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Updated: May 15




Vermont Bikepackers – Beginners’ Community Campout

Dates: 6/14/24 – 6/16/24 

Region: Green Mountain National Forest – Goshen, VT 

Hosted by Bikepacking Roots Community Stewards: Alex Getty and Ashley Rosemeyer

Join us for a free, fun, off-road ride and campout in the Green Mountain National Forest in Goshen, VT.


*** Register here ***


Event Overview:


The event will be based at the beautiful Blueberry Hill Outdoor Center, which has been reserved for the weekend to offer this event free of charge for participants. Located in the heart of the Green Mountain National Forest, the Outdoor Center provides access to the Blueberry Hill network of trails, the Vermont Long Trail, The Catamount Trail, and the Moosalamoo National Forest Trails. There is ample camping space and the convenience of campground amenities.


The goal of this event is to combine off-road biking and camping to serve as a comfortable introduction to bikepacking. Blueberry Hill will serve as a basecamp where day rides will leave from, and camping will be available on both Friday and Saturday night.


Saturday morning will start at 8am with an introductory workshop to answer questions about bike setup, how to pack bags, etc. Participants will be encouraged to load up their bikes to try out different setups – and volunteers will be on hand to help with DIY set-ups.


Then riders will set off mid-morning. The route will be a loop that consists of gravel roads, forest roads, and some double/single track. There may be sections on pavement that connect to other trails, and other sections may require hike-a-bike. There are several options for resting mid ride. The main ride is 30 miles with ~3,200 ft of elevation gain, and an option to cut it short about halfway through. There will also be an option to extend for those looking for more miles.


Riders will return to Blueberry Hill to reconvene and share stories over dinner and campfires. Another optional ride is planned for Sunday morning.


Who Should Attend:

This event is for those new to bikepacking and/or looking to expand their skills and competencies in this activity. The atmosphere will be supportive and non-competitive, with the goal of sharing bikepacking and creating a safe and inclusive opportunity to engage in off-road riding on a loaded bike. You bring your bike, gear, food and self-supported riding skills and we’ll bring the community and camaraderie.



Some Q&A:


Should we plan to be fully self-supported?

  • Yes, we might have some snacks on hand but, plan to be fully self-supported. Blueberry Hill Inn across the road will be serving pizza for a fee the night of 6/14. Nearby towns such as Brandon, Ripton, and Forestdale have stores if backup supplies are needed (though the hours may be restricted for stores in Ripton and Forestdale).


Are we biking with our sleeping gear or leaving it at Blueberry Hill?

  • No, feel free to leave supplies and food at the BHOC. There is space inside the outdoor center for gear to stay dry. Additionally there is a drinking water tap available.


What's the parking situation?

  • Parking is available on site, but we encourage folks to carpool, or even bike to the event!


What level of amenities should we expect?

  • There are bathrooms and water on site, parking is on site at the Blueberry Hill Outdoor Center, there is a drinking water tap available and there is space inside the outdoor center for storage.


What should I bring? How should I pack?

  • Use this recommended gear list

  • If you don’t have items in this list that is OK! The goal of this campout is to learn about bikepacking. Bring what you have and learn from your peers on what setup works for them.

  • A bike suitable for the route. The routes use significant sections of forest trail, and gravel bikes may face intermittent sections of hike-a-bike. This route is best for larger gravel or mountain bikes with tires at least 1.75”/45mm wide. We don’t recommend road bikes with slick tires. If you’re deciding between tires that might be too small vs. too big, we’d encourage you to err on the side of too big. You’ll be more comfortable, and this is definitely not a race!

  • A helmet. All riders are required to wear a helmet at all times when riding their bikes during this event. 

  • Clothing, repair tools, equipment, food and water to ride self-sufficiently along the route.

  • Overnight gear and food for up to 2 nights of camping. This can be packed on your bike or stored at the Blueberry Hill Outdoor Center.


What if there is inclement weather?

  • Be prepared for all kinds of weather, including temperatures ranging from 40 to 80 degrees fahrenheit, potential precipitation, and possibly some wind. 

  • Insect repellant is encouraged.


Are there re-supply locations? How much water should I bring?

  • Please arrive prepared with the food you need for the event, including meals to prepare at camp. You’re welcome to team up with others to cook in small groups!

  • You’ll need 2 days worth of ride food, 2 lunch(es), 1 dinner (2 if camping on 6/14), and 2 breakfasts. 

  • We recommend you carry 1-2 liters of water capacity during the ride. Blueberry Hill has a tap available for riders to use to top off their bottles. There will be water sources such as streams and lakes throughout the ride if you have means of purifying your water!

  • Resupply: The outdoor center will have water available to top off. There are some stores in bordering towns but would be a little bit of a trek to get to. The Blueberry Hill inn is across the road and does offer meals.


