Bikepacking involves riding into unknown territory while admiring your environment with a sense of feeling adventurous on multi-day trips. For a woman, this idea sounds magnificent, yet intimidating. In fact, it’s one of the reasons why the barrier for entry is high for women bikepackers, and they end up being the minority.
I’m here to tell you that your gender solely won’t stop you from embarking the journey, provided you’re well prepared and practice some of the following tips.
Image by Antranias via Pixabay
Create a checklist of the tools you need. Think about all the technical issues that may arise from your days of cycling. Funny enough, a lot of first-timers don’t bring a hand pump. Your tires are your bike’s main point of contact with the ground, and it would make sense that it’s the first thing that you could go wrong with. You need to carry a hand pump with you so you don’t end up in the middle of nowhere with a flat tyre. Make sure to choose the right bike pump amongst a variety of models available.
Wandering aimlessly into the less-traveled routes is an amazing experience, but as a beginner, you’ll need to be reasonable. You don’t want to end up in the wilderness for days or a shanty town where your gut just says no the moment you paddle into. I highly advise you to look at your options on a route map online. These routes are usually categorized by the number of days you’ll be on the road (or dirt) and the type of bike you have. Chances are, you’ll bump into other bikepackers and cyclist along the way, and you can ask for help if you need it.
For the most part, you wouldn’t feel the need to use pepper spray while you’re on your adventures. However, you should never take your safety for granted. They are portable (not to forget, affordable) and will come in handy in an event where someone was to harass you. Carrying bear spray is great if you’re going into grizzly bear territory, hence why route planning would be advantageous. Other than that, a helmet, headlight and blinking rear lights would be common sense for any cyclist.
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If you’re cycling through the mountains, prepare an emergency blanket because the weather can be unpredictable. Because different environments will require you to pack up different things, read up on the gear and kits other bikepackers bring and adjust to your own accord. Do note that women get cold faster than men, and you’ll need to take this into account when packing with a male bikepacking buddy. You may find you’ve missed a few important items.
You wouldn’t want to look shaggy for your Instagram feed when you’ve reached the mountain peak, and at times you may want to socialize and meet people at cafés along the way. However, skincare products and toiletries take up a lot of space. As a bikepacker, make multi-purpose cosmetics and toiletries your friends. Look for a sunscreen that acts as moisturizer, and shampoo that works as a body soap. That may go against most skincare tips, but when you’re out there, how pretty you look is the last thing on your mind. If you can’t go a day without make-up and need the bare minimum, lipstick, concealer, and mascara would suffice.
Generally, bikepacking for women is safe. With some common sense and trust in judgement, bikepacking is a rewarding and humbling experience.
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