2022 Bikepacking Awards: People and Routes

Our 2022 Bikepacking Awards wraps up with accolades for the individuals who’ve inspired the bikepacking community through impressive feats and amazing journeys. In addition, we’ve awarded the most intriguing bikepacking routes that we published this year. Find all of our nominated people, routes, and events here…

In parts one and two of our 2022 Bikepacking Awards series, we featured our top picks for Gear of The Year and Best Bikepacking Videos, Photography, Writing, and Art. Wrapping up 2022, our final awards roundup celebrates the people who have inspired our community through their impressive accomplishments, commitment to their projects, and contributions to the bikepacking community. Additionally, we congratulate and offer gratitude to route makers for a variety of completed projects that range from backyard overnighter getaways to long and more involved routes. We’re privileged to host and manage the first and largest bikepacking routes network in the world and are thankful that this resource continues to grow.

Note: For the decision on routes, we opened the process with a call for nominations that identified nearly 25 routes. From there, seven of us cast blind votes. The results were from a direct tally of our votes, which were based on several criteria, including the originality/intent, quality of documentation, and which we’d like to ride most. In addition, we reached out to the Bikepacking Collective, our community of members across the globe, to get their input. Without further ado, let’s jump into the final installment of our annual awards.

Inspiring Bikepackers of The Year

Our award for Inspiring Bikepackers of the Year highlights five individuals who inspired us with outstanding efforts, helped shepherd meaningful projects, and positively represented the bikepacking community in 2022.

Ana Jager 2022 AZTR, Triple Crown Challenge

Ana Jager

Ana Jager had one hell of a year in the ultra-endurance bikepacking scene. She took the first-place women’s spot in the Tour Divide, which was her rookie run on the course. Next, in the Colorado Trail Race, she battled it out with Alexandera Houchin and took a second-place women’s finish in the 2022 Colorado Trail Race—and it was her rookie year in that one as well. Later, she became the first woman to finish this year’s 800-mile Arizona Trail Race, and the second woman ever to complete the Triple Crown Challenge in a single calendar year (Tour Divide, Colorado Trail, and Arizona Trail Race). Amazing! We’ll no doubt be seeing more of Ana. Members, watch for a feature about Ana and her accomplishments in The Bikepacking Journal 09 soon.

Erick Cedeño, Truth and Dignity presentation

Erick Cedeño

Erick Cedeño is no stranger to this list; we awarded him a similar slot in 2020 when he re-rode part of Adventure Cycling Association’s Underground Railroad route, a ride he originally did from New Orleans to Niagara Falls in 2014. This year, Erick took on a new challenge: researching and retracing a 41-day, 1,900-mile historic expedition originally completed by the Buffalo Soldiers Bicycle Corps in 1897. After finishing the route, Erick held a series of speaking engagements to share this experience and important piece of history. It was truly one of the most impressive bike travel presentations we’ve ever seen. Find details about it here.

Andrew Strempke

Andrew Strempke

Andrew Strempke had an impressive 2022, to say the least. He started the year by setting a fastest known time on the Monumental Loop. A month later, he took first place at Pinyons and Pines in Arizona. Shortly after, he was the first singlespeeder to finish the 2022 Tour Divide. Andrew later took fifth in the singlespeed category at the 2022 Colorado Trail race and later finished the 800-mile Arizona Trail Race in third place overall, setting a new singlespeed record on the Triple Crown Challenge. He finished all three events on a singlespeed in a single year, besting the singlespeed Triple Crown Challenge record by more than five days (Alice Drobna, 2015). His cumulative time for the 4,000-mile feat was 34 days, 6 hours, and 49 minutes. Congrats, Andrew!

Jana and Johan Wahl

Jana Marincowitz and Johan Wahl

South Africans Johan Wahl and Jana Marincowitz have been on a tear this year, completing an amazing multi-leg journey that’s left a lot of us feeling jealous. After finishing a monumental ride from the Cape through Namibia, the two set off for an extended tour through the Caucasus Mountains in the Republic of Georgia and Armenia. Then they pedaled through Iran and Turkey. Find photos and words about their Southern Africa trip in The Bikepacking Journal 07 and a piece from their Namibia trip in 08. We can’t wait to share more from their ride in Armenia and beyond next year, too.

