There is so much hype on the internet at the moment about AI, both as a tool to produce text, images and videos that I decided to give it a try.
I created an account on ChatGPT and asked it, among other things, to explain what bike packing is. As I wanted to be able to judge the quality of the answers I stuck to bikepacking and bike touring as a theme, with a couple of more tongue-in-cheek questions thrown in just for fun.
Here are the results.
What do you think, are the explanations plausible and correct?
Bikepacking is a form of cycling that combines the elements of backpacking and mountain biking. It involves packing all of the necessary gear and supplies onto a bike and then riding off-road trails or backcountry roads over a period of several days or weeks.
The goal of bikepacking is to experience the beauty and solitude of the natural world while also challenging oneself physically and mentally. It allows riders to travel to remote and often hard-to-reach locations, and to see a landscape in a way that is not possible by car or on foot.
Bikepacking requires a certain level of self-sufficiency, as riders are often far from civilization and may need to be able to fix their own bike or find their own shelter. It also requires careful planning and preparation, as riders need to pack all of the necessary gear and supplies, including a tent or other shelter, a sleeping bag and pad, cooking equipment, and enough food and water for the duration of the trip.
Bikepacking can be done on a variety of different types of bikes, including mountain bikes, gravel bikes, and touring bikes. It is a growing sport that has attracted a dedicated community of enthusiasts around the world.
Explain the difference between bikepacking and bicycle touring:
Bikepacking and bicycle touring are both forms of long-distance cycling that involve travelling with all of the necessary gear and supplies on a bike. However, there are some key differences between the two activities.
One main difference between bikepacking and bicycle touring is the type of terrain that is travelled on. Bikepacking often involves off-road trails and backcountry roads, while bicycle touring is typically done on paved roads or bike paths. This means that bikepacking often requires a bike with wider tires and a more rugged, off-road capable frame, while a touring bike with narrower tires and a more road-focused design may be sufficient for bicycle touring.
Another difference between the two activities is the level of self-sufficiency required. Bikepacking often involves travelling to remote and often hard-to-reach locations, which means that riders may need to be able to fix their own bike or find their own shelter in case of emergencies. Bicycle touring, on the other hand, is typically done on more developed routes where there is greater availability of services such as hotels, restaurants, and bike shops.
Finally, the style of travel is often different between bikepacking and bicycle touring. Bikepacking tends to be a more rugged and spontaneous adventure, with riders often following a loosely planned route and making decisions about where to go and what to do on the fly. Bicycle touring, on the other hand, is often more structured and planned out, with riders often following a specific route or itinerary and staying in established accommodations along the way.
What constitutes a good touring bicycle?
There are a few key features that make a good touring bicycle:
- Durability: A touring bicycle needs to be able to handle the rigours of long-distance travel and be able to carry a significant load. This means it should be made of high-quality materials and have sturdy components that can withstand wear and tear.
- Comfort: Touring can be physically demanding, so a good touring bicycle should be comfortable to ride for long periods of time. This may include features such as a more upright riding position, padded saddle, and vibration-damping technologies.
- Versatility: A touring bicycle should be able to handle a variety of terrain, from paved roads to dirt trails. This may include features such as wider tires and a more rugged frame.
- Load-carrying capability: A touring bicycle should have a sturdy frame and sufficient mounting points for panniers or other luggage carriers. It should also be able to accommodate racks and other accessories that may be needed for carrying gear and supplies.
- Reliability: A touring bicycle should be reliable and easy to maintain, as it may be some distance from a bike shop or other source of repair.
Other features that may be important in a touring bicycle include a wide range of gears for tackling hills, strong and reliable brakes, and a low-maintenance drivetrain.
What would be a good packing list for a 2-month bikepacking trip?
A packing list for a 2-month bikepacking trip will depend on the specific destination and the type of terrain that will be travelled on. However, some general items that you may want to consider packing include:
- Bike and equipment: Make sure to bring your bike and any necessary tools and spare parts for maintenance and repair. This may include things like a spare tire, inner tubes, chain links, and a bike pump.
- Shelter: You will need a tent or other form of shelter, as well as a sleeping bag and pad. Consider the weather conditions and the type of terrain you will be travelling on when choosing your shelter.
- Clothing: Pack a variety of clothes that are suitable for the weather conditions you will encounter. This may include items such as a rain jacket, warm layers, and cycling-specific clothing.
- Footwear: Bring a pair of cycling shoes and a pair of comfortable walking shoes or sandals for off-bike activities.
- Cooking and hydration: Pack a stove, fuel, and a cooking pot, as well as a water bottle or hydration system. You will also need a water filter or purification tablets if you plan on drinking from natural sources.
- Navigation and communication: Bring a map or GPS device, as well as a way to communicate with others (such as a phone or satellite communication device).
- First aid and personal hygiene: Pack a basic first aid kit, as well as personal hygiene items such as toothpaste, soap, and a towel.
