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Still not getting the bikepacking thing

Old 01-26-20, 12:13 AM
  #1  
MarcusT
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Still not getting the bikepacking thing

I can guess there is probably nothing written in stone regarding the difference between bikepacking and bike touring.
The biggest difference I see, is that bikepacking does not use racks or panniers. Everything is stuffed into saddle, frame, handlebar bags, and maybe a backpack.
I ask this because there are numerous Youtube videos where they title them 'bikepacking', but they're using racks and panniers.
Is it just to get more hits?
No big deal, just trying to figure it out, especially when one member here wanted to eliminate the 'Touring' forum and replace it with a 'Bikepacking' forum.
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Old 01-26-20, 12:52 AM
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Go ride some rutted single/double track with random Flora intruding on your path use low rider racks and panniers. Report back mkay?


Note: Desert shrubbery is not forgiving.
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Old 01-26-20, 01:15 AM
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Originally Posted by escii_35 View Post
Go ride some rutted single/double track with random Flora intruding on your path use low rider racks and panniers. Report back mkay?


Note: Desert shrubbery is not forgiving.
Not sure what that has to do with my question.
I have bikepacked overnight, up a mountain trail with 800 m climb
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Old 01-26-20, 01:56 AM
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I don't think the definitions matter because it's not a competition but I tend to think of bike packing as something similar to hiking, on more remote or rugged trails and such, not whether one uses certain specific bags or not. Touring tends to conjure a more here to there trip that involves using a bicycle as the mode of transportation. One can see how they might overlap but also what the differences are. If you go where cars also go (or similar rail trails and bike paths) you are probably touring. If you are riding where they can't or might need 4 wheel drive, you are probably bike packing.

Bike packing: sounds a lot like backpacking.. mainly because it is.
Touring the country you say? By bus train, car or bicycle...

Last summer I toured the Gulf Islands and did a little bike packing while I was there.








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Old 01-26-20, 02:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
I don't think the definitions matter because it's not a competition but I tend to think of bike packing as something similar to hiking, on more remote or rugged trails and such, not whether one uses certain specific bags or not. Touring tends to conjure a more here to there trip that involves using a bicycle as the mode of transportation. One can see how they might overlap but also what the differences are. If you go where cars also go (or similar rail trails and bike paths) you are probably touring. If you are riding where they can't or might need 4 wheel drive, you are probably bike packing.

Bike packing: sounds a lot like backpacking.. mainly because it is.
Touring the country you say? By bus train, car or bicycle...

Last summer I toured the Gulf Islands and did a little bike packing while I was there.






I appreciate the reply, but then looking at the photo you have rack and panniers. Why do you call it bikepacking as opposed to bike touring? If it's a fad, then sure. Just like putting knobby tires on a road bike and calling it a gravel bike.
I guess I'm getting too old to keep up. I like to understand things, but people keep on moving the bar.
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Old 01-26-20, 02:42 AM
  #6  
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I said I don't think bikepacking has anything to do with what type of luggage you use. To me it's more the type of terrain encountered and style of riding. If I were to ride the fRech countryside stopping to take pictures of pastoral scenes and old villages, I would think of myself as touring. If I were riding a rough trail somewhat like mountain biking with some camping gear I would think I were bikepacking (backpacking with a bike). That's how I see it.

Lots of bike packers use traditional Carradice saddle bags for example, the mainstay of Ol' English bicycle touring. If you go to bikepacking.com and look at the bikes you will see mainly seat bags but also some panniers and saddlebags. The people there who define themselves as bikepackers don't seem too concerned about how they stow the gear. It's about where and how they ride.

https://bikepacking.com/bikes/tour-divide-rigs-2019/

https://bikepacking.com/bikes/matts-crust-nor-easter/

https://bikepacking.com/bikes/bespok...james-designs/

https://bikepacking.com/plog/huberts...dream-machine/

https://bikepacking.com/bikes/fatback-corvus-review/

https://bikepacking.com/bikes/brett-...sa-blackborow/


Sometimes the definitions help or make sense. If you put wider knobby tires and tweaked the gearing to suit the terrain on a 700c bike and called it a road bike people would constantly be telling you it was set up wrong and inefficient. If you call it your gravel bike those same people would not think twice about what you've done.

