- New Zealand
- The Queen Charlotte TrackMountain biking the Queen Charlotte Track in the Marlborough Sounds
- History on the Heaphy
- Suppressing the Competitive UrgeMountain biking in Malborough
- Northern ExposureMountian biking the Coromandel
- Hurunui Hot SpringsWinter mountain biking to Hurunui Hut in the Lake Sumner Forest Park.
- Craigieburn Conservation ParkMountain Biking Craigieburn
- The Brevet ClubGuy and Laurence recount the suffering and intrigue of the inaugural Kiwi Brevet... a 1100km mountain bike race around the top half of the South Island over six days. Informal with self-enforced rules, no entry fee, unsupported, and... well, hard.
- Wharfedale TrackThis is arguably the best and longest stretch of single track in Canterbury
- Double FencelineThis classic trip snakes along the summit ridge of Banks Peninsula.
- One Night StandsOvernight mountain biking trips in the South Island
- Fool's GoldMountain biking in Central Otago
- All that Glistens... the Croesus and Moonlight Gold TrailsMountain biking on the South Island's West Coast
- Otago GoldMountain biking - Bannockburn, Central Otago
- Loop de LoopGreat mountain biking can be found in most corners of this flat earth and New Zealand boasts its fair share of classics.
- Magnetic WestMulti-day mountain biking, Kaikoura to the Tasman sea
- Romping Round the Marlborough SoundsMountain biking Marlborough
- Rambling Around the Marlborough SoundsMountain biking Marlborough, Arapawa and D'Urville Islands
- Off the Beaten Track An off road traverse of the South Island on mountain bikes
- At Peace with PureoraMountain biking around the Pureora Forest in the Central North Island
- Taranaki for NeophytesMountain biking in Taranaki
- South Pacific
- West meets EastAfter riding all morning through the tail of a typhoon, we didn't want to slosh into a Japanese restaurant in that state. I tried drying out by standing under the vent outside the kitchen. I got no drier, but now I smelled of noodles...
- Tien Shan TraverseWhat do you do in the middle of the mountains when two large, thuggish Chinese men get out of a car and stride purposefully towards you? You smile and say thank you for the stale bread and peaches they are offering you!
- One Gear, One Continent, One Hero.Hero Cycles is the world's largest manufacturer of bikes, spitting out a whopping six million a year. You're unlikely to find one at your local bike shop but as any seasoned traveller can attest, they are the 'people's car' of India.
- Laid-back LaosMountain bike touring in Laos
- The Road to MandalayCycle touring in Myanmar
- Vietnam on Thirty Dollars a DayCycle touring in Vietnam
- A Short Ride in the Hindu Kush Cycle touring in Pakistan
- On a Wheel and a Prayer FlagCycle touring in Tibet
- Shanti Shanti - Across the Himalaya by BikeCycling across the Himalayas
- Biking the Hidden HimalayaCycle touring in North West India
- Pedalling Patagonia"Wow! Amazing! You're cycling to the bottom of South America. Is it all downhill?" Alan and I looked at each other in amusement and suggested that we expected a few uphill sections.
- Cycling Cuba with Fidel and Ché
- Dirt Roading in Colombia'The Only Risk is Wanting to Stay', promises Colombia's latest tourist advertising slogan, printed over glossy photos of idyllic Caribbean coastlines, perfectly preserved colonial towns, rolling, lush coffee plantations and a Latin couple dancing hot cumbia.
- Famous Potato Recipes from Idaho
- My Private Idaho
- Donde Estan Los Pollos
- Alaska - the Last Frontier The Alaskan Iditasport Human Powered Ultramarathon
- In Search of Maple Syrup and a Decent National Anthem Mountain biking in Canada
- All You Can EatMountain Biking in Northern California
- Caffeine and Singletrack in the USA Mountain biking in South West Colorado
- Bici Dolomiti Cycle touring around Italy and the Dolomites
- A Slice of Swiss CheeseMountain biking in Switzerland
- London Calling The London Cycle Show
- Stairway to Heaven - biking Spain's Camino de SantiagoCycle touring in Spain
- Albania for BeginnersIn the summer of 2009, our route from Greece to Germany crossed the small country of Albania...
- Fat Tyre Touring in ItalyCycle touring through Italy.
- Corsica- touring the scented isleCycling in the Mediterranean
- A Scottish Coast to CoastCycle touring in Scotland
- Crouching Tiger - Cycling Ireland's South West Coast Cycling Ireland's South West Coast
- The Italian Job Mountain biking around Lake Garda
- Double DutchA cycle tour of the Netherlands.
- A Rather Big Swedish RaceMountain bike racing in Sweden
- French ConnectionCircumnavigating Mont Blanc on the "Sentier Pedestre" hiking trail.
- A Month in Provence Cycle touring in the South of France
- A French PilgrimageTouring with the Tour de France
- End to End, the Long WayCycle touring in Great Britain
- Steve's SabbaticalCycle touring in France
Famous Potato Recipes from Idaho
Dave Mitchell, UnderGround Issue 39 June 2004
Updated 29 June 2011As reported in the last instalment of our North American odyssey (In Search of Maple Syrup...), raging forest fires had forced the 'not-so-famous five' across the border from Canada to the US. First stop Montana, via the 'Heading for the Sun' highway. The irony was not lost on us with the immediate vista composed entirely of smoke and charred terrain. Our research indicated that Montana has a truckload of excellent riding with more national forests than we have knobs on our tyres. Alas we soon learnt that the whole shooting match was about to be closed due to the tinder dry conditions and blazing saddles. "Get ye to Idaho - it's as clear as a bell", the burly ranger advised. And as we headed over the Lost Trail Pass into Idaho the skies magically cleared. We were greeted by endless fields of wheat and the occasional lumber town - a conundrum given the complete lack of trees. And what about the humble spud for which Idaho is famous? As a big fan of potatoes I was perplexed and disappointed.
