It is our pleasure to help you enjoy as much as possible on your bikepacking trips! Here are the people who help us plan and guide the trips!
“Skinny” Steve Smith Skinny Steve is one of our greatest resources to have on the trip. We call him our Human GPS and resident tree-climbing monkey! Steve has been riding with our group for some time now, and you’ll see him riding a red Cannondale Cadd 10 road bike, modified for touring (Imagine that). As a resident “thrill seeker”, Steve will continually strive for more adventure. However, he is excellent at helping beginners and keeping the crew together. We have gotten rave reviews about him and how helpful he was to people that were nervous about the trip. Steve is also our consultant for what we call “Ultra-Light Packing” – you’ll see Steve with very minimal gear.
Matt “DONK!” Cafone It was a pleasure to have Matt on the first trip in 2012. With trailer in tow, Matt instantly became a valuable resource! Matt seemed to have everything in his trailer that no one had brought. Although he carried much, he had no problems during the trip. DONK, his nickname, came from the second Crocodile Dundee movie when the character said, “I don’t need a gun, I’ve got a DONK!” Matt has been known to spew a few jokes or even have a conversation that will make you laugh while you’re riding. Beware, he’s a funny guy, so watch you don’t fall off your bike! Even though Matt has a busy schedule, he takes time out of his busy day to ride his bike and keeps a nice pace for the group. He’s certainly a humorous guy, and you’ll enjoy riding with him.
Rob “Bean” Blanda Blanda is the co-founder of www.bikepacking.us and has been an avid cyclist for some time now. I have known Rob for close to eight years and have been riding with him for three, we have shared a great many rides in that time and all of them have been a blast! He is the captain of our bike team and our leader on the bike packing trips, no one works harder then him on any of our rides! He has built this great website single handed, he is our videographer and photographer; which helps imortalize every trip we take! You can always count on him to make sure you won’t over sleep on the day of ride as his text messages will arrive 3 hours before we are set to meet up, or you will wake up on one of our trips with Blanda singing Sinatra at 5:00 in the morning! He is always working to grow bike packing as he loves to share the fun that we have with anyone willing to give it a shot. You will find Blanda on a trike most of the time, as he likes to ride in style and comfort! If you need to contact him for any reason, please fill out the form on the contact page. -Skinny
Ann Marie “Mudge” Arnold Ann joined us in October 2012 on the GAP trail. She’s a great tour guide especially with the women! Need a hairdryer? Mirror for your makeup? Yep – she’s got that. Annie, or Mudge as we call her, rides a converted Schwinn Varsity road bike, outfitted for bikepacking to the MAX! In addition to being beautiful (yes, I am biased), she’s the most pleasant, kind and calm person you’ll ever meet on the trips. Annie always seems to leave with 10x more friends than she came with. Annie has become somewhat of an expert in tent setup, complete with arranging the sleeping quarters with frilly setups and even a mint on the pillow. Look for the blonde with the blue bike, and yell Mudge. You’ll get her attention! Oh, and hands off, fellas, she’s mine 🙂 – (bean)
Eric “Gumby” Stephens, Jr. One day, Skinny and I were riding recumbents around the neighborhood after doing repairs. We spotted a gentleman just across the street from our house and stopped to talk to him while on the bents. Eric seemed genuinely interested in the trike so I let him take it for a spin around the block. He loved it! Next thing you know, Rick had a KMX Tornado (Trike) Delivered right to his doorsteps a few weeks later. Ever since then, he’s been the most enthusiastic rider that I’ve ever had the pleasure to accompany. ‘Rick’ got his nickname “GUMBY” because he’s a little slower than the rest of us. Doesn’t make sense until you know that the name “POKEY” was already taken. Be sure to say Hi to Gumby – he’s a great friend to have! Trust me, I know!