Everything You Should Know Before You Go Bikepacking
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Discover The Complete Guide to Bikepacking
In recent years, bike tours have become a staple of adventure travel. There is nothing like exploring a destination sitting on a bicycle. But bikepacking takes this experience to a whole new level, giving riders the opportunity to visit even more unusual destinations in an independent and self-sustaining way.
As the name implies, cycling is a combination of cycling and backpacking. Riders load all their gear and supplies onto their bikes, allowing them to travel to any destination. While you can bike on standard paved roads, it's also a great opportunity to leave the roads behind and explore the countryside on single-lane and jeep trails. This makes it a much more versatile and adventurous way to travel compared to a standard bike ride.
Cyclists tend to be more independent and self-sufficient, while an organized bike tour generally offers guides, a restricted itinerary, and a "curved wagon" that provides support and even gives riders a ride when they tire. On a backpacking bike trip, you are alone, choosing your routes, carrying your own gear, and traveling completely independently; if it's more your style, use this guide to get started.
Choose The Right Bike
Because packing a bike takes a lot of time on the saddle, the bike you choose to ride is easily the most important piece of equipment you need. Virtually any type of bike (including the one you already own) can be converted to pack into bikes simply by adding cargo racks and baskets to carry gear.
However, with that said, if you're going to be riding on paved roads for much of the trip, a mountain bike, chunky or gravel bike is probably a better option. These types of bikes are designed to handle rough terrain with tires best suited for the task.
Outfit The Bike
As we have already noted, almost all bikes can be equipped with the right equipment for a complete bike ride. The addition of luggage racks and baskets, which function as saddlebags, allows the rider to carry all the important gear necessary for the journey. In a way, these bags serve the same purpose as a backpack on a backpacking trip, but instead of the traveler carrying all of his gear on his shoulders, he is strapped to the bike.
Other possible additions to the bike include new handlebars designed to be more comfortable for riding long distances and many water bottle cages. Backpackers often place a bag on the handlebars in front of the bike to keep important items like snacks or a smartphone close at hand, and sometimes use a small backpack as well.
The important thing is to have enough cargo capacity for everything you want to take on the trip. As in the backpack, you will quickly learn what is essential and what is superfluous.
Get Fit For The Ride
Unlike a standard bike tour where a support van helps transport your luggage and gear, you will be responsible for making sure that everything you bring on the trip reaches the next campground. This means that even if you're an avid cyclist who walks a lot of miles, you'll want to make sure you're used to riding a bike with the extra weight of all your gear.
Start slowly on your training runs. First, add cargo trucks and baskets to your bike to get used to how they affect your riding. Then start adding weight to the bags so you can get used to it too. It won't be easy, especially when climbing hills or walking off-road, but while training, you'll get the hang of it in a few weeks.
Take Practice Rides
The extra weight on the bike will make it behave very differently from what you are used to, and it can affect more than your physical condition. To help compensate for the extra luggage, be sure to allow enough extra distance when stopping, especially when traveling at higher speeds or on slopes. Also, give yourself more room in the curves, as your bike will not be as agile with all the equipment attached to it. Lastly, don't be afraid to walk at a slower speed, as this will make pedaling easier and reduce fatigue over longer distances.
Plan Your Trip
Before you start your big cross-country ride, take a few smaller bike trips first. Take some overnight camping trips in your immediate area, perhaps riding to a nearby national park or national forest to set up camp.
If you plan to bike off the road, be sure to explore some forest trails or even easy trails. These exploratory tours will help you get a feel for riding a bike in general and reveal which gear works well and which can be left at home. This is vital information before embarking on a longer and more challenging journey.
Bring The Necessary Equipment
One of the questions most novice motorcyclists ask is what gear to take on the trip. Honestly, the packing list is not much different from a standard backpacking tour. This means that you will need a tent or other shelter of some kind, a sleeping bag and pillow, a stove for cooking, food, clothing, a raincoat, etc. If you think your gear is useful when hiking, it probably is on a backpacking bike trip.
Since you will be traveling long distances by bike, you will also need to bring tools and equipment to keep your trip on the road. For example, you'll want to pack some replacement tubes for your tires, chain lube, a tire pump, etc. These are items that you wouldn't take on a normal camping trip, but they will surely come in handy here.
Planning that first big bike trip can be a bit exhausting at first. In addition to packing your gear, planning meals, and preparing your bike, you'll also want to plan your route. This may seem like a great undertaking at times, but it is actually part of the fun. (How to catch a glimpse of the off-road wonders of the Trans-America Trail!)
For your first destination, select a unique and interesting place, pick a few dates that work for you, and leave. When you are on the road, you will understand why bicycle transport has become so popular.
We hope you enjoy watching this video about essential tips for your Bikepacking Travel
Source: Cycling Weekly
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