Bikepacking/ Racing philosophy

There is a lot of things going on right now in the world of bikepacking and bike racing. One side you have the Tour de France and the other the Tour divide. For many of us, the dream is being a professional cyclist on a big tour having the support crew and a hotel and the massage after a big stage. Others its going on a bikepacking race with all your own food and water and sleeping in a bivy on the side of the trail somewhere. To me the beauty of both of these forms of racing is the scenery that you see and the strategy you must develop. So I would like to share my philosophy on bikepacking and bike pack racing.

I really love how in recent years the bikepacking race scene is becoming more of a thing. With the creation of races like the Transcontinental Race and the Trans Am. It gives people like me with a wanderlust nomadic heart and competitor’s brain something to get into. With the market building all sorts of gravel/ adventure bikes. And local and international companies building some awesome bags for us to hall all our gear in. This type of sport is really interesting. With pro cycling their strategy is more physical than anything else. As for bikepacking , there is a little more to it.

There is the several things to consider:

  • Sleeping arrangements ( hotels, bivys, tents)

  • Food and water ( where do I put it all )

  • Clothing ( warm, wet, fast, comfortable)

  • Tech ( gps, phone, lights, charging)

  • Possibly the biggest is Bike and BIke fit or position

All of these things are extremely important in a bikepacking race, but where is the line between touring and racing? How much is too much and how much is not enough?

There are so many great videos online of different ways to do it. This is just my way.

First I will say I start by saying my background is in Triathlons. So I am most comfortable in the aero position. The greater the distance this becomes more and more important. The longer you stay in aero the less watts you need to overcome the drag. Now if you cant put out power in this position, though you don’t need much in a bikepacking race, you still need to be able to work hard. So it is vitally important to get set up in a comfortable yet aero position on the bike.

One of the coolest things about bikepacking and racing is seeing where everyone puts there food, water, tech, sleeping kit and clothing. Typically this all depends on the duration of the race and the conditions. If it cool and wet you may need to bring more warm clothes and there for need more room on your bike. If its hot then you can get away with bringing less warm stuff but maybe bring some extra water. For me I believe in a very minimalist setup.

I believe that if you can get your kit packed into as few bags as possible. This gives you the option to add or remove things depending on the climate. Now the reason why I say this is because if you don’t need extra stuff DON’T BRING IT. You will be much faster and lighter with out it.

Bringing a comfortable sleeping setup may be worth it for a long week of racing in the middle of nowhere. But if you plan it right you can get away with staying in hotels. If your only doing a 3 day event its much better to just rough it in a bivy for a couple of days

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Ebikes vs national parks

So this post is for my mom and anyone who has a disability and needs to use a ebike to be able to ride.

Last year my dad and I bought my mother this Sondors folding ebike so she could ride with us. She has had over 20 surgeries over the years and several of them have been on her knees. She has had a real drive to get back into cycling but without an ebike she can only ride a short distance. Needless to say getting her an ebike was a real game changer.  So they decided to go up to Acadia National Park to do some camping and riding.

Everything seemed to be going well my mom called me saying how much she loved her new Sondors. Until she came across a park ranger.

Now I'm not bashing park rangers here I know they have a job to do. 

The ranger told my mom that ebikes are not allowed! And there is a fine for using one. The man was apparently cool and let her go with out a fine. But this also brought and end to there fun on bikes in the park. 

I'm kinda confused and annoyed that there are restrictions such as these even exist.  In a time where parks are being closed for any reason. You would think that people riding ebikes were the least of there problems. I know that there are probably some punk kids that tore up the trail at one point with some ebikes. These people should be fined on their

behavior. Not just assume that the ebikes were a potential problem because of there motor power and ban them from the park. They should just ban irresponsible people from the park. Someone needs to have a little more sense before making these rules that may spoil it for people who are disabled and need the assistance of a electric motor to enjoy the experience.  It would be the same as a restaurant with out a handicap ramp saying to someone who can't walk. " well you can come in and eat, if you can walk up the stairs". 

Anyway I'm curious to find out how many parks are like this. I plan on putting it out there for people who ride ebikes or are thinking about getting one and using it at a national park.  

Cheers

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Scott MullerComment