Early in June I got an email from Matt B. He shared a bit about preparing to go bike camping and I encouraged him to share his experience. I documented my own bike camping experience last summer and a summary of my entries follow Matt B.'s pictures and text. Text and pictures down to the tent are credited to Matt B. and my comments follow. Camp on!
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My friend Bill and I did our first touring ride this weekend I wanted to share a few pictures. This trip was practice for an upcoming trip to Glacier National Park. The Going to the Sun road is still covered in snow as of June 4th.
I asked Bill to go camping at park near our house so I could test my packing skills, loaded bike handling, and food preparation. My bike is a cyclocross bike that I am attempting to re-purpose as a touring bike.
Bill is converting his 1990's rigid mountain bike to a touring machine.
It felt really good to leave the house fully loaded for camping, knowing that I was carrying all the stuff I would need including food and cooking supplies.
I met Bill in the middle and we took the long way to the camp ground near our city. We took the long way to determine how we and our bikes would handle the extra weight going up hills and longer distances. The weather was perfect and we had a great ride!
Our bikes handled the increased load well. We biked a little slower than normal but we were both carrying a lot of extra weight and were about as aerodynamic as a bus. I was a bit startled the first time I stood up to pedal, the side to side motion made the bike unstable and hard to control had to sit back down to stabilize the load. Bill tried this and found it surprisingly difficult also.
After we set up camp I made a special trip into town to buy some celebratory beer. I prepared two freeze dried meals for dinner by boiling water with my Jetboil. Some of the food was not bad, one of the packages was not very good, but learning this kind of information was what this trip was all about. I brought a notebook and wrote down a few things that I will need to pack for next time. I will also have front panniers for the trip so I will balance the load out (front and rear) a little better.
We took a longer route on the way home a just beat the rain on Sunday. We rode a total of 43 miles to a camp site is no more than 8 miles from my house just to test our gear. Cal me crazy but I had a really good time doing this.
Matt B., I don't think you are crazy at all. My bike camping experience in the summer of 2010 was ultra cool. Here is a summary of the entries I posted afterward. Hopefully they will provide some inspiration for those out there considering such an adventure. If you have you own bike camping experience or advice, feel free to let us know so we can share with everyone.
Bike Hacks Camping Series from Summer of 2010