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  • Announcing: Fatbike Gear & Adventure Day

    You're invited to the first ever "Fatbike Gear & Adventure Day", a virtual event where we geek out about the the fatbike gear and adventures we're most excited for this winter. Guests George Kapitz, Jill Martindale, and Laura Hrubes will be joining us on Monday, December 12 at 7pm CST. Learn more and register for FREE here. It's time to start putting some epic fatbike adventures on the calendar and planning the gear that'll help you go further and have more fun this winter up north. The Nxrth is thrilled to announce a brand new virtual event called "Fatbike Gear & Adventure Day" presented by Wren Sports. We have some fun guests joining the event and we want you to be a part of it too. REGISTER HERE We'll talk about: Favorite gear picks for 2023 Best fatbike races and events Incredible fatbike adventure destinations in WI, MN, and the U.P. Q&A with your questions about gear and adventures Join us on Monday, December 12 at 7PM CST for this live fatbike event. Register for FREE here. REGISTER HERE

  • Your Favorite Gravel Race Moments of 2022

    I asked email subscribers to share their favorite gravel race moment from the 2022 gravel racing season. Here are some of their favorite photos and memories of racing and community from this year's events. Jack Durand This was a Brainerd YMCA Gravel Grinders ride so I got to share it with my favorite riding companions. At 210.8 miles, I achieved my longest activity on Strava and for the sake of efficiency; my first two centuries in the same day. Josh Rizzo During my Heck of The North 105 race, my family was waiting at the mile-97 portrait stop. It was my first gravel century and the thought of seeing them on course filled me with strength and adrenaline to push through the last mile. Photo: Josh Kowaleski of Pointed North Photo Josh Kowaleski Cracked. This rider is at mile 95 of Le Grand Du Nord and it shows. This is probably my favorite portrait from project portrait bike this season. Rachel McCloskey On October 15th I took on the Gray Duck Grit 111 miler with wind gusts of 25-35mph and temps around the low 40s. Two of us female cyclists are helping each other try to stay warm as we await the start to our day long journey across Minnesota's driftless region. 8 hours and 30 minutes later both of us would cross the finish line together to secure 1st and 2nd place. Joe Roy The Heywood ride this spring in Northfield, MN was the longest gravel ride that most of our group had done at the time, of course we did it in flannel! Shoutout to Ben, Marty and Michael for a wonderful event! And thanks to Greg for the picture!

