Bikepacking Moments in the City

One of the unspoken downsides of an enjoyable bikepacking trip is the ‘post-adventure blues’. The feeling that ‘normal’ riding isn’t quite as exciting and the yearning for those bikepacking moments that make up our adventures – sunrises, sunsets, epic views, and chance encounters. In between the adventures, we can counter the blues by seeking out bikepacking moments in the city and injecting some adventure into our utility cycling.

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A group of cyclists stand atop a hill on the outskirts of the city brewing and drinking coffee as the sun rises

 

As bikepackers, we’re constantly trying to capture some of that bikepacking spirit on our daily rides. We don’t follow the straightest line to work or ride around the city just to get from A to B. We ride for enjoyment, and we try to relive some of the weekend’s adventure in our utility riding. We wake up early for the dawn patrol with our friends, heading to the nearest vantage point to watch the sunrise and drink coffee before we ride to work. We take the long way home just to get the miles in, to enjoy the scenic views heading out of the city limits affords. We meet our friends for early morning chat laps, followed by coffee, and, finally, work. We explore our city the same way we do the countryside, connecting hills, sights, and historical places – theming our journeys to make them more interesting.

It’s the little adventures that keep us ticking over between the big adventures and make riding in the city better. The moments of bikepacking spirit that transport us from the city back to our last adventure.

A cyclist views the sunrise from a hill on the outskirts of the city, with a City Handlebar Pack on their bike

Two bikes lean against an unused seat on a cable car over the Thames

A cyclist rides beside the river, with the city visible in the background

During an adventure or race, these moments are incidental. You ride through sunset and wake up before sunrise. You bump into other riders at petrol stations, bakeries, and McDonald’s in the middle of nowhere at strange hours. On our day-to-day rides, they’re manufactured. We invite friends to meet us in the woods for coffee, brewed as the sun comes up. We take the long way to work, stopping at the good coffee shop that’s not on our usual commute and we embrace the weird and wonderful ways we can cross the city – ferries, cable cars and anything that offers a new perspective.

It’s not bikepacking. There’s no need for the all-day ride to reach an epic viewpoint. We don’t need to carry more than a camping stove, a lock or an extra layer in a handlebar bag. It’s bikepacking-lite; a few essentials slung on the bike so we can stay out a bit longer and replicate those chance moments from our last adventure.

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