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  1. #1
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    Bike and baggage hire for Black Canyon Trail

    Hello,

    I live in the UK but interested in riding the Black Canyon Trail with my brother on a trip.

    Does anyone know of any shops/tour companies that would rent us bikes and bikepacking baggage that would be good for this trip?

    Flying with bikes is getting more expensive these days and I am not sure we have brilliantly suited bikes so we think hiring might be a good plan.

    I guess we would most likely fly to Phoenix from the UK.

    Any advice appreciated.

    Roddy.

  2. #2
    Black and Sticky
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    Try these folks:

    https://www.aoa-adventures.com/

    I have rented bikes from them for out of town guests. Always had great experience with them.

    Have fun!

    Bob
    "Some people follow their dreams, others hunt them down and beat them mercilessly into submission." - Neil Kendall

  3. #3
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    Why not consider the AZT: more scenic; no rivers; better camp spots etc.
    A shame to come from the UK just to ride BCT; when Gold canyon and Sedona are a stones (I recall that you guys still use 'stones') throw away.
    If you'd like an assist with shuttle etc let me know. Though i'm not an 'official' Self-Appointed Ambassador (like TD) I'm here to help, as I've been assisted everywhere I ride.
    If you let me know dates etc I'll ask re; bikes n gear; and may accompany you if thats cool with you. How the heck do you hear about BCT as THE place to ride, from the UK?
    There's a local shuttle Co that could use that person's publicity; big time.
    Cheers
    TS

  4. #4
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    I have ridden the Arizona Trail and also the Black Canyon Trail. I like BCT. Are you looking to a BCT out and back or a "Top to Bottom". BCT Mayer to Emery Henderson (no real reason to ride any farther south) is what I call a 1 day ride. Long day, but I would not bother to bikepack that. Now if you want to just go slow it could be done in two 35 mile days. Just remember the temps when you are doing this. This is a winter ride not a summer one Too late in the spring or too early in the fall and you will get really hot. This does mean less daylight.

    Now once you are done with BCT you should also hit some of Arizona Trail. Very similar overall feeling and great ride no mater which passage you pick. Gold Canyon is fun like side adventure. Good for a few hrs of riding around.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  5. #5
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    Thanks Joe; We'll make you a GC Ambassador. And if you can ride all the good stuff at GC in a 'few' hours; we'll make you Superman---for Halloween!
    Both GC and AZT are far superior to BCT, in my humble opinion; having bikepacked both of them; and also day tripped them too.
    Coming from the UK to ride in AZ; the BCT would not be my pick. I come from Canada; and BCT is WAY down the list---and certainly way way down as far as bikepacking goes.
    Schilling needs to post up here as he is the Bikepack guru
    But maybe ther'll be a WALL by then anyway!
    Cheers, and Happy Halloween
    TS

  6. #6

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Transition Senior View Post
    Thanks Joe; We'll make you a GC Ambassador. And if you can ride all the good stuff at GC in a 'few' hours; we'll make you Superman---for Halloween!
    TS
    Did this ride Dec 2016. I had day off drove hour 15 mintues to Gold Canyon. It was fun. https://www.strava.com/activities/814243346 31 miles 4hrs ride time and 5 hrs total time. This was before Hoodoo trail off of LGM was created and I skipped Quartz Ridge since I done that before. BCT generally flows a bit faster and if you compare BCT Mayer to Emery transitions more landscapes. You get the low brush/grass trees of mayer transition in to the traditional desert landscape of lower elevations. The other nice thing about BCT is that there are bailouts and help. Despite feeling remote you never more than 4-5 miles straight line to I-17 and pretty much always in cell range.

    Azt south of Picketpost (and north too) are remote. Far far away from casual traffic, bailouts and cell coverage. The trail is slower going to so you cover less miles per hour. I do love the challenge of the area and the beauty of it, but while they are similar in ways I would not say they are the same nor is one "superior" to the other.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  8. #8
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    i know Im going to get bashed for saying this... but I should bring it to your attention in case it has not been mentioned and if you don't know....

    There is a motel in Black Canyon City located about in the middle of the BCT. Called the mountain breeze motel. Reviews are not great but not bad... just wanted to be sure you knew about it.

  9. #9
    Ahhh the pain....
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    Do they rent by the hour?

