US Southwest Bikepack trip May2024

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AxelHeyst
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US Southwest Bikepack trip May2024

Post by AxelHeyst »

I’m planning on riding my bicycle from Quail Haven (the southern sierras in California) to ~Denver this coming May. Route and exact dates TBD. Should take a month plus or minus a couple weeks.

Anyone is welcome to join for part or all, inclusive of coming to QH a little ahead of time to get prepped/geared up and heading out together. I’m happy to help show the ropes to any bikepacking noobs (remember I was a noob May2023), and to learn from those who know more than me. This is not an experts only ride.

I’ll be focused on wild camping (legally, on public land) and looking for a route that maximizes dirt/gravel back roads as opposed to single track (although I’m fine with single track if it isn’t super techy) or lots of highway miles.

ETA: I’m not playing a guide/trip leader role here. I’m planning on riding to Denver; others can roll along with if they like. Ride your own ride, take care of your own logistics, etc.

Bicycle7
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Re: US Southwest Bikepack trip May2024

Post by Bicycle7 »

If life is permitting for me to join, this sounds like a great ride!

Gravel roads probably are nice for the scenery, wild camping options and avoiding traffic.

mk4
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Re: US Southwest Bikepack trip May2024

Post by mk4 »

Woah sounds awesome! We'll see how the job cards fall, but I did just get a Surly for some bikepacking trips next year :D

On the topic, I'm in need of some rear racks/panniers for hauling stuff (for both groceries and bikepacking). Any suggestions beyond trying to find a good brand secondhand?

AxelHeyst
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Re: US Southwest Bikepack trip May2024

Post by AxelHeyst »

I am a noob still but my experience was that the ‘normal’ style panniers that came with my bike (Ortlieb) were fine for groceries etc but not for bikepacking. They’re heavy, they rattle, and are awkward to deal with if you want to leave your bike and take your packs with you.

I had some military surplus sleep system bags, which I think are intended to stuff a sleeping bag in and attach to the bottom of your rucksack, that is used as panniers on my dual sport. I was able to get them attached to my rear rack. It took some fussing and they don’t come off quickly, but they’re 15$ each, light, and can be carried Iike a backpack. I plan on sewing my own panniers at some point.

I definitely recommend ingesting several ‘my gear system for bikepacking’ videos. There’s a lot of approaches and it depends a lot on your style of riding and camping.

theanimal
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Re: US Southwest Bikepack trip May2024

Post by theanimal »

AxelHeyst wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2023 4:40 pm
I had some military surplus sleep system bags, which I think are intended to stuff a sleeping bag in and attach to the bottom of your rucksack, that is used as panniers on my dual sport. I was able to get them attached to my rear rack.
You can take some straps or Paracord and attach your sleeping bag to your handlebars. That's what we do for bikepacking in AK and seems to be the most common option. If you search fat bike bikepacking, you should be able to find images of what I'm talking about.

AxelHeyst
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Re: US Southwest Bikepack trip May2024

Post by AxelHeyst »

Sleep system bag is just what the bags are called if you’re trying to look them up, I used them as general use panniers for all my kit.

Handlebar sleeping bag is a good idea. I already had a handlebar bag that I liked for stashing other stuff. Mostly tortillas and pb…

Bicycle7
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Re: US Southwest Bikepack trip May2024

Post by Bicycle7 »

Yeah, I have some Ortlieb panniers and they're uncomfortable to carry off of the bicycle.

If only there was a way to just wrap my light-weight backpacking backpack to my bike!

I've researched backpacking gear set-ups a lot more than for bike touring. I want to look into bike set-ups more, I feel like the ease of carrying my gear on foot and leaving the bike is an important design consideration. Like for instance, you roll by a cool trailhead and want to go for a hike.

I see from a quick google search, people with set-ups with a frame bag, handlebar bag, seat-post bag, 4 panniers and 11 different water bottles secured at various frame locations. This seems like a pain to take all of this off and ditch the bike for a while!

