The Basic Bitch Guide to Off-Road Bike Touring
Some basics to help you feel relaxed while experiencing the deeper portions of the wilderness. Not just the mechanics of riding in the high country but also the deeper enjoyment of peace of mind.
Enjoy the entirety, not just the downhills. You might not be able to control your mental strength at all times, but you can control your equipment.
1 - Give your bike a once over before the ride
Make sure bolts are tightened, the chain is lubed, brake pads have some life left, and your gears smooth. If nothing else, pick your bike up and bounce it a few times to listen for anything loose.
2 - Communication and mapping
If you are riding with people, likely there are one or two that aren’t completely over the route - choosing to follow the leaders. That is their choice, but something as silly as a wrong turn or someone being dropped can turn into a drama. Sharing the route, looking at maps together, to help everyone have a sense of independence and trust that people know where they are going. Peace of mind.
Or stay within eyesight of each other even if you are arguing.
3 - Don’t make a puncture be the reason your ride ends
It’s sensible to carry a spare inner tube for every ride, but when you’re heading out a bit further, and you have the room, probably opt for two or more, whether you're running tubeless or not. Co2 canisters are great but a small pump is a friend when you are having one of those 5 puncture days.
4 - Share your plans
You can go as hard as a beacon, that you can press in an emergency. You can lodge your trip with NSW parks, or ‘share your location’ if you have a GPS computer. But something simple is just giving the information to your friends or family - where you expect to be and when. You don’t want to find yourself after 127 hours cutting off your arm because you didn’t tell anyone where you were going.
5 - Food
Depending on your style of riding, your distance goals, or your chill vibes - how and what is eaten is personal. It’s nice to have an excess of food. Some hidden, some easy to access. Different locations and different types. It’s fun to remember the chocolate in the hidden pockets at the end of the day.
Wraps, burritos, dried fruits and nuts, bars, dips, sugar, carbs, protein. You know what is best and make it plentiful.
6 - Staying hydrated
If you want to excel at one thing on your tour/ride. Make it drinking water. Carrying more water than you need is good touring practice. Avoid bad decision making, poor cycling performance, bad moods, overeating, and give yourself the best chance of sleeping well. The possibility of being a camp hero is high as well. There is always someone who runs out of water.
Drink as much water as you can. Put in electrolytes or cordial to level it up.
Having purifying options like UV pens, filters or tablets is a very good idea. Very, very good.
7 - The weather
Of course. Check the weather for anything wild that is coming your way. But beyond, a rain jacket and sunscreen and some warm layers you should have anyway. Let yourself be immersed in the changing world. Dissecting the weather is a bad thing - it can modify your plans when it needn't to.
If you get cold, find shelter, if you are hot, find shelter.