- Other gear: Depending on your specific needs, you may want to bring other items such as a repair kit for your bike, sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat, and a flashlight.
What is the best bicycle brand for bikepacking?
There are many different bicycle brands that offer bikepacking-specific models or models that are suitable for bikepacking. Some popular brands that are known for their bikepacking-specific models include:
- Salsa Cycles: Salsa offers a range of bikepacking-specific models, including the Fargo, Cutthroat, and Journeyman. These bikes are designed for off-road touring and feature sturdy frames, wide tires, and a variety of mounting points for carrying gear.
- Surly: Surly is another brand that is known for its bikepacking-specific models, including the Krampus, ECR, and Troll. These bikes are designed for rugged off-road adventures and feature durable frames, wide tires, and a variety of mounting points for gear.
- Kona: Kona offers a range of bikepacking-specific models, including the Sutra, Big Honzo, and Rove. These bikes are designed for off-road touring and feature sturdy frames, wide tires, and a variety of mounting points for gear.
Other brands that offer bikepacking-specific models or models that are suitable for bikepacking include Trek, Giant, Specialized, and Cannondale. Ultimately, the best brand for bikepacking will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Consider the type of terrain you will be travelling on, the load you will be carrying, and your budget when choosing a bike.
Is a fat bike suitable for bikepacking?
A fat bike can be a suitable option for bikepacking, depending on the specific conditions and terrain you will be travelling on.
Fat bikes are designed with wide tires that are typically 4 inches or wider in width. These wide tires provide a large contact patch with the ground, which can give the bike additional traction and stability on rough or loose terrain. This can make a fat bike a good option for bikepacking in environments such as sand, snow, or mud.
However, fat bikes also have a few drawbacks that you should consider when deciding if one is suitable for bikepacking. One of the main drawbacks is their weight, as the wider tires and sturdy frames can make fat bikes relatively heavy compared to other types of bikes. This can make them more challenging to ride on long, hilly rides and may make them less efficient on paved roads.
In addition, fat bikes may not be the best choice for bikepacking in environments where the terrain is predominantly smooth and hard-packed, as the wide tires can create additional resistance and make the bike harder to pedal.
Overall, a fat bike can be a good option for bikepacking in certain environments, but it may not be the best choice in all circumstances. Consider the specific terrain and conditions you will be travelling on and choose a bike that is suitable for those conditions.
Is it possible to bikepack the Canning Stock Route in Australia?
The Canning Stock Route is a 1,850-mile (2,988 km) track that runs through the desert of Western Australia. It is a challenging and remote route that is not suitable for all types of cycling, including bikepacking.
The Canning Stock Route is a 4×4 track that is primarily used by off-road vehicles and requires a high level of self-sufficiency. It is not maintained and has no services or facilities along the way. The route also crosses through sensitive indigenous land, and permission is required to travel through certain areas.
Bikepacking the Canning Stock Route would be a significant undertaking and would require a high level of planning and preparation. It would also require a bike with a sturdy frame and wide tires, as well as the necessary skills and equipment to navigate and survive in a remote and challenging environment.
It is possible to bikepack the Canning Stock Route, but it is not a trip for the faint of heart and should only be undertaken by experienced and well-prepared riders.
Is the Surly Ice Cream Truck the ultimate bikepacking fat bike?
The Surly Ice Cream Truck is a popular fat bike that has gained a reputation as a versatile and capable bike for bikepacking and other off-road adventures.
One of the main features of the Ice Cream Truck is its wide tires, which measure 4.8 inches in width. These tires provide a large contact patch with the ground, which can give the bike additional traction and stability on rough or loose terrain. The bike also has a sturdy frame and a variety of mounting points for carrying gear, making it a good option for bikepacking.
However, it is important to note that the Ice Cream Truck is not the ultimate bikepacking fat bike for everyone. Like any bike, it has its own strengths and weaknesses and may not be the best choice for all types of riding or all riders.
For example, the Ice Cream Truck is a relatively heavy bike due to its wide tires and sturdy frame, which may make it less efficient on paved roads or on long, hilly rides. In addition, it may not be the best choice for bikepacking in environments where the terrain is predominantly smooth and hard-packed, as the wide tires can create additional resistance and make the bike harder to pedal.
Overall, the Surly Ice Cream Truck is a popular and capable fat bike that can be a good option for bikepacking and other off-road adventures. However, it is important to consider the specific needs and preferences of the rider when choosing any bike, including the Ice Cream Truck.
Well, I have to admit that the answers were actually better than what I was expecting. Especially as bike packing and specific fat bike models are a rather niche subject.
But what did you think?
Looking forward to hearing your input in the comments…
Not much happening apart from work at the moment but I managed to find an old, unpublished little video about my kickbike trip from the Gold Coast to Sydney in 2015. Kickbike touring was fun and I went on to do more, both in Asia and Europe, but this was my first attempt!