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Old 01-26-20, 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT View Post
I appreciate the reply, but then looking at the photo you have rack and panniers. Why do you call it bikepacking as opposed to bike touring? If it's a fad, then sure. Just like putting knobby tires on a road bike and calling it a gravel bike.
I guess I'm getting too old to keep up. I like to understand things, but people keep on moving the bar.
don't worry about it. there is no defined definition. it's whatever the user wants it to mean.

for example, consider "bike touring." everybody has their own idea what that is, only gets to be a problem when someone says "that ain't bike touring and you can't post here."

for another example, what the heck is a bicycle? review some old threads concerning trikes and recumbents. and whatever you do, don't mention battery-assist!!!


and don't get me started on "gravel bikes"!
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Old 01-26-20, 08:01 AM
  #8  
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There is no formally accepted definition of bike packing. But, I think we can all agree that bike packing equipment includes things that do not use racks, such as:
- frame bag,
- saddle bag that is oriented fore and aft (I specify fore and aft orientation to differentiate from old style saddle bags like Carradice still makes),
- drybag or stuff sack that is below the handlebar and in front of the head tube,
- optional backpack or fanny pack,
- optional use of large cages like Salsa Anythng or Blackburn Outpost Cage which generally are not called racks, they can be used to hold drybags or stuff sacks, or really big water bottles.

I consider someone to be bikepacking if they are using any of the above to carry multi-day trip equipment and supplies that includes camping gear, but not using racks. In my opinion, no camping gear means you are credit card touring, regardless of equipment used.

Some people go a step further and say that you are bikepacking only if you used a mountain bike or fat bike. I would consider bikepacking gear on a road bike or gravel bike to be bike packing too. Even a road bike trip that is all on pavement, I would consider that bike packing if no racks were used to hold the camping gear.

Some people would say they are bikepacking if they are mixing bike packing gear with panniers.

I really do not care what other people call bikepacking, if I disagree with someone I will silently disagree so that they do not try to convince me that I am wrong.
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Old 01-26-20, 09:25 AM
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A bit of jabberwocky, as it does tend to mean what one says it means. For me?: It's getting there, on bike, and cowboy/hammock/tenting... especially stealth camping. The only Q from me is, "to what degree are you bikecamping?"

edit: Hmmmmm, I see that I have inserted bikecamping for bikepacking....
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Old 01-26-20, 09:27 AM
  #10  
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When people first started using bicycles for touring there were no racks or panniers available thus the original form of bicycle touring was with gear strapped/tied to the bicycle = what today is called "Bike Packing". Everything old is new again. LOL VBEG

Cheers
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Old 01-26-20, 10:32 AM
  #11  
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Bikepackers are a subset of bicycle tourists. Generally bikepacking is off-road or dirt focussed. I believe since lighter weight equipment is a bigger deal over rougher terrain, frame bags and seatpost racks are more practical and common, and racks and panniers are less favoured.
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Old 01-26-20, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT View Post
I can guess there is probably nothing written in stone regarding the difference between bikepacking and bike touring.
The biggest difference I see, is that bikepacking does not use racks or panniers. Everything is stuffed into saddle, frame, handlebar bags, and maybe a backpack.
I ask this because there are numerous Youtube videos where they title them 'bikepacking', but they're using racks and panniers.
Is it just to get more hits?
No big deal, just trying to figure it out, especially when one member here wanted to eliminate the 'Touring' forum and replace it with a 'Bikepacking' forum.
When “bikepacking” started (about 2009 when Revelate Design started making bags), there was a definite difference between bike touring and bikepacking. The main difference was the kind of riding being done and the way equipment was carried. Even before Revelate started making bags, “bikepacking” was a thing but it involved trailers and/or high mounted panniers which aren’t really the best way of doing bikepacking. Revelate has a nice history of the company that is also a good bikepacking history. I have toured with both panniers

Rollins Pass, 8/10/85 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

and trailers

DSCN0027 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

Both have major drawbacks. Panniers are too wide as noted above and a trailer isn’t much narrower. Trailers have the added problems of more weight and they severely impact the control of the bike. On steep downhills the trailer pushes the rear of the bike up while braking. The bike is already prone to lifting the rear wheel and the trailer just makes it worse. The trailer trip...North Rim of the Grand Canyon...was what convinced me to go to bikepacking bags and I purchased my Revelate bags in 2010 or 2011.

