Bikepacking offers a wealth of new possibilities, especially to athletic cyclists who love to ride fast. In any case, touring without racks brings a sense of adventure. The ease with which a rackless bike can move across terrain, the high speed that becomes possible on asphalt – all of that expands your radius and inspires flights of fancy. Paths that are unrideable with tour baggage are suddenly manageable; destinations that were unreachable with loads now become within reach. Done with different types of bikes, from gravel racers to mountain bikes, up to racing bikes or fat bikes, bikepacking ensures very different touring experiences. More on this here.
The most well-known form of bikepacking is the micro-adventure, also called an “overnighter” in its shortest form as a one-night excursion. Of course, there are also bikepackers who start off on extended tours, usually along rough hiking trails, and there are a multitude of bikepacking races in the most athletic form.
The British adventurer and author Alastair Humphreys has popularized the term “micro-adventure”: a short outdoor adventure for which you neither have to be a survival expert nor a sports pro and which anyone can do in their day-to-day life. The micro-adventure is currently the most popular form of bikepacking – comparable with a classic short trip, for example, a weekend trip to the city. A brief escape from day-to-day life, without much preparation, extensive specialist knowledge, or incalculable risks. Simply plunge into an area, a region, or a mountain for the night. Some bikepackers start off after work, ride over forest trails to a wind shelter hut, spend the night there at a campfire, and then pedal back to work the next morning. Shower facilities provided by bicycle-friendly employers are a real bonus for such adventures.
Bikepacking as a travel style is ideal for trips on hiking routes or very poor roads. The lower load volume of the bags forces you to limit your baggage, so that you ride lighter and thus usually faster as well. This is also attractive for racing cyclists who want to ride without racks or trailers.
Bikepacking trips are thus usually spartan in equipment, sporty in riding style, and blessed with abundant enjoyment of nature and a high adventure factor. The small amount of baggage also makes it easier to arrive by train, airplane, or car.
Those who store a bivouac set in their bikepacking bags can travel very flexibly and adjust their route or daily destinations more spontaneously than cyclists with reserved accommodations. In the morning, bikepackers often do not know where they will roll out their sleeping bag in the evening.
A self-support race is a race with only a minimal structure. Generally, there is only a defined route and a kind of “gentleman’s agreement” or a codex that specifies the rules (for example: http://www.navad1000.ch/Infos/Reglement). It focuses on the idea of self-sufficiency, according to which riders are supposed to manage without outside help. Only commercial offers equally available to all riders are allowed. Everyone is their own navigator, doctor, cook, guide, and mechanic. These formats have created modern bikepacking.
Here is a selection:
Cloudride (MTB, 1.000 km) http://www.cloudride1000.com
Bikepacking Trans Germany (MTB, 1.650 km) http://btg.voidpointer.de/de/index.html
Cherusker 500 (MTB, 500 km) http://www.mtb-news.de/forum/t/cherusker-500-bikepacking-challenge-in-ostwestfalen.740896/
Grenzsteinstrophy (MTB, 1.250 km) http://overnighter.de/gst/
Candy B. Graveller (Gravel. 550 km) http://www.candybgraveller.cc/
Transcontinental (Racing bike, ca. 4.000 km, own route selection) http://www.transcontinental.cc
Torino-Nice-Rally (Gravel, 700 km) http://torino-nice.weebly.com/home.html
Rovaniemi 300 (Fatbike, 300 km) http://www.rovaniemi150.com/rov300/
Holyland MTB Challenge (MTB, 1.400 km) http://holylandmtbchallenge.com
Italy Divide (MTB, 850 km) http://www.italydivide.it
TuscanyTrail (MTB, 560 km) http://www.tuscanytrail.it/it
The Japanese Odyssey (Racing bike, 2.400 km) http://www.japanese-odyssey.com
Tour Divide (MTB, 4.418 km) http://tourdivide.org
Kiwi Brevet (MTB, 1.100 km) http://kiwibrevet.blogspot.de
Arizona Trail Race (MTB, 1.207 km) http://topofusion.com/azt/race.php
Colorado Trail Race (MTB, 805 km) http://www.climbingdreams.net/ctr/
Gold Rush Gravel Grinder (Gravel, 337 km) http://www.goldrushgravelgrinder.com
Iditarod (Fatbike, 563 & 1.609 km) http://www.iditarodtrailinvitational.com
TransAmBikeRace (Racing bike, 7.082 km) http://transambikerace.com
Trans Iowa (Gravel, 546 km) http://transiowa.blogspot.de
Highland Trail 550 (MTB, 900 km) http://www.highlandtrail.net
The Navad 1000 (MTB, 1.000 km) http://www.navad1000.ch
1000 Miles (MTB, 1.600 km) http://www.1000miles.cz
IncaDivide (Racing bike, 3500 km) http://incadivide.com
BikingMan Oman (Gravel, 1000 km) http://bikingman.com/en/bikingman-oman/