“Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe?” –Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature
Unique in the New Mexico 2019 legislative session is House Memorial 10, which recognizes the contributions of bikepacking for outdoor recreation. Bikepacking is a combination of camping and cycling, akin to backpacking, but gear is mounted on one’s bicycle instead of carried on one’s back! Outside Magazine covers the genesis of this grassroots, community-driven movement in New Mexico, which was born out of residents’ interest of getting to know this place better, and enjoying the abundant natural assets of quiet, dark night skies, and wonderful landscapes. Bikepacking creates unlimited, sustainable travel opportunities while supporting local communities and small scale enterprises, and keeping nature intact. It encourages us to slow down and take in the treasures of the places we inhabit, all while improving mental and physical health and well-being.
Bikepacking speaks to the most important issues of our times. You don’t need expensive equipment to enjoy it, so it’s affordable and accessible. Think of the health boom bikepacking creates! A health boom could expand indefinitely and include all people, residents and visitors, natives and newcomers. A health boom has no down side. Bikepacking preserves natural habitats and biodiversity, and utilizes the existing network of trails, dirt roads and paved connecting roads from population centers. Through bikepacking adventure, we learn to take better care and pay attention to all we have, including our subsistence infrastructure.
Bikepacking contributes to health, economy, and communities all in one activity, and seems to honor the essence of things. It contributes to the upbuildling of human lives and community and the conservation of nature for future generations, while increasing the capacity today for appreciating the life we are living. Bikepacking is not an extractive activity, rather it is regenerative. We can also train for it right here in the villages, towns, cities and countryside where we reside. Cycling has many practical uses, and is beautiful poetry, too.
Bikepacking brings people IN to the landscapes we call home and we see the world with new eyes from a bicycle. We sharpen our ingenuity and hone our skills. We learn to sense better when a rain storm is coming, to know when to pitch camp for the evening. Truths flow out of the recesses of our consciousness in the backcountry, and we realize there is a tranquil sense of unity throughout nature, one that flows in us and through us and that we are a part of. We meet people while bikepacking and build up the fabric of engaged, supportive community. Biking in nature helps us appreciate things and know ourselves.
“The charming landscape which I saw this morning is indubitably made up of some twenty or thirty farms. Miller owns this field, Locke that, and Manning the woodland beyond. But none of them owns the landscape. There is a property in the horizon which no man has but he whose eye can integrate all the parts, that is, the poet. This is the best part of these men’s farms, yet to this their warranty-deeds give no title.” RW Emerson, Nature
References and Resources:
House Memorial 10 recognizing the importance of bikepacking in New Mexico
Outside Magazine “New Mexico Wants to Make Bikepacking Mainstream”
I’ve written about my cycling day trips. I would like to try overnight trips by bikepacking.
A couple Team CSP-SBI New Mexico cycling ambassadors took a wild ride just yesterday
https://www.strava.com/activities/2205526850 “Cabezon loop extended aka luxury gravel”
https://www.strava.com/activities/2205408125 “Exploring that other side”
I could see some write-ups on bikepacking here, in the ‘slow travel’ section
https://www.theworldinstituteofslowness.com “the fastest way to a good life is to slow down”