Ok, we have all heard of Bikepacking by now (it’s the “buzz” outdoor activity right now), and for the tens of you whom read this here “bike blog,” you are probably familiar with the term “Dirtbagging.” These are offshoots of normal rack-and-pannier bike touring (or backpacking if you’re into walking places), and generally involve packing all of your stuff into frame bags and other rackless packs, then hitting the dusty trail to camp out in the woods or some other remote area. Sounds like a whole lotta fun for everyone, right? Yeah, almost TOO much fun.
Enter the newest bad idea: Trackpacking.
Trackpacking is closely related to Backpacking, more so than Bikepacking, in that you actually put all of your stuff on your back. All you need is a track bike, or some other such fixed gear bike (no brakes! Trackpacking requires no brakes, them’s the rules), your camping gear, and a messenger bag or back pack. You can get some pretty severe “messenger back packs” these days, so you almost wouldn’t need to leave anything behind. It’s that simple. Load up your messenger-type bag, hop on your fixie, and head somewhere to camp. This is really ideally suited for Sub-24 hour trips, unless you are particularly fond of long distance, multiple day fixie travel. I used to be in that realm, but gears kind of soiled my chamois for said torture travel.
Pointless Back Story: I was pondering the entertainment value of the known realms of bike touring/camping, and what could be the next step for camping-kind. The brainstorm took into consideration equipment on hand, I don’t need to buy any more “packing” gear in this lifetime, how much I love having fun by not having fun at all, and routes/roads to travel here in central Iowa. I also wanted to use a bike that I had on hand, pretty easily achievable goal, but I wanted to use something that wasn’t common or run-of-the-mill, perhaps a little played out, even. Enter the Track Bike.
I’ve done one Track bike tour (track bike, messenger bag, 90 miles) years ago, it did not end well as the weather took a sharp nose dive and I was not prepared for the adverse conditions. I had a new leg tattoo, rain and road grit splashed up into it for a couple hours. It got infected and I had a fever for a few days. Yeah, that sucked. I should probably do that again.
So, that is the plan. I’m putting together a route for a camping trip that involves some fairly level terrain (first three days of Ragbrai come to mind), and I’m getting out there to bust some knees and party on, Garth.