Our destination was the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. It encompasses the Sawtooth, White Cloud and Boulder mountain ranges, along with portions of the Salmon River and Smokey Ranges. The headwaters of six big rivers and over a thousand lakes are located in these mountains. A scenic paradise and mountain bike nirvana. We found a fabulous camping spot at Redfish Lake, right below the Sawtooth Mountains - which certainly deserve their impressive name. It dumped cats and dogs on us that night. Our neighbours in Montana and Canada sure would have liked some of that.
Two days of driving left us antsy for exercise. Our selection for the morning was the Fisher William Loop. The track climbs steadily through aspen glades and beaver ponds, then abruptly steepens for the final climb to the first summit at the Aztec Mine. Groomed singletrack sidles and carves its way downhill before the second climb. No time to catch our breaths at the top though before a fast and furious descent that lasted forever. A short climb to the third summit followed and then we exited through a sea of sagebrush to Obsidian, with panoramic views of the Sawtooth Mountains far across the valley. Yet more buffed singletrack awaited us that afternoon at Little Basin Creek. We sped out through stands of ridgepole pines, aspens and open meadow - returning via Basin and Stanley Creeks through a series of crisp and refreshing water crossings. Home in time for tea.
Two parallel ridges run the length of Redfish Lake with some gnarly old singletrack clearly visible from our camp - just taunting us to indulge. Anti-clockwise seemed to be the story, heading down Fishhook Creek for a gentle start before an aggressive, rocky climb high above Redfish Point. The track then wanders along the ridge with the deep blue lake a few hundred meters below. Spectacular. Old, old trees shade the ridge top, their exposed roots invading the trail. A switchback descent spits us out at the lake's inlet for a well-timed rest. Squirrels soon gathered. Their antics kept us amused as they chased one and other, played hide the pinecone and unsuccessfully begged for food while we munched away. The climb to the east ridge proved challenging with a technical rock garden followed by a granny gear grovel to the top at 300 meters above the lake. Grand views of the Sawtooth Wilderness Area were ample reward. It's a committing ride along the top that culminates with a brilliant downhill back to our campsite. We were a tad shagged and a mountain of food was soon devoured.
The aptly named Warm Springs Plunge proved to be our toughest downhill workout. From Bull Trout Lake the singletrack plummets down Dead Man's Creek. It's a slalom-traverse across loose shingle and water-rutted switchbacks that constantly try to toss you down to the poignantly named river far below. Upon reaching Warm Springs Creek the track mellows a little only to be followed by a roller coaster section of unexpected technical challenges that took its toll on body and mind. We then hit a spectacular mountainous gorge and climbed a steep and narrow track high above the boiling rapids. It finally delivered us through an open meadow to the Payette River and the road end where our van waited for us patiently. Up the road a short distance, the Bonneville Hot Springs graciously let us immerse our aches in its restorative waters.
A couple more rides and our leave passes had all but expired. It was time to head our way back into Canada, slowly. First stop the mill town of St Maries. With twenty kilometres of gradual uphill along an old railway line, the Hiawatha Rail Trail got the nod as the ideal wind-down ride. The interpretative signs, massive viaducts and dark tunnels added to the fun with the final tunnel running three kilometres back into Montana. The return downhill was a blast. "Boys and their train sets", bemoaned Ditte. The Avery Store provided a shady spot to enjoy our melting ice creams in the late afternoon sun. They sold damn near everything from fish bait to wooden clothes pegs, and of course, cheap beer.
It was with sadness that we left our two-dollar a night Joe River campsite just out of St Maries. It had manicured grass, shady trees and facilities you could eat your lunch off. We set off for the Panhandle National Forest and its infamous Gold Hill Switchbacks - a 600 metre technical climb on which Ditte counted fifty-four switchbacks in less than seven kilometres. Totally buzzing after an adrenalin-packed descent we pointed the van north for our final foray into the Priest River Forest.
Around the turn of last century a huge fire engulfed Idaho and much of Montana destroying millions of board feet of timber. A remnant of the original forest remains in the Upper Priest River and we were keen to check it out. A tall and ancient forest towers high above the trail. The cedar trees are branchless for the first twenty-odd metres giving the forest a cathedral-like reverence. It was cool and quiet as we zipped along under the high canopy of spreading leaves. The track undulates between monster trunks and over the uneven rooted surface with log hops and streams to negotiate. Very spooky riding - almost spiritual. Nah!
And then a final packing of bikes and bodies into the van before returning to Vancouver and winging our way home. We hadn't found any weapons of mass destruction in the land of politicians of mass deception, just tons of mountain bike adventure and a thousand reasons to return.
The Nitty Gritty> Crossing through US border control is a breeze, even with a van full of dodgy mountain bikers and their smelly kit. Just don't mention the war (any war that is). Canadian registration is fine for holidaying in the US, as is your home driver's licence.
> 'Mountain Biking Idaho' by Stephen Stuebner is a good general guide to Idaho riding with more specific maps on the myriad of tracks around Boise and Sun Valley available from the local bike shops.
> Late summer and early autumn provides cool settled weather, ideal for biking.
> There is a ton of camping in and around all the parks and reserves.
> Not a spud found on the whole damn trip.