Amanda and Hannah of The Kona Supremes have been going on regular mini bikepacking trips right in their backyard for the last couple years. Leaving from the Kona Bike Shop, they’ve been linking together all the various greenway trails and single track that webs all throughout Bellingham, WA. From overnights on top of their local mountain to hanging hammocks in secret coves that line Bellingham’s shores, these two have made it a point to squeeze in a micro adventure as often as they can.
These mid-week micro adventures inspired the two to plan a trip and invite other women interested in bikepacking to join them. The idea turned into a collaboration with a local pack maker, Pack Northwest and a non-profit aimed at creating welcoming recreation experiences for all, Shifting Gears. Together the team planned a 20-mile multi-surface route that linked trail systems from downtown Bellingham out to Larrabee State Park, located at the foot of the Chuckanut mountains.
The Friday night before the trip all the participants met at The Kona Bike Shop for a packing party. After safety and gear checks they went over the ideal ways to load up a bike for a trip, and the tips and tricks of keeping the weight low and evenly distributed. Together the group went over the route details to make sure all riders were on the same page.
Amanda talking with participants about the inspiration behind the Trip.
Hilary from Pack NW going over the route.
Once the formalities were out of the way, the riders quickly moved to the most exciting part of the evening – Packing! All the participants wasted no time getting familiar with the different bag systems and quickly started strapping all their gear to the bikes.
Oh the joys of stuffing as much gear as you can into one single bag.
Alex Packing her sleeping bag into a Revelate saddle bag.
April used her panniers and a handlebar bag for the trip.
All the bikes looked super pro and dialed at the end of the packing party. The Kona Bike Shop kindly housed the bikes overnight, so they would be ready for the 10am departure Saturday morning. At 9am on Saturday morning all the sleepy participants slowly started showing up. After a hot cup of coffee you could see the nervous excitement rippling through the group. After some last-minute bag checks the group was ready to start pedaling.
Kelen giving her bag one last check.
The only mechanicals happened within the first 15 minutes, which added extra excitement right out of the gates. One rider had a dropper malfunction which required replacing it with a rigid post and another rider snapped her derailleur with no replacement. With Amanda running sag they were able to quickly troubleshoot all the mechanicals and get the crew pedaling again.
Riders pedaling through Whatcom Falls Park.
From the bike shop the group pedaled the greenway up through Whatcom Falls park and made their first stop at the pump track. From there they pedaled over Galbraith mountain via the pipeline trail and some daring riders went to ride some single track trails along the way.
Lots of stops for snacks because… snacks!
Hannah and Delia playing on the local pump track.
By far the biggest highlight of the weekend for most of the riders was the single track. Many expressed nervousness about riding with all the extra weight but found the joy in “monster trucking” down the trails and the wilderness was lit up with smiles and laughter.
Hilary with Pack NW leading the pack through the Lake Padden trails.
Contagious laughter and grins out in force over the weekend.
The group met up again on the South side of Galbraith with everyone in high spirits and starting to get the hang of riding with all the gear. Everyone got to try their hand at navigating the roots and tight corners on the Padden trails just before lunch. After a lunch break by the lake, the ride continued on through Fairhaven Parkway to Arroyo Park. After tackling some steep uphill switchbacks in Arroyo, the group finished the ride with a few miles of pedaling on the Interurban trail out to Larrabee State Park.
Hannah was the group mechanic and did a great job of making sure all bikes were in working order.
Stoke was high when all the riders pulled into the campsite.
Once everyone arrived at Larrabee and unpacked their gear, chamois were exchanged for bathing suits and everyone headed straight for the table loaded with a bright charcuterie platter.
Huge shout out to Boundary Bay Brewing for the cold ones.
Thanks to Amanda for being the camp Mom – the food was on point!
After all the riders gorged on yummy cheese and fruits, the group made their way down to the beach to cool off and soak in the sun. Once the sun dipped past the horizon everyone came back to camp to enjoy a campfire-cooked curry and storytelling.
In the morning the group repacked bags a little more efficiently than the first time. Everyone met around the campfire one last time to reflect on the trip. Many ladies expressed new-found passions for bikes and camping and felt inspired to plan their own trips, now more confident in their own abilities having some bikepacking experience.
Thanks to all the participants and ride leaders for making this trip a smashing success!
This trip would not have been possible without the support of Kona Bicycle company. Huge thanks to Paul Kelly for the photos.
The Kona Supremes