If your training rides are getting repetitive and you are looking for a change of scenery from the same 30-mile radius stemming from your home, an overnight trip might just be the solution.

At the turning point of any out and back ride, I always extrapolate the mileage I have ridden into the same trajectory to see what far off destinations I would end up in if I didn’t return home that evening. Or, I simply don’t return home until the next day or two.  It can be difficult to take time from normal life to take an extended trip but one or two night weekend trips are much easier to find time for.

An overnight bike trip is a great way to condition your body to riding multiple days in a row. You can ride to a destination or to the middle of nowhere. The beauty of an overnight trip is at any point in your ride, you are only a day away from home.

Another great thing about one night trips is that if you forget something, it isn’t a trip ender as you can usually do without it until the next day. On a spontaneous February bike overnight to a snowy river Island, I forgot extra shoes and had to wear my bike shoes in the snow. The next morning they were frozen solid and I could barely put them on but it was only a quick 3 hour ride back to my house and my numb feet helped increase my pace and provided quite a workout!

This spring, a section of Yellowstone National Park was open to bikes but not vehicles so some friends and myself rode from Gardiner, MT through Wyoming to West Yellowstone, MT. This 50 mile ride took us up to 7,500 feet through bits of blizzard like conditions and down into the Gallatin river valley.

The geyser basins had more bears than people and it was a very exciting way to visit Yellowstone. We packed light, post-holed through the snow to portage around sun bathing Bison, and were able to experience Yellowstone outside of the busy summer season and the (carbon intensive!) snow machine season. In fact, the only machine we encountered was this high five machine.

Last weekend we rode a beautiful out and back trip on the Trail of the Couer d’Alenes– a 75 mile rail trail through the panhandle of Idaho that follows rivers and chain lakes through cedar trees and bird sanctuaries. We camped on the banks of Couer D’Alene Lake in Harrison, ID and made masks of the driftwood we collected for our campfire.

Climate Ride leader and Bike East Bay staff member, Ginger Jui posted a great bike overnight trip out of the bay area on Bikeovernights.org. This website, run by Climate Ride beneficiary Adventure Cycling Association, is a great resource to find fun overnight trip ideas in your area.

In the next couple weeks, try a bike overnight, go on adventure, and have some fun on your bike. This will be great practice for all the fun we are about to have on the California, Midwest and NYC-DC Climate Rides.

Patrick Colleran is Climate Ride’s Logistics and Rider Coordinator. In addition to Climate Ride, he is currently and perpetually training for his next big bike tour, mountain bike season, a double century and his local cyclocross series.

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