An essential guide to bikepacking
The real goal of cycling is to lose yourself and ride uninhibited out on the great tracks and roads of New Zealand. Taking everything into account, bikepacking is the ultimate version of freedom riding. It often involves long distances travelled on secluded trails and carrying everything you need with you from start to finish. Below we’ll point out some of the essential need-to-know points and how to head off on your first bikepacking adventure.
Let’s start with your machine. You should look to find a balance between comfort and performance depending on the terrain you’ll be hitting. As enticing as it is to just set out on a ride and not know where you’ll end up, bikepacking requires some planning. Trails are often rated by grades, with 1 being very easy going and 5 being the most challenging. In our experience, 1-3 can be done on a gravel or CX bike and 3-5 requires a MTB (grade 3 depends on your bike handling skills). Also, pay close attention to your tyres. Choose some good quality tyres that are puncture resistant and in fitting with your riding. Do you need gravel tyres or mud tyres? The rule of thumb is the wider the tyre, the more comfortable it is. But too wide and it can slow you down due to resistance.
Now you’ve chosen which bike to use, a bike fitting service could provide you with ultimate comfort whilst focussing on your power output to squeeze the most out of your legs. Sure, bike fittings can be costly - but if you’re going to be bikepacking it can be a worthwhile price to pay rather than regretting it with several days of back pain and hard riding.
For the peace of mind you don’t have any mechanical problems before embarking into the unknown, we offer multiple servicing options to ensure your bike is in perfect working condition. Get in touch with us today to book your bike for an overdue service.
Two words: travel light. Getting rid of anything you don’t absolutely need is the key. The essentials include; food, water, 1 set of clothes and a bikepacking repair kit which you can find out more about here. Strictly, bikepacking means carrying camping gear to sleep in the great outdoors - but most of New Zealand’s great trails offer places to stay along the way in bed and breakfasts who make a living off the cycling community.
Panniers are big and bulky and weigh a lot. If you can stick to frame bags you’ll be better off. We’d suggest handlebar bags distribute weight better than saddle bags, but in reality, you’ll probably need multiple. Handlebar, top tube/frame and saddle bags are 3 popular options. A lot of riders don’t enjoy riding with a backpack but they often fit a lot more gear than the alternatives.
Now you’re prepared for your first or fifth bikepacking excursion, you can head out knowing your preparation is perfect. For any more advice, head to one of our stores and our staff would be happy to chat.