Solstice Campout 2017

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Wondering what 260 bikepackers did for the worldwide group Swift Solstice Campout? Here’s a roundup of photos and essays from the weekend closest to the solstice when hundreds of fellow bike campers spent a night (or several) under the stars…

In celebration of the Summer Solstice – or Winter Solstice, depending on your locale – the Solstice Campout (AKA Swift Campout) is a worldwide group bikepacking event that sees hundreds of bikepackers around the world gather in small groups to ride off and spend a night or two outside. The Campout was started and organized by Swift Industries, a bikepacking/bike touring bag company based in Seattle, Washington. This was the third year for the event and according to Swift founder, Martina Brimmer, saw over 1,600 entrants this year and continues to gain momentum.

To commemorate this years event, we gathered short essays and an incredible collection of photos from 16 Swift Solstice Campouts all over the world. And in the spirit of the event, here they are with relevant links to Instagram accounts, ordered from the largest group ride to the smallest (but even the two smallest are very big in their own right!).

Kerry Nordstrom @dirt_drops

Tolt-McDonald Campground: Washington, USA / 65 bike campers

Photos by Martina Brimmer (@swiftindustries). For the titular Swift Campount, the Seattle crew led by Martina and Jason of Swift Industries rode to Tolt-McDonald Campground north of Carnation, WA. Two groups headed out, one on mountain bike trails with the suggestion of riding “90s mountain bikes” and the other group on farm roads. As it was extremely hot and sunny all weekend, we took our time and stopped to douse ourselves and swim along the way.

Solstice Campout, Swift Campout

  • Solstice Campout, Swift Campout
  • Solstice Campout, Swift Campout
  • Solstice Campout, Swift Campout

Morgan and Stephanie @foundinthemountains

Sunshine Coast: British Columbia, Canada / 30 bike campers

A quick 40-minute ferry ride from West Vancouver gets you to the Sunshine Coast, a series of eclectic communities nestled up against the lush Coast Mountains. Our destination was Sechelt, and a great group campsite at Porpoise Bay. Two-thirds of our group chose meandery side roads with ice cream and ocean swims, while the remaning ten climbed up and over a challenging technical singletrack route. We converged at camp, sharing stories over dinner before watching the long day’s last light turn to darkness on the beach. Perfect.

Solstice Campout 2017, Morgan Taylor

  • Solstice Campout 2017, Morgan Taylor
  • Solstice Campout 2017, Morgan Taylor

Sharif Hassan @thespindleatl

Chattahoochee Bend State Park: Atlanta, GA / 30 bike campers

This overnighter took 30 adventurers from the Spindle to Chattahoochee Bend State Park (CBSP) in Newnan, Georgia, a journey of about 65 miles (130 round-trip). We stopped mid-way at Blue Eyed Daisy coffee shop in Serenbe on both days for lunch, and various stops along the way to regroup and snack up. The Spindle and their handsome team of miscreants and rascals led riders to CBSP, Georgia’s fifth-largest state park, with 12 miles of hiking trails and three miles of mountain bike trails, and apparently a whole lot of armadillos. We were free to roam the wilderness, relax, and carouse with friends while a delicious dinner is prepared on the OYRO cooker by their rad crew, oh and several cold beers and home-brews to wash it all down! The trips rider ranged in experience, but even the amateurs hammered out the miles with little to complain about.

Solstice Campout 2017, The Spindle Atlanta

  • Solstice Campout 2017, The Spindle Atlanta
  • Solstice Campout 2017, The Spindle Atlanta

Vince Asta @parts.and.labor

Ponca Hills: Nebraska, USA / 27 bike campers

Nebraska Edition! Just over 25 of us started out in the heart of the city (Omaha) and headed North along the river. North to an area known as the Ponca Hills. The route was comprised of some fine country roads that lead us in and out of the Missouri River Valley. Food was good, camping was great, and the company was even better.

