Novice Riders? New Sport? Intense Weather?

This and more from our weekend trip to Wyoming in late November.

Bikepacking has an alluring appeal, significantly longer distances covered, removing weight from a backpack to the bike, and potential for access to remote destinations. As seasoned outdoors people, we thought bikepacking would be an immediate and easy win, turns out we were in for quite a surprise. 

Starting in Fort Collins, Colorado, this overnight trip explores a lesser known region in Colorado which straddles the border between Colorado and Wyoming. This is an easily accessible and approachable route rideable by the most modest of bikepacking rigs. 

Keep reading below to learn about our route, gear, and lessons learned.



Two bikes lean against a fence

Route Brief: 

This route was intended to provide a generally singletrack route between Fort Collins, CO and Laramie, WY, however- this route is incomplete as of time of writing due to intense winter weather encountered during our initial ride of this route.

Spanning between northern Colorado and southern Wyoming, this ride provides bikepackers with some very atypical Colorado scenery. Starting in Old Town Fort Collins which can serve as a base for riders and has plentiful access to supplies (including grocery stores, Abe’s Bikes, and almost everything else imaginable). The foothills region is unique in that the terrain features a “prairie meets mountains” aesthetic. The route traverses Red Mountain open space, spanning an impressive 16,000 acres characterized by crimson and tan rocks, rolling grasslands, and sandy washes. 

The route follows some excellent gravel roads and mild singletrack. It’s worth noting that between Fort Collins and Laramie, access to re-supply points is extremely limited, if not impossible, so pack for one to two days of unassisted riding.  

Bikes and Gear:


For this foray into the world of bikepacking, the two of us took diverging directions with our bikes of choice. A medium Salsa Fargo (image at top of page) and a Cinelli Zydeco (image at top of page). Both bikes feature drop bars and ample space for bags and other accessories. For the most part these bikes were on even footing- however- the Fargo edged out the Zydeco on the many sandy washes due to its 29x2.4” tires; conversely on hardpack gravel, the Zydeco zoomed past the Fargo.

The Salsa Fargo was a medium frame specced with a longer than stock seat post to accommodate its rider (5’11”) rocking a 1x11 Apex 1 drivetrain with an 11-42 tooth cassette. At the time the bike retailed for $2200- if interested please shoot us a message and we can talk specifics! The Fargo also featured a set of Salsa Cow Chipper handlebars which are the stuff of legends in the bikepacking community. 

The Zydeco was a large frame specced with a hybrid Apex 1/Praxis groupset. 


Both riders opted to go with Oveja Negra saddle bags and the Zydeco was outfitted with an Oveja gas tank. The Fargo set out on the journey with an Exp Series (medium) frame bag- which by design perfectly fit the frame, alongside a set of fork mounted Salsa Anything Exp cages. 

Bottom Line on Bikes and Gear:

Both bikes performed as expected during this short jaunt. As noted above the Zydeco suffered in the sandy washes of Red Mountain due to its 700c tires. Apex 1 is a solid groupset that makes entry into bikepacking more affordable, but lacks the range of more modern groupsets- it’s definitely worth noting that both bikes had drop bars which Apex 1 accommodates nicely. Both bikes could benefit from an upgraded set of wheels. 

The Salsa Anything EXP cages were a standout among the gear, allowing objects that would otherwise obstruct be neatly attached to the fork. 

Oveja Negra bags are among some of the best in the industry, keeping out the snow, mud, and moisture during the snow we encountered on this trip. The saddle bag in particular holds an impressive amount and closes neatly and securely.


Interested in the bikes or gear? 

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