Beginner bikepacking suggestions?

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xsproutx
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Beginner bikepacking suggestions?

Post by xsproutx »

Hey there! I'm a pretty experienced backpacker but I've gotten curious about bikepacking. I have two bikes, a cross and a mountainbike, and some pannier bags from where I lived in a city where I commuted by bike. With that said, I'm not in great "bike shape" so I'm looking to see if anyone has any ideas for a 1-2 night bikepacking trip that doesn't have a lot of elevation gain that could serve as a bit of an intro to it it. I'm based in Phoenix and could drive 2-3 hours to get to a starting point with no real issue. Thanks!
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ShatteredArm
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Re: Beginner bikepacking suggestions?

Post by ShatteredArm »

I have a friend who just did a big trip in Southern AZ, mostly centered around Patagonia. Probably not a bad area if you want nice scenery, not too much elevation, and don't mind mostly gravel. Ruby Road, Duchesne Road, Canelo Pass Road, etc. All of which can be connected without too much pavement.
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SpiderLegs
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Re: Beginner bikepacking suggestions?

Post by SpiderLegs »

I crewed a team that was doing a bike packing race along the AZT. Seems to be a popular trail for bike packing. Search for a passage or two with limited elevation?
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azbackpackr
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Re: Beginner bikepacking suggestions?

Post by azbackpackr »

@SpiderLegs
Without knowing if he can ride some somewhat technical singletrack, I would not recommend the AZT. I'm a dirt road and easy two-track rider, and I know I can't ride much of anything on the AZT, because I've hiked on a lot of it, and it is beyond my cycling capabilities. Steep, rocky, etc. Even some of the "flat" parts, such as over by Gabe Zimmerman Trailhead/Cienega Creek are way beyond my abilities, especially if I were carrying a load.

There's a route around the Santa Ritas that people do, all on dirt roads. Not sure the route, but I know some GABA people who did it.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
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xsproutx
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Re: Beginner bikepacking suggestions?

Post by xsproutx »

@azbackpackr
That's a solid point. I've hiked about half the AZT and there are some areas I'd be fine but to your point, most of it I would say my skills and physical fitness wouldn't be up to it on a bike. I'll have to do a search to see if I can find this Santa Rita route you mention
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Nighthiker
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Re: Beginner bikepacking suggestions?

Post by Nighthiker »

The Control Road from Tonto Village to AZ 87 South of Pine, limited water though. Check weather and depending on your gear you can do this one now.
In late April or May, The General Crook Trail from Woods Canyon Lake to Willow Springs Lake and to Black Canyon Lake.
May, Arizona Trail from AZ 87 Trailhead to Mormon Lake.
jk
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azbackpackr
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Re: Beginner bikepacking suggestions?

Post by azbackpackr »

@xsproutx
Other ideas: Late spring is good for the Blue River Road, which runs along the eastern boundary of Arizona, and along the Blue River, starting near Alpine AZ.

The Apache Sitgreaves NF has about 1500 miles of dirt roads. A loop ride on dirt roads could be devised. There might even be water in creeks and lakes you can filter. The RR Grade Trail is over 20 miles long, could be used as part of a loop, from 260 to Big Lake and back. RR Grade Trail is managed by the Springerville Ranger District.

In winter, you can ride from near Blythe CA, on the Arizona side of the river (by Ehrenberg) heading south, for miles and miles on a levee road along the Colorado River. Then cross the river on one of a couple of wooden bridges down by Cibola, and come back on the CA side, also along the levee road. Google Earth is helpful to figure out where (on CA side) you will have to find a route around water inlets that have no bridges. At the end, you can cross the I-10 bridge on a pedestrian pathway, north side of the bridge, to get back to your car. You can make a 50 mile or more ride out of this loop, and be by the river most of the time. There are some beaches to camp on, all along the way. Afterward, go eat Mexican food at Garcia's in Blythe.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.
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te_wa
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Re: Beginner bikepacking suggestions?

Post by te_wa »

fr 535 above west fork. great views. bring your own water.
squirrel!
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xsproutx
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Re: Beginner bikepacking suggestions?

Post by xsproutx »

@azbackpackr
That Blythe route looks about perfect for a beginner and isn't far away at all. Since you mention beaches and camping, I'm guessing that either camping is legal there/being stealthy isn't too hard?
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azbackpackr
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Re: Beginner bikepacking suggestions?

Post by azbackpackr »

@xsproutx
Legal downriver from I-10 for quite some distance, BLM. Once you get into the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge it would definitely need to be stealth camping, however.

Upriver from Blythe is a tribal reservation (CRIT) that right now has extreme restrictions on their riverbank holdings.

The weather is still nice in that area except for the wind, so if you go right away you can avoid the 120° summer temperatures.

After you try biking it then you should try kayaking or canoeing it!

A word of caution also that it can get pretty busy on weekends with various vehicles and motor boats, etc.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.
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xsproutx
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Re: Beginner bikepacking suggestions?

Post by xsproutx »

@azbackpackr
Don't say the 'c' word. Lived up north for a bit and packrafting was my first love. Haven't spent many night in the boundary waters paddling around! Not quiiiiiiiiiiite the same down here on that front but that's alright
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azbackpackr
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Re: Beginner bikepacking suggestions?

Post by azbackpackr »

@xsproutx
Well, I've kayaked and rafted about 820 miles of the Colorado River. Hoping to pick up a few more segments soon in Colorado and Utah. There's plenty to see. And then there's the Green River. Anyway I bought a gravel touring bike last year but I haven't gotten around to touring, yet.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.
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patrickakabird
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Re: Beginner bikepacking suggestions?

Post by patrickakabird »

black canyon trail sobo?
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ALMAL
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Re: Beginner bikepacking suggestions?

Post by ALMAL »

@xsproutx
Bikepacking.com has some good suggestions, but elevation gain might be hard to avoid. The other question is always which bike to ride? Panniers with your cross bike on most off road trails in AZ are going to be problem. A MTB with a Revelate/Apidura type handlebar bag, frame bag, and under seat bag would be more suited for Black Canyon, Fools Loop, or Gila River Ramble.
Panniers on your cross bike in Patagonia, Prescott Loop, or Payson area Control road is a better fit. What size tires are you running on both bikes? Tubeless?
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ALMAL
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Re: Beginner bikepacking suggestions?

Post by ALMAL »

@SpiderLegs
The Colonel Devin trail always comes to mind when someone talks about biking the AZT. Crazy!
Maybe the Cabin Loop itself would be OK on a MTB.
You aren't late if you don't show up!
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