Outerbike in Moab: Words From “The Mecca”
Moab, Utah has arguably been considered the mountain bike capital of the US for many years. Of course, there are many that will dispute this claim stating that their location has better trails, more singletrack, or better weather. I even catch myself telling people that Moab is overrated and suggesting they ride in Fruita or Crested Butte or Park City instead. So when the 1st annual Outerbike event was scheduled to be in Moab this year, I rejoiced in the fact that the event was only 100 miles from Osprey’s Packs corporate headquarters, but scoffed at the lack of really cool trails to truly test the demo bikes. Turns out I was wrong.
Moab truly is an awesome place for anything bike related. New (legal) trails are popping up everywhere, providing opportunities to ride sweet singletrack, slickrock expanses, or freshly paved bike paths in addition to the expansive array of 4WD roads left over from the Uranium mining boom. Fall scenery is absolutely spectacular ranging from bright yellow aspens on the high peaks of the LaSal mountains to the red rock canyons carved by the Colorado river.
But what I really noticed most during this trip to Moab is what a bike town it really is. There are only about 5,000 people living in Moab, yet I saw at least 6 bike shops while driving up Main street. If you don’t want to pedal the uphill in your quest to complete the “whole enchilada,” do a search on Moab bike shuttles and you will find a whole list of companies providing this service.
Want to talk bikes or trails? Sit down in any restaurant or bar and it is almost guaranteed that whoever is next to you will be as big of an enthusiast as you are. Motel parking lots are full of vehicles with roof racks or some type of bike carrying contraptions. Locals are commuting all over town on their customized cruisers and utilizing the bike racks provided at most every corner. There is just a vibe of biking everywhere if you tune in to it. Yet the area is so expansive and there are enough riding options that rarely are trails clogged with traffic and user conflicts are minimal.
Put it all together and Moab is the ideal location for an event such as Outerbike. In its simplest form, Outerbike is a gathering of bicycle and accessory manufacturers with bicycle consumers from all over the globe. Registered participants simply exchange their demo card for any of the bikes/accessories they have been lusting after and hit the trail to see if it really is “all that.” The event site borders a new trail system called Bar M, allowing rides to take place right from the tents and maximizing the number of bikes one can try out. For those looking to do a longer ride, shuttles were available to area classics allowing for more in depth bike reviews. Each night bicycle themed movies took place in town and participants got to hang out and have a beer with well known personalities ranging from pro racers to insane free riders.
In retrospect, I am ecstatic that Outerbike was held in Moab and can’t wait to attend the event next year. No longer will I say Moab is over rated and direct riders to seek trails elsewhere. Sometimes it is about more than just the trail. A ride can be and often should be defined by the overall setting and attitude of the rider. Moab is just the place to put on that positive attitude, immerse yourself in the bike culture and crank out your best ride ever!