Philip Benningfield
Great Divide
What Makes Me Roll If you were to wave at me on the street or trail, and I had time to stop and talk about riding, I would easily profess that I ride cause it makes me feel like a kid again! I have the fondest memories of playing on a Redline bike in creek beds, and I still love to roll through creeks and meadows and along ridges with the same fascination.

One reason I ride is to stay sane. With way too many grown up responsibilities and not enough la de da time through the stoic woods and sublime mountain ridges, the window of opportunity must be jumped through with full abandon. The ease of riding straight from Salida into the quiet landscapes, makes bike riding very, very appealing.

Fun is the key! I jump through the window, a couple times a year when luck is on my side, to ride a Colorado, New Mexico or Arizona tour of my own design: usually around four days, lots of high mountain miles, and always a ton of unsolicited bear lore right before leaving. To get ready for such endeavors, I simply ride as much as possible. More than mileage, I toughen up the psyche and make sure I am literally “whooping” along the trails.

Designing a tour is the first treat. To sit for hours and days and devise some adventure along the squiggly lines of a topographic map and Gazetteer brings palpable nervousness and puts my entire imagination into overdrive.

The ride is the main course and satisfying dessert. Once out on my route (I follow the GDMBR whenever possible), I begin to see all the reasons why biking allows me such endless satisfaction. Mountains literally flow across the landscape, ranch lands are filled with wildflowers and endless fence lines, raptors soar, elk bugle, the scare of a bear, and friendly faces on trail and in small towns make all my preparations worthwhile.


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Philip Benningfield

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Philip Benningfield
  • What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure? Have your traveled by bike in the past? My motivation comes from some instinctual need to see what lies over the next mountain pass, to see a pristine meadow flushed with wildflowers or filled with stoic elk, or follow a never-ending ranch fence line in as obscure a place as possible.
  • What is your goal for the route? What do you hope to get out of this journey? Any undertaking along the GDR is tempered with as little expectations as possible. I find no need to try and experience the trip beforehand as the actual ride far surpasses any expectation. The goal each and every time is to get away from the busy world and witness, with as minimal a kit as I can survive with, the peace found out in the middle of nowhere!


  • Tattered warm Pearlizumi gloves
  • Sleeping Bag Feathered Friends Hummingbird 20-degree sleeping bag
  • Marmot 650-fill down coat
  • Jagged Edge skullcap

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