Bikepacking is very simple. You take your (or someone's *) bike, mount any bag on it, leave the house, ride and come back a day or a few days later. Simple as that. Then a person goes to the internet and it turns out that nothing is simple. Because what bike, what bag, where to sleep, what to eat, where to go, how much to take, what to take and all the problems.
The worst thing you can do is catch the gravel syndrome, which is: what would I do if I had the equipment. You start buying things that you can do something. Let me save you a little bit from this.
* then give it to him.
Paragraph in which, as usual, I say I do not know
and I don't take responsibility for words
I'm not an expert on bikepacking. There are VERY few experts. I just drove several (naście) routes lasting from 2 days to 2 weeks. Such as: Taiwan, California, Morocco, Norway, Valencia (Cebulacko) Sandomierz (In weekend). Portugal (Folding) Jeseníky, Bornholm etc. It is difficult to make a comprehensive entry, because in the case of bikepacking most things are very individual. For example, my girlfriend, for two weeks of driving in Taiwan, can fit in an 11L seatpost + 4.5L bag under the frame. He puts on cycling clothes cold and warm, civilian clothes, gifts for friends and ... flip-flops, because without flip-flops he doesn't move from home.
I report the most important information in this entry is:
one weekend bikepacking trip will give you more knowledge than a week of reading online tutorials. Also this. I don't know why you are reading.
Bikepacking vs knockery
Sakwinia has been known for a long time. I remember when a few years ago, in Norway, we passed German pensioners carrying half their belongings on bicycles. They had some tents, stoves and other camping inventions. They were traveling at a speed of several kilometers per hour. I told Panda that there was no such chance before retirement. Then we went on a trip to Sandomierz with a pajamas in the seat and it turned out that there is an intermediate form. Something between tourist cycling and tourist knitting.
Bikepacking is the nice, golden mean in which you still get pleasure from efficient cycling, but you are also a bit of a tourist. The main difference is that by replacing heavy saddlebags with light bags, you keep a lot of the benefits of riding your expensive bike. Read: Cycling is still cycling, not just moving.
The optimal weight of the set, which allows you to drive through civilized places theoretically any number of days for me is about 5kg (provided that we do not take food reserves and the package "survive the night in the bushes" - this is for advanced). This set allows you to travel comfortably around a few degrees Celsius.
I present here the version commonly called: credit card touring. So we go comfortably: we sleep under a roof, we eat in stores, we go from morning to
The coolest thing about this bikepacking from morning to night is that there is no time for anything else. It is quickly discovered that the 99% things seen on Facebook are completely pointless and the questions meaningless. Well, damn, you bang for the 4th day in a row after some off-road, you enter the fesia during a roll break and you see a 63-comment discussion under the question whether the Rondo Ruut bicycle is riding.
How to become a bikepacker at the weekend.
1. Go to Decathlon, buy a bag 2.5L seat post. If you have friends, you can borrow from them.
2. Put a cash bag (a T-shirt underneath), a pajamas (such a starting one), cycling shorts, an ultralight jacket, socks from a beautician and charger. If it's going to be cold, add legs, sleeves, gloves and possibly a sweatshirt. For this of course the inner tube, patches, pump and ... what else you plan to break.
3. Find a place 80% away from home that you think is the maximum, comfortable or 2-3 times longer than your loop after work. For me, such a distance is about 200-250km in Mazovia. Sandomierz is a good goal - it should leave 500km in both directions. You can cut the most boring part and take the first (and possibly last) 100km to Warka by train.
4. Check at the booking site if there are any vacancies around. Just in case, check a little further and closer.
5. Find a friend and go there on Saturday morning.
6. After reaching the destination, enter the booking by phone and look for accommodation.
7. In the morning you come back.
- version for ambitious and bored -
A week later you do the same, you just start on Friday evening leaving somewhere by train and you also come back by train on Sunday evening.
Then you take a plane.
Then you take a plane and come back from another airport.
- version for ambitious and bored -
End. You are a bikepacker. Everything just turns out to be just a development of this idea. You take a bed, a stove, you go to a place where there is nothing ... and so on.
In the 21st century, everything is simple.
