Once you have the basic route in mind, you’ll need to plan the logistics of the journey. Loop routes will reduce logistical challenges, while routes with the same starting and ending point will be easier to plan. The staging spot should also be safe and well-thought-out. For a bikepacking trip, this means making provisions for long stretches of biking. You’ll want to pack a few things that you can eat and drink while you’re riding, and remember to refuel with water and food along the way.
Finding bike-friendly streets on Google Maps
In cities and towns with large numbers of cyclists, finding bike-friendly streets can help you plan a safe and enjoyable bike trip. Using Google Maps is one of the best ways to find bike-friendly streets and paths. Depending on the city, bike-friendly streets may be divided or separated from other roads, which makes it easy to identify them. Often, they are designated as pedestrian streets, so you can easily distinguish them from car-oriented roads.
To find bike-friendly streets, you can use Google Maps’ bike-friendly layer. This layer shows bike-friendly streets and paths on your map, and gives you the option to turn on “bicycling” to see which streets are bike-friendly. In addition, satellite images are helpful in providing context beyond green lines. Bike-friendly streets and paths are marked in light and dark green on the maps, making them easier to find and navigate.
Packing for long stretches of time
When you’re going on a bike trip, packing for long periods of time requires a special set of gear. Some people prefer to pair down for just two nights and just pack a few essentials. That said, the amount of gear you need for two nights is the same as for seven nights, and you’ll still need a tent, a stove, a sleeping bag, and warm clothes. Then there’s the food.
Make sure to pack light and take into account the amount of dead space you’ll be using in your luggage. Remember that packing light can be challenging, but if you plan your trip properly, you can minimize dead space and keep your items organized. Packing light is easier than you think, and you should try to pack clothing that dries quickly. Synthetic fabrics are breathable and quick to dry, and they’re the easiest to pack. Avoid cotton, as it’s the worst fabric to ride in.
Refueling with water and food on a bikepacking trip
There are some common bikepacking foods you might find useful, but it’s also important to remember that you can’t rely solely on junk food. Even if you’ve never bikepacked before, you’ll still need to refuel on occasion. Even though you can buy some MREs and dehydrated meals at outdoor stores, if you’re going on a long trip, you’ll need to find ways to refuel at each rest stop.
In areas with water, you can plan for regular water stops. One of the best times to refill is at lunchtime. For lunch, you can pack a jar of peanut butter or a handful of almonds. Store these items separately and quickly assemble them for lunch. Having a sandwich on hand is also an important bikepacking strategy. It’s also a good idea to plan ahead and prepare meals based on the time of day and the type of terrain you’ll be riding through.
Considering bus options
You might be thinking about planning a bike trip in a country with a long commute, but how do you make it work with public transportation? You may be surprised to learn that buses are a great option if you’re on a tight budget. Some buses are even equipped with racks for bikes, while others simply toss them in a luggage compartment under the seat. Buses reach virtually every corner of backcountry regions in Asia and Latin America, making them a great option for those traveling for long distances.