Beyond bikes: Devo Explorers!

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Beyond bikes: Devo Explorers!

Imagine: you’re floating down a calm stretch of Utah river in a solo inflatable packraft containing your disassembled bike, your tent, your sleeping bag, and everything you need for a weekend of adventure. You’re about to transcend the grind of modern adolescence and experience something beautiful.

Okay, okay, no member of our Explorers bikepacking teams has ever actually used those exact words. But the sentiment, we assure you, is real.

Young riders join Explorers for so many reasons. Some fell in love with the idea of bikepacking after reading an article in Bicycling Magazine or hearing about it from a friend. Some are new to town or otherwise find “traditional” Devo daunting (they shouldn’t; today’s Devo offers programs for all experience and motivation levels, from true beginner to avid pre-professional racer). Some seek a chill-vibe complement to their “main” Devo team. Some are looking for a way to use their bike as a tool to get beyond — beyond the town trails, beyond the ground you can cover in a quick after-school session, beyond the standard experience.

Folks, we’ve got them ALL covered.

Over the years, our Explorers have taken their bikes on overnight bikepack and packraft adventures, bike treks through national monuments with exploration of archaeological sites, multi-night rides following a river for maximum swim break fun, weekends deep in the forest learning to make rope using Yucca, a five-day summer traverse soaking up Colorado’s glorious high country, and an overnight in the Navajo Nation, co-led by Navajo guides who introduced them to their sacred land and told local stories along the route.

Got chills? Us too.

There’s more. Our participants are often so moved by their experience that many program graduates come on our trips as mentors to the younger participants. The cycle repeats.

Don’t have the right gear? We have supplies to loan — bikepacking bikes, bags, and camping gear. Participants need nothing but themselves, their curiosity, and their openness to something truly unique.

The trips come at the end of the season and though not mandatory, are certainly the highlight for many riders. Part of the beauty of a Devo bikepacking trip, though, is the preparation that leads up to it. Over the eight-week season participants learn mountain bike skills, but far more than just that. Practice might focus on working collaboratively to dream up a trip, learning to read a topographic map and plan a route, digging into the details of leave-no-trace principles, playing backcountry games, wilderness shelter building, how to pack a bike for a trip, and more.  While these kids cover fewer miles than their peers in other Devo programs, they cover so much more ground.

Some youth even start the program as new or hesitant riders, but graduate with stronger bike-handling skills AND a solid sense of self-sufficiency in the backcountry. What an experience. 

We are proud to offer these offbeat programs in a town where it can sometimes feel like speed is king and competition rules all. What’s more, our programs are one-of-a-kind in the nation — no other youth bike club offers an experience like this. And while we can’t actually promise any kind of transcendence or sublimity, our bikepacking programs that bring youth, bikes, and the wilderness so powerfully together can get you pretty darn close.

The details: 

The Explorer programs are open to any rider age 2nd-12th. Participants are welcome to enter at any point with any level of bike experience.  

The program starts with Devo Jr Explorers for kids ages 2nd-4th who want to use the bike as a tool for exploration.  Practices are based on riding for fun and often riding to a place to explore or learn bike packing skills such as using sundials, building primitive shelters, etc.  

Beginning in 5th grade, the kids get the choice of two programs that offer an overnight trip after the season!  These programs are Ramblers (all gender 5th-8th grade) or Exploras (female-identifying 5th-12th grade).  

For those wanting to head deeper into the woods, our high school program Trailblazers (all gender, 8th-12th grade) offers a more in-depth practice schedule and longer trips. Female-identifying high schoolers also have the opportunity to continue in Exploras as mentors to younger participants.