Saturday, October 23, 2021

Troy would be wise to roll out the welcome mat for bikepackers

| June 18, 2021 7:00 AM

To the editor

This is a short letter to people of Troy and what is coming their way. In 2019, a long distance mountain bikepacking route was established from Whitefish to Mexico. It is called the Western Wildlands Route. It goes down 17 Mile by my studio and then on to Troy.

On a whim, I put out what is called an Angel Station — free water and candy bars — thinking there might be a few bikers. I easily saw over 200 ride by and I talked to many of them. I talked to people from all over the east coast: Maine, New York, Alabama and too many other states to name. Just from everywhere.

From my place, they head to Troy and then down Lake Creek and then on to Mexico. The most common questions they asked were: Is there camping in Troy? Can we get showers? Is there a bicycle repair shop? Can you get beer and burgers?

My answer: Yes!

Troy could easily be a town of “yes, we have everything you need.” The Western Wildlands Route has been labeled the No. 1 trail to ride in the country. Reading their Facebook page and examining other talk on the Internet, it seems as though riders are coming in record numbers from the U.S. and now from Australia and New Zealand. A thousand bike riders could be coming through Troy this summer, with more coming every year.

Granted, these are not your normal tourists, but they still spend money. They need showers, food and a rest area. A biking campground would be a huge hit.

The people I met are having the time of their lives riding through Montana and could really help the local economy in some small way.

Western Wildland Route. Remember that name. It’s bringing people to your town for years to come.

Edd Kuropat