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The Wild West Route Brings Cyclists to Globe

This spring, just as the weather was turning and temperatures were rising into the upper 90’s, two cyclists stopped over in Globe for a few days before heading north on a border-to-border trek. They were staying at the Copper Hills Inn, hanging out around the pool, when I ran into them and we had a chance to chat.

Friends Aaron Beese and Charlie Cahill told me they’d begun their adventure just outside of Sierra Vista earlier in the week. They were on the first leg of a 2,700-mile journey that would take them to the Canadian border before dropping back down and ending in Whitefish, Montana. 

It’s not unusual to see cross-county cyclists in Globe. We are central to many routes that criss-cross the southern reaches of Arizona. 

Cyclists come from all over the United States and Canada. We’ve reported on several of them: In 2014, we featured Jake Saxton from Seattle, Frank Marchetti from Ontario, and Team Kaker, a group of four friends from San Francisco who passed through town on New Year’s Eve.

Team Kaker spent the night in Globe, enjoyed a fine Mexican meal, shot some pool, toured the local Wal-Mart for bread to bring to a New Year’s Eve party, and rang in the new year with the locals. They later posted on their travel blog about Globe:

“It could win an award for the friendliest and most welcoming town in America.”

Jake Saxton found Globe a reprieve for his nerves after maneuvering his heavily loaded touring bike up the steep grade from Superior through Devil’s Canyon, while avoiding semis and trucks whizzing by at 50 miles per hour.

The route Beese and Cahill were following is a relatively new adventure known as the Wild West Route. Beese, the more experienced cyclist of the two, has biked through all fifty states, not to mention a few countries. He was the instigator of the new adventure.

Friends Aaron Beese and Charlie Cahill are biking the Wild West Route – a relatively new bike route which runs border to border. Courtesy Photo

He’d heard about a recently established route that was supposed to be even more rugged, remote, and beautiful than the Great Divide Mountain Bike Ride, which had attracted cyclists for decades. The GDMBR has long been established as the premier off-pavement biking adventure – but the new route might just surpass it. 

According to AtlasGuides, “The Wild West Route offers bikepackers a non-technical, expeditionary-scale riding experience that explores vast expanses of wild western public lands.”

This route is still so new, Beese says he and Charlie are probably among the first five to ten people to do the route – at least from south to north. 

Both Beese and Cahill hail from Colorado. They knew the Arizona heat would be an issue, but to experience it in May, while climbing the grade into Globe on a loaded bicycle, made it one of the hardest climbs the pair had tackled. A two-day stopover in Globe seemed warranted. 

“But blasting down the other side into Globe was quite fun,” Beese said with a grin.

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