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Michael McCoy

Consult with me

Michael McCoy was born in Wyoming amidst the cowboys and sagebrush, grew up in Iowa with its vast fields of soybeans and corn, and graduated from the University of Wyoming with a degree in anthropology. Several summers of archaeological research led him to the far corners of Wyoming, Montana, and Mexico; then a cross-country bicycle trip led him down a new, unexpected career path when he went to work in Montana for Bikecentennial (later renamed Adventure Cycling Association). Mike's most celebrated cycling-related achievement was his mid-1990s plotting of Adventure Cycling's Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, a a 2,700-mile off-pavement bikepacking route that follows the Continental Divide from Banff, Alberta, to Antelope Wells, New Mexico. It's the longest mapped mountain bike route on the planet. More recently, in early 2016, he wrapped up work on a coffee-table book celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Transamerica Bicycle Trail. Mike has also worked as a ranger at Devils Tower National Monument and as a wildlife researcher in northwest Montana's Kootenai National Forest, where his duties ranged from the prosaic (like counting piles of elk droppings) to the exciting (helping to relocate orphaned grizzly-bear cubs from Glacier National Park). He has explored every national park and monument, national forest, and national wildlife refuge in the Northern Rockies, and has covered--by car, foot, bicycle, horseback, or cross-country skis--more than a million miles in the region over the past four decades. Along the way, he realized he'd garnered enough geographical knowledge of the region to write a guidebook about it. So that he did--again and again. Mike lives with his wife Nancy and American field spaniel "Fast Eddie" McCoy near the western foot of the Teton Range.

Posts by Michael McCoy

You asked...we answered!

  • 1
    What do you do when you encounter an unexpected dead-end?

    Get out of the car and start the real exploring.

  • 2
    What's your favorite mode of transportation? Why?

    Bicycle. It’s faster than walking but slow enough that things don’t go by in a blur. One sees, hears, smells, and feels more aboard a bicycle than in a car.

  • 3
    What's your most exciting or surprising travel experience?

    I was hiking in southeast Idaho’s Big Hole Range when a pair of mule deer burst out of the woods running straight at me. I soon learned why: A mountain lion was on their tail. On seeing me, the cougar did a 180 and ran back into the woods; I performed my own 180 and ran the other way.

  • 4
    Do you prefer traveling alone or with a companion? Why?

    Alone. I drive companions crazy because I’m always stopping to take a photo, inspect things, or write something down.