The perfect dude’s trip, Loren Siekman believes, is one that no self-respecting wife or girlfriend would ever want to participate in. “Getting dirty, being smelly, telling lewd jokes, pulling pranks,” says Siekman. “Women would hate it.”
Siekman should know: For the past 14 years, he’s helped pull o increasingly ambitious mountain-bike trips. This year, the trip ballooned to 36 guys — friends, and friends of friends, and some of their friends, too — who camped for four nights near Santa Fe, New Mexico, culminating in an epic day of climbing through evergreen forest and aspen glades and then bombing down 22 miles of single track on the famed South Boundary Trail.
While Siekman’s trips are bigger than most, the lessons he’s learned over the years apply to any group excursion. One of the key challenges, he says, comes at the very outset: getting all the guys to agree on a date. He’s addressed that issue by making the trip a tradition. Every year, the group sets out the weekend after Labor Day. Some people won’t be able to make it, but if finding a time that works for everyone were essential, the trip would probably never happen. “Commit, or don’t commit,” Siekman says.
Wherever they wind up going, the bro-down generally becomes a marriage of heavy exercise with copious consumption of alcohol. Indeed, Siekman likes to describe his crew as a drinking club with a riding problem. But no matter how hungover, he says, “everyone is expected to contribute in some way.” Some guys cook dinner. Others catch cleanup duty. A designated “drink-master” keeps the cooler stocked with ice and beer. Of course, there’s always one dude who flakes on his job, forcing Siekman to hunt him down. “As a trip leader and organizer for this group, I end up babysitting a little bit more than I think I should, since I’m not being paid to do this,” he says.
But frustration comes with the territory for anyone brave enough to organize a bro-trip. These are guys, after all, and tempers may flare. The key is not to dwell on the hassles and headaches — and instead hatch new plots for a better trip next year.
WHERE THE BOYS ARE
MOUNTAIN BIKE IN PARK CITY
Step outside your VRBO rental and crush more than 400 miles of prime alpine singletrack. The International Mountain Bicycling Association named Park City, Utah, its first Gold Level Ride Center, setting a world standard, with rides ranging from basic beginner stu to white-knuckle expert downhills.
INDULGE YOUR INNER SPEED FREAK IN TEXAS
For the full-on fuel-injected rush that is Formula One, you don’t have to jet to Monaco. The world’s premier race cars now burn rubber on Circuit of the Americas, in Austin. Says Motosports Travel’s Nathan Griffiths: “Fast cars and
hot women: It’s a glamorous sport and a big traveling circus.”
GO BIG IN AFRICA
Skip the usual jeep safari, and instead travel the old-fashioned way. Rothschild Safaris in Denver offers horseback tours across Kenya’s Maasai Mara savanna, where you and the boys will gallop alongside wildebeests, zebras, and giraffes. Expect to pay about $5,500 a person. But what better way to take the testosterone level to 11?