The last four weeks of my life have completely altered the way that I view backcountry travel, biking, and my physical and mental abilities. What started as an opportunity to ride a bike for credit has turned into a lifestyle that I hope to pursue for the rest of my life. These are some of the memories and reasons that made me fall in love with bikepacking:
I love bikepacking because there is nothing better than not being able to feel my legs after climbing a few thousand feet with a gallon and a half of water in my backpack and all of my belongings shoved into bags wedged into my bike frame.
I love bikepacking because I have never loved salt more or so greatly appreciated a store with corndogs in the middle of nowhere.
I love bikepacking because descending amazing singletrack with a loaded bike is one of the most exhilarating experiences there is.
I love bikepacking because I get to ride into remote places with nothing but what I can carry.
I love bikepacking because my bike becomes more of a lover than a piece of equipment. I take better care of it than I do myself, I sweet-talk it every day, and we have huge disagreements. But at the end of the day I’m always thankful that it is with me.
I love bikepacking because a sunset at 10,000 feet is so much more beautiful when you have just hiked your bike over logs and rocks for two hours to reach the viewpoint.
I love bikepacking because my body has never been stronger or more bruised and scratched in my life.
I love bikepacking because the serving sizes of food have no meaning whatsoever.
I love bikepacking because you’ll never be happier that you have your helmet on while your squatting in a storm for 45 minutes with marble-size hail hitting you, lightning crashing overhead and a double rainbow behind you.
I love bikepacking because I can cover more miles in one day that I would in a few days of backpacking.
I love bikepacking because nothing will cure bonking and a big climb better than a ten minute break with ten slap-happy, spirit-world-entering friends, a Coke, snickers bar, and a stick of alligator jerky.
I love bikepacking because it pushes your comfort zones, exchanging a sleeping bag for more water space only to wake up shivering with shorts on your head, your feet in a stuff sack and a garbage bag draped over you as a replacement blanket.
I love bikepacking because hiking your bike can go from being the biggest pain to the moment where you slow down, breath and realize that you are in a beautiful aspen forest just as the leaves are beginning to turn orange.
I love bikepacking because my cowgirl dreams are fulfilled bike-herding cattle off the road for miles.
I love bikepacking because I feel like I am being good to my body and the Earth by pedaling myself to the places where others drive.
I love bikepacking because of the looks that I get when I ride into camp with four days of sweat and dirt caked to my body, and instead of showering I opt for a burrito and a beer.
I love bikepacking because Mountain Dew not only becomes the equivalent of crack in sugar form, but the aluminum can becomes the shims keeping the crankarm on my bike for 100 miles.
I love bikepacking because thanks to it, my calves are going to look amazing in the high heels I have to wear for my friend’s wedding.
I love bikepacking because I rode over 450 miles through the San Francisco Peaks, Canyonlands, the Kaibab Plateau, and Dixie National Forest for college credit.
Thank you Salsa, for your gear contributions. You have helped successfully convert one more person into a grimy, bikepacking-loving nerd. -Hattie Tehan
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