singletrack mtn bike touring
Hello, anyone out there ever tried mtn bike touring on singletrack trails? I hope to give this a shot this summer. There are so many amazing trails that I've been on that I wish that I could have stayed the night there miles and miles deep in the woods away from roads and civilization. Basically like backpacking but on a bike. Of course riding technical single track trails with steep climbs, downhills and all that is hard enough with out carrying gear so with gear it could get tricky so going very light would be the key. I plan on first off trying single night and 2 night trips so that a only a minimum amount of gear would be needed. I want to ride my full suspension probably with just a seat post rack to carry a very light weight tarp tent and sleeping bag. A small backpack for the rest of the gear and then probably a small handlebar bag for the food. I'm thinking keeping your food in a seperate bag is a good idea because of bears and other wildlife since even the uncooked smells can linger on all the rest of your stuff attracting bears.
This comes to another question , do any of you carry bear spray, a pistol or other protection when backcountry riding or even road touring through national parks? I usually carry bear spray. I'm here in montana and have encountered a fair amount of wildlife while on the trail and even when road riding. Several black bears, 1 grizzly, and even rode right up on a mountain lion one time. I've never had a problem with aggressive wildlife or animals coming into camp but its definitely a concern and precautions should be taken.
Here is a link to some mountain biking touring: http://www.adv-cycling.org/features/ultralight.cfm
Photo gallery of a 4 day ride:http://www.adventurecycling.org/feat...y/gallery1.cfm
I started my touring doing that. It's hard to link together a month's worth of that around here. There are lots of snowmobile trails, some do go pretty far. One of my favorite rides goes into an incredibly productive bass lake. I remember once coming out and running into a bunch of guys with big wheel 4x trucks. They were blown away that we hade made it in and out. Then I guess having looked at us they thought we looked a little too clean. They asked, did you go through "Barry's Bog". We said no. Well for them that was that , why would anyone go in that road without going through the best part? To us riding our bikes through a swimming pool sized mud hole we could easily skirt on a bike, was silly. I don't know if that hole was a natural result of heavy trucks and the bog, or had been put their by a local outfitter. Anyway, I stay clear of it.
I too find that light weight is the key on forest road and single track self contained bike touring in the mountains of the US West or anywhere. When the inevitable hike part of bike n hike arrives it is easier to lift and/or push the bike with equipment up the hills particularly at altitude. I carry 15-20# between two front panniers and a rear rack stuffer on a rigid BG RNR with 700c wheels. This way there are no rear panniers to impede pushing the bike.
When in bear country-Alaska,Montana or BC/Alberta I have never carried bear spray or a weapon. I use an Ursack for storage and cook far from where I camp and store food. [ When I lived in Western Montana for two years next to the Cabinet Wilderness in the early 80's the grizzlies removed from Yellowstone and Glacier NP were released into the Cabinets.] Careful food preparation and storage prevented all problems or maybe I was just lucky.
That was my first mtn bike single track touring experience and I was hooked.
I'm planning one this spring in Arkansas on the Womble and Ouachita trails. We are going do this as a warm up for the trip we have planned this summer (www.sanjuanhuts.com)
Some of the equipment we are using:
www.oldmanmountain.com/rear_rack_page.htm (rear supension and disc brake compatible)
www.hennessyhammock.com (Explorer Deluxe A-SYM)
www.paulcomp.com (Thumbies shifters mounts)