The Continental Divide Cycling Adventure

(The ÷ Ride)

Stage I of IV


Over a great lunch in Seward, Alaska, this past July while riding the Kenai Peninsula "Explorer" self-contained bicycle tour put on by Adventure Cycling Association (formerly Bike Centennial), we (Jim Nichols, Duane Jardine, and Judy Colwell - all experienced self-contained bicycle travelers) came up with the idea to do our own self-contained camping bicycle trip of the Continental Divide, using the Adventure Cycling maps of this newly mapped route which parallels the "spine of the continent." Our thought is to do the ride in 2-3 week annual segments over the next 4 years or so, until we ride the complete North to South route (Canada/Montana border to the New Mexico/Mexico border).

Because at least one of us knows you and thinks you might enjoy this ride, we'd like to explore your interest in joining us. We are organizing this ride in a manner similar to Adventure Cycling rides. Although, this ride will NOT have a designated ride leader - we are a group of independent riders touring together - all three of us have been through Adv. Cycling's leadership training program, and one of us (Duane) has led many Adv. Cycling trips.

Update Letter #1: 12/03/96

Update Letter #2: 01/09/97

Update Letter #3: 01/13/97: Riders, Addresses, dr-chat list-serve information Updated: 08/06/97

Group Gear List: 06/18/97

T-Shirt Logo for 1997

Route Update from Adv.Cycling: 7/2/97

Trip Journal: Stage I, Montana

The Nitty Gritty Facts


There are no hidden trip costs beyond:

  • your own transportation (arranged by you);

  • camping fees (we will try to share camping sites for efficient use of our funds); and probably

  • group food/fuel (if we choose this option based on the input we get), for which we will have a group "kitty." (Group food costs historically have been very modest, usually about $10/day.)

  • Any restaurant meals and other personal expenses will be borne on an individual basis.

  • DATES:

    We will begin riding Monday, July 14th at 8 a.m. from Eureka, MT, and end on Sunday, August 3rd, in Dillon, MT.


    Stage I of this ride will begin at Eureka, MT and end at Dillon, MT for a distance of 588 miles. (There are major airport "bail out" options at Helena, MT after 14 days, and Butte, MT after 17 days.) Every 4 days or so is a day off in a city or town.

    The Adventure Cycling "Great Divide Mountain Bike Route" map (Section #1) is available directly from:

    Adventure Cycling
    P.O. Box 8308
    Missoula, MT 59807
    (or call 1-800-721-8719)

    The cost for the map is $7.50 (for Adventure Cycling members) and $10.50 (non-members) plus $2.00 shipping. For your own safety, Adventure Cycling believes that it is imperative that you carry your own map (and we agree), an accurate cyclometer, and Forest visitor maps of the area (further information regarding these maps is described on the Adventure Cycling map narrative).

    Update (Nov. 13, 1996): According to Adventure Cycling, the Section I map is being reprinted in order to correct some problems found near the end of the route (logging). It will be available in March, '97. Our itinerary will be adjusted accordingly at that time.


    We envision a group of 8-12 people for the first leg of this ongoing adventure. If more than 12 people indicate serious interest, we will include participants on a "first come first served" basis as indicated by the return of the attached form.

    GROUP GEAR/MEALS (if we choose this alternative):

    Jim, cycle touring meal planner par excellence, would aid in coordinating the group food/meals aspect of the trip. We would have some "group gear" that we would carry (pots, stoves, water filter, group food, fuel) divided amongst all of us; we would usually have group meals, and would rotate through shared chores (cooking, cleanup, water filtering).

    Alternatively, each person would be completely independent and would be responsible for purchasing, carrying, cooking, all of his/her own food. With this alternative, there could be occasional group meals if everyone wanted to do it. (A water filter is strong recommended any time you are traveling in the back country).

    If we decide on the "group meals" option, as the itinerary is currently planned, there are ample opportunities to taste someone else's "home cookin'" (e.g. restaurants) in the various towns we pass through.


    It is strongly recommended that you have a mountain bike for this trip, as much of the route will be on county roads, forest service roads, dirt/gravel roads and single track (5% of the route is single track). You will need to allow room in your panniers for carrying your share of the group gear/food.


    Duane's an excellent and experienced touring bike mechanic and is willing to be the informal mechanical guru for the trip.


    None. This is a completely self-contained ride.


    If you would like a list of suggested touring items, it is easily available through Judy's web site:

    We'd love to know your thoughts about this. Please contact:

    Judy Colwell
    461 Menlo Oaks Drive
    Menlo Park, CA 94025

    Looking forward to hearing from you.


    Judy Colwell
    Duane Jardine
    Jim Nichols


    ( on icon to go to itinerary page...)


    Last Updated: February 10, 1999
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