New mountain bike guidebook doubles as a coffee table picture book.
Some of the routes are gnarly; others have rollers or even whoop-de-doos. If these terms seem like a foreign language, each is defined in the book “Wyoming Singletrack” by Cheyenne author Jerimiah Rieman. The book, highlighting mountain bike routes across the state, is hot off the presses through Fixed Pin Publishing.
Mountain bike terms, options when buying that first – or second or third – mountain bike, and what to take along when heading out on a ride, are all addressed in Rieman’s book. There’s plenty of “eye candy,” with stunning photographs on nearly every page. Its real value is as a guidebook that describes 97 routes across Wyoming, covering over 650 miles.
Rieman, a Wyoming native and current executive director of the Wyoming County Commissioners Association, spent more than three years exploring trails all across Wyoming. He personally pedaled and explored every route in the book.
“I didn’t feel like I could put in a route I didn’t ride myself,” Rieman said. “I had to be able to tell what each route was like based on my personal experience.”
Of the 97 routes, the one that proved most difficult for Rieman was Cliff Creek Falls, located in the Hoback Canyon west of Bondurant. This 11.84-mile out-and-back trail is rated “hard” for physical difficulty and “advanced” for technical skill. Rieman has similar ratings for all routes in the book. The Cliff Creek Falls route also garners Rieman’s “adventure” rating. That designation is reserved for routes that take riders off the beaten path and into the wonders of nature, be it due to wildlife, vegetation, topography or scenic vistas.
“A few miles into the ride, I encountered a massive landslide that had recently crossed the trail and wiped it out,” Rieman said. “I spent about an hour and a half trying to figure how to cross the obstacle to reconnect with the trail on the other side. At one point, I dropped into a mud hole up to my waist.”
Luckily, most of the other 96 routes he pedaled weren’t nearly as difficult to locate or maneuver, though there are still some that will test a rider’s mettle.
In southeast Wyoming, Rieman highlights 17 routes, including multi-path bike systems at North Cheyenne Community Park, Curt Gowdy State Park and within Pole Mountain. He also has individual routes in the Snowy Range and Sierra Madre Mountains.
For Cheyenne cyclists, Rieman offers recommendations for an easy route, a moderate route and a route for advanced riders. Each is found within southeast Wyoming, and one is even within the city of Cheyenne.
For those getting started in mountain biking or just looking for fairly easy riding, Rieman recommends North Cheyenne Community Park.
“There are a series of smooth singletrack loops with gentle climbs and exciting descents, which young riders will find exhilarating,” Rieman said. “For those seeking a bit more challenge, there are drop lines, rock features and a pump track. Regardless of age or ability, these trails are a delight. For additional fun, North Cheyenne Community Park connects to the Greater Cheyenne Greenway and over 40 miles of pathways.”
For a more moderate level of mountain biking, he recommends heading to Curt Gowdy State Park. This mountain biking mecca offers more than 40 miles of trails designed for beginners and seasoned riders alike.
The Xterra route in the book covers 12.62 miles and is guaranteed to get the heart rate ticking with some difficult sections that require some advanced mountain bike handling.
For those looking for a truly challenging route, Rieman recommends the Rock Creek National Recreation Trail on the north end of the Medicine Bow Mountains. Starting at the Deep Creek Trailhead along the Sand Lake Road, the route goes north as it descends and parallels Rock Creek. At some particularly gnarly sections, a wrong move could result in disaster, with the creek flowing in the canyon below. It is not a route for the faint of heart or the inexperienced mountain biker.
Rieman strongly recommends doing this trail one way only, making it a shuttle ride or returning up the mountain via Forest Service roads.
“I don’t recommend riding up the trail,” Rieman said. “That would be truly masochistic and, at times, downright dangerous.”
Whether looking for an all-day adventure, a cruise on an easy trail with the kids or a multi-day camping trek via a loaded bicycle, this book offers suggestions for all types of outings. There’s even a fatbike section for those opting to keep on pedaling into the winter and notes on where ebikes – electric bikes – are allowed.
Whether planning your next outing or just wanting to ogle some excellent Wyoming photography, this book has a little something for all knobby-tired bicycle enthusiasts.
Amber Travsky is a wildlife biologist who earned master’s degrees in wildlife zoology and exercise physiology from the University of Wyoming. She runs her own environmental consulting company, Real West Consulting, as well as a martial arts school. She authored “Mountain Biking Wyoming” and “Mountain Biking Jackson Hole,” both published by Falcon Books. She is the tour director and founder of the Tour de Wyoming bicycle tour, which crosses the state every July.