Driving with podsiodłówką greater than 2l is a completely new experience. The bicycle is guided
otherwise worse and first rides require some time to get used to it. In particular, you can be surprised when we stand in the pedals in the driveway and see death in our eyes, as if the mountain blew us into a 10-centimeter cone. After several dozen kilometers, man gets used to it. It is much easier to ride a bike in which the weight is distributed to different places - so it is better to choose a smaller seat and buy something under the frame and / or handlebar than to pack everything in the back.
The optimal set for long (week +) trips is 2-3 bags for me:
1. Bag under the frame: the largest that fits and which does not prevent you from taking out at least one water bottle yet. The best place to carry heavy things, as it does not change our center of gravity drastically. What's more: things in it are also the most readily available. It is often the case that on one-day trips I ride only with her (because e.g. drone, controller, powerbank, some bullshit).
2. Bag under the saddle. The optimal size is 10-14 liters in my opinion. If you need more, you either go to some strange place or think about your packaging system. Between the tested 11l and 14l Apidura, the difference in driving is not significant, and these additional 3 liters is really a lot. Bags roll up easily, so theoretically it is easy to make 11l from 14l, while the other way round is not possible. However, I would refrain from buying too much, "because it can be reduced". Such a rolled-up bag looks a bit worse, which is very important.
Generally, the more upright the bag is placed at the back and the more it is pushed to the side, the easier it is to ride. Here, it's easy to see, for example, the disadvantages of Podsacs, which is very narrow and when placed horizontally, it seems like crazy.
It's good when the bag also has mesh / straps on the back. You can throw there a laundry that has not dried out overnight, and during the journey a lot of sand dries, or mount a sweatshirt / jacket and have it available in a few seconds.
3. Steering wheel bag. Here we have to adapt it to the driving style. In Norway I used: Topeak Frontloader 8l and I carried mainly food (lyophilisates and clothes that I don't use), in Morocco the same but with sleeping bag, camping cloth and mattress, and in the United States: Apidura Racing Handlebar Pack (5L) as it has two great bottle holders, and the desert was planned.
4. Small top tube bag or textile bottle / food holder (Decathlon, Apidura). In fact, such a bag is super easy to access, and you can pour peanuts into the bag and crunch them all the way (especially when you install Netflix on Karoo), but unfortunately ... I highly recommend testing this solution, because if you like me, like standing up, and your knees are then so deformed, you will constantly hit it all. I did not convince myself of this solution.
Too long, give me specific brands
I do not recommend specific brands. I use Apidura, which is fine for me, but seems seriously overpaid. Topeaka, which price / quality is very cool. Podsacs, which can be said that in the price / quality category it is also very good, but mainly because it is very cheap. Nothing happens with Apidura and Topeak, Podsacs after a few longer trips begins to rip and wipe, but for a while it will definitely be enough. With a high degree of certainty it can be said that it is like everything: expensive, proven brands are good, it can be different with cheap ones.
It is also worth considering buying bags that have a separate frame and a luggage bag separately. We detach the bag itself, usually with two clips, instead of all the Velcro straps. Like nothing, two minutes less and enjoys.
However, the most important advice is: Places where you attach the bag to the bicycle frame with Velcro, wrap it several times with insulation tape. I guarantee that without it, after a few hundred kilometers, your shiny frame will become matte ... or vice versa.
Such a standard packaging set looks like this and depending on the place we are going to, it is slightly different:
socks (2 pairs of ordinary, one warm), long + short gloves, cap (cold and warm), down coat, civilian trousers (e.g. long with detachable legs), legs, towel, cycling shorts, cycling jersey, warm-up shirts ) + cold, inner tubes, ultralight
UNDER THE FRAME:
shampoo, disinfectant, lenses, Lsalads, Lspoons, medicines (e.g. coal, painkillers), grease, toothpaste, two chain clips, Lchargers, cables, bars (e.g. Trec Booster: cheap, relatively small, and a lot of calories), pump, water disinfecting tablets., multitool, powerbank, spare hook, insulation tape, trets, mini-backpack.
UNDER THE STEERING HAND:
Norway version (few shops, expensive): freeze-dried products, Lyczkowidelec, tourist sheet, eye cover, ultralight
Morocco version (potential lack of accommodation): sleeping bag, mattress, camping cloth
As for the bike, it does not matter, although on tires from 30mm up it is a bit easier and more comfortable to ride, and at speeds achieved with such a load it does not matter.
