The last time I truly mountain biked was about 6 years ago in college. I have lived in Utah for about a year now, and have been itching to get back on a mountain bike since moving here. With tons of trails from mellow singletrack to full-on downhill parks at the local resorts and everything in between, Utah has a lot to offer the mountain biking community.
When an opportunity arose to do some laps in Park City, I didn’t hesitate to jump on it. Thanks to 57Hours, I had a great morning of riding with an experienced rider who was more than capable of assessing my skill level and adjusting our trails and plans accordingly.
Here’s a link to the exact experience I booked! Let’s get into the review.
Its mission says it all, “…to enable sustainable outdoor adventures for millions around the world.”
Airbnb for outdoor adventures is the most succinct way I could describe 57Hours.
At its core, it is an adventure and experience aggregator that enables direct, one-stop browsing and booking of trips for customers. On the other side, it is an outlet for guides and guiding companies to reach a larger audience than word-of-mouth. A true win-win for the trip consumer and trip provider!
While I only used the web version, they do have a nice-looking app for iOS and Android!
Browsing & Booking
In this instance, I was partnered with the 57Hours team to pick the right experience, so I can only speak broadly about the browsing experience. That said, the site is set up in an explore as you wish manner, in which you can put in direct locations, or you can browse simply by the type of activity which will show you a smattering of amazing trips around the world. Whether you end up booking or not, it is certainly a wealth of inspiration just browsing this site!
I can speak about booking, however. The experience was quick and easy. You pick your trip, review availability, select your number of people and days, and continue to pay. While I didn’t need to take advantage of this option, there is a 48hour cancellation period in case you were booking something last minute and the weather changed, or you know, dog ate your homework and you got stuck working. A nice benefit.
Since I was already working with their team, I didn’t need to use this feature either, but there are multiple opportunities to contact their staff for assistance and recommendations on deciding if a particular trip or experience is for you. Not dissimilar to the classic travel agent experience.
I was impressed by the communication of the app. There were several emails and/or texts confirming different steps along the way. In total, I received 7 communications about my experience:
- An email booking confirmation
- An email confirmation that a guide was secured
- An email with information about my experience
- A text the day before from the guide company
- A call & text the day before from the guide
- An email asking how the experience went
- An email asking to review the experience
While only the first 3 communications were necessary the extra personal touch from the guide and guide company was welcomed, and the 2 about the experience and review I didn’t mind as guides and guide companies live and die by their reviews. I was happy to help them out and add in some good word!
All in all, not only did I feel informed about where to go and meet, but I also felt comfortable with my guide. I had a good overview of his experience and knowledge before I even met him, and I felt that I had an opportunity to explain my experience to him, as well, so he could plan ahead.
My guide’s name was Johnny from All Seasons Adventures, based in downtown Park City. Johnny has 5+ years of mountain biking experience, but his guiding and outdoor employment doesn’t stop there. Johnny is a certified Ski Patroller over at Park City Mountain Resort, has worked for the National Park Service as a ranger and caving guide, and has also served as a guide at various other guide companies servicing the hiking, biking, and zip-lining activities.
I couldn’t explain my experience with Johnny better than this review on 57Hours website:
Johnny asked me about my experience and was genuinely curious about my expectations and/or goals for the experience. I explained that I wanted to get back into mountain biking after 6+ years and reignite a passion for the sport. He gave a run-down of what to expect, how he could help along the way, and explained that the pace was up to us and that he welcomed breaks and/or the need to get off and walk bikes at any time.
I met Johnny at the designated trailhead, Quinn’s Junction, at 8:30 am. I was there a bit early as I had camped the night before and rose with the sun. Johnny rolled in at 8:20 am. I watched him prep for a bit, de-rack the bikes, pack some waters, get his helmet on, etc. before I got out of my vehicle and approached him.
With a friendly handshake and smile, he noticed that I had my own helmet and hydration, but packed some extra water just in case.
After an explanation of the bike and a round of questions as explained above, we were off to the races, wait no, trails.
The 2ish hour ride started off with a long, but mellow accent up an access road that went from gravel to grippy dirt and eventually winding singletrack. He saw that I was pacing well with him, but we did take a break halfway up to grab some water.
At the top of the first lap, Johnny explained the descent, what to expect on the trail and some bike etiquette for that lap. He led on the first lap, setting the pace and allowing me to get comfortable on the bike.
After the first lap, we climbed again, took some breaks, and at the top, Johnny repeated the same few items – an explanation of the next descent and a minor change to the etiquette for that trail. Johnny also let me lead this time to both set the pace I wanted, and to allow him to gauge my riding and offer some pointers.
The rest of the riding was smooth and uninterrupted from there on out. We stopped and chatted at trail intersections, grabbed water when needed, and continued to chat about trail expectations and changes in etiquette (one-way vs. two-way trails vs. mixed-use trails). Johnny seemed genuinely excited that I was loving it, and was super happy he could be there to help reintroduce me to the sport.
Near the end of the ride, Johnny offered to set up at a few corners to take some pics of me while riding. At the end of the ride, Johnny offered some water, seltzers (non-alcoholic, of course), and snacks.
It was a phenomenal morning of riding, on the nicest mountain bike I think I’ve ridden, in one of Utah’s prettiest mountain towns.
At $500 for one person, I wouldn’t exactly call this experience cheap. That said, you got a lot for your money and some extras I didn’t take advantage of, like door-to-trailhead-to-door service.
If you’re looking for a 100% inclusive, no-fuss experience, this is 10/10 worth it. You can get picked up from your hotel or Airbnb, driven to the trailhead, and provided with a bike and helmet. (Yes! This means no expensive additional bike rental, no bike rental damage waiver to sign or extra damage insurance to buy, and no bike pickup or dropoff.) Top that with a great guide and 2 hours of riding, it is a really be a lovely hands-off experience. And, if you go all-in as described above, you get the benefit of resting on your way home, too, instead of driving!
While I didn’t take full advantage here, Johnny’s experience and the lovely bike I got to ride all felt worth it to me. I got some great pointers and Johnny really reduced the intimidation factor of jumping back into the sport.
Worth noting, there was a $250 option at the time of booking, which I’d imagine is a shorter 1-hour ride vs. 2! If you’re totally brand new, or are unsure of your fitness levels, this might be a great option.