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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,
I've been trying to plan a trip to Moab for the past several years, and for some reason or another (usually money) it doesn't work out.

This year, it looks like things are falling into place, and I need some help with the details.
Thanks in advance for anything you can help me with.

I have a voucher on Northwest Airlines, so I am locked into using them for this trip.
I plan on flying from Detroit, MI to Salt Lake City on Sunday morning, April 15th.
I will then rent a car or take a shuttle to Moab, which gets me into Moab at about 4:30pm.

I will be heading back to SLC on Thursday the 19th at about 10:30am.

That is all I've been able to piece together so far.
My two tentative riding partners will likely not be able to attend this trip.

So now, here are my questions:
Most importantly, is it easy to hook up with other riders? I just don't feel safe riding in the desert on my own without ever having been there before.

If possible, I'd like to rent a bike starting sunday afternoon, so I can get an easy ride in on Sunday afternoon. Can anyone recommend a good progression of trails to hit while I'm there? I'm a solid intermediate rider on most of our local midwest trails. ...and a little chicken hearted when necessary!

I still need to figure out lodging and other assorted details. But mainly, am I foolish for going to Moab if I don't have other riders specifically going with me?
are any of you available for rides on those dates?

I'm sure I'll have lots more questions as I start sorting the details out,
so thanks in advance for all of your help, advice, and insight!
-Mark
 

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Bored Carp
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Ha, Ha. I think we should change the name of this forum to the "Moab Advice Board" - or, better yet, combine this board with the Women's Lounge and call it the "How Can I get Women to Talk to Me in Moab Forum" or the "What Baggy Shorts Won't Make my Butt look Big on Slickrock Forum"

:)

Most of your questions have been answered before - see below. As for riding alone, it isn't too smart. Most people don't die, but some do, eh?

Check out Moabworld.com - you might be able to find some riders to hook up with there, or sign up for a shuttle and stick with your group. Lots of businesses offer this service.

Cheers,
C
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ha ha! That first paragraph made me laugh out loud!
Hey, I apologize for asking what has obviously been asked thousands of times before.
It's just that I was planning this great trip to Moab, and the bottom fell out from underneath me.

Now I'm left with the quandry of: do I go anyway, or scrap the trip yet again for another year. That is why I figured I need to reach out to you Moabites and find out if it's easy to hook up with a group.
I've never been to Moab, and I won't go riding there alone. I have read through many threads in this forum over the years, and I have practicaly memorized Rider Mel's guide, but I was looking for some advice on the group rides situation.

I will look into that website and the shuttle groups. Thanks for your advice.
I am already sad at the prospect of having to cancel my dream mtb vacation yet again.
At least your humor really made my day though. Thanks!
-Mark
 

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Bored Carp
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You should definitely go. If hook up with the shuttle groups, you WILL find someone similar in ability on these rides - Moab is pretty busy in April. Trying to set up a group ride just opens you up to more "flaking" opportunities, but a shuttle is scheduled.

April in the desert is the best, don't miss out.

Cheers,
C
 

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Sugary Exoskeleton
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TrailBurner said:
Now I'm left with the quandry of: do I go anyway, or scrap the trip yet again for another year. That is why I figured I need to reach out to you Moabites and find out if it's easy to hook up with a group.
Go anyway! There is no such thing as not being able to find people to ride with in Moab! Even if you go alone without plans, at that time of year you will meet tons of people at the trailheads and on the shuttles. You're sure to hit it off with a group and have someone to ride with for the whole trip.

JMH
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the reply.
I am thinking that I'm just gonna go for it.
But as you know, it just doesn't have the same appeal when you don't have your friends with you.
....Unless you want to ride with me! I'll be your friend! LOL
 

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Isn't mid April when the Jeep Safari is? If so it will be packed, which in your case won't be such a bad thing. Lots of bikers. Biking alone out there isn't such a big deal. I'm sure you'll hit the popular trails first just because it's your first time there which you should. It sure makes me smile when I hear someone's "dream vacation" is something I do when I'm bored on a weekend.
 

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Sugary Exoskeleton
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I am willing to bet that every weekend in March and April there will be at least one or two groups going down to Moab (or living there already) that post on this forum.

