The Ultimate Ride to the Ride – Part 1, an introduction

A cross-country bike tour with a twist: Chris Reichel is riding his mountain bike from Colorado to North Carolina and hitting all the best trails along the way.

By Chris Reichel

I have decided to do something I have dreamed about since I was a kid. I’m going to ride across the United States.

Yeah, I know what you are thinking, me and 10,000 other people this summer. But that’s just it, I don’t really want to do one of the same old cross-country routes and I’m not concerned with going ocean to ocean. I want to add my own twist on a long US tour and have a truly unique experience exploring my country.


I already have a habit of turning simple ride ideas into what I like to call “great bad ideas” and this particular bad idea has been a long time in the making. It originally started out as a scheme to ride touring bikes between skateparks while towing trailers full of camping gear, skateboards and BMX bikes. I’m a little older now and I don’t bounce like I used and I now have a full-fledged mountain bike addiction. So singletrack sounds a lot better than cement these days. So why not tow a trailer with a mountain bike on it? Better yet, a singlespeed!

The only thing left to do was to pick the route. I was chatting with some of my friends from Oskar Blues Brewery about this idea when the light bulb went on above my head. In addition to their headquarters in Longmont, Colorado, they have a new facility in Brevard, North Carolina. I will use the breweries as bookends for this ride and I try and hit as many trail zones as possible across the middle of the country. Now this is a great bad idea.

I have spent the better part of the last decade trying ride in the most remote places I could find. I have chased solitude from the deserts of the southwest to the Himalayas and I have loved every minute of it. But this tour is going to be the exact opposite of that. I am seeking out smaller, less popular trail systems. Places that aren’t necessarily destinations but the trails that people would ride on a weeknight after work.

All trails are good and I want to ride all of them. I want to get my legs ripped off by the locals and then have long conversations over beers at the trailhead afterwards. Basically, I just want to go mountain biking and to get to the trail by bicycle.

So I quit my job, moved all my possessions into storage and I have hit the road for the Ultimate Ride to the Ride. Follow along as I drag my junk show across Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Southern Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Western North Carolina.

About the author: Chris is the chief stoke officer and head cat herder at  He has recently escaped the grip of Corporate America and set out to see all that FUNemployment has to offer a mountain bike addict. Follow him on Twitter: @dirtybiker, and Instagram: @dirty_biker. 

Keep reading

Continue reading this series in part 2 here.

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