Welcome to “Big Sky Country”! On this point-to-point bicycling adventure, you’ll experience Montana’s rugged beauty first hand as you bike across open plains, through Reservation lands, and into the spectacular Rocky Mountains. You’ll have plenty of time out of the saddle to work on community service projects in a small prairie town, on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, and in Glacier National Park. Your group will form strong bonds and deep friendships as you tackle the challenges and reap the rewards of this dynamic western adventure. This trip is it: the best of the west!
The Great Plains & Blackfeet Indian Reservation
From Bozeman, we will bicycle northwest into the vast plains east of the Rocky Mountains. We’ll spend nights in one-horse towns with the setting sun soaking the distant mountains. Our eyes will open to new worlds as we complete community service projects in small towns and on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Past groups have tuned bikes at the local Reservation Boys & Girls Club and repaired homes for the Blackfeet Housing Authority.
Glacier National Park & Rafting the Flathead River
Then it is on to beautiful Glacier National Park. The scenery here is stunning: high jagged mountains, crystal clear lakes, and abundant wildlife. Our first couple of days here will be spent volunteering on service projects with the National Park Service. Groups in the past have performed trail-maintenance and have worked in the native plant nursery. Then it’s back on the bikes to ride the most spectacular stretch of our journey, Glacier’s famous “Going to the Sun” Road.
We’ll top it off with an exciting day rafting the Flathead River with professional guides and then pedal to completion in the lively mountain town of Whitefish. A final, celebratory dinner at a local restaurant will complete our wild west, bicycling adventure together.
Please see our General FAQ page for many more frequently asked questions and answers!
How physically challenging is MSA?
Given a rating of Challenge Level 5 (out of a maximum of 10), we consider MSA to be an intermediate cycle-touring trip. We do believe that any moderately fit, motivated student, who trains ahead of time, can successfully rise to the challenge of this trip. Compared to similar cycling trips, we believe that MSA is more challenging than Coast to Quebec (due to trip length, added mileage, and more challenging terrain), but easier than our Pacific Coast cycling trip. MSA will average approximately 40 miles on each riding day, but has challenge days that will include rides of approximately 60 miles. Please note that all of Apogee’s Challenge Levels are not scientific and are subjectively calculated by the Apogee staff.
How many hours of service will I earn on MSA?
When performing service, students will spend anywhere between 4-6 hours daily on projects. This amounts to a total of 20 to 25 hours over the course of the trip.
My child is new to cycle touring and has never ridden with loaded panniers. Could my child participate without previous experience?
Yes. Apogee’s trips are designed around the concept of “achievable challenge” – anyone who has a willingness to challenge themselves and possesses a basic to moderate level of physical fitness is already well-prepared. Upon your child’s enrollment, we will send you a suggested training schedule that we highly recommend your child completes prior to his/her trip. Training beforehand (especially with panniers and weight) will directly contribute to good risk management and your child’s physical comfort.
Does my child need to bring his or her own bike for this trip?
No – we offer rental bikes (as well as panniers) for an additional fee. In 2017, the cost of a hybrid rental bicycle for the three week trip is $300. Waterproof rental panniers are available for $75 for the three weeks. If your child already has a bike that is appropriate for this trip, they are welcome to bring it. Students using their own bikes in Montana will ship their bikes ahead of time to our bicycle outfitter who will build it up before the trip. Apogee will box and ship the bike back (at Apogee’s expense) to the student’s family at the end of the trip. We will provide detailed bike shipment information with our trip materials in the spring.
Aside from the trip cost, what are the additional expenses for this trip?
Apogee’s tuition costs are meant to be all-inclusive and include all meal, accommodation, and activity fees. The most significant additional expenses on our Montana Service Adventure will include travel to Bozeman and from Whitefish (both are in Montana), a sleeping bag and sleeping pad, a bike helmet, and bike and pannier rentals, as needed.