Bikepacking To The Australian Alps’ Enduro Trails

“Everyone look over here!” Adrian shouted into the megaphone, pointing at me with a crazed grin. “These two Americans are putting gears on their bikes! What kind of person even brings gears to the Singlespeed World Championships?!”

“Everyone look over here!” Adrian shouted into the megaphone, pointing at me with a crazed grin. “These two Americans are putting gears on their bikes! What kind of person even brings gears to the Singlespeed World Championships?!” He feigned being absolutely appalled, but it was hard to take him seriously in his black-and-white striped suit.

Adrian patted Kaitlyn on the back as folks nearby booed. Then he laughed, wished us a good trip, and sauntered off, megaphone and amplifier in hand. This weekend of shenanigans was what had brought us to Australia (specifically Kaitlyn getting free airfare to Oz by winning the Whiskey Off-Road singlespeed race in our hometown of Prescott), but it was a bikepacking adventure that was going to keep us there for two weeks more. Or so we thought. But we weren’t about to tackle a rugged traversal of the Australian Alps on singlespeeds. We borrowed some tools at the race to put gears back on our Redpoints, and eagerly headed their direction. Our planned route was the Bicentennial National Trail, a long horsepacking route that traverses the Alps and beyond. We’d follow that as far as Canberra, and then we’d hop over to New Zealand to meet Eszter Horanyi and Scott Morris for some more bike exploration.

But, not all adventures go even remotely as planned. After a few days on the National Trail, it was clear that we wouldn’t even come close to making it to the Canberra airport in our allotted time. A recent tornado had decimated the first part of the trail. Then tens of miles of riding through sprawling burn areas meant hopping massive downed eucalyptus trees every few hundred meters. Then couple that with the steep mountain tracks that seem to never use switchbacks.

What ensued was a frustrated Kurt and Kaitlyn staring at maps high in the mountains, trying to come up with a new plan. Then there was disappointed Kurt riding out of the mountains, followed by overly stressed Kurt trying to cope with suddenly being in downtown Melbourne waiting for a train to head farther north. Next was relieved Kurt after bumping into Adrian in a coffee shop and getting some very helpful route advice from him. And the day ended with exhausted Kurt, stumbling off a train at midnight in some unknown town, trying to find a tree to sleep under. I don’t think I made a particularly good travel partner on that day.

But with that strange turn of events, our trip completely morphed into pedaling from one mountain bike town to another, spending a day or two riding in each along the way. Instead of traversing the Alps, we spent just a couple days crossing them, aiming for Bright. We rolled into a campground that was coincidentally right at the base of the town’s famous trail system. The trails were steep and slimy, and our unloaded Redpoints were a perfect fit. We explored the enduro tracks and their built features, but the legitimate downhill track was a well beyond our skills. The fact that a local trail system has both legit enduro and downhill tracks was quite impressive to me, but I later learned that this is the norm in this part of Australia!

After a couple of rainy days in Bright, we hopped over a divide to the tiny town of Mt. Beauty to ride with Turi, a gal we had met at Singlespeed Worlds. Another destination riding area, Mt. Beauty boasts a trail system of old-school singletrack – steep, tight, and techy. It’s the kind of riding I love and am seeing less and less of in the States. But even the new trails in Mt. Beauty are old school. We stashed our bags in the woods and excitedly chased Turi around for the afternoon.

Eventually, we ended up on the outskirts of Canberra for a few days. Meeting up with Adrian again (this time on purpose) and a few of his buddies, they guided us around some rarely ridden trails in the Blue Mountains. Steep sandstone descents, windy ridgelines, and big views were the themes of the day. We followed that up with a day playing on the enduro tracks in the hills north of town, getting comfortable on the rocky drops and tangled roots. We wrapped up our time in Oz with Adrian’s brother showing us around some delightfully techy suburban singletrack near Canberra.

In very few ways was this the experience we had expected in Australia. We weren’t in the backcountry much at all. We didn’t spend our time riding from point A to point B as we had intended. And we didn’t see any koala bears. But all the shorter rides with new friends along the way was so much fun, and bringing along remarkably capable trail bikes paid dividends on the exciting enduro tracks that have become so popular in the region. It would have been impossible to plan a trip that played out this way, but that was part of what made it so memorable. And next up was New Zealand, but that’s a whole different story with more rain, more roots, steeper trails, and big earthquakes. 


