Bikepacking in Patagonia Part One: Setup
Now that winter has set in, we are longing for brighter and warmer days. Our love of bikepacking and adventure has given arise to an exciting project: Bikepacking in Patagonia. In February three friends and I (Rob) will embark on a three-week self-supported bike tour of parts of the Chilean and Argentinian Andes. Trips like these help us gain experience with the bikes, bags and equipment we sell. It may sound like an R&D trip but we all know it is just an excuse to explore some of the world’s most magnificent landscapes on incredible bikes equipped with the best gear. Escaping Winter in the Northern Hemisphere for summer in the Southern Hemisphere isn’t something we take for granted either.
The Brother Cycles Big Bro featured in another blog post here, will be used during this adventure… For this specific trip it has undergone some changes from its initial conception to suit the demand of the trip. First of all, the handlebars were changed to a sweeping Musk Parts bar, which to the trained eye will immediately draw parallels to the famous Jones bar. This bar offers a comfortable wrist position for long days touring and also has plenty of room for attaching many bags and devices.
Another crucial adaption is changing the tyres from tubes to tubeless. The anti-puncture characteristic of a tubeless tyre is paramount to minimizing time off the bike doing repairs and maximizing the fun pedaling through the Andes. This is an installation we can at Musette for anybody with tubeless ready rims. The ability to run a lower tyre pressure is also essential when riding off-road so as to not be shaken to the core after long days in the saddle – an important factor for our trip as 80 percent is to be ridden on single and double-track roads. The addition of various bottle and cargo cages and a minimalist rear rack will provide the extra support for all the water and equipment needed for cooking and camping in the backcountry for three weeks.
The bags fixed to the bike will be a mix of Bumbags Project (French/German), Relevate designs (Alaskan), and Road Runner (American). The rear rack is a Tubus steel rack and the bottle cages are all made of stainless steel.
The choice of gear these days is overwhelming, and not to mention, costly. The essentials are a good waterproof jacket and waterproof riding pants, very warm and lightweight down sleeping bag and a light and dependable tent. I have opted to use an Arc-Teryx gore-tex jacket and Gore Bike Wear gore-tex riding pants, an REI sleeping bag and a Big Agnes tent. These are brands that are proven to withstand harsh environments. There are loads of other little bits and bobs coming along in my bags for the voyage of course. I’ll take some extra spokes, tubeless liquid for the tyres, patch kit and pump, plus spare brake pads and a multi tool. I’ll take a token gear photo pre-packing it all up before my flight in February. Internet connectivity will be sparse, but I’ll be sure to post updates on our Instagram account when stopping in towns along the way for supply restocks.
Stay tuned. This is going to be a good one….