Solstice Campout, Vince Asta, Swift Campout

  • Solstice Campout, Vince Asta, Swift Campout
  • Solstice Campout, Vince Asta, Swift Campout
  • Solstice Campout, Vince Asta, Swift Campout

Stefan Amato @panniercc

Peakland: England / 17 bike campers

Photos by Chris Goodman (@uninspiredramblings), Mat Waudby (@getwildmatty) and Stefan. Pannier HQ lies on the edge of the Peak District National Park – ‘Peakland’ – England and there’s no better place to organise a Solstice Social Overnight ride than in your own back-yard. A small group of us met at Seven Hills Bakery in the centre of Sheffield on Saturday lunchtime and, after a posh coffee, headed off on a 70km escape ride, via the odd gritstone edge, wild-swim spot, and moorland track to our Solstice Spot in Edale – complete with campfire, wood-fired pizza oven, and cold soft drinks / negronis…

Solstice Campout 2017, Pannier.cc

On Sunday morning, folk all went their separate ways. OK, the wild-swim was optimistic…in June…in England. But the rest all worked out perfect. Aeropress coffees always taste better in the morning drizzle, anyway. Same again in 2018. Join us next year for the 15kph Pizza Club…!

  • Solstice Campout 2017, Pannier.cc
  • Solstice Campout 2017, Pannier.cc
  • Solstice Campout 2017, Pannier.cc

Wojtek @CoffeeTeaTrip

Lake Niesłysz: Poland / 13 bike campers

The history of our trip is as simple as the idea of SWIFT Campout itself. We started from Zielona Góra to which our friends from Gorzów and from Warsaw came. The destination was Lake Niesłysz located about 60 km from the starting point. On the way we visited the old bridges, bunkers and overnight accommodation we found in an abandoned tourist resort. Weekend full of adventures and good vibration.

Solstice Campout 2017, Coffee And Tea Trip

  • Solstice Campout 2017, Coffee And Tea Trip
  • Solstice Campout 2017, Coffee And Tea Trip
  • Solstice Campout 2017, Coffee And Tea Trip

Logan & Virginia @bikepackingcom

Pisgah National Forest: North Carolina, USA / 13 bike campers

Oddly enough, between planning another trip, work, and bad weather, we didn’t really have a plan. So we decided to crash someone else’s bike party in the woods. Which is exactly what I said as we rolled up the Buckhorn shelter in Pisgah National Forest, “Hey, I heard there was a bike party in the woods! Mind if we join you?” There was another gentleman who happened to show up unknowingly as well; it was his first bikepacking trip. Good times were had by all as we dried clothes and told stories around the campfire. We woke in to a beautiful greenroom morning and the sound of a woodpecker. Thanks @libertybikesavl!

Swift Campout Pisgah, Solstice Campout

  • Swift Campout Pisgah, Solstice Campout
  • Swift Campout Pisgah, Solstice Campout
  • Swift Campout Pisgah, Solstice Campout

Jarrod Bunk @hopecyclery

Pittsburg: Pennsylvania, USA / 12 bike campers

The Pittsburgh, Pa Swift Campout was a damn good time. Thick Bikes knows how to make a fun route and the campout spot overlooked the city below. Fire, drinking and some shenanigans ensued. With 12 riders and a Pug we descended back on the city to close out the trip on a pretty good note.

Solstice Campout 2017, Jerrod Bunk

  • Solstice Campout 2017, Jerrod Bunk
  • Solstice Campout 2017, Jerrod Bunk

Sarah Swallow @sarahjswallow

XVT: Vermont, USA / 12 bike campers

Photos by John McCaig (@jdgesus). For this years #Swiftcampout Solstice Ride Poppi organized a group of 12 riders hailing from as far as Australia, Canada, Washington, Phoenix, North Carolina, Ohio and Connecticut to embark on what turned out to be a combination of the XVT-Light and the traditional XVT (Trans Vermont Trail) route. The quiet dirt roads, steep climbs, and brief sections of boggy singletrack were accompanied by regular waterfalls, lakes, and streams to cool off from New England’s hot, humid, tick and mosquito infested atmosphere in June and the artisanal health food stores stocked with maple syrup kept us regularly fueled and happy. They were soft, quaint times.

