Pilgrimage to the Kingdom: Join BIKE Magazine in East Burke, VT, This Fall

bike trail
Photo: Courtesy of Reuben Krabbe/BIKE Magazine

There are vacations, then there are riding vacations. The former is a crowded family affair where you aren’t allowed to even visit the local bike shop, let alone a local trail. The latter, on the other hand, is the one where you sit on your saddle more than your car seat, and the local cuisine is a gas-station snack enjoyed deep into a trail network. A trail network where your in-laws would never have a hope of finding you.

Last year, the inaugural Bike mag Pilgrimage to Retallack, British Columbia, was definitely of the latter vacation variety. Gnarly trails, heli-accessed descents, decadent food. In fact, we enjoyed playing hooky from life so much that we’ve decided to do it again, this time in the small town of East Burke, Vermont, home of the legendary Kingdom Trails.

mountain bike trip
Heaven’s Bench – ride it in the morning then enjoy a cocktail hour and long-table dinner on it in the evening. Courtesy of Reuben Krabbe/BIKE Magazine

If three days of catered trail-rides and trail-side meals alike, sunset shuttle laps and guided all-day epics sound like a good time, you can join us from September 16 to 18 in East Burke. All you have to do is figure out how to get there and we’ll handle the rest. Accessible for riders of all abilities, the 120 miles of singletrack that make up the Kingdom Trails offer just about any kind of riding you want – in fact, we visited the Kingdom Trails for our 2016 Bible of Bike Tests to ride everything from XC whips to long-travel brawlers.

trees mountain bike
Known for its Northeast-unlike flowing terrain, East Burke also has very Northeast-like tech too. Courtesy of Reuben Krabbe/BIKE Magazine

The full rundown of what we have planned for this year’s Pilgrimage can be viewed here (or scroll down), but here’s the short. Each day you’ll have the choice of what you want to ride, be it a day spent with skills coaches or grinding out an epic deep into the New England woods. Care to shuttle bike park laps? Burke Mountain is just down the road. Prefer to turn your legs into mush pushing watts? Did we mention the 120 miles of singletrack?

mountain bike field
Turns and berms abound. Courtesy of Reuben Krabbe/BIKE Magazine

Since it’s a bit difficult to pick out the best trails when you have so much to choose from, each day will be guided by local riders who can show you the goods. If you are the strong, independent type though, the guides can simply point you in the right direction – just be sure to come back out of the woods at the appointed meal times. Throughout the whole trip, we (Bike’s editors) we’ll be there right along with you, making bad line choices and butchering all the perfectly good riding advice we’ve ever gotten.

Sound like fun? That is, the whole dream vacation part, not watching us make fools of ourselves in front of you, our esteemed readers – you can sign up here. In the meantime, check out how last year’s Pilgrimage went – we’re still replaying that one on rainy days.

mountain bike forest
Follow Bike Mag editors — or we’ll follow you — down the plentiful flowing trails. Courtesy of Reuben Krabbe/BIKE Magazine


September 15 – Arrival Day

• Check-in, meet & greet and dinner on the Burke Mountain deck overlooking the Iconic Willoughby Gap.

September 16 – Classic Kingdom Trails

• Option to attend morning of “Mindfulness & Mountain Biking” discussion
• Breakfast
• Beginner – Beginner/Intermediate Riders will be transported to Heaven’s Bench where they will begin their morning of skills instruction and riding
• Intermediate – Advanced Riders will depart right from the hotel where they will traverse to Moose Alley and ride through the White School area where they will meet with the beginner group for lunch
• Lunch provided by Juniper’s Restaurant overlooking classic glacial ridgelines
• All groups will conclude with a Darling Hill mountain bike ride hitting classic trails like: Pines, Tap-n-Die, Kitchel and Sidewinder
• Riders will finish at the Kingdom Cycling and Experiences office where there will be an aprés-ride libation and snack hour at the Spoke Easy Lounge
• Riders will then be transported back to the Burke Hotel for freshening up and free time
• Dinner at the Willoughby restaurant
• Evening Sunset shuttles to the top of Burke Mountain

September 17 – Moose Haven or White School Adventure

• Option of a morning of cyclist-specific yoga
• Breakfast
• Beginner – Beginner/Intermediate Riders will be transported to the White School section of Kingdom Trails where they will have a morning of skills progression and riding
• Intermediate – Advanced Riders will be transported to the new Moose Haven Trails
• There is an Epic Option this day where riders can choose to be guided to and from the Moose Haven trails with a short road ride
• Trailside lunch provided by Aunt Dee-Dee’s Bakery
• Riders will have full sag support at Moose Haven including mechanical support and nutrition
• All riders will be transported back to the Burke Mountain Hotel
• Epic Riders have the opportunity to shuttle back with the rest of the group
• Riders will be transported to Heaven’s Bench for cocktail hour and a long-table dinner atop Heaven’s Bench with 360-degree views overlooking Burke Mountain, Kirby Mountain and Willoughby Gap
• After dinner, the group will be transported back to the hotel for a private after-party at the View Pub

September 18 – A day of downhill at Burke Mountain

• Option of a morning mechanical clinic
• Breakfast
• Privately opened shuttle runs from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
• Option to be guided or ride self-supported at the lift
• All shuttles will be guided
• Instructional groups provided as requested
• Epic Ride up to the Summit Option
• Buffet-style Lunch
• Casual sit down or take out dinner for riders to depart whenever they choose
• Beer Cheers @ 4 p.m.

Find all the information the 2019 Bike Mag Pilgrimage at kingdomexperiences.com.

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