Eddie O'Dea, Rodeo Labs Traildonkey, Eastern Divide Trail

Eddie O’Dea

Back in October, Eddie O’Dea became the first person to finish the entirety of the Eastern Divide Trail (EDT), the longest bikepacking route in the world. The EDT runs some 6,000 miles from Newfoundland, Canada, to Key West, Florida. While that was quite an accomplishment on its own, Eddie also assisted with scouting a couple of new sections, providing valuable feedback to help complete phase one of this mammoth route. Thanks for your help and congratulations, Eddie. Find more about Eddie’s rig here, and find a post-ride interview with him here.

Best New Routes (9+ days)

This category honors long bikepacking route projects – experiences we’re sure you’ll never forget. Find our three picks below, ordered based on our votes.

Eastern Divide Trail Bikepacking Route

Eastern Divide Trail

Launched this year, the roughly 5,950-mile Eastern Divide Trail (EDT) is the longest off-road-centric bikepacking route in the world. It runs from Cape Spear, Newfoundland, the easternmost point in North America, to Key West, Florida and loosely follows the St. Lawrence and Eastern Continental Divides. The route winds its way through dozens of national and state forests, numerous ecozones, and countless places of Indigenous, geographical, and historical significance as it takes in the most incredible sights, landmarks, and landscapes in the eastern mountains. Find the route collection here.

Next Top Picks

Kenya Bike Odyssey Bikepacking Route

Kenya Bike Odyssey

By Tristan Ridley and Eric Nesbitt. Starting in Nairobi, the Kenya Bike Odyssey uses 1,000 kilometers of dirt roads and singletrack to roam through an array of landscapes with everything from high mountains, verdant forests, picturesque lakes, rugged windswept plains, red sands, and enormous swathes of wild savannah. Combined with the opportunity to experience the rich and varied Kenyan culture and cycle amongst abundant wildlife such as zebras, giraffes, antelopes, warthogs, and elephants, this route looks amazing. Tristan and Eric Nesbitt did an outstanding job. Find the full route guide here.

Caldera 500

Caldera 500

By Alan Jacoby / documented by Evan Christenson. The Caldera 500 isn’t a new route this year. However, it was recently documented by Evan Christenson and added to our site. This California route immediately went into several of our editors’ Bucketlists as a result. The full 500-mile version traverses five mountain ranges and three distinct biomes, always choosing the more challenging option at each junction. Find the full route guide here, and stay tuned for an exciting story from Evan’s ride in The Bikepacking Journal 09.

Best New Routes (Weeklong)

The Best New Routes (Weeklong) awards are dedicated to 5-8 day bikepacking routes that can be slotted into your work schedule and daily life commitments. After all, it’s amazing how many rich and rewarding experiences can be packed into a short riding holiday.

Sheltowee Bikepacking Route, Sheltowee Trace

Sheltowee Bikepacking Route

By Austin Render with photos by Neil Beltchenko. The new Sheltowee Bikepacking Route (SBR) was the clear winner among our internal voting panel. This is another extremely challenging route that combines singletrack, gravel, and pavement to create a 300-mile thru-bike trail in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Kentucky and Tennessee. The SBR follows the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail as closely as possible, throughout Daniel Boone National Forest and Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. Find the full route guide here.

Next Top Picks

Old Chalk Way Bikepacking Route

Old Chalk Way

By Ben Wormald and Chris Hunt. From South Coast to North Sea, the Old Chalk Way (OCW) embodies the 5,000-year history of Britain’s oldest highway. Following a chalk vein, the route carves its way through the most iconic ancient sites, spectacular scenery, and some of the best gravel and all-road riding in southern England. We were stoked to share this one on the routes network and Chris and Ben did an excellent job with it. Find the full route guide here, and keep your eyes out for an OCW story in The Bikepacking Journal 09.

Queen’s Ransom

By John Schilling with photos by Miles Arbour. The Queen’s Ransom is a 227-mile bikepacking route around the greater East Valley of metro Phoenix, Arizona. The route stemmed from John’s personal challenge to create a bikepacking loop using as much of the local area singletrack as possible and weaves together many of the area’s popular singletrack trail systems, regional parks, and the Arizona National Scenic Trail amid stunning topography, rolling dirt roads, and challenging terrain. Find the full route guide here.

Best New Routes (Weekend)

This category highlights weekend bikepacking routes (3-4 day rides) that are are extremely rewarding in their own small but perfectly packaged way.

