Have you been looking for a new place to ride, one where the land is still as wild as it gets and you can almost imagine that dinosaurs are still meandering around? Cycle Greater Yellowstone has you covered, and even if you’ve done the CGY bike tour in past years, the 2018 route is almost completely new and not to be missed.
The ride will take place Sunday through Friday, August 11-17, 2018, with a bonus ride on Saturday morning in Sinks Canyon. It will cover parts of Wyoming that have never before been a part of the route: Cody, Meeteetse, Thermopolis, Pavillion, Dubois, and Lander. Started in 2013, Cycle Greater Yellowstone (also known as "The First Great Ride in the Last Best Place") exists to help grow awareness for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. Over the years, the event has brought thousands of riders to areas in and around Yellowstone to appreciate the beauty and realize the importance of preserving our country’s lands. Along the way, camping and daily excursions are provided through nonprofit organizations in the area, so the ride has been able to take part in a community grant program that has given back about $175,000 to the various nonprofits on the route over the years. We call that a win-win-win for the local organizations, the riders, and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.
The tour sells out almost every year, and if you’ve been craving the companionship of some new riding friends, Coordinator Jennifer Drinkwalter guarantees that the men and women you’ll meet on the ride will become lifetime friends. She’s seen, in past years, people who meet for the first time on day one of the ride and come back the next year as best friends and partners in the adventure.
If you’re looking for a tour that will challenge your riding endurance, but without leaving you totally wiped at the end of the day, this ride might be for you. Not only will you be getting in some serious base miles and having a blast, you’ll be ‘responsibly recreating’ around Yellowstone, which is the main goal of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. Their mission statement reads that members are "people protecting the lands, waters, and wildlife of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, now and for future generations." Just taking the time to ride in the area and combine that recreation with conservation is exactly what the coalition hopes for.
Most days, you’ll be pedaling for a few hours—with the exception of one rest day, where you can still pedal Togwotee Pass—but there’s still plenty of time to explore the small towns that are dotted along the route.
DAY 1: CODY TO MEETEETSE
The first day is just a warm-up, though if the 40 miles you’ll do as a group at the start of a ride isn’t enough, you can always add on 35 extra miles riding next to the Greybull River into the Shoshone National Forest. The tiny town of Meeteetse has less than 400 residents, and your chance of seeing wildlife—like elk, grizzly bears, and the black-footed ferret—is high. (If you opt to add mileage, there are a few mining ghost towns in the area immediately surrounding the town.)
DAY 2: MEETEETSE TO THERMOPOLIS