Dangerbird bikepacking event brings 150 riders from around the world to Las Cruces, monument


Dangerbird is a 250-mile bikepacking adventure that takes in Las Cruces, Mesilla, Hatch, parts of southern Doña Ana County, a bit of Texas and the vast and vista-filled Monumental Loop cycling route through Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

The Dangerbird summit and noncompetitive ride are Friday-Saturday, Oct. 20-21, and will include more than 150 cyclists from around the world, said race co-organizer Pablo Lopez, who owns Outdoor Adventures biking shop in Las Cruces.

All the ride slots are filled, Lopez said, but community members are welcome and encouraged to attend public events that are part of the ride, including the Saturday morning ride launch in Mesilla.

The ride, which is closer to 260 miles long than 250, Lopez said, has two loops.

The Green Chile Loop goes north from Mesilla and crosses through the Doña Ana and Robledo mountains to Hatch. The 120-mile loop is “particularly rocky and very challenging,” Lopez said.

The Red Chile Loop goes south from Mesilla and takes in the Sierra Vista Trail to Vinton, Texas, and Kilbourne Hole volcanic crater in the national monument. The southern route includes pristine portions of the Chihuahuan Desert, he said.

Riders complete one or both loops with a return to Mesilla, Lopez said. The fastest recorded time for the total ride is just under 24 hours, he said. Some riders take 10-12 days to complete the full route. The average is four-six days.

Because the ride loops back through Las Cruces and Mesilla, some bikers will stay in Airbnbs and other paid lodging, Lopez said, or will stay with community members. But many riders have included tents and camping equipment in their biking gear and will be camping out during the ride.

The ride includes the Safetybird, an overnight bike ride for beginners that is about 25 miles long and not as difficult as the Dangerbird, he said. Riders use borrowed equipment for their first bikepacking trip to through southern New Mexico’s public lands, Lopez said.

Lopez and Matt Mason started Dangerbird eight years ago, Lopez said, and are coordinating the event along with state Rep. Angelica Rubio of Las Cruces. The two came up with the name while on a bikepacking trip near Radium Springs, Lopez said. They were talking about starting a bikepacking event; thinking about how New Mexico’s state bird, the roadrunner, is unafraid to take on a dangerous rattlesnake; and listening to Neil Young’s rendition of “Danger Bird,” a song Young wrote and recorded in 1975.

Lopez and Mason partner with Visit Las Cruces and the Friends of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks on the ride, which is officially permitted by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). There is no charge fire riders to participate, but donations from riders and other individuals, businesses and organizations are welcome to support the backpacking adventure, Lopez said.

Dangerbird schedule

  • Makers’ Market: 8-11:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 20, Outdoor Adventures biking shop, in Solano Square, 1424 Missouri Ave. The event will include all-New Mexico made bikepacking products, bike parts and more.
  • Bikepacking Summit: 2-5 p.m., Friday, Oct. 20, Klein Park, 155 N. Mesquite St. Speakers will include Jalen Bazil, founder of Black Foxes, along with students from Texas Tech University who had their first-ever bikepacking adventure on the Monumental Loop last March. “They have quite a story to tell,” Lopez said. Teachers and students who are part of Centennial High School’s outdoor program will also speak about their program. There also will be a panel of binational cyclists who have learned to navigate along the United States-Mexico border.
  • Ride launch: 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, Mesilla Plaza. 150 bike riders, some with their pets, will begin the run. A short bike parade led by adaptive cyclist Grace Holguin of Las cruces will start the ride, Lopez said. Community members are welcome to join cyclists at the launch and the beginning of the race.

The public is welcome to attend all these events, which are free of charge, Lopez said.

Visit www.visitlascruces.com/event/2023-dangerbird-bikepacking-ride/676/ and organmountainsdesertpeaks.org/dangerbird-2022.