Every once in a while, a spunky newcomer shakes up the cycling scene. The latest word these days is bikepacking — a ménage à trois of cycle touring, mountain biking and ultralight backpacking. The idea is to take your typical bike touring set up and throw out the kitchen sink. While you’re at it, leave the racks and panniers behind. Instead, velcro strap what’s left to your mountain bike and ride off into the high country.

Bikepacking in Action

Back in 2008, I heard a schoolmate of mine had biked and packrafted Alaska’s Lost Coast. His partner-in-adventure Eric Parsons now runs a bikepacking gear company, Revelate Designs. Here’s Eric’s writeup of their epic bikerafting adventure. They went back in summer 2011 and made a video. Click left for dramatic pans of Surley Pugsleys silhouetted on lonely gray beaches.

A lot of Revelate gear gets put to the test on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. Every year, a growing number of adventure cyclists tackle this >2700 mile, mostly unpaved route from Banff, Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico. Some even race it. The Tour Divide is an annual self-supported mountain bike race along the length of the route. Heed the call of the mountains and find a copy of Ride the Divide. Trailer at left.

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