Mountain Bike Camping Series: Getting Started - Panergy

by Regina Wu
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Mountain Bike Camping Series: Getting Started - Panergy
Looking to try something new for your next camping trip? It's simple?ditch the car, and hop on your bicycle! Camping by bike is fun, environmentally friendly, and a guaranteed adventure. These tips will help you saddle up and roll out.
Mountain Bike Camping
1. Choose the right bike for your adventure. Having the right bike can make all the difference between a stellar weekend and a camping disaster. You want a bike that's light and maneuverable enough to make riding fun, but sturdy enough to handle the terrain you'll be traveling. Will you be traveling along roads and setting up camp nearby? Or will you be riding through the rugged wilderness and camping under the stars? There are different kinds of bikes designed for each of these situations (in this case, a touring/hybrid bike and a mountain bike, respectively). If you need some guidance, stop by your local bike shop. The employees there can point you to a great bike for your adventure, or recommend how to set up your existing bike best. And remember?that department store special is cheap for a reason. Lower-quality components and bike parts will make it heavier and less durable than anything you'll find in a bike shop.
2. Pack wisely. Traveling by bike requires a tricky balance?you need enough food and supplies to survive comfortably throughout the trip, but your bike still needs to be nimble enough to pedal between destinations. The best way to figure it out is to do a dry run. Decide which items you'd like to bring, and pack ?em up in your Bike Panniers. Go for a ride, and scale back based on how you feel afterward. Of course, some items are non-negotiable (food, tent, clothing, etc.), but you can find creative ways to pack them (for example, iodine tablets are a lot lighter than gallons of water). Remember?you'll only get more worn down throughout the course of your trip, so go lighter than you think you may need.
3. Plan ahead. Doing your research ahead of time can save you plenty of grief on the open road. Plan for the weather and terrain where you'll be headed. It's especially important on the bike, since you won't be able to retreat to the comfort of your car. Find out if the area you're visiting has unusual features?for example, bird-sized mosquitoes by some wetlands, tire-piercing thorns in desert areas, or relentless, burning sun in low-shade areas. Pack accordingly.
4. Get to know your bike. Truly, there's nothing worse than having a flat tire on a desolate country road and no idea how to fix it. While some states do offer AAA-type repair service for cyclists (here's lookin? at you, Washington) you can't rely on a friendly stranger to save the day. See if your local bike shop offers repair classes. You'll learn enough to keep you rolling through flat tires, broken derailleurs, and busted spokes. You can also find good reads on repair at your local bookstore. Make sure to spend plenty of time with your bike, too?there's no teacher as great as experience.
5. Relax. While traveling by bike can seem intimidating at first, don't let that scare you away! There's nothing quite as liberating as rolling out of your driveway with everything you need for a long weekend. So pack up, cruise out, and enjoy the adventure!
by Regina Wu


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