Monday Motivation: Open Range

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Home, home on the range…


Monday Motivation: Open Range: Riding in any area that is “open range” for cattle, or wildlife, is an oddity for most of us. The nation, for the most part, where “civilization” is found, is cordoned off, developed, “owned”, and maybe lacks a feeling of being alone in the great big wide expanses that once were the norm everywhere that gravel roads are prevalent these days. The “grid” dominates, or there are at least some indictaions that civilization is within reach. Getting away from that is a rare treat, or so it seems for many of us, these days.

We sent’s own Ben Welnak out to the “open range” over the past weekend, and he shared this shot with us. Stay tuned for more about what he was up to very soon.

Discuss and share your questions or thoughts about gravel bikes, gear, events and anything else on the Riding Gravel Forum


Author: Guitar Ted

Guitar Ted hails from Iowa. Home of over 70,000 miles of gravel and back roads. An inaugural member of the Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame and Co-creator of Trans Iowa in late 2004- Guitar Ted has been at the forefront of the growth of gravel events and riding since then. Creator of Gravel Grinder News in 2008, he produced the premier calendar of gravel and back road events. GT joined forces with Riding Gravel in late 2014.

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4 thoughts on “Monday Motivation: Open Range

  1. Nice Bike ! Nice to see any flat bar especially a 700c / 29er finally
    Look forward to the read.

    From the sky one can Eagle eye the “grids”. When I am flying, observing it saddens me somewhat to see the checker boards.
    20 + years ago our “single track” locally was deer trails (really). Now they have termed,ramped groomed trails and often use chair lifts.

    My favorite to “ride” locally are Mountain Range National Forest service roads. I have never explored that “open range” where the Buffalo roamed in your photo but would Very much enjoy it combined with exploring the regional Native American / American history of the area along the way.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hey Tinman,
      You’ll find that I’m a mountain biker through and through. I really go enjoy the openness of gravel roads, double track, and game trails, and definitely invite all of the bike options that are being offered increasingly often. Great options for people wanting to do different rides, events, etc. However, I tend toward the mountain bike side of things – I mounted the Soma Cazadero’s on my Stans rims, I like to ride a little wider (you likely won’t find me on anything under 35mm…), and I’m at home in technical stuff. I’m currently located in Western North Dakota, just north of the Badlands and game trails are part of the mountain biking, in addition to the Maah Daah Hey trail. The trip to the American Prairie Reserve last weekend was awesome. The access to the Charles Russell Wildlife Preserve along the Missouri River breaks is very cool. I get the feeling that you could count the number of cyclists to touch the service roads I was on in one hand. The Missouri River breaks are quite unique and filled with some grinder climbs of 500-1000 feet too. All sorts of animals along the river too – elk, mule and whitetail deer, moose, mountain lions, etc… Anyhow, my point is, I’m good with getting my mountain bike setup to do these sorts of things. My everyday riding is gravel (100’s of miles out the door…) – I have nothing else – we live on a gravel road. Thanks for following along. -Ben

      1. Nice to read. We are a lot a like……….well……..except for the ….”technical ” bike mechcanics / set up part – (chuckle). I was in the skilled building trades for a lot of years but, bikes I just ride except for the basic stuff.
        My thing is forest service roads —–kind into the dirt touring/riding thing. I am with ya on the MTB’er through and through thing……although I like to ride/messin around some other stuff now and again.

        Hey……..look forward to the read……..looks like nice country out there……..I am around the Allegheny myself = hilly and with more and more black bears about it seems 😉 Then there is the Amish in the flatter adjoining lands as well……..nothing better than Homemade Amish made Strawberry Rhubarb pie when you see a bake sale ;)……while ride’in

        Take care

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