  10. #10
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    ...
    Last edited by Phillbo; 10-25-2018 at 09:59 AM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum View Post
    Do they rent by the hour?
    Only for the "boutique" customers iirc. Oh wait, wrong thread.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum View Post
    Do they rent by the hour?
    no but you find a very pleasant hit of meth on every pillow upon arrival..

  13. #13
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    If you book this trip with Matt, make sure you're ready for him to cancel on you at the last minute. Hermosa tours is a very unreliable service.
    "Mi amor Nuevo Miércoles!"

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calhoun View Post
    If you book this trip with Matt, make sure you're ready for him to cancel on you at the last minute. Hermosa tours is a very unreliable service.
    I was just posting as a suggestion for the OP but Matt does have a prickly reputation. Never used the guide or self service setup for multi-day trips but have used the Durango shuttle with no issues.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Transition Senior View Post
    Thanks Joe; We'll make you a GC Ambassador. And if you can ride all the good stuff at GC in a 'few' hours; we'll make you Superman---for Halloween!
    Both GC and AZT are far superior to BCT, in my humble opinion; having bikepacked both of them; and also day tripped them too.
    TS
    I disagree, BCT if far more fun and secluded than Gold Canyon (in my opinion. I think they would be happier doing an overnighter on the BCT, bring a water filter and you won't need to stop in town to re-supply. If your coming from UK you should have a lot more time and ride both.
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  16. #16
    Ahhh the pain....
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    Yeah, I tend to agree w/ TB... Gold Canyon is cool but it's one of those trail systems that is more about cool features to ride w a neat backdrop...whereas BCT is more about a sort of backcountry pt A to B ride where you cover ground. Totally different experiences.

  17. #17
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    Yep, BCT is a better backcountry experience with longer and more sustained downhills. Gold Canyon has the edge in vegetation though. The Sonoran desert is quite lush there at the base of the Superstitions.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by TacoBeer View Post
    I disagree, BCT if far more fun and secluded than Gold Canyon (in my opinion. I think they would be happier doing an overnighter on the BCT, bring a water filter and you won't need to stop in town to re-supply. If your coming from UK you should have a lot more time and ride both.
    I don't disagree with you at all, but I would say that if you are doing an overnight and riding at that type of pace - I would consider a stop in Rock Springs for pie or food (or whatever) almost mandatory if you aren't going for the whole stay away from "civilization" thing.

  19. #19
    Meatbomb
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    TS will always push GC just as TD will push Sedona. It's a given, not good trail advise but more of just an agenda.

  20. #20
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    I think that we chased off the OP from this thread

    The important questions to ask would be why the OP is uniquely interested in riding the BCT vs. any of the other amazing trails in AZ. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy riding the BCT a couple times every year, but if I was going to ride ONE trail when visiting AZ I would choose the AZT hands down. Now, AZT can be a much more remote and challenging ride than the BCT, but if I was traveling from out of country to do one ride that would be my #1 choice.

  21. #21
    Ahhh the pain....
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    I tend to agree as well...I find it funny that due to their vested interest in Sedona and GC, their (TD and TS) recommendation will always be those two locations regardless of the kind of experience the person is looking for. Remote backcountry w/ incredible views? Yep, AZT between Picketpost and Oracle hands down(imho) during appropriate weather.

  22. #22
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    I thought this thread was too close to the shuttle tour thread to be legit. I figured it was someone that was put up to it to see if we would recommend that particular company that was advertising what the OP was looking for.
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  23. #23
    Meatbomb
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    Whats the lean Roddy?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum View Post
    I tend to agree as well...I find it funny that due to their vested interest in Sedona and GC, their (TD and TS) recommendation will always be those two locations regardless of the kind of experience the person is looking for. Remote backcountry w/ incredible views? Yep, AZT between Picketpost and Oracle hands down(imho) during appropriate weather.
    Sedona would not have become a World Class destination if the BCT or AZT would have been the recommended Arizona destinations.

    I have seen more out of town riders in Sedona this month than ever previously. Must be the great trails and weather.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by clockwork View Post
    I thought this thread was too close to the shuttle tour thread to be legit. I figured it was someone that was put up to it to see if we would recommend that particular company that was advertising what the OP was looking for.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Switchblade2 View Post
    Sedona would not have become a World Class destination if the BCT or AZT would have been the recommended Arizona destinations.

    I have seen more out of town riders in Sedona this month than ever previously. Must be the great trails and weather.
    And how many of those out of towners were riding with bags and camping? That's the experience the OP was asking about, but instead you push your own agenda. Every time.

