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2019 Beginner's Bike Packing Adventure, The Wilds of Groton

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2019 Beginner's Bike Packing Adventure, The Wilds of Groton

Join us for a Labor Day bicycle adventure! We have two options depending on your commitment level and desire. One option is a more adventurous ride from Barre to Groton State Forest, the other a ride along the unpaved rail trails of from Plainfield to Groton State Forest.


Join us for a Labor Day bicycle adventure! We have two options depending on your commitment level and desire.  One option is a more adventurous ride from Barre to Groton State Forest, the other a ride along the unpaved rail trails of from Plainfield to Groton State Forest. Please read through this entire page before registering! At the bottom of the page you will find a registration link.

There will be a pre-ride meeting August 24th at 4pm. If there are still spots available this will be the last chance to sign up. At the pre-ride meeting we will go over the supplies list, have a few tutorials about the challenges we might experience on the ride including a flat repair clinic.

For the ride we’ll meet at Vermont Bicycle Shop Saturday, August 31 at 3:30 pm. We recommend folks come downtown early and check in at the shop around 2:00 or 3:00 and then venture out for lunch or a coffee and to pick up any last minute supplies. We will be splitting the ride into two groups. A longer adventurous route with riders starting in downtown Barre, this is the A group; a shorter route starting in Plainfield, this is the B group.

We will leave the bicycle shop as close to the 4:00 PM closing time as possible. If this is the case we would expect to meet the B group at the Plainfield Park and Ride a little after 5:00 PM.
We still ask anyone riding in the B group to check in at Vermont Bicycle Shop if possible between 3:00 and 3:30 in order to designate a contact person/leader for this group.

We may be delayed assisting customers or for other reasons. This may end up delaying the A group departure to no later than 5:00 PM. In that case we will designate a contact person between the A and B Group and make sure to make contact when the A group leaves Barre.

Ride Description:

We will be splitting the ride in two groups. A longer and adventurous route, this is the A group, and a shorter route, this is the B group.

Adventure Route (A Group)

We will ride out of Barre towards Plainfield via Farwell Street and Plainfield Brook Rd. This is a mix of Gravel and Pavement with two climbs followed by a steep and fast descent to Plainfield. We will meet the B group as we pass through downtown Plainfield and gather at the Plainfield Park and Ride.
For those who are opting to meet us in Plainfield and skip the check in at VT Bicycle Shop, we recommend gathering a little early at around 4:30 or so and heading downtown for some great food at Positive Pie Plainfield.
As long as there are no delays both groups A and B will gather and then leave the Plainfield Park and Ride a little after 5:00 PM and take the rail trail out toward Groton State Forest. There are a couple of branches from the trail that the longer route riders (Group A) will take, each ride leader will have a working knowledge of the routes and we will typically re-group in spots along the ride.
This year we will be staying on Kettle Pond, the site is accessed off a gravel road entrance.
We are expecting that everyone will roll into camp hopefully a little after 6:00 PM. We'll set up camp and cook dinner followed by some camp fire fart jokes.

This will be a most not dropped ride, we will do our best to make sure we all stay together as a group, however, we ask that riders have the ability to make the trip from Barre to the campsite in roughly 3 hours or from Plainfield to the campsite in roughly 2 hours. If you are not certain about that speak with us, it is a very easy route from Plainfield to the campsite. It is also a moderately easy route with some climbing from Barre. The slowest average speed to make this ride is around 7 miles an hour. If you have ridden mixed use trails in the past with distances of 12 to 15 miles then you will have no problems riding the route from Plainfield (roughly 16 miles) to the campsite. The adventure route (roughly 24 miles) is a good option for those with experience in medium to longer mountain bike rides in Vermont. If a driver is available for our trip we will have a follow car to help with gear and to pick up riders who need it.

The Extra Day

This year we are encouraging everyone to stay an extra day. We will be offering up a Sunday adventure ride to those who want to stay with us, there is also swimming and all kinds of park activities. 

Some Requirements and Suggestions

Riders are expected to be moderately experienced cyclists. An off road worthy touring, gravel road/cycle cross bike or mountain bike in good working order is required.

Helmets are required.

Bring your own camping gear, food and other things necessary for an overnight or two night camping trip are required. We’ll have very little car support for the first part of the route and very little room for car transport for food and heavier items, riders are expected to carry their gear and food with them. 
Rider’s are required to follow all laws of the road, all rules, laws and regulations for camping in Vermont. All riders are expected to practice good stewardship both in cycling and camping.

Here is a great website about overnight bike trips:
They have a great simple gear check list here:

We’ve also come up with a list of things to help you prepare. The list is in two sections, one for Bicycle Supplies, the other for Camping Supplies. Some things on this list are not necessary, some things are required. Familiarize yourself with the advice on the above website, this list, and bring things that are required and things you are comfortable carrying with you on a bike.

Bicycle Stuff

Some Bicycle Equipment that would be a good idea to have:
Handlebar bag or
Cargo rack
Trunk bag or Panniers or an
Off road appropriate trailer

Required Items:
Taillight (with blinking option)
Water bottle or some sort of hydration pack
2 extra tubes
Tire levers
Patch Kit
Saddle (under seat) bag or some other way to carry things on the bike
Medical info/emergency contact card
OF NOTE: If your bicycle does not use quick release levers you will also need the appropriate tools to remove the wheels from your bicycle. You can ask Vermont Bicycle Shop about this if you are not sure.

Really, Really Good Idea to Bring Items:
Straps/bungee cords
Frame Pump or CO2 Pump and extra cartridges
Cycling multi-tool or small, light weight tools to help fix your bike.
Leatherman type multi tool
First-aid items
Extra Derailleur Hanger
Vermont Bicycle Shop will bring two card games, Exploding Kittens and Cards Against Humanity. Feel free to bring something equally fun!

No one is gonna laugh at you, these aren’t a bad idea either Items:
Eye protection (sunglasses or clear lenses)
Pressure gauge
Assorted nuts and bolts
Spare tire
Chain tool
Chain quick link
Chain Lube
Small roll of duct tape

If you want to get nerdy about it Items:
Spare Brake and derailleur cables and housing
Spare cleats
Visibility vest
Chamois cream

Camping Stuff

Required Items:
Sleeping bag
Sleeping pad
Tent with waterproof bottom or a tarp or some form of camping shelter
Insect repellent (the ticks in Groton have gone mad this year)
Ziplock bag for waterproofing items
Cash/credit card/ID (for emergencies)

Really, Really Good Idea Items:
Basic Clothing
Extra jersey and extra shorts
Bring extra pairs of socks (I like to pack with 2 socks for each day)
Bandana or hat or other form of sweat and sun protection

Speaking of weather, these are a good idea too:
Lightweight, rain wear/windbreaker
Some sort of long sleeve base layer/under armor to layer up in case of cold weather
Full-fingered gloves
Arm/leg warmers

Stuff you might need:
Toilet paper/tissue
Lip balm
Small, quick-dry towel for cleanups
Ride Cue Sheet
Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap
After ride clothing, swimwear if you want to jump in the lake
Cell phone


One last piece of advice from our experienced Vermont Bicycle Shop Adventure Club pro Barb Schwendtner:
"Be sure to take your packed up rig out for a quick shake down ride to make sure everything feels good and all your bits stay put."



Here are maps and links to more details about the route:

Group A Adventure Route, Barre to Groton

Group B Adventure Route, Plainfield to Groton


If you like what you see you can click below to register: