Bikepacking our own way: by bike or with bike
I often find myself comparing ourselves to others. Comparing our journeys with theirs. Our tolerance of hardship, our fitness, our setups, our willingness to push ourselves to – or past – our comfort zones. “Where did you start your journey?” “How many kilometres do you ride each day?” “Wow! You guys are really carrying a lot of stuff with you!” “What? You didn’t ride that section? You really missed out!” These phrases have a way of making us second guess ourselves and the choices we’ve made.
I am starting to learn that making these comparisons and judging our own journey through the eyes of others is a pointless exercise. Our journey is just that – ours, and no one else’s. It doesn’t matter if we don’t ride that far, or we skip the sections that are sandy and rocky and entail pushing your bike for hours through brutal terrain. Actually, the fact we make the decisions to not do this is commendable in our own eyes.
Toward the end of our time in Baja California, we started to see more and more bikepackers and road tourers coming through. We would often stop for a chat and are asked if we also rode the Baja Divide. When we tell them we didn’t - that we flew down from Tijuana, we often hear the response: “Oh… you guys really miss
ed out!”. But then we probe further: so how was it? Was it enjoyable? Did you love the riding? How were the sandy sections? And quickly the reality is exposed. “Oh…. Well, about 20% of it was pretty tough…. yeah, I didn’t really enjoy those bits…. um, it was probably actually about 40% of it when I think about it.” “I definitely wouldn’t do it again.”
While the idea of riding all the way from Alaska to Patagonia is enchanting, the idea of being able to draw a long uninterrupted line tracing the route you have cycled appealing, being able to say “I rode every damn inch” captivating, the reality is that to ride the whole way can be, at times, downright miserable. And we had originally planned to do just that. But we’ve taken ferries, we’ve taken trains. We’ve taken more flights than we ever thought we would. We even ended up in the luxury of a van travelling through Utah and Nevada for a month. But you know what? We’ve enjoyed every damn moment.
This is our own adventure.