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Bike Touring/ bikepacking?

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Bike Touring/ bikepacking?

Old 05-04-21, 12:58 AM
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Nasr313
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Bike Touring/ bikepacking?

I am not really sure what the correct term is but I was wondering if I would be able to go bikepacking with my verve2?I would install racks of course. I don’t plan on going any time soon I would have to build my endurance up but the idea appeals to me. I don’t want to invest on another bike and like the idea that I would be training on the bike that I would make the trip with. I really want to do the trans American bike trail one day. I just can’t believe that people do this. I have a lot of weight to lose almost 60 maybe more but I am hoping that I can do it when I am not carrying that baggage.
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Old 05-04-21, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Yes, absolutely, and it doesn't matter much what you call it.
Well it did at one point but people have bastardized the term to the point of it being meaningless. It also makes it difficult to determine what people what do. People are also doing really stupid things with the bikepacking gear...like carrying way too much stuff way too high...that makes for a very unstable bike. That acceptable for a mountain bike where the need of clearance outweighs the need for stability. But putting a huge load high up on a twitchy road bike that was never meant to carry much more than a rider and a couple of water bottles is just silly.
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Old 05-04-21, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Nasr313 View Post
I am not really sure what the correct term is but I was wondering if I would be able to go bikepacking with my verve2?I would install racks of course. I don’t plan on going any time soon I would have to build my endurance up but the idea appeals to me. I don’t want to invest on another bike and like the idea that I would be training on the bike that I would make the trip with. I really want to do the trans American bike trail one day. I just can’t believe that people do this. I have a lot of weight to lose almost 60 maybe more but I am hoping that I can do it when I am not carrying that baggage.
“Touring” is the term you are looking for. Bikepacking is a subset of touring that (was) meant using a mountain bike to go touring in remote locations on rugged routes. People have taken to calling all bicycle touring “bikepacking”. Misusing the term makes it difficult to determine what you want to do. For your application, “touring” would be the better term.

On the plus side, your Verve seems to be tailor made for touring. It is long...it has 18.5” chainstays...and appears to have a very stable geometry. That’s ideal for using traditional panniers. The flat handlebars are not ideal...too few hand positions...but that can be fixed with either a different bar or with barends. I’d suggest 2 racks (front and rear) and 4 panniers with the front 2 being loaded with about 60% of the weight and carried on a low rider rack. That improves handling although it seems counterintuitive. Your tent and sleeping bag go on the rear rack.

Packing with panniers is relatively straight forward with small dense stuff going in small front bags. Food and camp kitchen are usually the heaviest items you carry but they are also small. Light bulky stuff goes in the rear bags (clothes with ride clothes on one side and other clothes on the other).

Bikepacking’s specialized gear works very well for rough riding as it is attached to the bike a bit better and doesn’t tend to bounce around. They are good bags if you want to ride in rough conditions but less so for smooth road riding. The load is carried higher which makes the bike less stable. The bags are limited in size, shape, and utility. You end up with bizarre packing arrangements where your stove may be in one bag and your fuel may be at the bottom of another one. Items kind of get put where they fit without regard to any kind of organization. I often end up unpacking and repacking bags just to make dinner or breakfast.

The bags are also difficult to deal with if you have to transport the bike or carry it up something. The bags are more difficult to remove (because they are more securely attached) and they are odd shapes which makes carrying them difficult. I like using them for jeep roads, dirt roads, and single track. They work well there. But I only use them for shorter trips as well. I don’t know if I could stand the pounding of an off-road trip for weeks at a time. I can go for weeks with a traditional touring bike with traditional touring gear.

Finally, as to “when”, I would say “now”. Don’t wait until some date in the future or some huge trip or until you’ve lost weight to some level. Even after saying what I said above about gear, don’t wait until you have the perfect setup. The longer you wait, the less likely you’ll ever do it. The most difficult part of any bicycle tour is getting out the front door. Saying “I can’t because...” is the easiest path to take and it only leads to regrets.

Go! Now!
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Gold Fever Three days of dirt in Colorado
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
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Old 05-04-21, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
“Touring” is the term you are looking for. Bikepacking is a subset of touring that (was) meant using a mountain bike to go touring in remote locations on rugged routes. People have taken to calling all bicycle touring “bikepacking”. Misusing the term makes it difficult to determine what you want to do. For your application, “touring” would be the better term.

On the plus side, your Verve seems to be tailor made for touring. It is long...it has 18.5” chainstays...and appears to have a very stable geometry. That’s ideal for using traditional panniers. The flat handlebars are not ideal...too few hand positions...but that can be fixed with either a different bar or with barends. I’d suggest 2 racks (front and rear) and 4 panniers with the front 2 being loaded with about 60% of the weight and carried on a low rider rack. That improves handling although it seems counterintuitive. Your tent and sleeping bag go on the rear rack.

Packing with panniers is relatively straight forward with small dense stuff going in small front bags. Food and camp kitchen are usually the heaviest items you carry but they are also small. Light bulky stuff goes in the rear bags (clothes with ride clothes on one side and other clothes on the other).