Peaks and Plateaus Bikepacking Route, Utah

Peaks and Plateaus

By Neil Beltchenko. After a number of bikepacking trips in this region of Utah over the past decade, and scouting a version of this route in 2017, Neil finished Peaks and Plateaus this year. This diverse 3-4 day bikepacking loop follows a scenic mix of dirt roads and gravel and meanders between mesa tops, through valley bottoms, along sandstone canyons, and past snow-capped ranges that leave riders in awe of the regional geography. View full route guide here.

Next Top Picks

East Devon Trail Bikepacking Route

East Devon Trail

By Katherine Moore. The East Devon Trail was a lockdown labor of love for Katherine Moore, who was drawn back to her home in 2021 to help care for her mum after she received a cancer diagnosis. The 113-mile bikepacking route was created in partnership with local stakeholders and rolls through East Devon, a rural and coastal landscape between the county’s capital of Exeter and neighboring counties of Dorset and Somerset. This often-overlooked region boasts a variety of habitats, from freshwater marshes to lowland heath, green agricultural field networks to steep cliffs, pebbled beaches, and sleepy woodland. View full route guide here.

Chauga River Ramble

Chauga River Ramble

By Tanner Arrington. South Carolina’s Chauga River cuts its way through the Blue Wall, a term the Cherokee reportedly gave to the Southern Blue Ridge Escarpment’s imposing prominence above the Piedmont. Across a variety of roads and trails, the Chauga River Ramble traverses the landscape carved by the Chauga and its tributaries, offering ridgetop views, abundant waterfalls, cool swimming holes, dense forests, and riverside campsites. View the full route guide here.

Best New Routes (Overnighter)

Overnight routes offer an easy and accessible way to get out, disconnect, and get a quick sense of an area’s landscapes and culture from the saddle. We’ve added over 120 fantastic overnighter routes to our map since we launched the Local Overnighter Project two years ago, making this category was particularly difficult to narrow down. With that, we had a couple ties among our voting panel this year. Here are the five that rose to the top.

Ridout-Bigwind Rugged Ramble bikepacking overnighter

Ridout-Bigwind Rugged Ramble

By Paulo LaBerge. The Ridout-Bigwind Rugged Ramble not only looks incredible with its beautiful photoset, but it’s also gotten a lot of great rider feedback. The Muskoka region is famous for its countless small, picturesque lakes and rugged Canadian shield landscape with towering white pines and granite outcrops. The Ridout-Bigwind Rugged Ramble overnighter treats riders to a variety of terrain in the backcountry wilderness that gives the region its splendor. Nice work, Paulo! View the full route guide here.

Sardine Lookout Tower Overnighter

By Emily Bei Cheng. What’s not to love about mini adventure that gives riders the chance to stay in a lookout tower with amazing 360° views? Emily’s second award-winning route also provides a taste of the beautiful forests, meadows, and reservoirs around Tahoe National Forest and a lot of great dirt. Check our the full route guide here.

Next Top Picks

Reichraming Ramble, Kalkalpen National Park, Austria

Reichraming Ramble

By Sophie and Anna. The Reichraming Ramble put Austria on the map this year. This a 2-3 day route traverses the old beech forests of Austria’s Kalkalpen National Park and takes in mountain views, quiet trails, wild swimming, car-free camping, and just enough steep climbing to make you feel like you’ve earned the cold beers and delicious food along the way. In short, it just might be the ideal route to get hooked on bikepacking. View full route guide here.

Valhalla Beach Party Bikepacking Overnighter

Valhalla Beach Party

By Dave Schlabowske. Winding through the glacial outwash along northern Wisconsin’s Bayfield Peninsula, the Valhalla Beach Party is a fatbike route that traverses a network of beautiful gravel and dirt forest roads and sandy ATV trails. It offers plenty of swimming opportunities and a few waterfall stops along the way. And it looks like loads of fun. View the full route guide here.

Owens Valley Ramble Overnighter Bikepacking Route

Owens Valley Ramble

By Jeremy Nolan. The Owens Valley Ramble is an overnight loop that highlights the complex environmental, geological, and political history of California’s Owens River Valley. Route landmarks include the Eastern Sierra foothills, Manzanar War Relocation Camp, Alabama Hills, Owens River watershed, and Inyo Mountains. This one looks great and made it on a lot of Bucket Lists. View full route guide here.

Collective Choice

Collective Choice Route of the Year

With so many great new routes this year, we listed 16 options ranging from weekend routes to big epic rides and put them up to a vote. We asked members of the Bikepacking Collective to vote on their favorite. Here are the top three.

