ANJA from the KAMA.Cycling Team gives tips for bikepacking!
6 experiences from 10 days of bikepacking
Pack light but take the essentials with you!
Basically, I can't pack much when I'm traveling. But only if I am forced to do so, for example because the flight was only booked with hand luggage. When it comes to bikepacking, things get even more minimalistic: a 10-liter "ass rocket" and a small bar bag had to be enough for 10 days "on the road".
So for every piece I wanted to pack, I thought more than three times if it was really necessary. And so should you. Pack pieces that you can use for multiple purposes: Mine KAMA. long sleeve For example, I wore Jersey on my body not only on the descents from the Alpine passes on my bike, but also on the way to dinner after the tours.
What is important from my point of view, however, is to pack enough warm and rainproof clothing as well as safety equipment (rear light, reflective vest, etc.). I also had a second dress with a bib, jersey and long-sleeved jersey. Although I washed the parts several times in the evening (the KAMA. per bib was dry again the next morning after washing in the washing machine), however, the spin cycle is missing for the washing in the sink, which means that the parts take longer to dry and cannot be used again the next day.
It was definitely a game changer for me KAMA.Pouch. The thing fits perfectly in the jersey pocket, can be easily pulled out by the tab and - in my case - there was space in it for my passport, vaccination card, chewing gum, all important cards and cash. And everything stayed completely dry - we had no rain but enough sweat on our tours. Thanks to the strap, the pouch is also a pleasant and practical companion on the way to dinner or to the supermarket - almost like a clutch. just cooler. 😊
You can find a full packing list on mine blog!
Pay attention to a good bib shorts - saddle - buttocks cream match
For me, bikepacking means that you sit on your bike all day, can fully enjoy the area and - in my case - the smartphone is hardly touched at all. However, this assumes that you sit WELL. Because if this is not the case on the first day, the cycle tour will probably end on the second, or at the latest on the third day.
That's why it's important to test the setup of bib shorts and saddle before the trip and adjust it to your own needs. This can not be done overnight!
Most days of this 10-day bikepacking tour (whenever it wasn't stuffed unwashed and smelly in my backloader) was the KAMA. per bib my reliable companion. This is ideal for such long days in the saddle, my butt didn't even complain.
For a long time I also spurned buttock cream or simply didn't need it. But since the BIKE Transalp I know what miracles it can do. I use them both directly on the skin and also distribute them on any pressure points on the seat padding of the bib shorts. However, the same applies here: try it out first!
Plan a rough route
I knew my starting and ending point of the bikepacking tour. And these two points wanted to be connected, which I was able to solve well via Komoot. The tool is particularly useful because you can select "racing bike" and in most cases you won't be surprised by any gravel paths.
Rough planning is important to see whether kilometers and meters of altitude can be covered in the time you have available. In addition, I discovered which highlights can be integrated between the starting and finishing points.
"Roughly" because the respective daily planning then depends on other points such as performance, weather and motivation. I only needed the navigation from time to time. Most of the time we were able to orientate ourselves very well using the road and cycle path signs.
On my Komoot profile you can take a closer look at the route of my 10-day trip. The routes are the actual routes driven - exported from my Strava units.
Be alone, with a partner or girlfriend
Everything is allowed, nothing is mandatory. For example, just because you're traveling alone doesn't mean you're lonely or don't have any friends. I had all three variants on this bikepacking tour and I liked them all. It is important that you feel comfortable the way you are on the road. Because cycling with luggage is exhausting enough.
However, if you are traveling alone, it makes sense to have an emergency contact ready to hand for any helpers. In addition to variants such as cards in the smartphone case or in the KAMA.Pouch and information in the helmet, there are also various suppliers of wristbands on which this data can be engraved (e.g. ROAD iD).
Assess yourself correctly and drive at your own pace!
You probably already know from various trips what your maximum number of kilometers and meters of altitude you can cover in a day. When bikepacking, consider the extra weight and multiple breaks you'll be taking to plan your days.
Of course you can drive to your maximum on a few days, but then you should plan shorter days again. Because the longer you ride in the evening, the shorter the regeneration time before the start of the next bikepacking day.
Don't be tempted to go too fast either. Neither by men on mountain bikes who say to you when overtaking on a mountain pass, “Oh, you must be much faster on your racing bikes” because they think they should be ashamed if a woman with bikepacking stuff overtakes them, nor by yours own ambition to get a QOM.
You are on vacation, need your strength for several days and should really see it as a pleasure bike ride.
Don't forget to take breaks!
"Pleasure bike ride" also means taking breaks. I loved the breaks in front of the supermarkets. Eat whatever you want (after all, you burn enough calories on bikepacking days anyway), sit on the ground in the shade next to your bikes, eat and watch some people along the way.
The daily dinner in the evening was also nice. Because we were in a different place every day, we were also able to try many different places.
Of course it is also possible to schedule a full rest day. For us, this was the day after the Glockner High Alpine Road in Lienz. For once, we treated ourselves to a "better" hotel with a natural pool, bought a book in town (which we read one day and then sent home by post 😊) and just relaxed, slept and eaten all day long. The next day we felt (almost) like new again on our bikes.
I wish you lots of great bikepacking kilometers, experiences and adventures!