  • 10 Global Fatbike Day Celebrations To Get Your Fatbike Flame Lit

    Global Fatbike Day is coming up on December 3rd. We've assembled a little list of celebrations around our region including some beach riding, woodsy rides, and surprise rides (one of them even comes with an adorable ginger bread cookie coupon). Get your fatbike fired up and join in on the community celebrations. 1. CAMBA Global Fatbike Day Join us to kick off the winter fat bike season! We’ll have guided rides for all levels. Following the ride, enjoy a light lunch with gourmet soup and refreshments. Receive a pair of wool CAMBA winter-design socks. DISCOUNT for CAMBA members! Location: CAMBA’s Hatchery Creek Trailhead Time: Ride departure time is 1:00 pm with check in starting at 12:30. Registration: The first 50 registrants are guaranteed a pair of CAMBA winter socks. Registration also includes a lunch ticket. All levels are welcome. To register, head to CAMBA. 2. Cuyuna, MN Come experience the brand new adaptive trails and Sagamore Rally Center!! When the snow falls, there will be over 9 miles of groomed trail!! The Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails Crew will be hosting rides in the Sagamore Unit. Pre-ride meet up time: 10:00 AM Rides start time: 10:30 AM Ride participants will receive a coupon from The Hudson to be redeemed later in the day for a coffee and gingerbread cookie as part of the Sunset Ride into the Cuyuna Christmas events at Crosby Memorial Park. Sunset Ride: Meet at The Hudson and be ready to roll out at 4:30 PM. The ride will roll down 3rd St from Ironton to the Crosby Memorial Park for Cuyuna Christmas music and fireworks!! Riders are encouraged to have bike lights and festive decorations. There is no planned group ride back to The Hudson. More info on the Facebook event. 3. Two Rivers, WI Join us for Global Fat Bike Day 2022 in Two Rivers, WI! We’ll have 2 rides planned for the day. Ride one at 7:00am and ride two at 12:30am. Both rides start and finish at Port Sandy Bay Pizza. Need a rental bike? Broken Spoke will have rentals available. Please call the shop to reserve. 920-634-2040. Fat bikes can be picked up Friday or Saturday morning from the shop and returned Saturday afternoon. Pizza will be available for $10 after the ride at Port Sandy Bay. To learn more, visit the Facebook event. 4. Deep Woods - Bloomington, MN Calling all fat bikers!! Snow is almost here and Global Fat Bike day Is coming Dec. 3rd! Join us and MORC at the bottoms at Lyndale landing between 10-2. Donate $50 to Deep Woods and receive a Global Fat Bike tshirt (limited quantity.) Also sign up with MORC and become a member to help keep trail maintenance going! To learn more to the Deep Woods Trail Groomers Facebook page . 5. Standing Rocks - Stevens Point, WI Come out and ride fat bikes on the mountain bike trails at Standing Rocks Park (hopefully snow covered and groomed). Everyone is invited to get together and join in the fun! Trail pass required. Use link to purchase passes. Where: BOORC (lodge) at the Standing Rocks Trail Head 7695 Standing Rocks Rd, Stevens Point, WI 54482 Event Schedule: 11:15 am Group photo. 11:30 am Group rides roll out for all skill levels. 1:00 pm Food, fire & fun! To learn more, visit the Facebook event. 6. Adventure Coffee Join us for adventure coffee on Global Fat Bike Day. We will have a fire, donuts, hot chocolate and coffee from Northern Coffeeworks on the bank of the Minnesota River between the Sibley House and the 494 bridge at the overturned car (2 miles from the Sibley House or about 5 miles from the Old Cedar Bridge). Hit us up at the start of your ride or the end of your ride or anywhere in between, it doesn’t matter when you get there, we just want to provide you with one more reason to get out and ride. We will have a limited number of disposable cups, so please bring your own cup. To learn more, visit the Facebook event. 7. Kate & Jeremy's Place - Winona, MN Who are Kate and Jeremy, you might ask? No clue, but it sounds like a fun party. Fat bikes Fire Food (variety of chilli) Shenanigans. Bring a bike, helmet, light, and a smile. Oh, and warm clothing, might be a cold one. To learn more, visit the Facebook event. 8. Thang Nguyen's Ride - Mendota Heights, MN Not a lot of details on this one. But surprises are more fun, right? Head to the Facebook event to learn more. 9. St. Cloud, MN Morning riding followed by evening membership drive, fundraiser, and pizza. Visit the Facebook event to learn more. 10. Michael's Cycles - Chaska, MN Join us in celebrate Global Fat Bike Day. We will be embarking on fat bike ride along side the Minnesota river south to the Louisville swamp. We will have several deferent paced groups so that every member of the family can enjoy. After the ride enjoy a freshly made breakfast and door prizes! Last year we had 96 riders join us and we would like to get that number well over 100 so bring your family and tell your friends! To learn more, visit the Facebook event.

  • Winston County Gravel Cup Doubled Down on Year 2: Photos & Recap

    The Winston County Gravel Cup recently had it's sophomore year of gravel on September 22nd. Year two saw nearly doubled attendance, great weather, and some stunning photos to relive the event. Here race director Jake Ellefsen shares a recap of this Minnesota gravel race and save-the-date for net year. All Photos by Baxter Cochennet of Heelclickers photography. See the full race gallery HERE. It is extremely hard for a race organizer to put into words a race recap. After a year of planning and the incredible amount of work over three seems like a blink of an eye as I look back on it now. For the second year of the Winston County Gravel Cup, we had a simple goal... to ride gravel outside of Houston, Minnesota and bring people together. We were overwhelmed to have nearly doubled the number of riders from our first year and allow us to again donate $2,000 back to the Houston community. Riders got to experience greener scenery this year as we moved the event date to September. I do not think we could have hoped for better weather as the day started cool and overcast but gave way to sun as riders crossed the finish line. Mark your calendars and let you friends know that the Winston County Gravel Cup will be back next year on September 23rd. We hope to see you all next year for another fun filled weekend of Unfiltered Gravel!

