Cyclery stocks a variety of Revelate and Blackburn touring bags, plus straps and bungies and bottle cages and lots of other fun items that assist with carrying your gear on your bike. When we were preparing for this trip, we read many other GDR trip reports in order to glean useful information. The truth is that there is no ‘BEST’ set up for the Great Divide Route. Failure was certainly on my mind the entirety of my training for the Colorado portion of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. Distance: about 2865 miles on the GDMBR + about 280 miles to Tucson. Or you could go with a dedicated  bikepacking set-up. I personally like thick, light pads like the kind offered by Big Agnes, Exped, and Pacific Outdoor. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought about riding off a curb with all that load. This is an ever-present danger with BOBs. Great Divide Mountain Bike Route; Trail Magic This trip has stretched across the border and throughout the American West. The Jandd Mountain Handle Pack 1 makes a great mountain-bike touring handlebar bag for all of the little things you want handy — trail food, lip balm, small camera, binoculars, etc. The trend for Great Divide cyclists is to go with a bikepacking setup. The Schwalbe Marathon XR is a tire I've seen several people using on the Great Divide, particularly Europeans. 3D image from TopoFusion software – click to enlarge. I've yet to find a current pair of baggy shorts that have as good a chamois as the ones in my Swobo shorts from the late 1990s (which I'm still riding). Your bike choice boils down to a question of comfort and how committed you are to maintaining it. Another option is to run a pair of liner shorts -- thin, breathable shorts with a padded chamois designed to be worn under regular shorts -- under your baggy shorts with the inadequate chamois. Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. Riding Canada to Mexico ... scenery, we’d opted to head for the hills. Great Divide Trail Notes: Nice bike for this ride. For riders like David Markman, building up a custom mountain bike … The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR) is a 2490 mile off road cycling route that travels from Canada to Mexico, paralleling and crossing the Continental Divide. Since we’d have around 110 miles without resupply, we packed up food and gear for two days and a night out on the trail, and set off, planning to meet Anna, Silas, and Eleanor in two days in Eureka, Montana. While traveling across North America you bike 2,774 miles on a route that is 88% dirt and 12% paved roads. aka Great Divide Route or GDR. From Banff, Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico, The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route is the longest continuous off-pavement bike route in the … What follows is a discussion of gear for the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route that accompanies Aaron Teasdale's story of his ride on the route's Canadian section (see "The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and the Beautiful" in the July/August 2008 issue of Adventure Cyclist). Gear List for the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR) Compared to how I usually pack for bicycle touring, my kit for the GDR isn’t much different.I’m using a 1 person tent, not carrying a laptop and I don’t need to carry food for a week, so rear panniers aren’t needed. The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route runs down the spine of the Rocky Mountains from Banff, Canada to the Mexico border with 29 Continental Divide crossings and approximately 200,000 feet of elevation gain. At my lightest (and most austere), I ditch the front rack and strap all of my gear to the rear. 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