Biking the line between wilderness and civilization
Photo c/o of HCN.org
This morning, while I was browsing my favorite bike blogs over a cup of iced coffee and some toast, I found an editorial written by Sarah Tory of HCN.org on “bikepacking” – traveling with your gear on bicycles. She describes her experience going fully prepared through a three-day trail on White Rim Road.
Bikepacking was popularized in the early 2000s by mountain bike racers, who pedaled hundreds of miles over many days with little gear. By 2010, non-racers had picked up the minimalist ethic, and manufacturers began designing bags that were lighter and less cumbersome than traditional rack-and-pannier setups.
Bikepacking’s appeal is obvious to Cecilia and me. You can ride much farther than you can walk over the same timeframe, without heavy backpacks. And you see places in unexpected ways: The routes are often hybrids, linking singletrack with dirt roads and occasional stretches of pavement. Sometimes you have to drag your bike under a fence. The goal: Find those in-between places lying halfway between wilderness and civilization.
We pedal beneath crumbling red-rock towers, and stare into canyons that tumble away in sudden, stomach-turning drops, as if an angry god scooped out great chunks of earth. Spring moisture has carpeted rocky ledges with green; cactus flowers splash pink in a sea of reddish brown.
Traveling with bikes – especially a lightweight, folding bike – is a total game changer. It’s the reason I invested in a Brompton bicycle. While Sarah’s piece speaks more to the wilderness experience, bike-packing can also be a perspective on city travel and tourism.
Recently, I went on a trip to Philadelphia. The city is rich with history – one of the oldest in the USA – but fairly spread out. Hitched to my bicycle were my water, jackets and boots, and a picnic to enjoy at the river.
I had an amazing time exploring every nook and cranny, and my trusty Brompton made the trip what it was.
Read the rest of Sarah’s beautiful piece here.