I say: buy the tickets, plan the trip and then post up in April asking for a guide! Then mention the part about the Luxury Condo you rented for the week along with the free room and board. Oh yeah, and the beer fridge. Don't forget to mention the beer fridge.

JMH
 

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Ok

The Jeep Safari is the first week af April this year, so you are in luck there. However, that week you plan to be in Moab is probably going to be the second busiest of the year behind Jeep Week, so if you plan on a hotel, you should probably get a reservation ASAP and be prepared to spend $80-$100 a night. If you are alone, you could stay at the Lazy Lizard Hostel and save a ton of money, as well as probably meeting a ton of other riders. Definitely don't wait on that.

It is a 4 hour drive to Moab from SLC if you haul ass. Even if everything goes perfectly, I doubt you'll have time to ride much in Moab on Sunday if you are planning on renting a bike. It will be dark by 6:30. If you only have an hour or so, head straight up to Slickrock, since it is the closest trail to town.

Definitely do Porcupine, Slickrock, Sovereign/Baby Steps, Amasa Back, Poison Spider/Portal. Gemini, Klondike, Hurrah if you have time. Moab Rim if you like walking uphill.
 

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honkinunit said:
Definitely do Porcupine, Slickrock, Sovereign/Baby Steps, Amasa Back, Poison Spider/Portal. Gemini, Klondike, Hurrah if you have time. Moab Rim if you like walking uphill.
But not necessarily in that order :)

Gemini bridges is mostly dirt road if I remember right, but I've never rode it so I am not a good source for that one.

Klondike to me is the best trail to start people on in moab that have never been there. It's pretty easy, breaks you into the fact that most moab trails start with climbing, and get rewarded by descending. It might take you 45 minutes or an hour to get to the end of the trail and 15 to get back to the vehicle. It's short enough that you can't get in too much trouble, but still has some stuff to play on to get used to the slickrock if you've never been there. And it has dinosaur footprints how can you beat that.

Sovereign is a great trail, it's part moab slickrock part singletrack.

Hurrah pass is a nice ride as well though I've only driven it, that's pretty easy, you can easily get a truck up the whole trail at least to the top of the pass, the backside down I think is pretty ugly.

Poison spider is fun, but it can be full of deep sand depending on when you go. The portal is a crazy ride, we hiked up most of it then rode poison down. I don't think I'd want to try riding down the portal.

Slickrock is great of course, and solo it might be pretty safe as there will be a ton of people on it. There are a lot of off shoots though and all the rock can tend to look the same so it's easy to get "lost" if you don't pay attention. You should be able to hook up with riders on most of the popular trails. As for riding them by yourself, I wouldn't recommend it for most of them, especially since you've never been there. There are very few trails I'd feel comfortable riding solo out there and I've been out there a half dozen times.

Amasa and Porcupine are my favorite trails but both of them can mess you up in a hurry if you are not paying attention. I'd say they should be the last trails you do after you are used to some of the other rides there. It's just important to know your limits and ride within them. Amasa isn't so bad, but stuff can come up in a hurry on porcupine.

I had delusions of riding moab rim last summer, I'd still like to do it but only if I put flats on my bike with my rock climbing shoes on. One thing you learn in moab is you literally can climb things on your bike that are too steep to stand on. Especially since most cycling shoes have very hard soles that don't grip well. I've had several incidents of stalling out on a climb, unclipping and sliding down the hill because my sidi's flat out would not hold the rock at that angle. Of course I'd also like to ride porcupine "backwards" someday, now that's sick.

There is a ton of online resources and there are some great maps you can get when you get to moab that have trail descriptions and such on them. There should be enough riders hanging around that time of year even if you just go to the trailhead you can probably meet up with riders no problem. I've never had anyone turn down having another riding partner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, thank you to all of you who took the time to reply to my calls for help.
Due to your fantastic advice, I purchased the ticket tonight, so I'd just like to say:

I'M GOING TO MOAB!!!

I still have a lot of details to work out, and I'm still trying to get someone to go with me, but thank you all for your fantastic advice.

If I really only have 3 riding days in Moab (mon-wed) is it worth it to drive to Fruita for one of those days?

