Across the United States is a vast network of what are known as Backcountry Discovery Routes. The motorbike trails criss-cross the nation taking in spectacular landscapes from California to West Virginia, through mountains, deserts, and everything in between.
Bault is aiming to ride all the BDRs in a row this summer. Photo courtesy of Matt Beaty
Now, one rider has taken it upon himself to ride all of the trails as part of one extraordinary adventure, the first time it has been done. Forrest Bault told Lonely Planet: “The [original] plan was simple, ride all my favourite routes across the west in a row for the summer – four months across eighteen different states. As I looked into it, about half of my planning was on Backcountry Discovery Routes. So why not ride all of [them] in a row? Turns out it’s never been done before.”
Crossing the Nevada-Idaho state line. Photo courtesy of Matt Beaty
The epic voyage, which began in April, will eventually take him through an incredible 14,000-mile journey, around 8000 miles on the routes themselves and the rest of the mileage getting between them. “It’s a ton of off-road miles beating up the bike and rider,” he said. “I’ve gone through plenty of tires and broken parts.” He built a custom-designed motorbike for the trip, with 65 horsepower, a range of around 350 miles, and weighing in at 415 pounds.
Studying AZBDR map for the next day. Photo courtesy of Matt Beaty
The biggest challenge has been battling the elements. “I’ve ridden up to six straight days in the rain,” he said. “One day it rained from 6am to 8am and then snowed the next nine hours straight. I was so cold and the snow was five inches deep in the middle of nowhere. “I just love exploring. I spent January and February riding around India and wanted to get reacquainted with North America upon returning. Now I want to ride around the world, off road of course. Adventure is discomfort recounted at leisure,” he joked.