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When the first group of Backroads travelers hopped on their bikes in Death Valley in 1979 to follow Tom Hale’s lead, they likely didn’t recognize the precedent they were setting. Sure, the bikes have gotten lighter, the helmets are safer, the lodging fancier, and the company is bigger, but the passion remains the same. And the company’s heart and soul are a direct reflection of Tom’s infectious love for being outdoors and truly experiencing the world under your own power. So how did one man’s enthusiasm for a more rewarding way to see the world translate into a business that now spans 68 countries and employs hundreds of people? It’s a story worth recounting as we raise a toast to Backroads’ 40th anniversary.

OLDIE PHOTOS

TRIPS FROM THE ORIGINAL COLLECTION

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