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So you’ve caught the bike-camping bug and you want to share it with all your friends. Or maybe you’ve just heard about Swift Campout and you’re itching to get out on your first bike-overnight. Awesome! Swift Campout is the perfect opportunity to organize a ride and invite your community to join the fun!

After a few years of organizing rides, we’ve got some tips for keeping safe and getting the most out of your group ride.

Choose a location

The overnight destinations you choose when going solo or in a small group are different than for a larger group. The best group camp spots have access to clean water, tables to hang out at, public restrooms, and lots of room to pitch tents and hang hammocks. Ideally, you’ll also find a spot that has a store along the way, so campers can load up on last minute supplies.

Choose the type of ride you’re hosting

How are you getting to your camp spot? Are you going to ride backroads? Dirt roads? Singletrack? A little bit of everything? It’s important to make this clear, as this will determine what kind of bike is appropriate. Maybe you can find a spot that has multiple routes for all kinds of folks!

Gear

What will people need to bring? It’s good to make this clear as well. One of the wonderful things about group camping is sharing gear and supplies, reducing the amount of stuff each person needs to carry. Maybe you can offer to lend gear to those who are new to camping?

Plan your route in advance

Depending on your group’s experience level and the type of terrain you’re riding, the distance you travel will vary. The last thing you want for a group camp is to roll in after dark! Aim to be at camp with lots of time to hang out, make dinner, and share stories around the campfire.

For paved road adventures, distances from 20-40 miles each way tend to work well for overnights. The more technical the terrain, the shorter your ride should be. Make a map using Ride with GPS and share it with your crew. If it’s a public ride, add it to the Swift Campout Map Room!

Book your camp spot in advance

Mid-June is the beginning of camping season, and spots tend to fill up. Many parks have group campsites that can be booked in advance, ensuring your entire group can be accommodated. If your ride and camp spot can only accommodate a certain number of people, you’ll have to work out how you’ll manage attendance. 

We’ve found that creating an event on Facebook is a great way to gauge numbers, while using Eventbrite has the advantage of letting you collect campsite fees in advance – saving the potential hassle of collecting cash from everyone on the day of your trip.

On the ride

With larger group rides, it’s a good idea to split up into smaller groups based on anticipated pace. Some people want to get to camp as quickly as possible, while others prefer to stop for snacks and swims and so on.

However you split up your group, make sure each group has a leader who’s committed to making sure every person in the group makes it to camp safely. If you don’t already have each others’ contact info, it’s good to get this as well.

Always ride within your ability

While we can’t tell you what to do, we can ask that you think of the group before yourself, ensure everyone has a good time.

Save the beers for camp, get there safe, and enjoy a night out under the stars!

Have fun!

Camping bikes can be slow. Enjoy that! Stop for ice cream along the way. Take lots of photos. Share your stove, make someone a coffee. Make new friends!

Swift Campout 2018

We’ve got plenty of stoke to pump out over the coming weeks as we gear up for this year’s solstice bike-overnight on June 23rd and 24th. Get your crew to sign up for Swift Campout 2018 at builtbyswift.com/swiftcampout and you’ll all be entered to win prizes from our amazing partner brands, as well as getting tips along the way!