I did it! I finally did it! I went on a small adventure by myself! and it was exciting, vibrant and scary at times!
I wanted to do a quick recap on how things went hence this post
For the longest time I wanted to do a bikepacking trip, but what’s exactly bikepacking?
It comes from mixing two other sports: cycling and backpacking.
You ride your bike loaded with your camping gear to get to a certain spot, camp and so on. Think about it as a different type of bike touring (or perhaps they are the same thing!)
Since this was the first time I was going to try bikepacking I decided to start with a manageable distance and a some-what controlled camping experience.
- The start/end point: San Francisco Ferry Building.
- The destination: China Camp State Park in San Rafael, CA.
- Distance: 48 Km on day 1, 46.4 Km on day 2 for a total of 94.4 Km
- Bike: Marin Gestalt II
- Tires: 35mm 700x30c
- Bags: 15L Mission Workshop bag plus a big Saddle bag.
- Camping Gear: Nemo Hornet 1 person tent, Nemo 15F sleeping bag, Sea to Summit sleeping pad
- Extras: food, toiletries and headphones
- Navigation: Garmin Fenix 5 loaded with a GPX map that I made
I started riding late (10:45 am) so I could get there just in time to check-in to my campsite (2 pm). I knew I was going to make several stops and generally riding slow just so I could enjoy the route more. This part of the plan was a success. I stopped at Crissy Field, The Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito and finally grabbed a byte at Andy’s local market in Marin County.
100% of this route is paved. Most of it is really enjoyable, except a 5km stretch in San Rafael where there’s a highway cross. Be careful over there!
The camping experience wasn’t five stars but that’s on me. I left a banana peal in my backpack and its smell attracted a deer who started to sniff around my head at 2 am. That took me by surprise and really scared me. I managed to snap a picture of her though!
Regarding the facilities, China Camp is great! camp grounds are marked, clean and there’s also showers and a couple of big restrooms. This is a kid friendly spot so expect to see them, hear them and be around them.
- The overall plan was a success. I made it in-n-out safely
- Navigation was great even though I only used the breadcrumbs the watch was giving me
- 35mm tires where big enough and rolled fast enough
- Saddle bag was great! I couldn’t have done the trip without it. Thanks Mike!
- Packing strategy was good, enough food, clothes and gear for both days
What can be improved
- I will never ride again with so much weight on my back. I never ride with a backpack so having one (and heavy!) for hours on me definitely took a toll. Seriously, don’t go bikepacking like this. Better to install a pannier on your bike and just ride like that
- I need to get better at sleeping outside. My nose gets super dry and my body gets super hot. I’m sure I can adjust some variables regarding my equipment so I make this experience more fun
- I need a portable pillow
- No more leaving the trash in my backpack…
There were ups and downs in this trip but I’ll definitely stick to it. Even though this wasn’t a big ride I got to meet good people on the road (Rancho Shazam) and the overall positive vibe I got on the road was heartwarming. I’ll welcome that anytime!
I hope to go out there again before the end of the year to get more practice so on 2019 I can do this in South America! or perhaps Europe? who knows! we can pedal the world!