Bikepacking at the Cusp
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Maia
(maia) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Bikepacking at the Cusp on 05/20/2014 19:55:11 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Bikepacking at the Cusp

Nicholas Viglione
(nicholas.viglione@gmail.com) - MLife
+1 on 05/21/2014 06:33:05 MDT Print View

Dave, you're spot on about the idea of people feeling the need to own the best and lightest and newest equipment for these adventures. I've been riding my lovely Surly 1x1 for years now, which I bought used for the grand total of $350 and has served me faithfully ever since. I get looks and comments regularly from my companions about the lack of "high-tech" on my ride, but hey, it rolls straight!

As always, love your writing!

John St. Laurent
(johnstl) - M

Locale: Pacific NW
Gorilla Test on 05/21/2014 11:46:01 MDT Print View

"If such a pack is too costly compared to the Golite Jam you got for 40 dollars on gear swap..."

Here, in a single clause, you've captured my entire outdoor procurement philosophy, so I guess I know what my gateway bike would be.

Spot on about keyboard adventurers being in love with the idea of an activity. It's an easy trap to fall into, actually.




* for the record: my Jam was $69 new during a Golite sale online. But I'm still a miser.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Bikepacking at the Cusp on 05/21/2014 15:14:15 MDT Print View

...People locked away in office jobs (without which internet culture would not exist) are prone to fall more in love with the idea of the activity rather than the activity itself.

Thinking and planning for my next adventure does sometimes consumes more time than the actual adventure.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Bikepacking at the Cusp on 05/22/2014 08:46:05 MDT Print View

Hear hear!!! on steel MTBs from the 90s.

I just gave away my favorite Nishiki to a student...presenting another opportunity to find a new, cool beater bike. Now I just picked up a Trek 850 (Mountain Track XC) and have fallen in love. It was given to me and I've invested $15 in it. Last night I rode the same singletrack inhabited by $6000 bicycles and I only have a front brake right now.

There's something highly appealing to me about bringing a bike back to life that was wasting away in the corner of someone's yard. I've long been a fan of the beater bike, the workhorse of the average Joe. The bikes you see cooks and custodians riding to work and leaving locked to poles and gas meters behind restaurants and offices. The bikes you see on buses and trains, on bike racks on college campuses. Many of these bikes actually get ridden more than the $1000+ machines displayed in bike shop windows.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate a nice bike. I've got a Dura-Ace/Ultegra road bike...But it's sort of too nice to actually do anything practical with. It collects dust and I should really sell it. My days of lycra are long over...

And I actually like the new Trek better. There's something beautiful about not being too invested in a bike, about not geeking out over minutia. It a bike for riding, not obsessing. I lock it and leave it without worry at the trailhead while I'm out running or in front of the grocery store. I don't have to baby it. With proper tuning and mechanic's skills, it runs as good as anything else I've ridden.

For 99% of what 99% of people do, any bike would be fine. In fact, the inexpensive rigid steel MTB of the 90s is probably the best choice.

Over the past few years I've come to appreciate this and see bikes for what they are as opposed to an opportunity to obsess over the next upgrade or purchase.

Kevin Buggie
(kbuggie) - M

Locale: NW New Mexico
Re: Re: Bikepacking at the Cusp on 05/22/2014 11:49:23 MDT Print View

hdt

Specialized Hardrock 29er
32 lbs. $600
3rd season without a mechanical

Edited by kbuggie on 05/22/2014 12:47:04 MDT.

Christopher *
(cfrey.0) - M

Locale: US East Coast
Re: Bikepacking at the Cusp on 05/22/2014 11:50:41 MDT Print View

"...People locked away in office jobs (without which internet culture would not exist) are prone to fall more in love with the idea of the activity rather than the activity itself." - David C.

"Thinking and planning for my next adventure does sometimes consume more time than the actual adventure." - Sam H.

I'm not so sure about these statements ...

David's original comment seems to rely heavily on a stereotype and I think is more about his personal aggressions being directed at the popular commercialization of a previously niche past-time where the barriers to entry have always been low and a result primarily of its obscurity ... at least I hope this is the case because otherwise such comments border on elitism.

