Adventures of the Future-Past (Competition)

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Announcing our latest bikepacking routes competition. We’ve all ridden some great overnighters in the past, and we’re all dreaming about our next adventure once we’re on the other side of the COVID-19 crisis. To keep the stoke alive, we’re inviting you to submit your favorite local bikepacking route between now and the summer solstice to be entered to win one of 20 great prize packages. Learn more here…

Bikepacking routes are the lifeblood of They’re why we started this site in the first place, and we take pride in managing the original and most comprehensive network of bikepacking routes on the web. Last year, we introduced the Local Overnighter Project to expand this network and open it up to local route creators with unrivaled knowledge of their own backyards.

Prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, we were planning on having a friendly competition to get people out creating new routes. But with the current restrictions, we’re advising folks to stay home, reflect on past trips, and dream about new ones. To expand on this, we’ve partnered with Swift Industries to help celebrate their annual Solstice Campout in other ways. Part of this is a call for entries to help create route options for our routes network, Local Overnighter Project, and the Swift Campout coming in September. Find complete details below.

Local Overnighters and Weekend Routes

This competition is based on routes you’ve ridden in the past. We are looking for short routes (1-3 days)—Local Overnighters and weekend routes—on your home turf that you’ve meticulously planned using your local knowledge. To enter this competition, read TIPS AND RULES, then use the form below to send us your favorite route you’ve ridden and documented before Wednesday, June 17th. If your route is selected to be published, you’ll be nominated to win one of the 20 prize packages listed below. Awards will be announced live at the Great Solstice Camp-in on June 20th, during the summer solstice.


Grand Prize Package (5 winners total)

We’re super stoked to be giving away five prize packages of some of our favorite gear. Five grand prize winners will receive the following package of incredible gear. Find details below.

Prize package
1 Swift Zeitgeist Saddle/Handlebar Bar
Swift’s latest redesign of the Zeitgeist has a boatload of new features. We tested an early prototype in Colombia and were able to provide useful feedback. We’re currently testing the production model as a handlebar bag and really like it (stay tuned for the review). Black X-pac version on giveaway.

1 Pair of Bedrock Cairn 3D II Adventure Sandals
With summer upon us, the sandals are coming out of storage. We recently got a pair of Bedrock’s Cairn 3D Pro IIs to try and are quite impressed by the improved sticky rubber sole (great for bikefishing). Read Cass’ review of the earlier model.

1 Wolf Tooth EnCase System
Wolf Tooth’s EnCase does a great job at providing a lot of functionality in two very well designed and small packages that never leave your bike. The kit includes a full multi-tool, tubeless repair, and extra storage, all in two sleeves that can be placed in your handlebars. Read our review.

1 Oveja Negra Royale Hip Pack
Out of all the hip packs we tested, the Oveja Negra Royale was one of our favorites. It’s spacious, easy to access, and super comfortable. We’re happy to be giving five away with this competition. Colors to be determined.

1 CampAndGoSlow Rattlesnake Bar Tape (plus patches and stickers)
You’ve probably seen CampAndGoSlow’s Rattlesnake Bar Tape on photos here. Over the last several months, it’s quickly become my bar tape of choice, especially for wider bars. They are sold out now, but we have five pairs to give away!

1 Topo Designs Global Hat
Topo Designs sent us five if their latest summer-weather Global Hats. There are several colors available. Learn more here.

1 MiiR Camp Cup
MiiR’s 12oz Camp Cup is their modern take on a classic. It’s vacuum insulated so you won’t burn your hands (or melt your face) when you are at work, home, or camping. Learn more here.

Additional swag, patches, and stickers (not shown)
We’ll also be tossing in patches and other stuff with our new graphics. Stay tuned for details.

  • Swift Zeitgeist saddle bag
  • Bedrock Cairn 3d Sandals
  • Wolf Tooth EnCase Handlebar Tool Kit
  • Oveja Negra Royale Hip Pack Review
  • Rattlesnake Bar Tape, Camp and Go Slow

15* Additional Winners

One runner up will receive a selected prize package (below left) including an Oveja Negra Super Wedgie, Swift/Coal Elwha hip pack, Swift/Coal pocket organizer, Topeak Ratchet Rocket, two Pedal Further Voile Straps, a pair of Ergon GE1 grips, a Wolf Tooth Bar Bag, and a set of our new Animal patches.

