Contrary to some beliefs, rivers do not run in circles. They actually flow with gravity, downhill from the high mountain valleys, across the plains, and eventually end up the ocean. So in order to run a trip down any section of river, a vehicle needs to be moved from the put-in location to the take-out spot. This process is called shuttling.
All commercial outfitters will handle this hectic logistical piece while you float peacefully down the river. At RMOC, we run a lot of small trips in a day. So for a smaller company, we run a lot of shuttles throughout the day. This can get costly if you start paying multiple drivers to run each trip, and it also involves a lot of extra driving in a shuttle vehicle.
We have come up with a genius idea that cuts cost, helps the environment by reducing carbon emissions, and also keeps us in shape. We ride bikes! Each day, one person is assigned the role of ‘transportation specialist.’ This person suits up in biking gear, loads up a bike, and moves all of the vehicles to the take-outs chosen by the guides.
Since the river flows downhill, the shuttle ride is often uphill. Our motto is the ‘we ride up mountains while you paddle down rivers.’ And we love doing it. Each day is a new adventure out on the road and we challenge ourselves to rack up the most miles in a day, or to create unique ride combos. Sometimes it even works out to ride singletrack on the shuttle, but mostly it is a combination of paved and gravel roads. But the views are always incredible, and the cardio workout feels great at the end of the day.
So next time you take a trip with RMOC, don’t forget to ask if your trip was run with a bicycle. This way you can feel good about a more environmentally friendly river trip. And also be sure to thank your shuttle rider for hustlin’ up that mountain 🙂