Bikepacking’s specialized gear works very well for rough riding as it is attached to the bike a bit better and doesn’t tend to bounce around. They are good bags if you want to ride in rough conditions but less so for smooth road riding. The load is carried higher which makes the bike less stable. The bags are limited in size, shape, and utility. You end up with bizarre packing arrangements where your stove may be in one bag and your fuel may be at the bottom of another one. Items kind of get put where they fit without regard to any kind of organization. I often end up unpacking and repacking bags just to make dinner or breakfast.

The bags are also difficult to deal with if you have to transport the bike or carry it up something. The bags are more difficult to remove (because they are more securely attached) and they are odd shapes which makes carrying them difficult. I like using them for jeep roads, dirt roads, and single track. They work well there. But I only use them for shorter trips as well. I don’t know if I could stand the pounding of an off-road trip for weeks at a time. I can go for weeks with a traditional touring bike with traditional touring gear.

Finally, as to “when”, I would say “now”. Don’t wait until some date in the future or some huge trip or until you’ve lost weight to some level. Even after saying what I said above about gear, don’t wait until you have the perfect setup. The longer you wait, the less likely you’ll ever do it. The most difficult part of any bicycle tour is getting out the front door. Saying “I can’t because...” is the easiest path to take and it only leads to regrets.

Go! Now!
Thank you for all that info. I would love to go but I would need to do a shorter one first and see how well I do. I live in Michigan and was thinking of maybe doing a bike ride to Ohio as I have friends there I can visit. I only put it off because I haven’t rode bikes for that long and I genuinely don’t think I can physically do more then 40 miles a day and even then I would be miserable. I feel like when I can do 40 miles and feel good is when I should go because then I could physically do more and maybe enjoy the adventure more because I wouldn’t be huffing and puffing in pain the whole time. But I really appreciate everyone for the info. I will train for this and gradually increase my miles.
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Old 05-05-21, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Nasr313 View Post
Thank you for all that info. I would love to go but I would need to do a shorter one first and see how well I do. I live in Michigan and was thinking of maybe doing a bike ride to Ohio as I have friends there I can visit. I only put it off because I haven’t rode bikes for that long and I genuinely don’t think I can physically do more then 40 miles a day and even then I would be miserable. I feel like when I can do 40 miles and feel good is when I should go because then I could physically do more and maybe enjoy the adventure more because I wouldn’t be huffing and puffing in pain the whole time. But I really appreciate everyone for the info. I will train for this and gradually increase my miles.
What’s wrong with 40 miles a day? 40 to 50 miles per day is often my daily mileage on tour and I’ve been touring for decades. I have done 80 mile days but I really hate riding that far with a load. 40 miles a day allows for a lot of stopping to “smell the roses”. The whole point of touring isn’t getting from point A to point B as fast as possible. It’s all the things that happen between point A and point B.

I understand that the most frightening part of starting a tour is that first pedal push. I suffer from that problem myself. The first 4 to 7 days of a tour are the days I have doubts. I think about turning around and going home all the time for the first few days. It’s a struggle to keep pushing on. Home is a particularly strong siren song. I spent a particularly cold night (22°F) on the shores of Lake Erie in a 40°F sleeping bag. I was only 40 miles from my truck and it would have be simple to just turn around and drive back home. Thankfully, a bird swooped down and grabbed my keys from off a picnic table and carried them off into the trees. The only way to go was forward at least another 1000 miles to where my wife was going to meet me for a weekend.

And, to be honest, I did eventually abandon the tour. I planned on going completely around Lake Erie (Pokin’ Around the Poconos). At Pittsburgh, I let my doubts get the better of me and I abandoned the trip with about 500 miles to go. I still regret that descision. I had lots of fun on the ride...it was equally as painful...but the tour still feels like a failure.

By all means, train. But don’t let the need for training prevent you from applying that training. A tour is just a bike ride with a little more logistics. I worked in research and development for decades. One of the best bits of advice I ever got was “you can always talk yourself out of an experiment”. I know tons of researchers who have done just that. “It’s too complex”; “It won’t work”; “It’s too simple”; etc. I also know tons of people who would “like to tour” but... As the great Pee Wee Herman said, “Everyone I know has a big but. C'mon, Simone, let's talk about *your* big but.” Most people can’t get past that “big but”. My general answer when I hear that “big but” (implied or stated) is “I’m old and fat, what’s your excuse?”

I haven’t done a century in more than 25 years but I used to use a strategy to get through them. You can ride 10 miles pretty comfortably, right? Break your rides into 10 mile chunks. A 100 mile ride is just ten 10 mile rides. A 40 mile ride is just four 10 mile rides.

Here’s another strategy. Pick a location near you. Something where you know the area. Ride out 40 miles, camp and then get up and ride another 40 miles the next day. Now turn around and ride back home. Same route, two days out, two days back. You’ve just trained for a tour. Do that for a week and you’ve toured 280 miles. Do it for a month and you’ve toured for 1000 miles. Same idea as the century ride, just more days.
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Gold Fever Three days of dirt in Colorado
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
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Old 05-06-21, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Nasr313 View Post
but I am hoping that I can do it when I am not carrying that baggage.
But you will be carrying other baggage. Ask me how I know.


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Old 05-07-21, 02:56 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
But you will be carrying other baggage. Ask me how I know.


😂 as I wrote that I was thinking of the same thing. But let’s just say the baggage will be cut in half. ​​​​​​
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