A Guide to Crafting Your Perfect Route by Juliet Elliott

By Juliet Elliott

Every bike trip begins with a vision. Define your objectives—are you craving an adrenaline-pumping escapade, a leisurely exploration of scenic vistas, or something in between? Consider your terrain preferences, desired distance, elevation gain tolerance, and must-see landmarks. Align your route with your aspirations and fitness level for an experience tailored to your desires.

Research potential routes

The world is your oyster when it comes to bikepacking routes. Dive into guidebooks, tap into cycling communities, and explore online resources like bikepacking.com, Komoot, and Cycling UK for a treasure trove of established routes. From the rugged trails of the Badger Divide to the urban charm of the Second City Divide, options abound. Gather inspiration and insights from fellow adventurers to narrow down your choices.

Utilize route planning tools

Harness the power of technology to craft your dream itinerary. Platforms like Komoot, Ride with GPS, and Strava offer intuitive route planning features, including elevation profiles and points of interest. Experiment with different segments, tweak terrain preferences, and visualize your route with satellite imagery. Ensure rideability and enjoyment by factoring in seasonal variations, traffic patterns, and weather forecasts.

Consider logistics and amenities

A well-prepared bikepacker is a happy one. Calculate your daily mileage accounting for the added weight of your gear. Scout water sources, food stops, camping spots, and accommodations along your route. Create a comprehensive list or spreadsheet detailing distances, opening hours, and amenities of each pit stop. Stay flexible by identifying backup options in case of unexpected detours or closures.

Prioritize safety

Adventure is synonymous with uncertainty, but preparedness is your best ally. Download offline maps of your route, pack spare batteries, and familiarize yourself with basic bike maintenance. Equip yourself with a first aid kit, repair tools, and emergency supplies to handle any roadside challenges. Research local regulations and weather conditions to mitigate risks and ensure a smooth journey.

Stay flexible and adapt

The beauty of bikepacking lies in its spontaneity. Embrace the unpredictability of the open road and be prepared to pivot when necessary. Whether it’s rerouting due to road closures or discovering a hidden gem off the beaten path, stay open to new possibilities. Remember, the journey is as important as the destination.