Big Ass Rides
Big ass riding: it’s a thing!
And, no, we’re not talking about the size of your booty once you strengthen all those glute muscles with some epic bike rides. We’re talking about the serious, high-end, hard-core, epic, endurance, push-yourself-to-the-limits type of big-ass cycling.
Have you done a big ass bike ride? Planning to do one? Never heard of them and want to know more?
So, what exactly is a big ass ride? Well, we’re glad you asked. It’s all sorts of different bike rides:
Participation rides including:
- critical mass;
- cycling events;
- night rides;
- Epic endurance feats by mountain bike, road cycling or gravel grinding;
- Long distance rail trail adventures; and
- Multiday or multi week bike packing/bike touring experiences.
Maybe there are others – please let us know in the comments below if there are other types of big ass rides you know of or have done. And, it’s relative: a big ass ride to someone might be a small ass ride to someone else; all depending on your level of fitness, endurance, skills and experience. However, there are some pretty clear standouts in the big-ass riding world that can’t be disputed!
The world’s best big ass rides
Here’s our small-ass collection of the world’s best big ass rides, complete with everything you need to know: quality trail info, maps, elevation profiles and everything else you need to find along the way: places to stay, eat and drink, rent a bike, book a big ass guided tour and more.
Great Divide Mountain Bike Route
At 2,696 miles this one’s a big ass ride in anyone’s books! The route, developed and mapped by the Adventure Cycling Association in 1997, stretches the length of the Continental Divide from Banff, Alberta Canada to the US/Mexico border in Antelope Wells, New Mexico. 90% of the route is offroad, 3% is singletrack and the route’s highest point is 11,913”. The route is best known for the ultra-endurance self-supported race, Tour Divide, held from June each year.
Townships along the route, such as Twin Bridges and Ovando, Montana, have cottoned on to the benefits of passing cyclists to provide a range of services and facilities.
Image: Dale Shadley prepares his specialized bike for the Tour Divide race
photo Robbin Cresswell, Big Ass Rides bicycle tourism
Arguably the world’s premier gravel grinder, the Dirty Kanza is a big ass ride for a single-day endurance feat. This one’s a solo, self-supported 200 mile ride in the Flint Hills of east-central Kansas and is generally held in early June each year. The Dirty Kanza has a significant role in the rise and popularity of gravel grinding the world over. The DK200 itself has grown from humble beginnings in 2006 of 34 participants to now well over 2,000.
Image: Getting ready for the Dirty Kanza, Wikimedia commons
Bogota Critical Mass
Every Sunday a million cyclists take over one of Bogota’s busiest, biggest and most important streets.
For seven hours more than 100km of roads across the Capital City are closed to motor vehicles.
That counts as big-ass in our books!
First established in 1974, the Ciclovia has paved the way to raise awareness of the many benefits of bike riding. Across the globe, there are now hundreds, if not thousands, of cities hosting regular Ciclovias – also commonly known as ‘Open Streets’ and ‘Critical Mass’, all based on Bogota’s lead. These big ass rides are having huge impacts for improved cycling infrastructure, safer streets and more people choosing active transport across the globe, including some great bicycle tourism destinations such as Tucson, AZ.
Image: Carlos Felipe Pardo
IMBA EPIC Rides
The International Mountain Bicycling Association awards EPIC Ride status to recognize the most adventurous and special of mtb rides, following a comprehensive accreditation process based on criteria including:
- Demanding experience in a natural/remote setting (backcountry riding);
- More than 80% singletrack;
- Technically and physically challenging; and
- At least 20 miles in length.
Image: SN Deep Summer
CycleLifeHQ provides a comprehensive one-stop-shop directory for all the IMBA EPIC Rides with everything you need to know to get out there on your next big ass mountain bike ride: quality trail information, trail maps with elevation profiles and easy navigation, places to stay, eat, drink, rent a bike, book a guided tour and more.
Check it out here.