(a photo from a bike packing trip to point reyes station. the mural pictured is wyatt hersey)
bikepacking and biketouring - it has to be one of the best ways to travel. like walking, you’re limited by your own body and forced to take in a lot more of your natural surroundings. however, like a car, you can actually get somewhere! but, like running, it is kind of like you’re punishing yourself to do something you don’t have to, but know it will be rewarding when you’re done. yet its also like backpacking, because you can’t bring everything you want and you need to be specific about what is worth hauling to your campsite or destination. and somewhat like sailing, you get to use a machine and physics to help you get from point A to point B much more efficiently than you could otherwise (without using fuel). oh, and yeah, its like bicycling too of course.
over the last decade i’ve only done a handful of trips, all ranging from 50 to 150 miles. none of them are too big, and usually we split things up over multiple days. this cadence allows us to take time to take photos, explore a side trail, hike to the beach, or often, have a midday beer or coffee. usually with a more relaxed pace like this, we also end up getting to where we’re intending to go a bit earlier in the day, so have time to relax and hangout wherever we end up. usually we will do something very casual, like 25-50 miles a day. while if you don’t bicycle, that sounds maybe like a lot, but really, it isn’t so much if you split up your riding throughout the day. we’ve found that pushing too much more than that takes away a lot of the fun, since we like taking breaks, photos, and enjoying the journey more generally.
Randonneuring is long-distance unsupported endurance cycling. This style of riding is non-competitive in nature, and self-sufficiency is paramount. When riders participate in randonneuring events, they are part of a long tradition that goes back to the beginning of the sport of cycling in France and Italy. Friendly camaraderie, not competition, is the hallmark of randonneuring.
randonées are so non-competitive that they often set both minimum and maximum speeds during the event, such that those going to fast have to simply wait at checkpoints to progress. while a traditional randonées are roughly 120 miles, much more than i generally would do in a day, i still feel like the spirit and style are attractive. having completed a single randonée makes you a randonneur… for life. its a lifelong title. how awesome is that?
being in san francisco, naturally most of the rides i’ve taken are starting or ending in san francisco. i’ve started writing down some of the routes as ways of both documenting and planning the trip, but also sharing the route with others who might be interested before we depart:
- sf-sc-sf: a route from SF -> santa cruz -> san jose -> SF
- sf-pr-sf: a route from SF -> point reyes -> SF
recently i came across a really neat site: bestcoastbiking.com. i was really impressed by how detailed their maps were, and they even provide gpx files for putting on your phone or bicycle computer. they also provide lots of tips - like cheap campgrounds to stay, and great places to get coffee or lunch on the trip. i’m really impressed that they’ve put all this online for free, so i want to encourage people to check out (and support) their great work.
bikepacking.com also has a ton of amazing routes added, but a little bit more focused on offroad trails where its borderline mountain biking. they have a good rating system though so you can get a good idea on whether or not the route will work for your setup.
i split this out to its own page on bikepacking-gear.
referenced by: bikepacking-gear