Personally, I use “bikepacking” gear for rugged off-pavement touring, usually of fairly short duration and fairly remote. I wouldn’t use it for extended trips. Part of the reason is the bikes I use it on which are either hardtail or soft tail mountain bikes

2020-01-26 16:51:13 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

complete with knobbed tires. I can ride knobs on pavement without too many issues but I’d rather use them where they were designed to be used. That bike has a rack but the “panniers” are small and are really just pockets meant to be used on the outside of a handlebar bag. The bike also just happens to have a rack for other uses and I’ve used it in the past without any other bag

DSCN1197 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

The small panniers (about 10 l of space) allows me to carry more barely edible freeze dried food so that I can go for more days...5 to 6 instead of 3 to 4.

Now, however, people are using the term “bikepacking” to mean bike touring of all stripes. I’d rather that they didn’t but I doubt what I think will have any bearing on the issue.
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Old 01-26-20, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
When “bikepacking” started (about 2009 when Revelate Design started making bags), there was a definite difference between bike touring and bikepacking. The main difference was the kind of riding being done and the way equipment was carried. Even before Revelate started making bags, “bikepacking” was a thing but it involved trailers and/or high mounted panniers which aren’t really the best way of doing bikepacking. Revelate has a nice history of the company that is also a good bikepacking history. I have toured with both panniers

Now, however, people are using the term “bikepacking” to mean bike touring of all stripes. I’d rather that they didn’t but I doubt what I think will have any bearing on the issue.
My thinking as well. I guess people call it bikepacking because it's the latest hot tag.
Bike touring has an age label associated to it, so to be hip; bikepacking it is.
All good, as long as I keep riding with/without panniers, camping/credit card, overnight/week/month long.
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Old 01-26-20, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by escii_35 View Post
Go ride some rutted single/double track with random Flora intruding on your path use low rider racks and panniers. Report back mkay?


Note: Desert shrubbery is not forgiving.
I did this about 10 months ago (just panniers, thankfully no low-riders). It gets especially dicey when one side of the trail is a 1000ft+ dropoff.
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Old 01-26-20, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT View Post
My thinking as well. I guess people call it bikepacking because it's the latest hot tag.
Bike touring has an age label associated to it, so to be hip; bikepacking it is.
All good, as long as I keep riding with/without panniers, camping/credit card, overnight/week/month long.
Ah, well, I guess I'll never get to be one of the cool hepcat kids . . . I am very short, so my bikes are tiny -- no way I can use those frame packs and seatpost packs, etc.
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Old 01-26-20, 12:23 PM
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I think bikepacking is a subset of bike touring that uses a mountain bike, no rack/panniers to carry a small volume of gear and supplies, and is primarily off-road. I typically use a mix of rack and panniers and bikepacking gear, and ride portions off-road, on a mountain bike geometry frame, hardtail/rigid fork, and consider what I’m doing bike touring.
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Old 01-26-20, 01:00 PM
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I think there may be some who use labels to be hip and others who slam labels for their own sense of identification. As I noted earlier, the actual people who promote bikepacking don't seem too hung up on the equipment used. They are more about getting out in the fresh air on their bikes.

