Creating Space for Adventure: Lake County cyclists make first bikepacking campsite

Published: Jun. 12, 2022 at 8:54 PM CDT
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TWO HARBORS, MN. (CBS 3 Duluth) - An adventurous group of bicyclists in Lake County is coming together to create the first bikepacking campsite in the area.

Dan Cruikshank has loved cycling since he was a little kid.

“Whenever I get on a bike, I feel a certain freedom and joy that sometimes is missing in my life, but I can always just go on a bike ride,” said Cruikshank.

He turned that passion into a career when he opened Spokengear, a bike shop in Two Harbors.

He said the cycling community there is close-knit and enjoys spending time outdoors together.

“There was never a site where you could ride to and be just with bikers in the middle of the wilderness,” said Cruikshank. “A lot of these campsites, you share with the RVs.”

Now, he’s creating the first space in Lake County specifically for “bikepackers,” a campsite that’s only accessible by bike or foot.

The term “bikepacker” is a play on the word backpacker, which describes hikers who carry their gear on their backs for more than one day.

“We want to make a network of these and connect the different trail systems,” said Cruikshank.

Spokengear employee Kathleen Schultz said cyclists from all over come to Two Harbors to ride on their trails.

So, the new campsite could be another pull to Lake County.

“It’ll be the only one in this area, so we’re really excited to have that,” said Schultz.

She said she hopes the site will also draw new cyclists from the community to get out there.

“You can show up with whatever bike you have and whatever bags you have, and you just join,” she said. “It means a lot to extend this adventure to anybody. Anybody’s welcome.”

The camp will be in the Lake County Demonstration Forest at a spot along the Knife River.

“It’s just kind of our gift to the cycling community to make a place where people can go and enjoy the natural beauty of the area,” said Cruikshank.

He is putting the site together with a group of about a dozen volunteers.

He said once the camp’s toilet is delivered, hopefully, in the next few weeks, they will officially open it up for bikepackers.

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