  • Ladies Fatbike Getaway in Cable, Wisconsin This January

    The Birkie is hosting a Ladies Fatbike Getaway this January 6-8. It will be a weekend to ride the legendary Birkie Trail, polish your fat biking skills, and meet other women who aspire to or love to ride. To learn more or register, visit the Ladies Fatbike Getaway Interview with Kristy Maki, Event Director All Photos: American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation ® How many years has this been done and what were other year's like? This is the 4th year of the event. We first held the event in 2018, but didn’t hold the event in December of 2020. In the past, we have held the event in December. The December event was a shorter event and snow wasn’t always reliable. In 2023, we are holding the event the first weekend in January with the hopes of more riding possibilities and a longer weekend to add in more skills, expert talks, good food, and fun! How did Ladies Fatbike Getaway come about? As fat bike riders ourselves, we recognized that the skills required for riding fat bikes are a little different than mountain bike skills- different body positioning, pedaling, gearing, etc. Skills plus the care and maintenance of a bike in winter meant there were plenty of things to discuss and share with other women. It’s become a fun weekend of community building, sharing stories and knowledge, and increasing skills. Tell me about the importance of women-specific events and why you chose to have it be this format. Traditionally speaking, there aren’t as many women in bike and ski events. We felt a women-led event might help break down some of the worries that women have over trying fat biking. It quickly became a time for women to share experiences, knowledge, and passion with each other in a fun and community building way. The Ladies Fat Bike Getaway is a time for women to focus on themselves, their health, and sport. We want everyone to have fun biking and feel prepared- the more questions the better, we have a lot to share with each other! What would you want to tell someone who is new to fatbiking and doesn't know anyone else? Visit your local bike shop, attend an event, and meet people that like to fat bike! Fat biking is so much fun with a group and you can increase your skills much faster with a few pointers. Lots of fat bike tips and tricks aren’t things that are common (ex. lemon essential oil in water bottle to help it not freeze), so finding people to help you learn faster and make things more enjoyable helps you stay prepared and motivated! And bike at night- winter nights are so beautiful!