Solstice Campout, Sarah Swallow, Swift Campout

  • Solstice Campout, Sarah Swallow, Swift Campout
  • Solstice Campout, Sarah Swallow, Swift Campout
  • Solstice Campout, Sarah Swallow, Swift Campout

Brad Serls @ride_that_trail

Lake Leschenaultia: Perth, Western Australia / 11 bike campers

Title photo by Justin Jones (@Stabbyoperator). Cycles Bespoke has working over the past year to create a community for those that adventure by bike in Perth, Western Australia. We decided to join in on the Swift Campout festivities by getting together a small crew, head into the hills and ride an old railway heritage trail to Lake Leschenaultia, a reservoir created to supply steam trains with water during the line’s operation. Perth’s weather played nice and our group was greeted with sun shine and blue skies, multiple beer stops were made, the ride up was a chilled affair full of smiles. As we arrived to camp the sun started to drop, tents were set up and the crew had a hearty dinner and a couple of pints at the local pub. Back at camp a fire was lit, we sipped whisky and shared stories with the Milky Way in full sight. After a good night’s sleep, a cooked breakfast and pack up we headed back home via bakeries, pubs and #coffeeoutside stops. All in all everyone came away with smiles and plans for more adventures, we can’t wait to all head out again!

Solstice Campout 2017, Brad Serls

  • Solstice Campout 2017, Brad Serls
  • Soma Wolverine, Bikepacking
  • Solstice Campout 2017, Brad Serls

Cass Gilbert @whileoutriding

Rio Grande Gorge: New Mexico, USA / 9 bike campers

The Desert Mariners was our chosen name: a fine, upstanding, yet somewhat motley crew of Santa Fean riders, inspired by the Swift Campout to bike, cook over the embers of a camp fire, and sleep under New Mexico’s canopy of stars for the night. Friends and families alike, our ages ranging from 15 months upwards and we numbered 9. Read Cass’ full story here.

Swift Campout, Santa Fe

Josh Spice @staysanesleepoutside

Fort Rock & Christmas Valleys: Oregon, USA / 6 Bike Campers

Keeping an “In The Ground” theme from last year’s Swift Campout, I managed to trace doubletrack and dirt roads across high desert sagebrush country to create Devil’s Crack: a 90% dirt tour from Fort Rock, through Devil’s Garden volcanic field, to Crack In The Ground, a resupply in Christmas Valley, camp among the pines for a campfire, and then across the Connley Hills, linking up with Oregon Outback’s ride into Fort Rock. The 1800 feet of total ascent and brightest Milky Way galaxy we’ve ever seen hovering above our campfire were the icing on the cake needed to balance out the 100° heat.

Solstice Campout 2017, Josh Spice

  • Solstice Campout 2017, Josh Spice
  • Solstice Campout 2017, Josh Spice
  • Solstice Campout 2017, Josh Spice

Gabriel Amadeus @oregontimbertrail

Waucoma Backcountry: Oregon, USA / 5 bike campers

The Oregon Timber Trail Alliance loosely organized a beginner-friendly trip into the area last weekend as part of the Swift Campout. Three first-time bikepackers and a handful of experienced bike campers rode the aqueduct trail from Kingsley Reservoir and found a splendid base camp deep in the forest at Black Lake. The following day some of us ventured towards Wahtum Lake but found the trail blocked by a gnarl of windfall, while others relaxed in camp and enjoyed fishing and floating in the crystal clear lake.

Solstice Campout 2017, Oregon Timber Trail

  • Solstice Campout 2017, Oregon Timber Trail
  • Solstice Campout 2017, Oregon Timber Trail
  • Solstice Campout 2017, Oregon Timber Trail

Lewis Ciddor @xshippx

Yarra Valley: Melbourne, Australia / 5 bike campers

A winter trip to Keppel’s Hut has become a bit of a yearly pilgrimage for myself, having made the trip for each of the past 3 years since I moved to Melbourne. The roads and tracks leading up the mountain to the hut are closed to vehicles in the winter, so you can rest assured a 4WD isn’t going to crash your party!

