An Engineer Finds Bikepacking

by Andy Amick on February 7, 2014

in Bikepacking, Personal

nerd engineer glasses wrench.svg.thumb bicycle simple

It sure seems like I was made for bikepacking.  No, not because of my awesome biking skills and long distance abilities.  For me, bikepacking is wonderful combination that is equal parts cycling, gear, and problem solving.  The cycling is pure fun.  The gear is like the box of tools waiting to be used.  The problem solving lets my inner engineer out of the box to have some fun tinkering.

I never got into bike racing.  There was too much in the way of structured training plans for someone that wasn’t physically gifted.  I’d much rather go for a ride when I want and where I want.

I never got into super computer engineering mode because I enjoyed getting outside of a lab/office too much to go on those rides of my choosing.

Then I discovered bikepacking and all was well.  It’s satisfies both the athlete and engineer inside of me.

Engineering Bikepacking

For anyone that is not into engineering or analyzing every little detail, it may be hard to understand my approach.  One is not better than the other.  I just know that I am analytical, and I try to figure out small changes to make on almost every ride.  On long rides rides, I have designed and forgotten a bunch of gear setups, but it keeps my mind busy.

Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.

Albert Einstein

In the last week, I have been reworking my bike and gear repair kit for the Tour Divide.  I already had the necessary items packed in several different places so all should have been good.  Then something triggered in my mind, and thoughts of a redesigned kit have been running through my head.  I ended up in the garage with a grinder, sandpaper and a pair of pliers that became much slimmer and lighter than before.  It was not the weight savings I was after, but rather, proving that I could get the gear to fit a certain way and meet a certain weight target.

Crazy, I know.  That’s the world I live in and I might as well embrace it before I go too loony.

As a kid, I used to take bikes, tools, and all kinds of things apart which usually ended with my dad’s things in various pieces and him being very frustrated with me.  Sorry dad! His 3 speed bike got taken apart and never put back together.  The good news is that the Sturmey-Archer hub is in my garage and I have all of the pieces to put it back together…someday.

There’s definitely a pattern here.  I love riding my bike, but I also have a very curious mind.  Bikepacking has allowed me to use both of those on the same activity which results in one happy geek bike rider.  Now, I wonder if I could connect the dynamo hub to the bear spray canister and a remote spotlight to have optimum bear protection?  I’ll be in the garage if you need me 🙂

About Andy Amick
A little bit nutty in general, a lotta bit nutty about bikes. Each of his boys received a bike helmet for their first birthday and the three of them have been biking together ever since.

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