    In 2015, Todd Poquette asked a local blacksmith, Gordon Gearhart about making belt buckles for an upcoming endurance cycling event. Since then, the iron-forged awards have been adopted for the Polar Roll, The Crusher, and Marji Geskick 100. They've become an iconic symbol of ruggedness, pain, and glory that only a small number of people ever get. Gordon Gearhart is an artist-blacksmith living and working in Marquette, Michigan. He has been blacksmithing since 1981 and currently produces architectural, sculptural, and utilitarian pieces.To learn more about Gordon Gearhart, follow him on Facebook and Instagram. What's the back story on how your buckles became the symbol of pain and glory for the 906 events? In 2014 my son, Zechariah McCarthy, was working with Todd Poquette. He was doing a snow biking video promoting the first Polar Roll. He suggested to Todd that the award be a metal sculpture. Todd was receptive to the idea. Zech designed the sculpture and he and I built a prototype. This was accepted and we proceeded to make the awards for the Polar Roll. The design was also used for the 2015 Polar Roll. In the summer of 2015, Todd contacted me about the possibility of making awards for an upcoming endurance ride called the Marji Gesick 100. I played with various ideas, none of which captured the essence of the soon to be MG100. Todd suggested a belt buckle, nothing fancy, something to symbolize the ruggedness of the trails to be ridden and to commemorate the ruggedness of the early settlers who emigrated to this area to dig iron ore and refine it into useable form. A blacksmith made, iron belt buckle was appropriate to the occasion. After the first MG100, belt buckles became the awards for the Polar Roll event. So it is that I am the maker of awards for 906 Adventure Team. Todd-conceived events such as the Crusher and Polar Roll EX have pushed me creatively, challenging my metal working skills. Probably akin to how the bike events challenge the riders participating in them. A bit about my son. Zech is a rider. He started with BMX and gravitated to mountain biking. He rode with 906 Adventure Team, participating in the early Polar Rolls and MG100s. Now he is riding downhill and enduro, participating regularly in the Lake Superior Gravity Series. Somewhere along the way he picked up a video recorder and started filming. He did some promotional footage for the early Polar Rolls under the Far North Productions label. Several years ago he found work building bike trails in the Hibbing Minnesota area. He has since started his own business, Far North Trail Company, building trails local and beyond. What's it like being a part of the Crusher, Marji Gesick, Polar Roll culture? It’s always been an honor to make the awards for these rides that Todd and 906 AT put together. I know that every award I’ve made has been earned by the riders receiving them. I’m impressed and inspired by the dedication of the riders and those who organize the events. I’m proud to be a part of it. What do you think the buckles mean to the racers? I think the meaning of the buckles varies with the riders and has changed over the years. At first they were simply an award for having accomplished a challenging ride. As the years have passed and the reality of the MG100 has settled in, the buckle has become a symbol of overcoming the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of a brutal ride. From its conception, the MG 100 buckle was meant to highlight the rugged rawness of this part of the U.P, paying homage to the iron heritage of the area. The buckle is not fancy. It’s not crude, but not adorned with frivolous decoration. Much like the Marji Gesick itself. I think the riders understand that stripping away of the extraneous. Are you a biker? Have you ever done any of Todd's events? And if not, do you think you ever will? I am not a biker and I have not participated in any of Todd’s events. It is possible I might ride some year. The Marji Gesick 100 gets me thinking about it. Go into training to give it a go. Could I do it? Am I too over the hill ( physically) to accomplish such a task? I have the urge to test myself. Not just regarding the event but regarding the discipline to prepare for it. Dedicate a year to riding the Marji? Of course, who would stamp dates on the belt buckles. There is that.


    The 2022 Polar Roll opens this Sunday morning, November 6, at 8am ET. (If you're on Central Time take note that you'll be an hour late if you think this is in your time zone). This event has generally garnered some legendary status thanks to the massive amounts of snow, ridiculous weather, challenging course, and overall shenanigans that you sign up for anytime you saddle up to a 906 Adventure Team race. There are 2 headline events: MS & EX You've got a couple main options for the Polar Roll (plus some ill advised duathlon choices and one registration called "something dumb" that you don't know what it is yet). MS (Mass Start) The Mass start is Polar Roll central. This is the big gathering and the central community where everyone comes together to roll out through historic west end of Marquette County. Registration is limited to 400 people. Race day is 2-18-2023. There are 2 lengths. Although the website calls it 13 & 25 miles but the registration page calls it 15 & 30 miles. Either way, you can count on it being more than whatever you thought you were riding. It's open for both biking and snowshoeing. EX (Expedition) The EX format was born in response to the pandemic when large group gatherings weren't really happening. 906 AT seemed to really pioneered this format or least leaned into way harder and wider than any other event I've seen (and led to record numbers 2022). Simply put, EX is done by yourself on your own time. Mass starts aren't for everyone. Sometimes registration sells out too quick or you have a cousin from Chicago named Victor who schedules a wedding on the MS weekend and EX is your only option. Dates: Do it anytime that fits for your schedule between 1-13-2023 and 3-15-2023 From the Polar Roll website: "EX also means “extra enhanced”. There’s no guarantee conditions will be good, or that the trail will even be groomed but that’s why people sign up… because predictable and easy gets boring. The expedition series scores a 10 out of 10 on the Adventure Scale." Set your alarm for Eastern Time To register for the Polar Roll, set your alarm for this Sunday morning at 8am ET (not Central Time) and head on over the Polar Roll website or directly to their registration page.


