“What is life without challenges and a desire to keeping on moving somehow?”
With this quote, let me talk about the pandemic that brought the world to a screeching halt. COVID-19 is a scarred reality that will leave a haunting mark in the memories of millions even after it is gone completely. As the world stood still for the greater part of 2020, we witnessed the businesses collapsed, unemployment peaking at its high, millions of lives lost, and everyone fearing what the future holds. But as we know, with great adversaries comes great opportunities to turn things around. Must Read
And as big as a pandemic COVID-19 is, it has opened doors to some great ways to replenish our lives. One such way which I’m going to tell about here is Bikepacking.
What is Bikepacking?
Simply said, bikepacking is the combination of traveling around by bike and random camping. It keychains us to the unknown freedom we have never experienced before. Like taking on new trails or visiting places around your neighborhood you never had before. The essence of bikepacking lies in paddling any stress out while creating memories for life. In fact, it’s one of the most growing trends during the Pandemic.
How to do Bikepacking?
Just one word–Ride. Ride as you have never before while taking every precaution you must. Remember your childhood when you would draw your bicycle out of the garage and ride it to your friend’s home or a nearby playground. Now, with bikepacking your friend could become your partner on the journey and the trails such as a nearby mountain range or some faraway beach where you always wanted to travel to but “All that work and Netflix, Amazon Prime never allowed you to” become your playground. And while this may be the gist of doing bikepacking, there are three well described ways to do bikepacking. They are:
Multi-day mountain biking
Multi-day mountain biking is the heart and soul of the bikepacking. It’s done with carrying the bare necessities on the bike to keep it light weighted enough to go on a trail which could be done in one day ride.
Here the routes could be somewhere around 40 miles in length under 24 hours to a whole or multi-week short trip covering together hundreds of miles. You can realistically start from your home as well as plan for distanced travel destinations here.
Ultralight, Race, and Gravel
Popularized by the Tour Divide, a 2745-mile bikepacking race from Banff (Canada) to the Mexican border in the Antelope Wells (New Mexico) is a self-supported ultra racing which since then has sprung races all over the United States which then popularized throughout the world.
This bikepacking style involves the usage of lightweight mountain bikes complemented with an ultralight gear kit. The race routes suited for this bikepacking typically spans over 200 miles full of mixed surfaces and terrain that includes gravel and some pavement.
Expedition and Dirt Touring
One of the incredible ways to connect with people overseas and experiencing their cultures include traveling by bicycle. This pathway is filled with unfiltered exchanges with people paved with unique itineraries covering low traffic and unpaved road as well as remote locations which are seldomly visited by travelers.
Note that for each bikepacking experience you will require a different bike which needs to be a gear with essentials things accordingly.
Why Bikepacking During the Pandemic is Trending Upwards?
One of the several impacts the pandemic had on the world was it lessened the need for the public or crowded forms of transportation due to social distancing. And since the safest way to contain the spread of Covid-19 was for everyone to stay in acute isolation, people took two-wheelers. This led to, mainly, sports-person take on bicycling to remain fitter and this sparked a resurgence in bikepacking during the pandemic in accordance to the local public health bodies.
Increase in numbers of Bikepackers
As the bikepacking adventures contributed strongly to social distancing while instilling the thrill of being able to travel again, especially to newer locations, many people decided to put down the TV remote and set forth in their bikepacking experiences.
Some Responsible Bikepacking Tips
While the best to contain the spread of coronavirus is indeed by staying home. Nevertheless, if you want to go on a bikepacking adventure during the pandemic then you must follow these steps:
Pay Attention to the Pandemic Rules
Abide by all local and government issued guidelines and restrictions of the place. If your place is kept under lockdown restrictions then better stay at home.
Plan your Bikepacking
Whether it is for 2-3 days or more, planning your bikepacking journey is must be recommended. From selecting bikes to the necessary items to be carried you must plan everything beforehand as the duration and place you are going on bikepacking.
Keep it slow or With Family
Since coming in contact with any outsider could potentially add to the spread of the coronavirus, it’s better if you take on a solo bikepacking or with only the family you are currently staying in.
Maintain Social Distance
There’s a complete chance that along the trails of your bikepacking adventures you may encounter people or other bikepackers. In such times, ensure that you maintain a minimum of 6-Feet distance every time.
Be in the Safe Zone
As much as possible, try to stay in known locations and don’t ride far away from the water source or a hospital or a clinic in case of an injury. Also, keep a tab on the weather conditions to avoid getting stuck in any storm or heavy rainfall.
Prevent the Transmission
This should always be our priority in times like these. So, ensure your keep tissues to cover all your sneezes and cough. Wash your hands with soap and water whenever possible and try to keep a sanitizer.
Yes, these are testing times but with a responsible head and knowledge, you can have some great time even through bikepacking during the pandemic.
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