Helena to Butte

I had a fairly uneventful two day ride to Butte. On advice from a rider who is ahead of me I did the ‘alternate’ route set out in the maps for the first day – apparently the trail is in poor condition due to mining traffic in the area. so I did around 50 miles, mainly on local roads plus a bit of freeway. I intended to go further, but when I got to the little town of Boulder there was a festival in full flow, with a great bluegrass band in the town green. So I overnighted there and set off early on Sunday to Butte. The trail to Butte is mostly on abandoned railways that used to serve the numerous mines in the area-a really great ride. i met 3 other divide riders on the way – they said the trail the previous day was tough, but not too bad, maybe because there is no mine traffic on the weekend.

Butte is a fascinating little town, I intended to stay one day, but decided on two to explore it. Also, I needed to get some work done on the bike. The BB was creaking away on the uphills, I thought a bearing had gone, but it turns out it was just a loose cup, easily fixed. The bike shops here are great, very helpful – the guys in the Outdoorsman shop did a good job.

Butte is an old mining town – it sits on what was one of the richest seams of copper in the world. It’s gone through several cycles of boom and bust (currently bust), which has left its beautiful downtown looking like a museum from the 1930s. I’m surprised also to see what a strong connection there is with Ireland – lots of Irish bars (the genuine kind).

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