    Year 2 of the The Lone Wolf gravel race recently took place in Iron Mountain, Michigan. Hosted by James Morrow, it was a beautiful, fully-colored day in the U.P. Here James talks about how the race went and why year two called for some rerouting and a new start/finish point. Event recap by James Morrow. Photos by Dylan Juchemich @jukendorf (View full race gallery HERE) Year two of The Lone Wolf wasn’t looking as easy to plan as the first. With Fumee Lake area not allowing their gates to be opened for our event this year we had to do some serious recon and planning to figure out how we could bypass the area while still making the route as great as it was the first year. While also needing a new start/finish line too. We turned to the DNR for support and usage and they delivered. We were able to reroute the course while adding 10 miles of amazing U.P. Gravel, a few miles of which are brand new thanks to the DNR, and host the start/ finish at the gravel pit just around the corner from Carney Lake. All these changes became a silver lining through the clouds. We offered a short course (36 mile) this year that I believe was a nice option for beginners. Long course ended up being about 52 miles. Conditions were pretty dry and loose. We had one aid station on course hosted by Embark Maple with Laura the fox and her rad Dad dishing out all the maple goodness. Laura selflessly left her Bearclaw on the sidelines to help support the racers. And every single racer who stopped definitely appreciated that. Only downfall of the race is that we had some disconnects with the manual timing and weren’t able to log everyone’s times. This will be our main focus to correct for next years race. Next year we are thinking about having the 36, 52 and combining the two for an 88 mile option. With the proceeds from the race we were able to purchase a rescue device for the fire department that will help with single track rescues in the Iron Mountain area. Lone Wolf 2022 by the Numbers Just over 100 registered Just under 70 showed up. 27* in the morning 55* in the afternoon Partly sunny. Peak color change. A perfect fall day in dah U.P.