    Sedona has great riding to be sure, but it's all about hitting the trails, then grabbing a beer and a bite, and soaking in the hot tub. Nothing wrong with that, just not a wilderness experience.
    Veni vidi velo!

  27. #27
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    Hey keppoch are you monitoring this thread you created? I am curious if you obtained all the information you were originally looking for?

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Switchblade2 View Post
    Sedona would not have become a World Class destination if the BCT or AZT would have been the recommended Arizona destinations.

    I have seen more out of town riders in Sedona this month than ever previously. Must be the great trails and weather.
    But the BCT and AZT ARE the recommended Arizona destinations for bikepacking...since the OP asked about bikepacking, Sedona and GC - while awesome for day rides - are not bikepacking destinations. I'm sure you have seen more out of town riders in Sedona this month...how many of them were toting around bikepacking bags on Highline or Hangover for giggles?




  29. #29
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    Hello all,

    I think my notifications of new posts had dried up so really interesting to revisit the thread and see the additional comments.

    I have actually had a push on organising this trip in the last couple of days so good timing. To give some more responses and context which will hopefully encourage some more advice:

    I am definitely legit and not a secret ad for a BCT shuttle company (which seem very expensive so I am favouring car option, see below)

    We are visiting from the UK, have never ridden in Arizona before

    We have done a lot of riding in the past but are currently not super fit or sharp for technical riding so don't want anything too long/tough so the suggestion of some 500 mile trail really doesn't fit! This is about enjoying riding in an unfamiliar place and spending some quality time together.

    We only have a week and want to do some other stuff as well; so three days riding is about right

    As we are coming from the UK we want to fly to LA as it is cheaper, hence the BCT is of interest as we can drive there in a reasonable time

    We will be hiring bikes as too much cost/hassle to fly with them for three days riding

    We don't own bikepacking luggage so we will need to hire that in the UK before leaving or once in Arizona - or some friendly forum type could lend it to us ;-)

    As we are visiting for a week it makes sense to get a car, then we can use that generally but also load up and take the bikes to the start with it and then one of us hitch hike back to the north of BCT. Will that work? Do people pick up hitchers (in general I think it is just a waiting game; I recently hitch hiked between Chile and Argentina in a fuel tanker!

    Will it be OK to leave a car at Black Canyon trailhead for nearly three days? Will it still be there when we come back?

    Is three days from Black Canyon Trailhead (near Mayer) to Emery Trailhead the right way to do it? We don't want mega miles as we are not experienced bikepackers

    Where does Cleator fit into this? I saw it on the Rocky Mountain Sherpa video but it doesn't really seem to feature on the route. Is that a little side trip that rounds it up to three days nicely?

    Is February a good time to ride this trail?

    Having read all that if you still don't think BCT is the one for us then I would be interested to hear alternatives though we do need to get on and sort it now!

    Thanks in advance.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by keppoch View Post
    Hello all,

    I think my notifications of new posts had dried up so really interesting to revisit the thread and see the additional comments.

    I have actually had a push on organising this trip in the last couple of days so good timing. To give some more responses and context which will hopefully encourage some more advice:

    I am definitely legit and not a secret ad for a BCT shuttle company (which seem very expensive so I am favouring car option, see below)

    We are visiting from the UK, have never ridden in Arizona before

    We have done a lot of riding in the past but are currently not super fit or sharp for technical riding so don't want anything too long/tough so the suggestion of some 500 mile trail really doesn't fit! This is about enjoying riding in an unfamiliar place and spending some quality time together.

    We only have a week and want to do some other stuff as well; so three days riding is about right

    As we are coming from the UK we want to fly to LA as it is cheaper, hence the BCT is of interest as we can drive there in a reasonable time

    We will be hiring bikes as too much cost/hassle to fly with them for three days riding

    We don't own bikepacking luggage so we will need to hire that in the UK before leaving or once in Arizona - or some friendly forum type could lend it to us ;-)

    As we are visiting for a week it makes sense to get a car, then we can use that generally but also load up and take the bikes to the start with it and then one of us hitch hike back to the north of BCT. Will that work? Do people pick up hitchers (in general I think it is just a waiting game; I recently hitch hiked between Chile and Argentina in a fuel tanker!

    Will it be OK to leave a car at Black Canyon trailhead for nearly three days? Will it still be there when we come back?