I'm hoping that if I pull into Moab early enough on Sunday afternoon, that I can pick up a rental bike and maybe do a shorter ride? who knows. I'll probably be exhausted from traveling.
I figured that I should start with something easy like Gemini Bridges, and the pictures from bartlett wash look amazing. I should probably do slickrock on tuesday or wednesday, and Amasa back on the day that I don't do slickrock. Poison spider sounds awesome, but I don't know if I'm in the mood of deep sand. I have enough with the sand we have available in Michigan, and I hear it's noting compared to your sand.

My main objectives is to get in some great riding, soak in the unbelievable views and scenery, and take photos that will blow the minds of people back home.

I'm a little nervous that I don't have the physical capacity for strenuous riding for 3.5 days. But we'll see.
Will a 100oz camelbak suffice in april, or do I need to carry around an additional 100oz reservoir?

Thanks again for all of your help!
 

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dirty trail dog
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TrailBurner said:
If I really only have 3 riding days in Moab (mon-wed) is it worth it to drive to Fruita for one of those days?
My opinion is "no". I've been to both Fruita and Moab plenty of times, and I believe that there's enough to do in Moab to fill trhee days rather nicely. Besides, on a three day trip where you already have to travel from SLC to Moab and back, you don't want to spend another 3 hours in the car going to Fruita and back.

Don't get me wrong, Fruita is great, and if you only had 3 days in Fruita, I'd say don't bother with Moab. ;)

Just my two cents worth. Have fun. I'm jealous. I won't be able to go back out there until September or October. :(
 

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If you get in and have limited time to ride, you can always go for a spin on Sand Flats Road - not a trail, but it is pretty. Nice to get the legs loose after traveling, and that way you can give the bike a shakedown cruise before you head out on one of your big rides. Rental bikes get a LOT of abuse in Moab, so it is good to give it a thorough test ride. Nothing worse than spending your enitre dream vaction with a bike that throws a chain everytime the suspension compresses.

Seriously consider doing Porcupine Rim. There is a reason EVERYONE rides that trail. There are a ton of shuttle services that will help you get out to the trailhead, and the spin back into town from the finish isn't bad at all.

Cheers,
C
 

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Luddite technophile
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You've only got a short time in Moab - I wouldn't spend any of it driving to Fruita. Make that a separate trip someday. It would be worthwhile to think about making your trip as efficient as possible. Get your hotel or campsite reserved now - double check a week or so in advance to make sure they haven't lost it. Consider bringing your bike with you instead of renting. Rentals are not cheap, and if you have your bike you can stop at Klondike Bluffs on the way to Moab and get a ride in that first evening.

Tons of good trails, and at that time of year many of them will have lots of riders. It's very unlikely that you'll find solitude on Klondike Bluffs, Bartlett Wash, Amasa Back, Poison Spider, Porcupine Rim, Flat Pass or Slickrock. As long as you have a good guide book and reasonable sense, it's very unlikely you'll find yourself alone for long.

Hurrah Pass, although scenic, is pretty much smooth dirt road most of the way - a nice ride, but if you're looking for technical challenge, not a good choice. If you do ride alone, I think the most important thing is to exercise reasonable care, and don't injure yourself out there.

Also, Utahmountainbiking.com has GPS coordinates for most of the trails, so if you have a GPS and know how to use it, that should add confidence. And, I suspect most riders won't mind if an out-of-towner tags along.

April is a great time to go to Moab - it should be a great trip.
 

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Sugary Exoskeleton
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Here is your Itinerary

Okay... this is my non-scientific suggestion. Check utahmountainbiking for trail descriptions, and check with local shops for conditions.

Sunday PM - Klondike Bluffs/Baby Steps
The drive from Salt Lake is pleasant and not very long. A PM ride is absolutely possible, as long as you can hit the trail no later than 4 or so. This ride is short and technically undemanding, a great late afternoon ride. It's an out-and-back, so on the way back if you haven't been challenged yet, take Baby Steps. If you are tired, or are running out of light, stay on KB.

Monday AM - Gemini Bridges. Start from the highway side and climb on up the dirt road. Out and back to GB is probably 2 hours, and it's largely smooth sailing. Take it easy on the climbs. This will leave you with energy for:

Monday PM - Slickrock. Ride out the main trail to the junction of the main loop. You will know when you get here (about 2-3 miles out) whether you want more, or if you should head back. You don't have to ride the whole loop to have A LOT of fun. Slickrock is a TOUGH trail and takes some people 3-4 hours to complete. If you are feeling worked, head home and come back tomorrow.