  • Wren Perseverance Drop Bars: First Look

    Wren Sports recently announced a drop bar version of their Perseverance bar. It's built for long distance unsupported bike adventures with an emphasis on all-day comfort and wilderness utility. The expedition geometry and integrated aero loop make it a unique option for adventure bars. The Perseverance drop bar is currently in production and will be available at Wren December 2022. The cockpit is a tough part of your bike to get just right and that goes even more so for long distance adventures. The stress on your hands, the ability to have gear carrying flexibility, and the need for multiple riding positions makes finding the right handlebars extremely important, but also really difficult. Wren sports is currently in pre-production with a drop bar version of their Perseverance Bars. It's a handlebar that they've built specifically for epic, unsupported adventures and their goal is to strike the balance of maximum comfort and adventure utility. Riding With the Perseverance Bars These bars were new to me on so many levels I kind of can't believe they've been such a great fit so far. For starters, I've never customized my cockpit outside of pretty standard and traditional drop bars. I've long admired the trend in wider gravel bars with swept drops but just haven't made the switch. I also only did my first gravel century just this year and have never ridden with aero bars. In a lot of senses I've been a pretty traditional adventure cyclist who hasn't wandered too far from your out-of-the-box gravel bike. The wider hoods, shallower drop, and integrated aero bar were new to me and so much fun to try out. I was so stoked when they showed up on my doorstep about 10 hours before driving away to the Filthy 50, a local gravel race in Lanesboro, Minnesota. Then two weeks later I had a local overnighter planned and I got to load up the handlebars with a full width tent which had never fit on my handlebars before. Climbing in the wide hoods and grinding in the shallow drops felt extremely natural. The Filthy 50 race was uniquely dry, dusty, winding, and slippery and the extra width gave me noticeably more handling confidence. Now to be fair, these are really purpose built for expedition bikepacking and less for gravel racing. I rarely get out for more than a 3-day bikepacking trip but felt like the advantages carried over really well for shorter adventures and day gravel rides as well. For non-climbing and non-maneuvering, I would personally prefer the hoods to be a little narrower and just flare out to the existing width of the drops. I'm pretty short at 5' 6" and the width at the hoods is definitely more than I need. Hand Positions & Mounting Options The only extra hand positions you really get with these bars is in the integrated aero loop as well as more places to rest your hands on the flats. Some people will wish the aero loop wasn't integrated and others will love that it's always there and ready to send. I'm pretty fidgety even on long rides and enjoy full stretching out, giving my back a break, and getting out of the wind in the aero bars. The aero loop also gives more mounting options for devices, lights, and cameras. One thing I really love is that the width of the bars gives room to strap a full width tent right up front. I don't have an ultra light bikepacking-specific tent with short poles and both of my traditional MSR 2-person tents have plenty of room to Voile-strap to these bars because of the extra width. All the Numbers The most notable specs are the width at the hoods and the size of the aero bars. At 530mm width at the hoods, they're just about the widest handlebars you'll find. The Redshift Kitchen Sink handlebars, for example, come in four sizes and 530mm is the widest. The Salsa Cowchipper bars comes in eight sizes with 520mm being the widest. There are a few wider options than the Perseverance drop bars but not many. The second point to notice is the large integrated aero loop at 250mm in length with a 78mm rise. I can't find length specs on the Redshift Kitchen Sink or Farr Aero Gravel Bar but the Perseverance loop appears quite a bit bigger which allows for you to be fully stretched out and tucked downward and the other brands bars' integrated loops only seem to scratch the surface of that. Full Perseverance Handlebar Specs 530mm width at the hoods 105mm Drop 29 degree flair 6 degree backsweep from clamp to hoods Clamp Diameter: 31.8mm Drop: 105mm Flair: 29 degrees Material: 6061 Alloy Finish: Anodized Gold/Bronze with Black Decals Aero Loop Specs Rise at the Nose: 78mm Backsweep from Clamp to Hoods: 6 Degrees Length: 250mm Width at Base: 301mm Tube Diameter: 22.2mm Aero Bars for Adventure Cycling? I'll be the first to say that the aero bar threw me for a figurative loop. I think of them for ultra distance racing but less for adventure riding. Cons are that you can't take them off because they're integrated. Pros are that they give you more hand options for long hard days bikepacking on mixed terrain and wind plus they give your back a break and allow you to stretch out. These are definitely not for everyone, but for certain riders these are going to be perfect for their exact needs on bike adventures. With a 301mm width where the aero meets the handlebar, this particular aero integration is fairly wide which is going to give you more control than racing aero bars to navigate tricky terrain right from the tucked position. It should be noted that without the armrests (currently in preorder with expected shipping of November 2022), the aero loop is not really an option for long periods of time. You'll definitely need the arm rests for longterm comfort which is also another expense. Even though these bars are built for longer unsupported adventures than I've tested them out for, I really like the comfort and confidence I can feel instantly. The aero loop will likely be more than I need most of the time but I like the having the option to stretch out. Being a short rider, it'll be interesting to see how the 530mm hood width will play out over time, but for now I know it's already hard going back to the narrow bars I was once used to. I think the nicest thing is to have a full range of position and gear attaching options for the spontaneous and varied adventures that lie ahead.


    We just dropped new Nxrth trucker hats that prominently sport every single color in the gravel rainbow: Brown, light brown, and another brown. These hats look great on anyone who has a head and they support all of the community, stories, routes, and events that The Nxrth shares throughout the year. Shop Nxrth Trucker Hats HERE.

  • Ride With GPS vs Komoot. Which is Better for Bike Adventures?

    Ride With GPS and Komoot are two mapping tools used to discover, plan, organize, and share bike adventures. In this story we compare them head to head and share our thoughts on which one may be a better option for each type of riding and planning. Jump to Section 1. Overview 2. Pricing 3. Route Editing 4. POIs & Highlights 5. Social Sharing & Adventure Discovery 6. Unique Features: Ride With GPS 7. Unique Features: Komoot 8. Ride With GPS Wins if you... 9. Komoot Wins if you... OVERVIEW: Ride With GPS vs Komoot White both tools target the same overall goal of planning adventures using a map, the focus of Ride With GPS and Komoot are pretty distinct. Let's break down the focus and audience of each platform which will translate into the unique features they offer. Ride With GPS Ride With GPS is for map creators who want more advanced tools to create and organize highly detailed rides and routes. It's an incredibly powerful too for those who spend hours drawing lines, cataloging POIs, analyzing rides, and take pride in architecting detailed routes using many different routing tools at the same time. You simply won't find this level of detailed organization and customization in Komoot. Komoot Komoot is focused on crowd-sourced adventuring, deep social sharing, and photo-centric story telling around the globe. For those looking to follow the stories and adventure highlights of explorers all over the world and then plan the adventure yourself using the community's favorite highlights as your guide, Komoot is your best friend. NOTE: Many of the strengths of Komoot are heavily dependent on user volume. Komoot currently has a massive presence in Europe but has a significantly smaller base in the USA which makes the benefit of user generated content less significant in many places. Pricing Ride With GPS has 3 monthly tiers: Free, Basic, & Premium. The Basic plan is $7.99/mo and gives you advanced route planning on the mobile app. The Premium plan is $9.99/mo and gives you the full suite of web-based tools. The Free version allows for basic route planning and ride recording. Komoot has two pricing models: Komoot Maps and Komoot Premium. Maps are all one-time payments and give you permanent access to voice navigation and offline maps for the geographies that you pay for ($3.99 for one region, $8.99 for a region bundle, or $29.99 to permanently unlock the entire world). Komoot Premium is $5.99/month and includes World Map access, personal collections, live-tracking, multi-day planner, on-tour weather, safety contacts, and more. Route Editing We'll get deeper into this section with each platform's "Unique Features" but for now I'll just say that this is an area where Ride With GPS dominates. Both the desktop and mobile route planner are extremely easy to use and are packed with high powered advanced tools unmatched by Komoot. Komoot's route editor is much more tedious and and has a significantly simpler toolbox to use when trying to meticulously plan perfect routes. It's a slower process with fewer options to customize. Points of Interest (POIs) & Route Highlights Ride With GPS's Points of Interest (POIs) are created for each individual Ride With GPS account. You can add POIs to any of your maps for any reason to mark anything you want. They are uniquely built into the maps that you choose (or dynamically available in a POI library if you use a Club account) and they won't show up in the map building tool for the general public unless they're viewing your unique route. Komoot calls these "Highlights" and they're 100% crowd sourced and built on community generated content for everyone to use. The downside is that you can't add private POIs such as "Camping in my uncle's backyard" or temporary POIs like "Race day headquarters" but the upside is that the entire globe is covered in the adventuring community's best route highlights, photos, and tips for anyone to go exploring. Every Highlight and photo is rated by the community which makes planning incredible adventures significantly easier. Social Sharing & Adventure Discovery Komoot owns this category. The entire platform is built around photo-first adventure discovery, community generated map highlights, and ready-to-ride collections of the world's best places to explore. The social feed is deeply inspirational and the biggest names in gravel biking and bikepacking are constantly sharing their ride galleries, map libraries, and tips to take their adventures and do them yourself. While Ride With GPS is a really powerful planing tool, its strength is less in discovering new adventures through community sourced mapping highlights. Ride With GPS's tools like "Inspect" and "Heatmaps" are really great for finding new places to ride, but they end at drawing great lines on a map. Trail level photo content is sparse and community sourced tips are non existent outside of individually created maps. Similarities We don't dig into every feature in this article. Several features exist in both platforms and are at least comparable. "Surface Types" is a feature of both platforms and I haven't found it to have any accuracy in the region that I live in either platform. Both platforms have Safety Tracking and Privacy Zones which are an important part of staying staying safe on and off the bike. There are many other features they both share. Now let's break down their unique features they each have. Ride With GPS Unique Features Ride With GPS has an extensive toolset for advanced route editing, adventure planning, and deep organization. Let's break down the main features are exclusive to Ride With GPS. Global & Personal Heatmaps Heatmaps are indispensable for finding out where everyone else rides (Global Heatmap) and seeing a live log of where you've ridden (Personal