There's also the reality of needing/being able to carry more gear on a bike than on foot. On a bike, you'll be carrying more or less everything you would be backpacking, plus at least bike tools/spare parts.

AxelHeyst
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Re: US Southwest Bikepack trip May2024

Post by AxelHeyst »

I’ll post the link when I’m back to a computer, but one of the top yt bikepackers straps a 35L backpack to the top of his rear rack, and then has a frame bag and handlebar bag. Looked slick.

AnalyticalEngine
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Re: US Southwest Bikepack trip May2024

Post by AnalyticalEngine »

If anyone wants to meet up once you all are in Denver, let me know and we can plan something. My outdoors skills are not much, but I'd be interested in any day hikes or anything around town that anyone wants to do.

AxelHeyst
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Re: US Southwest Bikepack trip May2024

Post by AxelHeyst »

Id love that, will hit you up when I/we get close.

Here’s the bikepacking setup with a pack I mentioned:
https://youtu.be/4yMKKxgAtNw?si=Ia2tAde1YJ7drQt2

jacob
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Re: US Southwest Bikepack trip May2024

Post by jacob »

AxelHeyst wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2023 5:27 pm
Here’s the bikepacking setup with a pack I mentioned:
https://youtu.be/4yMKKxgAtNw?si=Ia2tAde1YJ7drQt2
You lost me at "Tetris to a very high level".

rube
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Re: US Southwest Bikepack trip May2024

Post by rube »

Haha, he did say that, though if you look a few minutes later he's just stuffing everything into that backpack. Didn't look like high level Tetris at all.

Based on my experencie from backpacking, after a few times packaging and unpacking you create a habit and know exactly how and where you pack the things. Based on longer experience you'll tweak here and there something how to pack things. But I really woudln't call it Tetris to a very high level.

@AH, thanks for this link. It reminded me to make sure I start also doing some research about what I need, how to pack etc. for trips I aim to do in the near future.

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grundomatic
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Re: US Southwest Bikepack trip May2024

Post by grundomatic »

I'd say drop by for a luxurious overnight stay indoors, but I live the wrong direction. I probably shouldn't fly to Denver for the afterparty, either. Twenty years ago, I'd have been all over this. So soft these days, in so many ways.

Bicycle7
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Re: US Southwest Bikepack trip May2024

Post by Bicycle7 »

Thanks for the link @AH, it's helping me get creative imagining different set-ups!

I also am thinking I would really benefit from a 2 or 3 night local bike ride maybe in March before the ride to Denver to prototype my set-up. Especially considering I've only gone out for an overnight bike ride once.

@rube, yeah, I'm very particular how I pack stuff away backpacking and it does kind of become ingrained in memory rather quickly. Sometimes DW will put something away in a different place and I'll be looking for it for a long time!
grundomatic wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2023 11:41 am
I probably shouldn't fly to Denver for the afterparty
But, you'd make it way more fun, grundo! :D

Gadget
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Re: US Southwest Bikepack trip May2024

Post by Gadget »

This is going to be incredible! I'm curious about the specifics of your route if/when you are ready to share. Bike touring is so amazing to me, albeit outside my comfort zone. Can't wait to see pics so I can live vicariously.

AxelHeyst
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Re: US Southwest Bikepack trip May2024

Post by AxelHeyst »

I'll definitely post plans and itineraries ahead of time. I'd guess there's at least a chance our route could come within a reasonable distance of wherever you may be this spring. It'd be cool to meet up if so! One of the big route planning criteria for me is to see how many old and new friends I can visit en route...

Gadget
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Re: US Southwest Bikepack trip May2024

Post by Gadget »

Agreed it would be cool to meet up if our routes do cross paths, or I am happy to offer a ride somewhere should the need arise. (Just be forewarned we rank *significantly* lower on the ERE WL scale!)

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