Solstice Campout 2017, Lewis Ciddor

Departing from the outer suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, Todd, Ben, Guy, Chris and myself (Lewis) made the wet and cold journey through the Yarra Valley, around the lower slopes of Mt Donna Buang and into Marysville before the final push up the back of Lake Mountain.

  • Solstice Campout 2017, Lewis Ciddor
  • Solstice Campout 2017, Lewis Ciddor

The final few kilometres were a tough hike-a-bike through thick peanut butter mud but we were rewarded with a great night huddled around the hut’s stone fireplace. We awoke in the morning to a dusting of snow on the ground, some flurries and the mud frozen hard enough to ride out on for our return journey and made for the perfect Winter Solstice mission! More photos can be found on my instagram @xshippx or the trip hashtag #kampkeppel

Whitney Ford Terry @whitneyft

Missoula: Montana, USA / 4 bike campers

Since moving to Montana i’ve been overwhelmed by the prolific network of service roads and forgotten double track winding through the Northern Rockies. So for this year’s Swift Campout I thought I’d try to connect as many of them as possible to create a tour of some of the most well preserved Ghost Towns and mining sites around Missoula including Garnet Ghost Town and the “Museum of the Mountain” at Granite State Park.

Solstice Campout 2017, Whitney Ford-Terry

This campout was part of a longer Peripatetic Artist Residency Alex Borgen and I cooked up as a way to encourage conversations around the complicated histories of Land Use and natural resource extraction. For two weeks we went on 2-4 day tours and hosted a  coffee outside meetup with the Missoula Art Museum to discuss a recent lecture by Lucy Lippard on her book “Undermining: A Wild Ride Through Land Use, Politics, and Art in the Changing West.”

  • Solstice Campout 2017, Whitney Ford-Terry
  • Solstice Campout 2017, Whitney Ford-Terry
  • Solstice Campout 2017, Whitney Ford-Terry

Catch me ridn’ nerdy on Instagram, whitney ford-terry, and check out more photos from this trip from Alex BorgenLaurie ChippsLaura Limegartner, and the Missoula Art Museum.

Ryan Wilson @rmdub

Cordillera Real: Bolivia / 1 bike camper

While following Cass Gilbert’s Yungas route, I hit the day of the Swift Campout and decided to do something a little extra special. I veered off the route and started heading up an unknown road aimed straight at Nevado Illimani, hoping only for a good view, and a quiet place to pitch the tent.

Solstice Campout, Ryan Wilson

  • Solstice Campout, Ryan Wilson
  • Solstice Campout, Ryan Wilson

The date is already set for next year — mark your calendars for June 23rd, 2018. Thanks to Justin Jones (@Stabbyoperator) for the beautiful main photo of the starry sky.

5 Comments
  • https://twitter.com/michaellawtonnz Michael Lawton

    Not sure if it qualifies as bikepacking as much of the ride was on-road but here’s the photos I took during my campout: https://goo.gl/photos/BcD68tPZtLUKi8df8
    More photos from another rider: http://i.kd2.org/a=7c8U9NNRi

  • http://www.bikepacking.com Logan Watts

    Nice photos! Looks like a good campsite…

  • https://www.instagram.com/leooutdoor/ Leo Ferreira

    I love this, congratulations !!!

  • Kurt Schneider

    That’s the most ridiculous collection of dirty, cycling, goodness…and it makes me want to play the lottery a little more often. (A guy can dream, can’t he?) In the mean time, I’m going spend more time on my bikes, looking forward to my next vacation.

    Well done to all who contributed.

  • https://www.facebook.com/marko.sladic.3 Marko Sladić

    Pictures are so beautiful.