The Pedalshift Project 231: Exploring Bikepacking in 2021

I’ll admit, I’ve been bikepacking curious for awhile. As my touring continues to expand and evolve I’m thinking more about bikepacking options for 2021 and I thought I’d share the process on the pod. Join me, won’t you?

The Pedalshift Project 231: Exploring Bikepacking in 2021

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Photo: ECR by Surly.

Exploring bikepacking options

  • Evolving gear – what is touring and what is bikepacking? Does it matter?
  • Expanding gear to suit tours best
  • Slimmer profile
  • Less gear for low or no camping touring
  • More trails and gravel (hi WV!)
Option 1 – modify what I have
  • fork cages + dry bags (10L x2) = 1 ortlieb
    • EXCEPT… new fork doesn’t have brazons
  • handlebar roll
    • EXCEPT current brake cables block ability to tighten
  • dry bag on rear rack or saddle bag
    • This is currently doable
  • Saddle bag?
    • With a rear rack this doesn’t do much.
Option 2 – Reduce gear in and get into 2-3 dry bags?
  • Ding ding. An option I’ve done before.
  • Particularly easy for no-camping trips.
  • For camping: Hammock? Bivvy or smaller tent?
Option 3 – New bike?
  • Probably where I’m heading. Surly ECR looks amazing.
  • COVID continues to limit availability, and also Surly has slimmed down its bikepacking line (pour one out for the Ogre, not to mention the non-disc LHT!)
  • Then add bikepacking bags.
  • Build: go all out or frugally? I think my next bike might be more the former, but it really depends. This option gets very expensive, very quickly.
Where do I land?
  • I’ve been threatening a new bike for a while, but it’s a big outlay.
  • I would need to justify its purchase by actually using it, or I’ll feel dumb/wasteful.
  • Biggest thing working against this is the substantial overlap between my Safari and the ECR. When I ride one and could use the other, I’ll be thinking of waste.
  • My spring tour is almost certainly on the Safari, it’s just a question of where…  probably close to home again because it seems prudent to wait on the vaccination and summer for a longer ride
  • Much more to think about!

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You’ve been hearing about Jason Kent and his music for many fine episodes. Sunfields has a new album in 2021, AND Jason has a new solo album in 2021, AND his first solo album is now streaming on Spotify, including America, the Pedalshift theme. Go listen!

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