Garry Davoren – My Kona

Bike shop owner, whiskey drinker, trail builder, sponsor, husband, friend, skate park designer, fat bike advocate. You can pick any of these to describe long time Kona friend Garry Davoren. Garry’s passion for fat tires – and more importantly, for cycling as a whole – is unequaled. Whether it’s supporting up and coming Irish riders,

Big Ol 4 Day Demo in Tahoe

The Great North American Ibis Demo Tour is making a 4 day pit stop next week in Lake Tahoe/Truckee.

From July 27-30 (Thursday - Sunday) we'll be set up at Tahoe Donner which is adjacent to the town of Truckee. Specifically, we'll be set up at the beautiful Alder Creek Adventure Center, which serves as the nordic center in the winter and mountain bike center in the summer, AND it has a restaurant and bar on the grounds! There are plenty of fun trails of varying skill levels right from the parking lot. If you want to go try out a different trail, we'll be letting bikes out for longer periods and OVERNIGHT as well.

Alder Creek Adventure Center at Tahoe Donner
15275 Alder Creek Rd, Truckee, California, 96161

Reservations are not necessary but are encouraged if you want to be sure there's a bike available. To reserve a bike send an email to with the subject line with your first & last name Truckee demo 2017.  In the email include your name, phone number, bike model, size, & your ride weight. We will send a confirmation email but it may take time as Kirk our demo driver is often driving or at another demo. 

Each day we will have 3 time periods for demos: 10-1, 1-4, & 4p.m. checkout with next day return at 9:30a.m. Please allow time for bike setup for you & others. 

Lunch is available at the ACAC, and it's quite good excellent. There's also beer and wine for after your ride, and they open the bar on Friday from 4PM - 8PM and Saturday from 11AM - 8PM.

The demo is free, but we will be encouraging a $20 donation that will benefit the Truckee Donner Land Trust, who are doing great work preserving lands in the Truckee/Tahoe area.



Ben Weaver’s Sees Like A River Tour

Salsa sponsored musician Ben Weaver has begun his Sees Like A River tour.

Saturday, July 8 marked the start of a month-long excursion for Twin Cities artist Ben Weaver as he takes to his Salsa Cycles bicycle, instruments in tow, to promote his ninth album, Sees Like a River. Along the tour route, which connects major bodies of water, Weaver seeks to meet with and start conversations amongst music lovers, cyclists, conservationists and others who join in along the way. 

Sees Like a River will initially be released on CD and packaged in a limited edition, handset and signed letterpress printed book. The album will be supported by a tour that follows the Great Lakes in performance venues both conventional and unconventional: Comrade Cycles in Chicago, Ill., the Orpheum Theater in Hancock, Mich., the Riverside Park Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee, Wis., and even the homes of his fans. As he has done on past tours, Weaver will travel by bike; however, this time his route will include more miles of dirt roads and trails rather than paved highways to connect the communities where his performances will be held. 

“I want people to have deeper relationships with their community, land, water, and what they’re doing in their lives every day. I want them to be motivated and moved to dig deeper, to explore, to participate and be mindful,” says Weaver. “People will find that they want to do something more than they want to be afraid of it. I am hoping to help lead that charge.” 

Weaver’s tour concludes in early August with a special intimate performance at Creation Studio in South Minneapolis. That show will include reflection from his trip, other observations, and of course a live performance. More information is to come.

To preview Sees Like a River

Sees Like a River will be available on, at shows (see full tour schedule below) and in limited supply at Kopplin’s Coffee in Minneapolis.

The Sees Like a River tour is sponsored by Banjo Brothers, Bent Paddle Brewing Co., Big Agnes, Granite Gear, Kate’s Real Food, Red Table Meats, Salsa Cycles, Swrve and Teravail.

Tour Schedule:

July 8: Robinson Park, Sandstone, MN

July 9: Wilderness and the Anthropocene, Ely, MN

July 10: Spokengear Bike Shop, Two Harbors, MN 

July 13: Orpheum Theater, Hancock, MI

July 16: House Show, Yellow Dog Plains, MI

July 17: House Show, Marquette, MI

July 19: Broken Spoke, Green Bay, WI

July 21: Riverside Park Urban Ecology Center, Milwaukee, WI

July 22: Comrade Cycles, Chicago, IL

July 23: Wheel Werks, Crystal Lake, IL

July 24: Revolution Cycles, Madison, WI

July 25: Bluedog Cycles, Viroqua, WI

July 26: Out Post, Winona, MN

July 27: Red Wing, MN

July 29: Wild Springs Music Festival, Lily Springs Farm Osceola, WI

August 3: Creation Studio, Minneapolis, MN



Ben Weaver is a songwriter and poet. He has released eight studio albums of music and four books of poetry. 

Listen and purchase his music here. 

Follow Ben on social media:

Instagram @despoblado 

Facebook @benweavermusic