As to Sam's follow up comment, I honestly believe there is no reason planning and logistics shouldn't take a considerable amount of time for an actual adventure. The planning aspect of an American thru-hike or thru-ride is almost harder than the actual hiking (at least on the PCT and GDMBR), and is just as rewarding albeit in a different way. This is thanks in large part to the disparaged "internet culture" of which this forum is ironically a substantive part.

Edited by cfrey.0 on 05/22/2014 14:35:18 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Bikepacking at the Cusp and hybrid bikepacking on 05/22/2014 17:06:20 MDT Print View

I've been doing a lot of fiddling with bikes lately and I enjoyed reading this article.

My neighbors put a Trek zx7000 in the trash a few weeks ago and I rescued it. It needed a chain and some air in the tires. It was a step up from the Schwinn hybrid comfort bike I got from a thrift store last year. Then I came across a Trek PDX commuter bike in a thrift store for $70 and all it needed was air in the tires.

I have bought other bikes at yard sales and thrift stores like a Specialized aluminum frame MTB, a Gary Fisher and a Marin MTB that was just $20. Of course the challenge is finding one that really fits you and more so if you aren't in the middle of the bell curve.

As to having the latest techy bike, I worked with a Russian woman who pedaled all the way across Siberia on a Russian commuter bike. She said she went through three sets of pedals! The real pack analogy is that you can go hiking with just about anything that will hold your gear on your back and likewise with a bike: it needs to hold air, shift reliably and stop safely. Anything past that technically is nice, but the lack of the high tech stuff won't stop you from going. I used to go places on my old Schwinn Typhoon that would destroy a lot of modern bikes and I survived the single speed and coaster brakes. A circa 1990 MTB is a Ferrari in comparison.

My plan is to put together some hybrid bus/dirt road/backing trips using rural commuter bus connections that get me close to trailhead roads, bike to the trailhead, and hike from there. I think that would necessitate hiding the bike in the brush and chaining it to a log, which should be effective and protect the bike from theft or vandalism. Stashing it a couple hundred yards before the trailhead parking lot would leave it completely away from any regular traffic and out of sight. Of course using a thrift store/yard sale bike is less worrisome than leaving a $6k carbon frame wonder bike in the bushes.

There are a couple trailhead roads that have been washed out for years and closed to car traffic but are accessible by foot or bike. One is blocked 12 miles from the trailhead, which makes for a long walk, but could be covered in a hour or so on a bike. It's fairly flat too. The bike link would deliver me to some great trails and the 12 mile gap should build in some solitude as well.

The bus links aren't really necessary, but figuring out the routes is another interesting challenge and could allow those without a car to get access to hiking areas. There are many rail trails in my area that make for another facet. One rail trail in the I-90 corridor near Seattle is accessible by commuter bus with a short ride to the rail trail which is crossed by a number of trails and trailhead roads.

Some years ago a local reporter managed to link up a series of rural bus routes and went from Seattle to the Pacific Ocean beaches (and the doorstep of Olympic
National Park).

Add Max Dilthey's blog on bike touring and camping to you bookmarks too. Max's journeys have been a great inspiration for alternative travel. http://maxthecyclist.wordpress.com

Edited by dwambaugh on 05/22/2014 17:08:52 MDT.

Glenn S
(Glenn64) - M

Locale: Snowhere, MN
Re: Bikepacking at the Cusp on 05/23/2014 07:12:33 MDT Print View

All my singletrack has been on a late 90's Cannondale rigid, tricked with mostly Deore componenets. My poor one inch headset needs replacing pretty badly, but it's still my favorite bike. I have a Cannondale touring bike with a head shock for commuting and touring/camping, but after these last couple of years exploring backpacking more, a little offroad camping would be fun.

Maybe a good use for the old chromoly full suspension, coil-over-oil Pro-flex I used to bomb logging roads with, that I really don't ride anymore. I leave the carbon fiber for the road, with a Domane 4.5.

I really want a fat bike, but I hate the cold too much, so I know I'd never ride it to its potential. I suppose offroad "touring" would be better on a 29er, but I sure like my 26 for technical, especially climbs, but perhaps that's the topic for another thread.

