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Bikepacking. Like cycle touring off road.


The new sled, ready to go. The new sled, ready to go.

We have had a go at most kinds of bike related activity. Road racing, track racing, touring, commuting, mountain biking, speedway, downhill when it was not so specialized, a brief flirtation with a BMX, enduro and once, bicycle hockey. Not Cyclocross, obviously, because that might involve running. But everything else has been sampled and in some cases investigated thoroughly (including x-rays).

Just when we thought we had pretty much tried everything, along comes Brevet. Or bikepacking, in a semi-organised event format. Bikepacking is just like the touring we have done, which involved a bit of bushwhacking. Brevet takes a bikepacking adventure, adds a pre-determined route, and a couple of rules. But as there is no winner the rules are really only there for the entrant’s own amusement.

On the various tours we have done I have imagined riding the length of New Zealand someday. I have never got around to doing it. Then the Kennett Bros announced the Tour AotearoaBrevet, and the die was cast. I put my name down for it, like a couple of hundred others, and started to figure out what will be required besides a lot more fitness than I usually have.

A bike, for a start. Needs to easily fixable, by me, in the middle of nowhere. That rules out shocks and hydraulics. Needs to be able to cart enough stuff to sustain life for several days, and be my home for a month, all going well. That means it needs to be strong, and comfortable. The Tour involves trail riding for roughly a third of its 3000km length, so it needs to be a mountain bike with a wide range of gears. With these factors rattling around in my mind, I realise I have already ridden the bike I need for the project: a Surly Krampus. Simple, made of steel, with trail riding geometry, and huge low-pressure tyres that will roll over anything.

Having procured one, and taken it for a good long lap of the local forest, I went online to make sure others agreed with my choice. The internet is great like that: you can always find a dozen points of view that support whatever you already think, and disregard the rest.

The first research session led me to a trove of info that also had another subject covered really well: what to eat. I am usually thinking about what I will eat, unless I am actually already eating something. These people’s views on what to eat on a bikepacking tour range from high science to food that is just this side of road kill. It is very informative, but the best bit was finding the guy who held the middle ground on cuisine was wearing Nzo Dobies in his trailside photo! I left a comment, he replied.

Very happy to find that not only do I have the right bike, and a wide selection of things to eat, I already have the correct shorts for the job too.

How all this turns out will not be revealed until 2016.




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