What is the service like in that area?

  • Cell phone service can be spotty and is not guaranteed.

  • A satellite tracker (such as a SPOT or InReach) is not mandatory but is nice to have if available to you.

  • Please download the ride files ahead of time and ensure you can use them without cell phone service, or on your GPS device (Garmin, Wahoo, etc.).

  • If you need to get in touch with a Campout coordinator you can try calling them at:

    • Alex Getty: 802-304-8719



Registration:

Sign up now here



192 views

The date for the 7th annual Grand Depart of the Vermont Super 8 has been set: Friday, Sep 27, 2024. Test your mettle against Vermont's relentless hills, rugged class four roads, and fickle weather on this self-supported bikepacking adventure.



The mass rollout will take place in Montpelier, but riders are welcome to join from anywhere along the 655-mile figure 8 that loops through Vermont. Although there is a draft of the Super 8 available on our routes page, a finalized course and camping guide will be provided over email to intending grand depart participants.


To learn more about the grand depart, including instructions for sending in your Letter of Intent, see the grand depart page. There you'll find finish times of riders from years past and links to many dozens of ride reports (click on a rider's name in the results to see their ride report). There's tons of information for newer riders on what to expect. There is no registration fee to participate in the Super 8 Grand Depart. However, we do ask that riders take into consideration the carbon footprint of their travel to the starting line and make a well-researched purchase of carbon credits or donation to a CO2 emissions offset program. Riders are encouraged to carpool, take the train (e.g. Amtrak to Montpelier), or even to ride to the start. Every year we have a few riders start from various points along the 8, such as Brattleboro or Derby Line.


Reach out to dan@vermontbikepackers.org and alex@vermontbikepackers.org with questions. We're excited to see what this year brings for the Super 8 and hope you'll consider experiencing it with us.

474 views

Updated: Mar 10


After a very wet summer, the weather was as good as we could've asked for at the Grand Depart on Sep 22.


2023 was the largest grand depart yet with 51 riders gathered in Montpelier, plus four riders starting elsewhere along the 8. They traveled from as far away as Texas; some carpooled, and some arrived by train.


We sent a list of questions out to riders this year a week or two after they finished, while the adventure was still fresh in their minds. We got a lot of great responses, including this one which is particularly telling:


To summarize: of 22 respondents (18 first timers and 4 veterans), half found the difficulty to be about what they expected, and half responded with some form of more-difficult-than-expected, including one veteran who wrote in: "It's always harder than I expected even though I've done it 5 times." Notably, no one said it's easier than expected.


Of those 22, 18 used mtb tires (bigger than 2.1", one person riding on 4" fat tires), and 4 used some form of gravel tire (47mm or 48mm). Of the 4 gravel tire riders, 2 said it was about-as-hard-as-expected, and 2 said harder-than-expected.


There was other great feedback for consideration as we plan the next GD. I'll end the article with a some highlights. Head over the the Grand Depart page to see results from 2023 (and years past). There are also links to ride reports there - give them a read if you really want to get into riders' heads, especially if you're planning your own Super 8 ride for 2024!

Any other general feedback on your ride?

  • Was sick

  • I would like a hardtail next time :-)

  • It made me remember how I feel in love with Vermont 30 years ago and made me so thankful that I still live here.

  • great terrain. really cool to have so much linked together.

  • Wasn't ready for the drop in temperature and couldn't stay warm. I should have brought a more appropriate cold weather kit, instead of a back up kit (bibs and t-shirt). The back up kit got me dry but didn't keep me warm when I started exerting myself again.

What would you do differently, gear-wise?

  • Not bring any of my cooking gear. Doing a lot of my long distance riding in Southwest and West, I have it engrained in me that there will be minimal resupply for long periods. I saw all the towns on the route map and should have known I didn't need it. Oh well.

  • Probably a smaller chain ring, especially if I go for the full route. I ran 38t 11-42t which is probably ok with a light bike, but loaded down could've had more gears.

  • I decided to use my Oveja Negra front end loader instead of my Salsa anything rack because it's a little lighter but I wished I used the Salsa rack as it's much quicker for on/off of the drybag. Otherwise, just less gear. It was too much weight for the amount of pushing required on the course.

How has your recovery/transition been back to real life? Good naps? Aftercare tips?

  • Took about a week for my sleep cycle to stabilize. First few days I woke up every couple of hours READY TO BOOGIE regardless of whether I was rested or not.

  • I found myself to be tired on a level that I hadn't anticipated. Took about a week to shake it.

  • I don't normally remember my dreams, but for multiple nights afterwards I would have vivid dreams riding in the woods. Sometimes I would wake up in bed wondering why I was not in a tent. This hasn't happened to me on other rides.



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