What is a Ramble?

Part bike packing, part adventure riding; the Ramble is a ride unlike any other.

The 2016 Steamboat Ramble crew getting ready to head out. Photo by Ian Hylands

A multi-day event, with supported ride stops and catered camps, each Ramble takes you through unique landscapes along challenging routes. The overall mileage for each ride is less than 200 miles and split as evenly as possible over 3 days of riding. We keep the routes to as much dirt as possible and cover county gravel roads, forest roads and even some double track when we can.  And the views are always amazing.

Photo by Ian Hylands

For the ride, you carry your own basic gear each day. Because we’re taking you through some spectacular and secluded locations, the goal is to carry what you’d need to be self sufficient for a 60-75 mile ride with the ability to stay overnight on route if needed. Check out “What Should I bring?” for more information.

But as challenging as the routes can be, camp life makes up for it. Fully catered, and fully stocked thanks to New Belgium Brewing, Ramble camps are the place to come together and share the day’s adventure and a few laughs with friends.

The other thing you’ll notice is we limit participation. We do this for several reasons: First is the impact on the routes. 50-60 folks riding bikes on back and gravel roads is a lot. It’s also an impact on the camp locations even though we stick to campgrounds. Most importantly, it offers an intimate experience to share with a smaller group of like-minded friends but still gives you the opportunity to find time to yourself or a small group.

Rambles in the past have been transformational for folks and quite possibly be one of the best rides you’ll do all year. The format is specifically tailored so those new to bike packing and adventure riding can participate in a setting that challenges them. And at the same time, even accomplished riders and bike packers will find the adventure rewarding. The Ramble is an event that you’ll long remember.

You know the saying that it’s about the journey, not the destination? Well, the Ramble is about both.

A typical Ramble schedule:

Rambles run Thursday / Friday / Saturday. The Steamboat Ramble includes Sunday as a travel day back to New Belgium where it starts. You’re not obligated to take the shuttle or take advantage of any final day camping, and we don’t offer discounts if you don’t.

A rider meeting is held Wednesday evening. Oregon Ramble meeting is held at Good Bike Co. and Steamboat and Asheville Rambles held at the New Belgium Breweries. Start time is 6:30 pm and they last for a few hours. Part mixer, part meeting, we’ll catch you up on any announcements, introductions and answer any last minute questions. Lodging this night is up the the participant, though we do work to provide options for those willing to camp. Afterwards, it’s a good time to get to know your fellow rider or go out in one of the depart locations. Just don’t stay out too late.

Rides depart Thursday mornings. Oregon has a later start (10am) due to a shorter day one. Both Steamboat and Asheville Rambles start at 7:30am and all leave from rider meeting locations. We reserve the right to adjust this depart time and will make any change announcement at the rider meeting.

Lunch on route is typically half way. Geography plays a part: we’re not going to fill you up before a big climb but we shoot for that mid mark. All lunch and water locations will be marked on maps distributed at the rider meeting. Natural water is available on all the routes so bring a water filter. We heavily emphasize that this is a bikepacking adventure and as such, you’re responsible for knowing your needs. We provide the tools, but if you’re looking for a Gran Fondo with aid stations every 20 miles look elsewhere.

Depart times on day two and three are up to you (kinda). Breakfast starts at 6am. If you want to start earlier, let us know and we’ll get you fed. You need to be on the road no later than 8am, earlier if you plan to stop more or ride slow. Don’t be offended if we ask you to be an early depart one day. We find this process helps manage arrival times, mingles the group better and keeps everyone in a safe corridor when on route.

The ride is sagged. On route we have multiple vehicles and one van who brings up the rear, pulling signage and any water stations. The number of vehicles differ depending on participant size, but minimally 2 vehicles and a motorcycle. We don’t want you to get in the van, but it’s there if you need it.

Medical support is also on the route. Sometimes in a van, often on a bike, we have multiple emergency medical professionals should it be needed.

Dinner is at 6 pm and stays open until the last rider is in. Our average pace on these rides is 10mph with about 60 minutes of stoping. That means most riders will get to camp between 4 pm and 5 pm each day with a 7:30 am start on a typical Ramble day. Enough time to get camp set up, clean up and have a beer or two.

The final dinner is a sit-down event Saturday night. You’ve just completed an awesome achievement. Time to celebrate. Each Ramble finale is a little different, but plan to spend some time with us at the end. Oregon and Asheville will have camping available this night. So will Steamboat with the addition of a shuttle back to Fort Collins Sunday morning since this ride is point to point and not a loop like the others.

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