While seat bags may be popular ATM for bike packing They do come with a few downsides that I don't like. They tend to pack less volume or sway when over loaded, and a failure means the bag hangs down onto the rear tire. There are work arounds and better designs for that though. Portland design has a nice rack that hangs under the seat bag to stabilize the sway and support the load.

https://ridepdw.com/collections/carg...t=24752815873#

What isn't always noted is that a lot of the minimalist frame attached systems shown are used in warmer, dryer locations where you can get away with less gear. I have a seat bag for simple overnight s24o's but realistically, up in Canada during shoulder seasons, you can't pack the warmer clothing, thicker sleeping bag, shelter, food, stove and rain gear needed in a simple seatbag system. Some bikepackers work around this by having a lot of small bags or gear hanging off their bikes but I find that somewhat klutzy and prone to getting hung up or dropped. I prefer a pannier system on the rear. I use smaller front panniers and they don't stick out that far (less than my pedals and legs).

One way I might look between the two terms is to consider what bike I will use. I have two main touring bikes now:





They both use the same bags more or less which I add or subtract depending on what I'm doing. I intended that so I could, over time, invest in good quality gear and wouldn't need to buy two sets of everything. It has worked out great. The difference then is really the terrain the two are meant for.

If I can do my trip using the 700c 32mm slick Gatorskins I tend to think of it as a tour. A short tour, a longer tour , a fast tour, a hub and spoke tour. I wouldn't ride the Columbia Icefield Parkway and say I'm bike packing.

If I am going where conditions make that bike impractical, usually rough logging roads or singletrack trails, I might say I went bike packing. I wouldn't tend to say I toured up and over a mountain pass or through a more remote wilderness area.

The descriptors are not so much about what bag I have on my bike but what bike I might use or how rugged the riding was.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 01-26-20 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 01-26-20, 01:10 PM
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The only real difference that I understood was the means of carrying stuff. A bike touring setup involves racks, panniers and the ability to haul as much crap as you want. Bikepacking, like backpacking wants to focus on the bare essentials to get by in reasonable comfort with as little extra weight as possible. Hence the seat bag, frame bag and handlebar bag while avoiding racks and panniers which can hold significantly more; allowing for faster speeds, more mobility and easier travel to more remote destinations. I don't think even the style of bike matters as a good number of them seem to be gravel bikes, ex-cross bikes and old school rigid mtb. I'm hoping as the kids grow and they can start hauling their own stuff we can move closer to a bike packing setup and ditch the excess racks and bags.
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Old 01-26-20, 01:19 PM
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Years ago, Roman Dial, in describing a bicycle trip in Alaska, commented that he started using the term "environmental impact" to refer to the impact on the traveler. That might be the situation for bikepacking
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Old 01-26-20, 01:20 PM
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I guess the problem I see with that equipment based thinking is: If I hang a seat bag off this I'm bike packing? If I add a pannier I'm touring? Same bike, same rider, same trail.
At some point one can see how inadequate that sort of labeling is. It doesn't in anyway describe what the person is actually doing or where they are going. It just describes a bag.



If we define bikepacking solely by the gear being used how can someone say they "tour" using bikepacking gear. Wouldn't they, by default, be bike packing and not touring?

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Old 01-26-20, 01:37 PM
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OMG, so there's an overnight ride I do every year that includes some road, some off-road and ALWAYS involves my rack and panniers. Am I touring or backpacking??? I need to know, otherwise, I can't, in good conscience, continue to enjoy this ride.

To the best of my knowledge, "bikepacking" is bike touring off-road, where cumbersome panniers can get stuck in bushes and are generally a hindrance to good balance on rutty trails. It sounds like fun, but I'm not planing on trying it any time soon. If a non-cyclist goes out of his or her way to make conversation with me by asking "So, I hear you're a BIKEPACKER?" I'm not going to correct him or her. Sure, you want to call it "bikepacking" for convenience or to sound like you know the lingo? Not a problem. It's all just a lot more fun than sitting in front of a computer or taking a drive somewhere.
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Old 01-26-20, 02:53 PM
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Bikepacking is for hipsters and touring is for Freds.