...and I still don't know Judy.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Re: Bikepacking at the Cusp on 05/23/2014 07:51:06 MDT Print View

David's original comment seems to rely heavily on a stereotype and I think is more about his personal aggressions being directed at the popular commercialization of a previously niche past-time where the barriers to entry have always been low and a result primarily of its obscurity ... at least I hope this is the case because otherwise such comments border on elitism.

It's more that exhaustive research about gear, sitting online talking about gear, and buying gear can easily become a replacement for getting out and using gear. It's a theme Dave's touched on many times. Not just for bikes.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Bikepacking at the Cusp on 05/23/2014 15:06:41 MDT Print View

> My days of lycra are long over...
Defeatist!!!

Cheers

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Bikepacking at the Cusp on 05/23/2014 15:18:33 MDT Print View

"It's more that exhaustive research about gear, sitting online talking about gear, and buying gear can easily become a replacement for getting out and using gear. It's a theme Dave's touched on many times. Not just for bikes."

It is an interesting position for a gear reviewer to take!

I do applaud the dirtbag approach. Most of my gear is second hand, which works for me on several levels: initial cost and getting stuff I couldn't afford new, getting to try a wider variety of gear, the recycling aspects, and getting past the "first scratch" phase. It would really hurt to drop a lot of cash on a new bike and then scar it up on the first trip. With a cheap used bike, there are no tears (just sweat).

Christopher *
(cfrey.0) - M

Locale: US East Coast
Re: Re: Re: Bikepacking at the Cusp on 05/23/2014 22:25:37 MDT Print View

"It's more that exhaustive research about gear, sitting online talking about gear, and buying gear can easily become a replacement for getting out and using gear. It's a theme Dave's touched on many times. Not just for bikes."

Point taken ... with the caveat that the irony of an online gear reviewer eschewing the act of researching gear online kinda muddies the waters a tad. LOL. Maybe I'm being obtuse.

I do instinctually take a defensive position when I see any argument propped on "us" vs. "them" terms, particularly when the "them" leans toward a cartoonish characterization meant to evoke antipathy ... but if David's larger theme is not to divide but rather encourage more people to engage an activity rather than just contemplate an activity ... then I get it. Gear will not take you for a hike; you need to take your gear.

Edited by cfrey.0 on 05/23/2014 22:39:07 MDT.

Nathan Meyerson
(NathanMeyerson) - F - M

Locale: NW
"Just Go Ride" on 05/23/2014 23:52:36 MDT Print View

Amen.
My 1996 Trek 990 was a steal on craigslist for $100. Another $200 into it and it is as bombproof as I can want for a bikepacking rig.
trek990

My 4.75 year old daughter knows well that she will inherit it. When I die.

Trek 930,950,970,990's can be found on craigslist and ebay for less than $100 quite often. later models had an 1 1/8" steerer tube and can take modern (80mm travel) suspension or rigid forks.

Aaron Croft
(aaronufl) - M

Locale: Alaska
One speed wonder on 05/25/2014 22:30:36 MDT Print View

My Karate monkey has made me curse while climbing uphill and cheer while flying downhill for a few years now.

Ron Babington
(Ohbejoyful) - MLife

Locale: Greenville, SC
bikepacking on 05/26/2014 11:46:09 MDT Print View

I did TD last summer (posted a gear list here at BPL) and am doing TNGA this summer but otherwise I don't really have any rides, routes, or brovets on the radar that I'm stoked about.

Point being, when are we gonna ride together, Casey and Dave? :)

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: Re: Re: Re: Bikepacking at the Cusp on 05/27/2014 07:43:55 MDT Print View

Did I exploit a stereotype to make a point? Of course, though a few words in the section titles should have helped everyone put that in proper context.

The notion that anyone who writes about gear in a vaguely professional way should rubber-stamp the ways in which contemporary consumerist culture and outdoor recreation directly contradict each other (insofar as the former is easily linked to the continued degradation of wild places) in one I utterly reject. I do hope that publications and individuals who have been responsible for promulgating this will eventually come to loose sleep over it, and will continue to prod them towards doing so.

Bikepacking is a fantastic example, which is why this article got written. I think bikepacking has the potential to be more widely practiced than backpacking, in that it can be (physically) lower impact and makes larger distances accessible. I'd like to see that. I'm not going to sit silently while companies use it as a marginal reason to sell folks a bunch of stuff they probably don't need.