You don't realize how much noise you're surrounded by everyday, until you go into nature. So turn on all your senses and think of these things: golden yellow fields of grain, lush green trees, the smell of freshly brewed coffee, the sound of birds singing, the wind blowing through your hair, bright flowers, and panoramic views of mountains and farms.
Our senses were on overload at Stub Stewart State Park last weekend. We rode our bikes from Portland, through the burbs, into beautiful farmland, and finally started climbing into the forest. The sights, sounds, and smells were absolutely incredible. Car camping doesn't compare to the adventure of bike camping.
So if you are looking for cheap, fun, and exciting summer entertainment, then I highly recommend camping by bike. It's the perfect way to get a fantastic workout, enjoy beautiful state parks, scenery, and stay off the internet.
And it's one way to get your minimalist groove on. Camping by bike is a great way to figure out what you need and don't need. Bikes can handle a lot of extra weight, but you're the one who has to pedal it up a hill. So try to keep your load light, that way you can pedal fast and enjoy the scenery. :)
How much will it cost?
Depending on the park you go to, you'll end up spending between $5 and $20 for a camp site, per night. Rest assured you are getting the best deal; hiker/biker camp sites are typically half the cost or less compared to sites for cars and RVs. And make sure you bring some cash with you!
Planning your route
Do some research on the internet, pick your spot, and start planning.
A word of caution: Google Maps now allow you to map your route by bike. However, a number of people have noted that google bike maps aren't that accurate and might unintentionally put you into high traffic areas. So before you hit the road make sure you reconcile your planned route with an updated map of the area. And make sure you take a look at the Google street view option to double check for bike-friendly streets.
So what do you need for this kind of adventure? Let's take look at a minimum gear list:
2. Bike racks
3. Bike bags, panniers, [buckets] or a bike trailer
4. Bike lights
5. Spare tubes / patch kit
6. Air pump
7. Chain lube
9. Sleeping bag
10. A set of clothes to wear on the bike
11. A set of clothes off the bike
12. A warm jacket (even if its crazy hot outside it can get cold at night).
13. Bike helmet
15. A hat
16. Rain gear
17. Extra socks
20. Flashlights and/or headlamp
21. Spare batteries
22. First aid kit
24. Water is one of the most important items you need to bring. A dromedary water bag is a really easy way to carry a lot of extra water on your bike. Don't get dehydrated out there!
27. And last but not least, a camera or notebook. You'll want to record this adventure.
For only $3.00 USD you can pick up a copy of Shawn Granton’s amazing little Urban Adventure League Cycle Touring Primer. Granton's guide is handmade, small, and has a number of excellent tips and tricks for those of you who want to start traveling by bicycle. The guide focuses on bike camping and touring in the Pacific Northwest. However, his tips can be applied to any geographic location.
And before you say, "ohhhh I can't possibly go bike camping because I have kids," read these articles for some inspiration: