A lone man on a journey of a lifetime
June 22, 2022
It was a beautiful afternoon, and I was enjoying the greenness of the prairie as I drove home. I saw him on a stretch of highway in the distance. I stopped my car, rolled my window down, and waited for him to stop. I laughed because I wouldn't have stopped if I were enjoying a bicycle ride easily coasting down a hill, but he did. I introduced myself as the local newspaper owner, and he was a story. He smiled and told me he was going on a Bike Packing Tour. It was over 300 miles. He was going across the country and camping as he went. He told me where to find the information before he left.
I was intrigued. I looked up Prairie Breaks Bikepacking Routes Montana and found the trail. It says the route is on Oglala Sioux, Apsaalooke, Metis, and Kainai-Blood tribe land. It's 359 miles and 99% rideable. It takes seven days and is 94% unpaved.
There was an article written by Logan Watts, "pedaling nowhere." The most fun part of the description was the difficulty you might find on the route. It said, "if it rains, you must be prepared to stop. One member of our party of four sheared off his rear derailleur within
the first mile of the route after it rained. The mud is like concrete and will stick to (and possibly destroy) anything and everything on your bike." I laughed; yup, that's where I live. He also mentions that water is scares. There are streams, but the water cannot be filtered with your standard water filter. John went on to say, "The mosquitos can be downright insane-they literally coated my calves on one section of the dirt road. Bring bug net and repellant." He also said there are rattlesnakes. They rated the route a 7.5 out of 10 on the difficulty scale. The route is "glorious and not terribly difficult," but there are places where you need to "hike a bike."
I didn't take a picture of him on his bike because if anyone were going on a bike camping trip for 359 miles, they'd be looking for solitude, not having his face plastered on the front of a newspaper.
I like to ride my bike, but I don't see myself camping out in the middle of nowhere. Any takers?