We Don't Know What We Don't Know

I have a confession to make: I have never been bike packing.

I have done self-supported bike touring many times, and so far as I can tell, the few differences will be that 1) my stuff will be in frame bags instead of of panniers 2) my bike tires will be much wider and 3) we will be riding remote, quiet roads and I will not have to worry about logging trucks zooming by at 60 mph on two-lane highways.

But I could be totally wrong.

Back in February, the team met to plan our trip schedule through the year and decided on May 9-10th for our first trip. Turns out that was a somewhat aggressive schedule to put together a small fleet of custom bicycles. Our first trip is only eight days away and we still have to build our wheels, assemble our bikes, learn how to pack our new bag system. Suffice to say, we haven't had any time to practice packing or test riding. Which if you know me, I’m actually pretty used to. I generally don’t put my bike together until the night before a race because, well, let’s just say I like to live dangerously. Or foolishly, take your pick.

I may not know how all the details will work out, but I'm okay with that. I'll be with my teammates who are all new to bikepacking too, and we trust each other to be there for support and patience and laughter however the next week works out. 

One friend Donnie of Oregon Bikepacking, posted something very apropos yesterday:

I get asked a lot how I come up with new routes. I don’t think the recipe is hard or complicated - spend a few hours staring at maps of the area you want to go, the more different maps the better; find a bunch of interesting things you want to see, be they geologic, historical, cultural, etc.; then find interesting ways to link them all up. For me the key is to do enough research to make sure you’re not trying something impossible or stupid, but not too much so there’s still plenty of discovery en route. It’s time consuming, but fun as hell. And sometimes you’ll fail miserably and the route will totally suck. Whatever, it’s all part of the ridiculously fun game of bikes.
— Donnie Kolb

Read that last line again. Maybe you rush to pack and end up forgetting your sleeping bag or it rains the whole damn time or you go 10 miles down a rough gravel road that ends up being a dead end. Or maybe you discover a secret waterfall or enjoy the scent of wildflowers in the fresh air or strengthen a friendship that lasts a lifetime. However the trip turns out, discover the fun in your experience  - that's what this whole thing is about.

Post by Kristin Valentine.

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