How in the crap did Gravel Grinding and Bike Packing become such mainstream phenomena, and why? Is it that cyclists enjoy the more welcoming atmosphere and different challenge that comes with the dirtier disciplines, or is it the major manufacturers like Specialized, Topeak, Blackburn, etc, who have seen the backroads as an inroads to increasing waning profits and are hard selling this “lifestyle” to casual consumers, or a mix of these and other factors? Has Gravel Grinding become fun? Is Bike Packing the new Bike Touring?
I prefer using a term coined by Bob at the Cumming Tap: Dirt Bagging.
Dirt Bagging is the truly proper term for Bike packing. Bike Packing is “back packing on a bike,” which I suppose is ok IF YOU WANT TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH THE SUPER COOL SPORT OF WALKING. Folks, if you are under the age of retirement and are of physical prowess enough to pedal a bike, walking is not cool. Walking is for malls* and death row inmates.
DIRT BAGGING is truly bicycle touring on dirt. Are you a wanna be walker, or are you on a mission from the Cycling Gods to ride dirt and then do some camping. It’s being a “Dirty Bagger” (the loving term used for touring cyclists) on the actual dirt. It’s cycling, not a substitute for back packing. But of course these big companies that are pushing the “Bike Packing” with their ready made bike rigs (taking the fun out of building your own, but also making it easier for people to get in on the entry level), and their chunky, seemingly awkward attempts at frame bags and the like, don’t know what it really is (and what is it, really?) other than a new market to push their version of actual proper gear. We have J-Paks, Andrew The Maker, Bike Bag Dude, Apidura, Porcelain Rocket, Apidura, and many others who are killing it with excellent bags along with Revelate, who is loosely considered the original innovator of the reckless-based bag system. Maybe this all goes the way of Topeak’s attempt at cloning the BOB trailer (also excellent for Dirt Bagging), and this stuff will all be on the clearance racks or in rubbermaid storage tubs in the next year.
I’m actually going out to do some dirt bagging right now, so we will discuss this further in the near future.
CNB, Dirt Bagger