Our beginner friendly bike packing adventure takes place each year over the Labor Day weekend. For 2017 We had two options depending on commitment level and desire. One option was a more adventurous ride from Barre to Groton State Forest, the other a ride along the unpaved rail trails of from Plainfield to Groton State Forest. As with previous years, we’ve left the original post intact as an information resource for anyone planning a trip of their own.
For this trip you will need a guide with local knowledge of the area, or you will need more information than what is available here alone.
We will be splitting the ride in two groups. A longer and adventurous route, this is the A group, and a shorter route, this is the B group.
Adventure Route (A Group)
We will ride out of Barre towards Plainfield via Farwell Street and Plainfield Brook Rd. This is a mix of Gravel and Pavement with two climbs followed by a steep and fast descent to Plainfield. We will meet the B group as we pass through downtown Plainfield and gather at the Plainfield Park and Ride.
For those who are opting to meet us in Plainfield and skip the check in at VT Bicycle Shop, we recommend gathering a little early at around 2:30 or so and heading downtown for some great food at Positive Pie Plainfield.
As long as there are no delays both groups A and B will gather and then leave the Plainfield Park and Ride a little after 3:00 PM and take the rail trail out toward Groton State Forest. There are a couple of branches from the trail that the longer route riders (Group A) will take, each ride leader will have a working knowledge of the routes and we will typically re-group in spots along the ride.
This year we will be staying on Ricker Mills Pond, the site is almost directly off the trail and for those who want a more remote camping experience there is some additional places to camp as well.
We are expecting that everyone will roll into camp around 6:00 PM. We’ll set up camp and cook dinner followed by some camp fire fart jokes.
The Extra Day
This year we also have the option of staying an extra day. We will be offering up a midday adventure ride to those who want to stay with us. The Monday to Tuesday stay in Groton State Forest is the one of the quietest camping experiences I’ve had. With most people going to bed early Sunday night and packing up Monday morning it’s a great time to have the lakes almost to yourself.
For those that wish to sign up there are a few things to keep in mind this year:
This will be a most not dropped ride, we will do our best to make sure we all stay together as a group, however, we ask that riders have the ability to make the trip from Barre to the campsite in roughly 3 hours or from Plainfield to the campsite in roughly 2 hours. If you are not certain about that speak with us, it is a very easy route from Plainfield to the campsite. It is also a moderately easy route with some climbing from Barre. The slowest average speed to make this ride is around 7 miles an hour. If you have ridden mixed use trails in the past with distances of 12 to 15 miles then you will have no problems riding the route from Plainfield (roughly 16 miles) to the campsite. The adventure route (roughly 24 miles) is a good option for those with experience in medium to longer mountain bike rides in Vermont.
Some Requirements and Suggestions
Riders are expected to be moderately experienced cyclists. An off road worthy touring, gravel road/cycle cross bike or mountain bike in good working order is required.
Helmets are required.
Bring your own camping gear, food and other things necessary for an overnight or two night camping trip are required. We’ll have very little car support for the first part of the route and very little room for car transport for food and heavier items, riders are expected to carry their gear and food with them.
Rider’s are required to follow all laws of the road, all rules, laws and regulations for camping in Vermont. All riders are expected to practice good stewardship both in cycling and camping.
Here is a great website about overnight bike trips:
They have a great simple gear check list here:
We’ve also come up with a list of things to help you prepare. The list is in two sections, one for Bicycle Supplies, the other for Camping Supplies. Some things on this list are not necessary, some things are required. Familiarize yourself with the advice on the above website, this list, and bring things that are required and things you are comfortable carrying with you on a bike.
Some Bicycle Equipment that would be a good idea to have:
Handlebar bag or
Trunk bag or Panniers or an
Off road appropriate trailer
Taillight (with blinking option)
Water bottle or some sort of hydration pack
2 extra tubes
Saddle (under seat) bag or some other way to carry things on the bike
Medical info/emergency contact card
OF NOTE: If your bicycle does not use quick release levers you will also need the appropriate tools to remove the wheels from your bicycle. You can ask Vermont Bicycle Shop about this if you are not sure.
Really, Really Good Idea to Bring Items:
Frame Pump or CO2 Pump and extra cartridges
Cycling multi-tool or small, light weight tools to help fix your bike.
Leatherman type multi tool
Extra Derailleur Hanger
Vermont Bicycle Shop will bring two card games, Exploding Kittens and Cards Against Humanity. Feel free to bring something equally fun!
No one is gonna laugh at you, these aren’t a bad idea either Items:
Eye protection (sunglasses or clear lenses)
Assorted nuts and bolts
Chain quick link
Small roll of duct tape
If you want to get nerdy about it Items:
Spare Brake and derailleur cables and housing
Tent with waterproof bottom or a tarp or some form of camping shelter
Insect repellent (the ticks in Groton have gone mad this year)
Ziplock bag for waterproofing items
Cash/credit card/ID (for emergencies)
Really, Really Good Idea Items:
Extra jersey and extra shorts
Bring extra pairs of socks (I like to pack with 2 socks for each day)
Bandana or hat or other form of sweat and sun protection
Speaking of weather, these are a good idea too:
Lightweight, rain wear/windbreaker
Some sort of long sleeve base layer/under armor to layer up in case of cold weather
Stuff you might need:
Small, quick-dry towel for cleanups
Ride Cue Sheet
Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap
After ride clothing, swimwear if you want to jump in the lake
Here are maps and links to more details about the route:
Here are some photos from the event: