As I was living in America, on the very tip of the edge of cutting off a piece of the newest in new, I checked my feed (images and you-buy-now!s are trickled into my consciousness as often as I want via my pocket computer) and some guy was lamenting the trend of vintage mountain bikes and how they are the new black/fixed gear/fat bike/ bikepacking, and how the new “that crowd” will come into his shop and act entitled, same as the old “that crowd”.
Aside from realizing there was a “new” trend afoot, I was a little surprised bikepacking is the old new black. Already? Dang. I have only just gotten over the smug mash-up label. Call it what you want, call it what you will, it’s just riding bikes. And THAT is a trend that will continue.
One of the finer points of riding bikes as bikepacking is: you can do it. Just, like, right from your door. You can load up some camping-out stuff (whatever you got, it will work) and put it (however you do, it will work) on your bike (whatever you got, it will work) and ride it to someplace neat. Beating the dead horse drum: you don’t NEED special equipment. The most basic of gear will serve. If you want to refine your set-up it will (to a point) improve the handling and shredding, but it’s not critical. And, we most of us don’t get flown in to the drop-zone adventure spot like it’s our job. Or even live close enough to the super sweet goods. But we can eke out some satisfaction with 2 consecutive days off and the will to fight to survive to reach the top. There is some liminal space near you (yes, YOU) that is enough to hold a sleeping bag, a 6pack, and your dreams. Find it and live in it sometimes.
That’s a real world adventure. THE real. The REAL WORLD. And then, when you’re all experienced and kick-ass, and there comes your opportunity to go to Iceland on a space helicopter and ride somebody else’s laser fresh new gear (so fly, it ain’t even touch the ground) like it’s a rental, you will be so ready. You will have stayed ready, so you won’t have to get ready. You feel me? ADVENTURE. You can have it!
Don’t just eat that hamburger, eat the hell out of it.
And but so I had a couple days off in a row of my own. I thought of one plan, but it wouldn’t work. Then I thought of another, but it wouldn’t work. So I thought of another other plan, and it seemed like it would work. That plan was to get on my bike with some camping stuff and ride off into the sunset.
This type of adventure allows for a beer stop once out past the traffic…
..and another when it seems relevant. Riding the road has it’s advantages: getting a ice cold beer, for example.
I mostly want to talk about cooking options here. I’ve been on a few tours with the jet-powered boiler set-ups and I don’t love them. They are quick, but loud as hell and you gotta carry bulky (if not heavy) fuel containers. I’ve used various pocket stoves of the Esbit type, but I don’t love them. They are closer to the ideal, real small and using a starter (fuel tab or such) plus wood…but require a lot of managing, with a constant supply of twigs at hand. I really don’t want to hear about your homemade alcohol stove. You know you never use everclear for fuel, which is the only upside to the damn things- that you might could get loaded on the fuel so it’s a 2fer. But you never do, so knock it off.
I typically (unless I’m really bare bonesing it) use the Kelly Kettle, because it’s so efficient at using twigs, but I’ve noticed 3 downsides to it. 1) it’s fecking BULKY, 2) it’s only great for boiling water, and 3) all a my buddies know I’ll pack it, so they just count on my having it and never tote their own stoves they just “help” me use the boiled water.
And what? With all this stuff it’s kind of sticking you with space food. Heating up some foil packet of something you don’t really like. That’s great if you are grinding out some fortitudinous event-type miles and weight is a real issue, or doing a multi-day thing where space is at a premium. Truly.
I hauled a grill top out so I can stash it, since this is a place I go somewhat regularly. I picked up some firewood on the way, since there isn’t much near camp…
I packed some hobo-type real world ingredients. I don’t give a fuck.And for desert, because I’m an asshole, I grilled a nectarine. It’s LEGIT.
Sleeping out with the stars for a blanket is satisfying. Full belly, sipping whisky, watching the meteors burn…
In the morning, the Kelly Kettle works fast to bring the coffee. But and of course I gotta blow it somehow, so it’s an empty beer can for a bowl. Again.
So much market. #sellyouradventure #etc
In the ever-now, I am feeling good about what’s next because I still have my “vintage” mountain bike, which is the next big thing, and it’s the same as it ever was: rides like a bike.by