Tuesday AM - Hurrah Pass. This is a GREAT rest-day ride because it's all dirt roads. Take it easy and only go as far as you want. Maybe go back to Slickrock, but make sure to save some bullets for Wednesday. Or check out Bar M loop out by the Gemini Bridges trail head. It's a fun mellow loop.

Wednesday AM - Porcupine Rim - I can't with good conscience tell you to skip Porcupine Rim. It is everybody's favorite for a reason and you must do it.

If you are super tired as the days progress, take it easy! It seems like people get wasted in Moab because they jump right in above their heads on the first day, or (more commonly) they go down hard after three or four days of riding. I think most people start slow and easy, and then crank it up each day until they crash hard on the fourth day. Make sure you take it easy on Tuesday, or at least back off to save yourself for the whole trip.

Oh, and yes, a 100oz camelback will be fine. The only time I have run out of water at a bad time was the time my wife and I rode Slickrock and Porcupine Rim as a loop through town. Someone helped us out with water before we started PR, otherwise it would have been bad.

JMH
 

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there may be a good reason you are flying to SLC but if you have the option of getting into grand junction, you could get a ride in there before heading on to moab, and I think the drive should be alot better too, thats what we did, then caught a ride early before we flew out again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well everybody,
Thanks for the sage advice. I'll skip Fruita this time around and JMH, your itinerary is really fabulous. I was thinking along those lines, but what you wrote really helps.

Here are some clarifications to the details:
1) I'm flying to SLC b/c that's where northwest flys. I was locked into NWA b/c of a credit voucher that I had to use.

2) I'm still debating about bringing my bike vs. renting, but my bike is almost 10 years old, and I'm not worried about it at all for the terrain I typically ride, but I am a little nervous that beating the snot out of it on nothing but rocks (as opposed to soft dirt) will take it's toll very quickly. It's in awesome bike, but I just don't know what to expect.
Plus, I'll have to factor in assembly and disassembly time into my already tiny vacation.



3) If I have to rent, it means I have to drive from SLC all the way into Moab before picking up the bike, and then backtracking to Klondike bluffs. However, it still might be do-able.

4) I've been using Rider Mel's guide (first edition) as my Moab Bible. I'll do further research so that I can proplerly put together a ride schedule for the trip.
Of course, as the date draws closer, I'm expecting all of you to hook up with me for some rides and show me around without getting me killed by falling to my death off of some ledge! :)

Thanks again for all of your responses!
 

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Luddite technophile
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If you want to rent, I'd recommend reserving in advance. You may want to bring your own pedals - I'm not sure what the rental bikes have. Chile Pepper rents Santa Cruz (they may be closed right now because they are moving). Poison Spider is good, but I don't remember what they deal with right now. There are also 2-3 other rental stores in town.

Then, don't go back to Klondike bluffs. Amasa Back/Hurrah Pass or Slickrock are both very close to town.
 

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dirty trail dog
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TrailBurner, if you go to Klondike Bluffs, make sure you carry some shoes in your camelbak you can hike a mile or so in, and take a bike lock. At the end of the trail, you can park your bike and hike out to the Tower Arch (thanks kgginslc ;) ). It's totally worth it if you have time, and cannot be done in bike shoes.

If you already knew that, then nevermind. Have a good time!
 

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Sugary Exoskeleton
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Rent something rad.

Remember that airlines charge $50 to $100 each way to bring your bike, plus you have to assemble/disassemble, which also takes extra time and sucks to do in a parking lot somewhere. Obviously there is a lot of value to riding your OWN bike, because you will feel comfortable on it. But if you don't mind renting, it's really easy.

Last time I brought a friend down, he reserved a Kona from Poison Spider. It took 20 minutes to pick it up and install pedals and we were back on the road. It was kind of beat up, and the shifting was annoying. But it was also their basic rental job with crappy parts. I would suggest renting a high end bike, it's only $15 more per day, definitely worth it to ride better equipment.

Check out all the shops, they all have rental deals on sweet bikes. Try an Intense or a new Nomad. If it's your dream vacation, try renting your dream bike.

Definitely reserve NOW to make sure they have a bike for you.

JMH
 
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