Saturday, December 19, 2009

Perseverance and Patience = The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route

Great things never happen overnight, and the world of cycling is no exception. Many of us experience the frustrations of waiting for new bike trails to be completed, new bike lanes to be marked, and improvements to cycling conditions in general.

To keep things in perspective, here's a look back at one cycling project that began as just a dream in 1994. The Adventure Cycling Association had a vision of an off-road cycling route that would follow the spine of the Continental Divide all the way from the northern to the southern border of the United States. A year later, a group of journalists were taken on a guided tour of the almost-completed first 800 miles of the route through Montana. An archived story from Sports Illustrated chronicles that first trip and the dream that it embodied.

Fifteen years later, after countless thousands of hours of labor by professional cartographers, route-planners, private and government land managers, volunteer scouts, local contacts, and touring cyclists acting as guinea pigs, the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route is a complete reality. It stretches not only between the borders of the US, but up into Canada to Banff, Alberta as well.

You can purchase maps to ride the GDMBR on your own, or ride the Montana section as part of a guided tour. You can even participate in a race of the entire route in two different events, either the Tour Divide or the Great Divide Race.

The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route shows what can be accomplished with the right combination of perseverance to get things done, and patience to let the process happen.

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