Ok, so, that title was absolutely a stretch. Summer definitely ends and occasionally, here in the Pacific Northwest, it doesn't even start. Fall storms quickly become the norm and bike adventures are put on hold until we're lucky enough to see the sun again. As it's such a fleeting season, it's important that we take full advantage of dry weather while we have it. We're rounding the corner into wetter conditions, but there's still time to hit the gravel road for the final bikepacking trips of the season. The Coast Drop Bar and Stem are perfect additions for your bike and will help you be fully equipped for your next adventure.
If you're planning your own bikepacking trip be sure to read our tips and tricks below so you're as prepared as possible before beginning your trek.
Check that Gear
This seems obvious but can’t be overstated. Make sure your panniers won't slip off the rails when the road gets bumpy. Move your gear around so you don't need three cyclists and a weight lifter to strap your bag to your handlebars. Most important of all, set up your bike so you can easily access water and snacks (try riding all day without access to trail gummies). Pack up and test your setup on different terrain, repack multiple ways to find what is most efficient, and prioritize comfort, ease, and sustainability in your final packing orientation.
Treat Your Bod Like a Temple
Yeah, your bike and gear are important for bikepacking, but none of that matters if your body isn’t up for the challenge. Besides training for the trip, you'll want to make sure to bring key items to take care of yourself while riding. Sunscreen and chamois butter are the obvious musts for the road but don’t forget extras for when that burn or chaffing inevitably occur. Think about grabbing a small bottle of aloe, a tube of antibiotic ointment, and a small bit of anti-itch cream. Make sure to think about good ole mother earth while you’re at it and don't forget a small, and necessary, poo shovel and Kula Cloth (recommended by PNW Squad member Delia Massey).
Lights, Camera, Action
You never know when you’ll see something mind blowing or need to ride in the dark to make up ground. Save some room in your pack for your favorite action camera and riding lights. Better yet, mount your lights or camera straight to your Coast Stem with the detachable mount for hands-free use and you’ve bought yourself a bit of space in your bags for snacks. Need a recommendation for riding lights? Our favorites are the Taz series and the Vis Pro 360 from Light and Motion. With Light and Motion’s GoPro style mount, the Taz is perfectly compatible with the Coast Stem.
It's All About the Bike
Your route and the type of trail you're following will, of course, direct what type of bike you are riding. However, no matter if you are going for a gravel grinder or a trusty hardtail there are a few things to keep in mind. You’ll want to adjust your tires and suspension for the type of terrain you're covering and the weight being carried. Many bikepackers also suggest installing smaller gearing that can help manage steep ascents and extra pack weight. This change to your bike may be the difference between a ride full of challenging, yet, successful climbs and a whole lot of hike-a-biking.
Plan and Plan Again
There are tons of bikepacking resources available online. For starters, check out Delia's blog about what she packed for bikepacking in Baja. We suggest scouring Google for other resources that can better advise you on must have items like riding jerseys and GPS devices. Check the weather, pack well and light, and be prepared for adventure and the unexpected.
As always, if you have any questions about the Coast Drop Bar and Stem, or any of the PNW Components products, please reach out to us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.