What could be better than a weekend of backwoods camping with sweet mountain bikes and killer trails?
For off-road moto riders Cole Kirkpatrick, Chris Fillmore, Russell Bobbitt, and Nick Fahringer, the only way to improve on the scenario is to start the whole thing off by fitting custom aluminum bike racks to dual-sport motos, securing mountain bikes to the motorbikes, and using the motos to get farther into the woods before finding a campsite for the weekend.
They call it “Bikes on Bikes,” and these guys have turned it into an annual autumn ritual since the first adventure in 2013. The 2014 edition, “Bikes on Bikes 2.0,” came together outside of Taos, New Mexico, in conjunction with the annual KTM Adventure Rider Rally. A month in advance, photographer and ex-pro off-road enduro racer Cole Kirkpatrick got his group outfitted with Scott Genius 700 mountain bikes and riding gear to accompany the dual-sport motos already available.
“Chris and Russ are both employed by KTM, they were asked to be leaders for the trail ride,” said Cole. Russ is a 4-time national enduro champion and still races the national enduro circuit, while Chris races KTM superbikes in the AMA superbike series after first getting his start on the scene in supermoto.
“Nick made the drive from Ohio to be there. We all participated in the rider rally and afterward, we stayed on for three days to do our bikes on bikes trip. We camped out above the ski resort near Taos. We had this perfect camping spot with two full days of mountain bike rides on the Scott bikes. We did a 6-hour ride one day and the next day we just rode closer to the ski resort,” recalled Cole.
Russell Bobbitt gets the credit for introducing the Bikes on Bikes concept to this quartet of dual-sport adventure enthusiasts.
“When I was racing the national enduro circuit in 2009,” said Cole, “I lived with Russ in Georgia, and he told me this story that the previous year he had basically strapped a mountain bike to a DR200 and ridden 4.5 hrs with this thing bungee strapped to the back of his moto. And then he just camped out and rode mountain bikes. Funny story but we didn’t think much about it,” said Cole.
Fast forward to 2013, and the quest for adventure on two wheels would bring these guys together again. Cole’s career as a professional dirt bike rider had transitioned into that of pro photographer and videographer, and he had occasion to return to Atlanta in 2013 for a mountain bike enduro in the Pisgah National Forest.
“I was going to hang out with Russ for a few days. Nick still races the national enduro series, he lives with Russ outside of Atlanta,” said Cole. “We were brainstorming, how could we make it so we all just show up and go camping and riding?”
Nick and Russ both had KTM adventure bikes. After Russ’s first efforts with the bungee cords proved to be worth developing, he had since found a builder to make custom racks for the mountain bike. He had done several camping trips with his bike on his bike, proving the concept. On arrival, Chris and Cole were able to borrow KTMs from a nearby local dealer, and the first Bikes on Bikes project emerged.
“We camped out, had a blast, did the bicycle enduro, and it was one of the most fun adventure trips any of us had ever done,” said Cole. “I remember one of the last nights sitting around the campfire, we kind of made a deal: We’re doing this every year until we can’t do it anymore. That’s how it all started with the four of us.”
After the KTM Adventure Rider Rally, Chris joins Russell Bobbitt, Nick Fahringer, and Cole Kirkpatrick for a two-day mountain bike camping trip just outside of the Taos Ski Valley. Video by Cole Kirkpatrick/kirkpatrickdigitalcinema.com
Bikes on Bikes will live to see future editions. The next KTM Adventure Rider Rally is set for September 2015 in Crested Butte, Colorado. The guys are already planning to be there, and the plan is to bring mountain bikes to sample the world class trail riding for a few days beforehand.
“It’s evolved from rickety bike racks to these really nice custom aluminum bike racks made by a contact of Chris’ in California,” said Cole. “We’re getting better at it every time that we do it.”
“Collectively as a group we all kind of enjoy suffering a little bit,” he continued. “When we start a ride, we always kind of know the general direction we’re going but we don’t really have a plan, so we just always pack enough food and water to last us a day because we always wind up exploring or something will happen, and that’s the nature of the adventure.”
“These guys are just all around badasses, they can ride anything with two wheels,” said Cole. “You get the group of us together and we push each other and the possibilities are kind of endless.”
Cole says: “A big thanks to everyone that was a part of this project. KTM North America, Moose Racing, Scott Bicycles, Poler, Redverz, Shimano, ENVE, Alpinestars, Troy Lee Designs, Roger at Northside, Taos Ski Valley, Andrew Yates for showing us the southern boundary trail, and Shan Moore. All of us except for Nick were on Scott Genius 700 series bicycles.”
Editor’s Note: This article was written by Zack Vestal, U.S. bike marketing manager for Scott Sports. All photos are courtesy Cole Kirkpatrick. Check out the expansive photo gallery below for more sights and scenes from this awesome trip.