Overnight Bike Tour to Antelope Island

It’s been a couple weeks, but a couple friends and I plunged headlong into bike touring, and did an overnight trip to Antelope Island State Park. It was pretty great, if just a bit too windy for easy cruising. The day started off sunny and gorgeous, and stayed that way until about eight miles in. At that point, a pretty fierce headwind kicked up, and I learned all about panniers’ distinct lack of aerodynamics.

It was also the new Fargo’s maiden voyage as a built bike. I had finished the build a week or two prior, and slapped some Blackburn racks on. I borrowed a set of POE panniers from a friend, and set about overfilling them. Here’s the Fargo all loaded down at our first stop:

We headed north on the Jordan River Parkway trail until it ended in North Salt Lake. From there, you can ride a dirt/gravel path to link up with the Legacy Parkway Trail. It was fun to get a hint of what the Fargo is capable of, both on and off-road. You can see in this photo that the wind is starting to pick up -that funny thing in the frame is the camera’s wrist loop blowing in the wind.

We continued north, fighting a pretty brutal headwind. After commuting daily through the winter, I was pretty well-prepared for foul weather, and I’m comfortable riding through it. We made a planned stop at Saturday Cycles in Bountiful after about six and a half miles on the Legacy path. Saturday Cycles is a transportation/touring/commuting-focused shop that is -you guessed it -only open on Saturday. Tom picked up a beautiful, brass Crane bell, and Andy found a saddle cover to replace the grocery sack he’s been carrying. Steve from Saturday Cycles was kind enough to snap a picture of the three of us in front of the shop.

From there we continued North on the Legacy path until its terminus at the Farmington train station. We traveled west into Farmington, and found a series of semi-rural roads and paths to follow. The northern cities seem to have embraced the rails-to-trails concept, and there’s a rather nice path that travels through Farmington and Layton. It looks a little bit like this for most of it:

After some time on the trails, we stopped to eat some lunch, and then continued on out to the island, putting in some serious work across the seven mile-long causeway. The wind was gnarly, and we all settled into our own paces. My pace was a little faster, so I stopped about 60% of the way across and took some pictures.

My valiant steed. Brooks B17 saddle was the single best addition to the build.

Tom and Andy trying to beat the storm.

Once on the island, we had to climb some gnarly hills to get to the campsite, all while looking for water. There were some showers and bathrooms at the beach, around two miles from the campsite. We incorrectly thought there would be a water spigot of some kind at the camp site, so we bypassed the bathrooms on the first pass, and had to ride back later to fill bottles for cooking and drinking.

View from the campsite.

The campsites at Antelope Island are brand new, and pretty fancy for a state park. Twenty concrete pads with fire pits built in, and small pavilions with picnic tables underneath.

This is us loading up the next day, but it shows the pavilion.

The problem with integrated fire pits is that the engineers neglected to build drainage into them. Since it had been intermittently raining for a few days out there, our fire pit was full of water. No fire for us. It was getting damn cold, too. We cooked a quick dinner, ate and drank heartily, and crawled into our sleeping bags.

We woke pretty early in the morning, made another water run, cooked breakfast, and broke camp. We took it nice and slow (not that our sore muscles gave us any other option) and started out on the hills that we had ended on the day before. Then the causeway slog in the wind, and back into the cities and paths.

The ride home was pleasant and uneventful until halfway through the Legacy path in North Salt Lake when the wind decided to blow at us, hard. It was about an eight or nine mile slog into the wind, and then a stop for sugar and salt at a truck stop. From there, it was onto the dirt, back on the Jordan River Parkway, and home.

It was a pretty damn decent way to spend a weekend. All told, I think we rode around 120 miles over the course of two days, under a load of about 50 pounds (in Andy’s and my cases) and a little less for Tom, who was only running rear panniers. Beats the hell out of the couch.

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