Cycling 4,400 km on the Continental Divide Route: Finding Gratitude and Friendship

197

It’s 7:57 am on a Monday and I’m sitting in the bike shop where I work having a cup of coffee with a customer. He is excited by the quality of coffee our Rocket Espresso machine makes us, and he has a new appreciation for what he calls the little things in life.

You see, Alexis has just returned from a 28-day adventure where he rode self-supported on his bike from the comforts of his home in the Bow Valley 4,400 kms south to Antelope Wells, New Mexico on the great divide route. An adventure that was sparked by the movie Ride the Divide, which his girlfriend introduced him to about a year and half ago. With a mix of mountain terrain and surfaces (80% gravel, 10% trail and 10% pavement), the ride is no small feat.

On this day, I had a chance to catch up with Alexis to hear about his adventure, look at some pictures, and, well, simply dig a bit deeper into the journey he had. The first thing everyone wants to know about such big adventures is: why? He responded with a multi-faceted answer, but the main reason was he wanted to do something challenging and memorable for his 40 birthday, which happened to be smack dab in the middle of his ride. He rode a Canadian-made mountain bike called the Kobain, a 650+ wheeled hard tail bike from Devinci, equipped with the bare essentials in a variety of bike packing specific bags. He spent months gathering gear and information from local shops and other bike packing enthusiasts in the area.

His journey started off at the grand depart in Banff and he had the company of his girlfriend for the first few days. They parted ways just shy of the U.S. border and his solo journey began. After two weeks of riding solo, he met an American rider who was on the same path to New Mexico. They decided to ride together and bonded very quickly. Spending two weeks alone was hard, Alexis told me, but once he found a riding buddy, everything just seemed easier. All the logistics of finding food, water, and shelter and calculating the gaps in resources was made easier with two brains thinking it through.

When I asked Alexis what his single biggest challenge was, he told me it was the logistics and how you had to plan every move around what resources you had. Finding water and food further south was a big challeng