  • Future Past Prizes
  • Future Past Prizes

The remainder of the selected routes (*up to 14) will receive a x Swift Industries prize package including the following—stay tuned for photos and more details:

1 new PEDAL FURTHER T-shirt
1 new set of our Animal patches
1 Swift Campout Bandana
1 Swift Campout Cycling Cap
Stickers, patches, and a few other goodies

TIPS & RULES (Is your route a good fit?)

There’s an art to creating the ideal shorter route. It’s about balancing challenges and rewards, and finding the perfect rest stops and campsites in the middle. What makes it special? Scenic campsites, places to eat, breweries, epic trails, killer downhills, and cultural/historical places of interest, to name a few. Maybe there are hot springs or swimming holes along the way. Take into account these tips and rules:

  • 30-200 MILES (48-322KM) is a pretty good benchmark for route length, but it should take either 2 days/1 night (or sub-24 hours) for an overnighter, or 3 days/2 nights for a weekend route.
  • FACTORS THAT AFFECT THE LENGTH include the technical nature of the trails and total amount of climbing. We don’t mind hike-a-bikes when they connect places that would otherwise be impossible to reach, but keep them within reason.
  • GRAVEL, SINGLETRACK, OR FAT BIKE routes are acceptable, but routes should be comprised of at least 60% unpaved surfaces, give or take. We prefer routes in which well over half the time spent riding is off pavement.
  • USE POINTS OF INTEREST (POIs). Basing routes around particular sights or stops is a fun approach. How about breweries, historical landmarks, hot springs, swimming holes, or scenic viewpoints? The final route should have a handful of useful POIs noted on the map.
  • CREATE A RHYTHM. Starting and finishing a route with a climb isn’t always a fun approach. Space out the suffering to reward ratio.
  • USE GREENWAYS. Tie in a greenway or cycle-specific path to the route. Anything that helps avoid traffic is welcome in our book.
  • FIND A GOOD CAMPSITE and place it in a spot where it will be natural and fitting to end a day’s ride. Having these types of milestones helps balance the route.
  • WATCH THE RESUPPLY POINTS. It’s good practice to plan where the resupply points are in relation to distance; the same goes for drinkable or filterable water.
  • KEEP IT LEGAL. It goes without saying that every route we publish must be entirely legally accessible. Each and every road and trail must allow bicycles. Keep the same in mind for campsites.
  • CONSIDER WHERE IT STARTS AND ENDS. Making a loop from a safe starting point is always a good idea. You should also consider starting it at a landmark, bike shop, place of historical significance, and/or area with a good place to leave a vehicle. If your route is linear in nature, think about ways of making it accessible via public transportation, or have good spots to park cars for a shuttle.
  • PUBLIC LANDS AND CONSERVATION. Make a special point to highlight the places and lands on the route that are threatened, in need of protection, and should be preserved. We place a special importance on using bikepacking as a vehicle for conservation projects and awareness.
  • ROUTE PHOTOGRAPHY. Inspiring, high-quality photography is important to us at Your route needs to include photos taken on a decent camera (a step above a mobile phone). Photos should cover several aspects of the route including trail shots, riding shots, camping photos, landscapes, and other interesting details (see below for specifics).

Submit Your Route

Routes will be judged based on several factors, including the above concepts, quality of photography, and general inspirational radness. If you can think up a good route name, even better!

Fill out the form below to submit your route. Here are the submission guidelines:

  • Dates: The competition is open to anyone, anywhere in the world. Submissions are due at 11:59PM EDT on Wednesday, June 17th, 2020.
  • Photos: Include a link to your photographs (we prefer Google Drive). Select your best 20-40 photos from the route.
  • Map: Include a link to the map (we prefer RideWithGPS), and add POIs (Points Of Interest) if possible.
  • Words: Write 150-300 words that describe what makes this route special.
  • Rules: Carefully read the Tips and Rules section above before hitting the submit button.