Eastern Divide Trail

Eastern Divide Trail

We were more than stoked that the Bikepacking Collective overwhelmingly voted for the Eastern Divide Trail as their favorite, echoing our own sentiments. Thanks to everyone who’s supported, worked on, and expressed excitement about this project!

Next Top Picks

Kenya Bike Odyssey Bikepacking Route

Kenya Bike Odyssey

By Tristan Ridley. Similarly, Tristan and Eric’s lovely route came in second with the Bikepacking Collective, again matching our own findings. If you haven’t dug into this route, be sure to do so here.

Old Chalk Way Bikepacking Route

Old Chalk Way

By Ben Wormald and Chris Hunt. The 358-mile Old Chalk Way also appears twice in this roundup. After being inspired by the Second City Divide and Badger Divide, the route creators thought that southern England deserved something similar, and it’s clear they were right.

Collective Choice Overnighters of the Year

Similarly, we listed 23 Overnighter routes in the Collective Choice survey. Here are the three Overnighter routes that came out with the most votes.

Sea to Sky Trail, bikepacking

Sea to Sky Trail

By Miles Arbour. The Sea to Sky Trail is a 100-kilometer multi-use trail between Squamish and Pemberton, British Columbia, connecting the Pacific Ocean to the towering Coast Mountains further north. This beautiful route spoils riders with turquoise lakes, flowy singletrack, and lots of unique points of interest along the way. Find the full route guide here.

Next Top Picks

Salt and Wine Road

Salt and Wine Road

By Francesco Bonvecchio and Denis Sassudelli. The Salt and Wine Road is a short bikepacking loop that follows the Italian-Swiss border between the Stelvio National Park and Val Mustair Biosfera, two protected natural areas in the heart of the Alps. The route mixes in dirt roads, singletrack trails, and an ancient road used in the Middle Ages to trade wine from Italy to central Europe and salt from Switzerland to northern Italy. Find the full route guide here.

Olympic Bridges Overnighter

Olympic Bridges Overnighter

By Molly Sugar. The Olympic Bridges Overnighter connects two of Washington state’s highest arched bridges to make a memorable overnight trip or day ride in the Olympic National Forest. The route includes three lakes for snack breaks and swimming among forested shorelines. The smooth and secluded gravel roads make it a great introductory bikepacking trip. Find the route guide here.

Best New Events

Our last category honors three new events, all of which had their inaugural running in 2020. Further, each serves to grow and foster the bikepacking community at large.

Rhino Run

The Rhino Run

After many years of planning, the inaugural Rhino Run finally kicked off on Friday, October 21, from Plettenberg Bay, South Africa. This new 2,750-kilometer bikepacking race has a two-stage format, beginning with the spectacular Cross Cape cycle route to Stellenbosch, featuring stunning gravel passes and amazing coastal vistas. Heading north, the course gets increasingly remote, eventually crossing the border into Namibia and traversing the harsh Namib Desert before concluding in Windhoek. Entry to the Rhino Run was by donation to the Masaka Cycling Club, which works tirelessly to discover and nurture raw Ugandan cycling talent. Kudos to the organizers from Curve Cycling for dreaming up this amazing event. Find an amazing two-part reportage series here and here.

Next Top Picks

2022 Sisters in the wild gravel camp

Sister in the Wild Scotland

Sisters in the Wild is focused on building a women’s cycling community various locations across Europe. It began in Slovenia in 2020 and is now blossoming into something more with added locations and meetups. This year marked the first annual SITW Scotland where 25 riders from across the UK and Europe came together for five days of riding, camping, and bikepacking in the Scottish Cairngorms. Congrats, SITW. Keep it going!



New this year, Outspoken is a two-day event in Oxford, UK, celebrating women’s voices in cycling through a weekend of presentations, discussions, and group rides. There were several big names from around the bikepacking community on the speaker roster this year and we hope to see it live on into the future. You can find the recap here.

If you missed them, be sure to check out parts one and two of our 2022 Bikepacking Awards, 2022 Gear of The Year and Best Bikepacking Videos, Photography, Writing, and Art.

Do you enjoy our in-depth reviews, route guides, and stories? We’re a small, independent publication dedicated to keeping our content free for everyone, but we need your support. To keep articles like this one coming (and not behind a firewall), please consider becoming a member of our Bikepacking Collective. By joining, you’ll receive The Bikepacking Journal in the mail twice a year, industry discounts, and many other great benefits. Learn more here.





Please keep the conversation civil, constructive, and inclusive, or your comment will be removed.