Seriously I was riding off road on the North Yorkshire Moors on a Claud Butler with a Carradice saddlebag with a tent strapped to the top back in the 1970s, and me and my mates called it touring. The name is irrelevant just get out on a bike.
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Old 01-26-20, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
I guess the problem I see with that equipment based thinking is: If I hang a seat bag off this I'm bike packing? If I add a pannier I'm touring? Same bike, same rider, same trail.
At some point one can see how inadequate that sort of labeling is. It doesn't in anyway describe what the person is actually doing or where they are going. It just describes a bag.
...
If we define bikepacking solely by the gear being used how can someone say they "tour" using bikepacking gear. Wouldn't they, by default, be bike packing and not touring?
If you had fun, that is all that matters.

***

I consider these photos to show bike packing, some of you might say because they were using road bikes on pavement that it was not bikepacking, that is your call. But I think all of us have better things to do that to argue about that.

I met this couple at a campground on the northern coast of Iceland. Each checked their bikes as their one free checked bag on Delta (international at that time had one free checked bag for international travel) without paying oversize fees (Ritchey Breakaway system is a coupled frame), the rest of their gear was compact enough that they carried it onto the plane as carry on without paying for an additional checked bag. He lost his second water bottle, was looking for a store to buy one at.



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Old 01-26-20, 03:39 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
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While seat bags may be popular ATM for bike packing They do come with a few downsides that I don't like. They tend to pack less volume or sway when over loaded, and a failure means the bag hangs down onto the rear tire. There are work arounds and better designs for that though. Portland design has a nice rack that hangs under the seat bag to stabilize the sway and support the load.

https://ridepdw.com/collections/carg...t=24752815873#
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A friend of mine was looking for ideas to keep a saddle bag off of his rear tire and cut sway. I saw a bike with this do-it-yourself bracket, snapped the photos. I would have done something different than the angle aluminum if I was designing this, but it appears to work for this guy.



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Old 01-26-20, 04:54 PM
  #25  
mev
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Join Date: Dec 2007
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I think this notion of trying to find a black/white on bikepacking (e.g. panniers or no panniers) is a bit silly

I do see bikepacking as having a tendency to have more rugged routes, to have preferences for bags like Revelate has created and can also include single-track trails but doesn't require them.

I also see some blurring as described in some of my own cycling. For example, I started an extended tour in Prudhoe Bay with a bicycle outfitted like this. Somewhat loaded Trek 520 with front/rear panniers, bear canister up front, tent on the rear. I did ride some gravel roads on the Dalton, but I wouldn't think of myself as bikepacking with either that rig or that route.

When I got close to Banff, I swapped over to my mountain bike so I could try some of the Great Divide Mountain bike route. This bike had a rear rack and panniers, but also some revelate bags. The route had a mixture of some trail, some gravel road and some pavement. I saw some riders with similar gear, a mixture of rear panniers and perhaps a front bag or so. I don't have a big issue with seeing them as "bikepackers" or touring with that particular rig.

As it turned out, I found that my natural preferences were more towards the paved routes than as much of the off road and gravel parts. Following the GDMBR is more rugged, less traffic with some spectacular backcountry. However, I liked at least as much making more direct progress, paved roads and going through some of the small towns. I didn't change my rig - though thought of myself as more in level of touring again.

When I got to San Diego, I took short break and used it as a chance to add a front rack/panniers to my setup. So I now had both front/rear panniers as well as some Revelate bags. Thought of myself as more bike touring again after that. More of that was on paved routes, though not always and I was on a few gravel roads in Argentina that were rougher than most of the gravel roads I traveled on the GDMBR. I also went on some smoother paved routes.


I think of most everything I did as part of a longer "bike tour", even some of those pieces I was on the GDMBR with the same rig as some who might be "bikepacking" that same route (i.e. rear panniers + revelate bags on trails or gravel roads). So I don' find it as interesting to parse out the exact separation points...
- was I touring and they bikepacking when both were riding a bike with panniers + frame bags?
- was I touring on paved roads and bikepacking on gravel roads/trails with the same bike/gear?
- did adding front panniers cause it to stop being bikepacking?
That just gets to be a bit silly...and doesn't put the focus on getting out riding and having fun.
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