Heatmap). If you're exploring a new area, there's no better way to find some of the most popular routes than seeing where the community is doing the most riding via Heatmaps. Inspect Tool Touch a point on a map and see the most popular routes going through that spot. Without the context of community generated photos and tips, I don't find it very useful as it only shows personally created routes that get a lot of engagement but this doesn't actually aggregate any crowd sourced information about that route. Ride Metrics If you like analyzing post-ride data, you're going to love Ride With GPS's deep stack of metrics. There are over 26 metrics that are fully customizable during your ride and their post-ride metrics are going to give you a lot of data to pour over when you're done. Bike Maintenance Log A fun way to keep track of maintenance, repairs, and upgrades for each of your bikes. Custom Cues Create cues that say whatever you want them to. These are supported in TCX files for Garmin devices, Wahoo devices, and the mobile app will read them aloud just like a normally generated turn left turn right cue. Clubs & Organizations If you're an organization or club, this is the clear winner for organizing, customizing, and embedding various route libraries and POIs that can dynamically be pulled into maps of your choosing. Colors, layers, images, categories, routes, links, and POIs can all be fully customized to your needs and the ability to give free navigation and offline use for your members/customers. Plus a Lot More Both the deskop and mobile applications have a lot more tools and custom configurations at every point of your process from planning, to riding, to organizing and they're regularly adding more. I don't expect them to slow down adding new tools and features in the future as they're hyper focused on helping map lovers and organizers plan using as much data and efficiency as possible. Komoot Unique Features Komoot's strength is less in mapping tools, metrics, and organization and more in social and community tools. Tools that inspire users to explore the world and have the most fun getting from point A to point B. Trail View This is the "Google Streetview" of off-grid trails. If you've ever studied satellite images trying to guess what the surface is like and if the trail is actually passable, Trail View is going to be a life saver. Komoot uses artificial intelligence to pull all public photos of trails and pin them to where they were taken on the map for everyone to use. The result is trail-level photos of any place any Komoot user has taken a public photo of a trail on a route. No more guessing whether that obscure line on a map is a hidden gem or a total bust. Pioneer & Expert Gamification Base on community cues and up-votes on Highlights, photos, and tips, Komoot gives points for all the activities and regions that you've recorded activity. This is a fun way to build your expertise and social influence within the app as well as finding the best adventurers to follow Sport-Based Route & Highlight Searching Use the Discovery tool to select routes and highlights based on the sport you're interested in such as road cycling, gravel riding, and bikepacking On Tour Weather Plan daylong or multi-day adventures and see temperature, precipitation, wind direction, and sunshine for any point in time on the map. Crowd-Sourced Highlights This is mentioned earlier in the article but i's worth repeating here because Komoot Highlights isn't just a similarity to Ride With GPS's Points of Interest, it's a it's really a unique feature that makes Komoot stand alone. Highlights is a rich user generated global library of the best places to ride, stop, and explore. They're all filterable by sport type, voted on by the community at large, and logged with rider tips so that you have the easiest time having the best experience from point A to point B. Personal Collections This is another feature that does exist in Ride With GPS but I think Komoot does it much better. Personal collections are a way to show off your rides, routes, highlights, story, and photos all in one beautiful place for the world to see in their Komoot social feed (or embed on your website). For other users, these are an incredible way to discover new places to explore and be inspired by brilliant photography and gorgeous bikescapes. So Which is Better, Komoot or Ride Withg GPS? Cut to the want to know which is better right? Well of course it depends. Their features and tools are built for similar but different audiences and the best platform is going to be the one that meets your planning and riding goals. Ride With GPS Wins If... You want to build a library of personal (or organizational) mapping assets that you can customize and organize however you want You care about advanced planning and analyzing using the most data available You prefer customization, tweaking, and analyzing over social sharing You are a club or organization who needs advanced organizational and embedding tools for your members. Komoot Wins If... You want to use the community's favorite crowd-sourced highlights, tips, and photos to plan your routes. You're looking for ready-to-ride collections of routes, highlights, and photos from other users' libraries Sharing the best parts of your ride and discovering the best parts of others' rides is more important than personal customization tools and metrics You only need offline maps and voice navigation and don't want to be locked into a paid subscription


    The 2022 Filthy 50 took place on a beautiful windy day on October 8. If you want to relive this year's Filthy 50 or just see what the ride feels like, check out this 5 minute blitz set to a questionable soundtrack.

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