I definitely recommend regular SPD shoes instead of road shoes (though of course with a very stiff sole if you plan to beat large kilometers).
Where to sleep?
In 90% I search for accommodation, about an hour before the planned entrance to the hotel. The whole process looks like this: I pull out the phone, run the booking.com application, display a map with a list of accommodation around me and choose the one that: is close to the store, is economically suitable, will take me with a bicycle. I don't think I've ever met a hotel that wouldn't take a bicycle. Generally, the more expensive it is, the greater the chance that it will end up in a storage room rather than in our room. For me, the only drawback to this solution is that you have to take all your bags with you.
Before setting off on a tour you should
gather the team check accommodation bases
Always before leaving, I circle on the map where the accommodation bases are and how their occupancy looks. In such Norway, for example, it turned out that without booking in advance, sleeping in several places can not be found, because there is simply no accommodation. On the planned episode, I mark all places where you can expect accommodation and during the day I check them from time to time. In such Morocco, we drove to places marked as accommodation on Google Maps - some of them did not exist.
Prices in most ordinary hotels / motels in the civilized world are about PLN 100-200 per night, in California it was PLN 200-300. It is easy to guess that it is much cheaper to travel in 2 than alone, because a room is a room - beds usually have two.
The key is to have alternatives ready. Places to sleep where we will go if the kilometer plan is not completed because:
Which is most important in long rides.
It is said that you have to drive to drive. This is partial truth. In long, day outings, two things are most important (apart from, of course, even a basic bicycle trip):
The chance for pain in the arms, back, neck and other previously unknown places is high, and this will be a much bigger problem than aching legs. Mainly because aching legs just go slower.
On each route I set myself emergency points: accommodation, the possibility of shortening the route by an alternative means of transport, I mark where stations, stations, taxis, car rentals, bicycle stores, grocery stores and so on. This, combined with the awareness that the "never give up" strategy causes more problems than profits makes life much simpler. As they say: only peace can save us. About mapping the route using Komoot, Google Maps, paper map and Strava will be an entry in the future, because it is also an interesting topic.
While in the race there may actually be a moment when the body is no longer able to go at this pace, in bikepacking just slow down a bit and try to eat regularly. You can hobble almost indefinitely.
The proof of this is Panda, which, practically without riding a bike, can weave into a two-week bikepacking, e.g. one of the biggest climbs in the world ... twice. The head and the right motivation will go over everything.
How to transport a bike
It's easy by train - you put the sock on a hanger and hang it. If you did not buy carbozożki for PLN 700 from a friend, nothing will happen to your bike, even if you hang it with a load.
Worse with the plane. There are two options here and the answer is one: it depends.
The most universal option is cardboard. Carton is cool and its main disadvantage compared to a suitcase is the fact that it is uncomfortable to handle. The plus is that you can unpack the bike immediately after leaving the plane and throw it away (or rather ask the airport staff to recycle it). Suitcases, in turn, can not be thrown.
My strategy is this:
If you are coming back from the same airport, you can leave your suitcase in a nearby hotel. Here are two remarks: it is worth asking during the booking if there is such a possibility (usually yes) and: almost no hotel has ever agreed to keep my suitcase when I have not booked accommodation in it. Alternatively, you can send an email to nearby stores, car services, rental companies, etc. Someone should agree in exchange for a "trifle from a trip." In Marrakech, for example, we left it at a car service about 1km away.
If you return from somewhere else, the matter is more difficult. In this case, we send e-mails to all bicycle services in the area and ask if anyone can put away cardboard boxes for a given day. In the case of large cities, even searching should be successful in the dark, although in such Taipei we didn't hit until around the 4th store. In Alesund the situation was more difficult because the city was small. A nice man put away the boxes, but we had to take the bus to the airport with them.
And the key thing when packing back: the day before, check to see if you can unscrew the pedals and that the screws on the cockpit are not twisted. The discovery that the pedals are stalled when you have a flight in 3 hours and you are just standing with a cardboard box in one hand and a bicycle in the other in front of the terminal is not the nicest feeling.
Usually, after a few days of bikepacking, I have such a nice feeling that such a trip is better than turning around the chimney all year round. And that for some time I don't want to ride a bike anymore ... So I wish you good fun because:
Thanks to bikepacking, a two-day weekend can last for several days.