Off-road and Online: Bikepacking.net

Jan 26, 2011

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Who makes the smallest pack-size solo tent?

If you're traveling lightweight and only carrying two pairs of shorts maximum, how do you prevent saddle sores?

What's the weather like on the Colorado Trail in August?

If you have a question about mountain bike touring, you're likely to receive an answer from the large community at bikepacking.net. The online forum launched in 2008 under the direction of Scott Morris, an Arizona mountain biker and founder of the mapping software company topofusion.com. Morris formed the site to offer a comprehensive bicycle travel guide with a focus on off-road touring, from singletrack tours to fully loaded dirt road touring (e.g. on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route).

Besides a question and answer forum, the site offers gear reviews, lists of personal bikepacking setups, trip reports and classified ads. For the more competitive side of multi-day mountain biking, the site also includes ultra-racing records, race tracking and discussion. The forum has more than 4,000 members and nearly 15,000 posts on hundreds of topics.

My idea for the site actually came while doing research for my latest trip on the (Continental Divide Trail)," Morris wrote when introducing the new site. "I was digging through Backpacker magazine's site, trying to find GPS data for the trail. I asked myself, why isn't there a bikepacking site?

Morris' passion for multi-day mountain bike touring began long before he formed an online gathering place for the small but dedicated community.

I've been riding mountain bikes since I was 12, more or less daily since 14. As time went on the rides got longer and longer, until I realized the only limitation was a fundamental one: Daylight," Morris wrote. "I had some experience backpacking, including working as a wilderness ranger for the Forest Service. It seemed only natural to try to combine the two.

The site invites members to become contributors, offering an array of entertaining reports and clever suggestions for gear, routes and trailside repairs. If you're interested in taking your bike travel off-road, bikepacking.net is a great resource to start the learning process.

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BIKEPACKER is written by Jill Homer, deputy editor for Adventure Cyclist magazine.

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