    Is three days from Black Canyon Trailhead (near Mayer) to Emery Trailhead the right way to do it? We don't want mega miles as we are not experienced bikepackers

    Where does Cleator fit into this? I saw it on the Rocky Mountain Sherpa video but it doesn't really seem to feature on the route. Is that a little side trip that rounds it up to three days nicely?

    Is February a good time to ride this trail?

    Having read all that if you still don't think BCT is the one for us then I would be interested to hear alternatives though we do need to get on and sort it now!

    Thanks in advance.
    Regarding the BCT: We've been getting a lot of rain and snow, so I would expect the Agua Fria R. to be flowing pretty good right now. When I crossed about a month ago I rode right across in one spot and rock hopped across in another without even getting my shoes wet. Not the case now. Check the flow before you go. These crossings can be treacherous at high water. We're in an El Nino weather pattern so more precip. on the way.
    Veni vidi velo!

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by veloborealis View Post
    Regarding the BCT: We've been getting a lot of rain and snow, so I would expect the Agua Fria R. to be flowing pretty good right now....Check the flow before you go.
    Here is the direct link to the stream gauge at Rock Springs on the Agua Fria River:
    https://www.cbrfc.noaa.gov/river/sta...plot.cgi?AFRA3

    In the past few days the flow has gone from ~3 cfs to over 300 cfs (2.5 ft to 5.3 ft).

  32. #32
    Meatbomb
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    At what level is it dangerous to cross? They may not know either.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillbo View Post
    At what level is it dangerous to cross? They may not know either.
    I've crossed at the first ford below BCC when it was just over knee deep without issue. I've never been there when it looked dangerous. Other more experienced folks will have to chime in.
    Veni vidi velo!

  34. #34
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    I think your car would be safe at the BCC trailhead, but one never knows. You might consider asking the folks at Rock Springs if you can leave a car there. If you patronize the cafe for food and beer I wouldn't think they would mind. It's a short ride from there to the trailhead. I ride sections of the BCT frequently in the winter, usually Fri. and Sat. If you can arrange to start or finish on one of those days I might be able to assist with a shuttle. PM me to work out details. I live about an hour away from BCC so I would need advance notice to plan my own ride down there.
    Veni vidi velo!

  35. #35
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    I may have missed it but why don't you just want to ride in 3 or more separate areas as opposed to riding 3 straight days on the BCT....especially since you commented that you guys "are currently not super fit or sharp for technical riding so don't want anything too long/tough". I've ridden the BCT and while I enjoyed the experience, I enjoy the riding a lot more by getting in some variety by riding at Cave Creek, Hawes and South Mountain on different days. If you're set on BCT, maybe do (1) day on the Rock Springs section which is quite a workout even when fit.
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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by k2rider1964 View Post
    I may have missed it but why don't you just want to ride in 3 or more separate areas as opposed to riding 3 straight days on the BCT....especially since you commented that you guys "are currently not super fit or sharp for technical riding so don't want anything too long/tough". I've ridden the BCT and while I enjoyed the experience, I enjoy the riding a lot more by getting in some variety by riding at Cave Creek, Hawes and South Mountain on different days. If you're set on BCT, maybe do (1) day on the Rock Springs section which is quite a workout even when fit.
    I agree with this... BCT has some tough climbs and with unfamiliar loaded bikes, it can get a bit dicey for sure. I'd just do day rides, and car camp at the TH's.

    BTW, about 150cfs in the agua fria is about the most I'd cross with...and even at that you might get your junk wet.

  37. #37
    Meatbomb
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    cold wet junk.... Sounds like what they are use too

  38. #38
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    Yeah BCT is great riding, but no need to do it all at once bike packing. I would rather do as 3-4 day rides on unloaded bikes. You can get hotel room in Anthem, Az and have a short drive to any of the trailheads. Plus given the weather we are having it could snow at the far north end or be simply very cold. Could be cool also and dry, but you never really know right now. Staying in hotel and day riding gives you more options for varried weather and being able to change ride plans in case of poor weather. Plus no need to try to find bikepacking gear.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  39. #39
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    I agree, trying to build a bike pack rig from over seas is daunting.... Come enjoy the day trips.

  40. #40
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    K2; yer bang on; They'd be better to come to this beautiful State and ride, say, the Phx area; Usery/Hawes; Gold Canyon; SoMo etc; pick the trails you like based upon the Trailforks info on each area/trail.
    If you'd like a tour of Gold Canyon, let me know on this post or ny PM
    Cheers.
    TS

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