A Nevada Bike Overnight: That Little Meadow Above Reno Off Hunter Lake Road

This outing was your textbook overnight bike adventure. We packed our bikes, dogs, dinner, and camping gear and rode an hour into the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. We camped in a meadow overlooking Reno.

Bicycle Adventurers: Kurstin Graham and Raymond Eliot, a fellow adventurer featured in Bikepacking Northern Nevada

When: August 12, 2017

Accommodations: Many Nevada public lands allow for free camping. I ride with an eye for camp sites suitable for overnight outings.

Distance: Eight miles and 1200 feet of climbing ... just a quick overnight trip

Bonus tip for this adventure: I came across some fantastic ready-made sandwiches at my local Raley's grocery store, but the recipe for this prosciutto and brie sandwich is simple: 

  • Thin chewy bagguette 
  • Prosciutto 
  • Brie 
  • Arugula 
  • Fig spread 

We enjoyed these with cool Pabst Blue Ribbon beers, though with hindsight, I wish we had a fine boxed Merlot. As we were eating our sandwiches, we discussed the merits of adding slices of apple or pear to the mix. These could easily become a staple of touring.

Day One

After work we quickly packed our bikes with essentials: water for the ride, dogs, and coffee, thin sleeping bags, dinner sandwiches and beer, a light tent, stove and coffee brewing supplies, and light camp chairs. 

We loaded ourselves, dogs, and bikes into the vehicle to get to the trailhead just a few miles from home. We were on the trail by 7:00PM and climbing in the cool evening breeze. Very quickly, Raymond was over the handlebars trying to cross an eroded ditch across the road. The rest of the ride was otherwise uneventful, but we took care along these fire roads that had become streams and creeks during the spring thaw following our unprecedented winter.

I led us past a few suitable campsites as I had a particular meadow in mind. I figured it would be about an hour of pedaling uphill, yet we would still be able to setup camp in daylight. We crossed the still damp meadow in fork-crown-high grass to a dry, level spot with an excellent view of Reno and the mountain ranges to the east. 

The mountain breeze coming down off the Carson Range was cooler than anticipated, but the four of us slept comfortably.

Day Two

We woke to a fiery sunrise as our western skies are smokey from such an intense fire season. Coffee fueled us to break camp and get us on the trail back to our vehicle. I think the dogs were ready for another day on the trail, but Ray and I had to get to work.

Once we dropped off the dogs at home, we pedaled over to the House of Bread Bakery for their biscuits and gravy breakfast special. A great end to a quick bike overnight.

Your favorite local bike shop? Ray and I both work at the Reno Bike Project. We are a nonprofit community bike shop determined to make bicycle ownership as affordable as possible through an extensive re-use of used bicycles and parts in conjunction with bicycle mechanic education. Everyone can be their own bike mechanic at the Reno Bike Project, 541 E. 4th Street, Reno, Nevada 89512, 775.323.4488.

Bike overnight tips and tricks? Pack light, but at the same time, pack something for your comfort. It might be food, such as chocolate. It might be an extra sleeping pad for a super comfy night's rest. It might be a book to get that much needed reading time. For me on this trip, I brought folding camp chairs. It is nice to sit back with back support wile enjoying a meal, the view, and camp conversation.

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HOW ABOUT YOU? Inspire others by submitting your own bike overnight adventure!

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