Summer Bike Camping is Here
We are in the midst of summer. And that means so much time riding bikes ideally in some beautiful native habitat maybe even near the lake and even better, with some friends! OOFD has a lot of that going on right now.
We've already rocked 4 bike camping trips (3 over the last 3 weekends), and we have 13 more to come! So CHECK OUT OUR REMAINING RIDES HERE. There is something for everybody from a 20 mile camping trip to the epic
110 mile day to Starved Rock and even the 5 day party up into Southwest Michigan in July. And of course, there is something for the families, kids, teenagers, and folks with disabilities.
Chicago to Southwest Michigan
The SWMI Ride (pronounced "swmmy"). This is the biggest and baddest we have done to date! All camping and most meals provided. For 5 days, 4 nights have a blast on this bike summer vacation! Crazy affordable compared to other rides of this caliber, and all proceeds, as always, go to support the most excellent mission of our 501c3 non-profit org.
Lake Michigan | Sand Dunes | Local Craft Beer, Food, Wine | 3 different Campgrounds
Ridership Level: Intermediate-Advanced | Pace: 12-15mph |
Mileage: Day One 75 mi (train option) | Day Two 45 mi | Day Three - off day with 25 mi nature/brewery/winery loop option | Day Four 40 mi | Day Five 60 miles and South Shore Train from South Bend, IN to Chicago (bike transport provided back to Chi)
This ride is an ecstatic celebration of Lake Michigan and all that its coast has to offer. Learn about the ecology of the lake and the history of its shore while also exploring some of its hidden gems and excellent local spots. Heaps of opportunities to jump into the lake on a daily basis.
You should take advantage of this extended summertime adventure! Learn more including the day by day breakdown and how to register here.
There is a special discount code (only for folks that read this newsletter and only until June 21). Save $50. DISCOUNT CODE - SWMI50.That's camping, support, most food and drinks for a 5 day vaca into SW Michigan for $400!
Other Awesome Rides Happening
As an organization, we always are striving to be more "radically inclusive," and this year more than ever. We have rides for everyone from the adult who is looking to try bike camping for the first time to super advanced riders. We also have rides for families to bring the kids along. We have the capacity, gear, and even a few bikes to help get families with kids with disabilities out bike camping on the family rides this year! And we'll have at least one or two rides just for teenage youth.
Learn more about the Adult and Family Rides and see which one is the best fit for you here!
A great upcoming option for all riders though it caters to very new bike campers is the easy paced, 20ish mile ride on June 25-26 to the Western Burb's Blackwell Campsite on the What Lies West Adult ride.
New to bike camping, check out some affordable ways to haul your gear on your bike here (hint, hint: it includes a milk crate).
And if you are interested in getting your child with adaptive needs out on a family ride or your teenage youth on one of our youth rides, please contact us here.
Some Summer Reading Ideas
The OOFD mission statement is to welcome you to join us on our immersive, inclusive, and educational bike camping adventures. We aim to deepen your reverence for the region by exploring local trails while learning about the culture, history, and habitats native to the beautiful Lake Michigan region.
In order to do this, we are constantly educating ourselves on our region, it's history, ecology, and some bigger concepts that relate to what we got going on here. We have tons of book ideas for ya, but here are a few to get ya started. All are available at the Chicago Public Library.
The Way of Coyote, Shared Journeys in the Urban Wilds by Gavin Van Horn - A lovely dig into the animals and plants that have adapted to the Chicago environment and make Chicago wild, not just we wild humans. 2018. 220 pages.
On Trails by Robert Moor - A deeply researched and reflective look at trails and all that they are, have been, and can be. Hugely influential on this year's SWMI script. 2016. 336 pages.
A Sand Country Almanac by Aldo Leopold - A delightful book about nature and our relationship to it from our consumption of it, recreation in it, and ability to notice it. A classic based in Sand County, WI written by one of our region's most influential naturalists. 1966. 295 pages.
Its always hard not to turn these newsletters into a straight-up poem/song to all of the amazing people that make up the OOFD community especially its guides, program directors, and board of directors.
So far we have had Norah Webster, Jordan Evangelista, and Maggie Marek step in as lead guides for their first time this year, and Kat Leyh used their OG guide skills to run the big Battle to the Dunes as the lead guide. We had Zach Schroeder, Shawn McCrimmon, Matt Mersch, Glenn Schneider, Serena Larkin, Rachel Shultz, Anson Moran, Ashley Lyons, Ashley Huerta, Matthew Sheerin, Matt Weiss, and Breanna Bertacchi lead overnights so far this year! And tons of new and OG guides lined up to lead the remaining rides.
We are welcoming two new board members in Anson Moran and Jerome Hughes. Also, Matt Weiss (Where the Wild Things Grow) and Joseph Brignon (Family Program) are rolling in their first years as directors for OOFD. Breanna Bertacchi and Bradley Fisher continue to crush it as the Adult and Adaptive/Youth Program Directors this year.
Even got to shout out Specialized for being awesome hosts by letting us start and end the Reinberg ride at their sweet new space. And Patagonia for working to partner with us on an upcoming Where the Wild Things Grow Rides (deets to come). Not to mention the many folks that donate cash money to the OOFD cause. Like I said, I could go on and on, but we'll leave it there for now.
What Do You Do Now?
1. Sign up for the SWMI Ride with the special discount code (only for folks that read this newsletter) and save $50. DISCOUNT CODE - SWMI50.
2. Come out to the Monthly Hang on Tuesday, July 5 on the South Side at Calumet Park Beach (95th and the Lake). More info here.
3. Read a good book that will deepen your reverence for our region and all of its living and non-living things.
4. Consider getting involved as a volunteer to help our most excellent mission get more folks out on bike adventures in nature. We especially are looking for someone to direct the Youth Program moving into next season, so send any folks you have in mind our way.
Beyond excited to Bike. Camp. Chicago. with y'all this summer!
Glenn and all of the OOFD pals
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"To immerse , educate, preserve & advance the history, culture, trails and native habitats of the Lower Lake Michigan Basin Area"