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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Black Hills BIkepacking 101 - A Brief Report

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone.
I can see all obstacles in my way.
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.
It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-shiny day.
I Can See Clearly Now, Johnny Nash (1972). 

Earlier this week, the Black Hills Bike Hub hosted "Bikepacking 101," a gathering of local cyclists looking to learn more about bikepacking, remove barriers for newcomers to start, and build our bikepacking community. Lost Cabin Beer Company graciously provided space, Black Hills Bicycles and Acme Bicycles kicked in, and Hermit Crafts Bag Company (successor to Dirt Bags) added to the festive atmosphere. A moderated panel of kindred spirits shared thoughts and experiences, along with visions of future rides, with an enthusiastic, engaged audience. A palpable buzz filled the air.

Not my bikepacking setup. Nor that of anyone else.
Just a fun picture. (unknown origin)

Black Hills Bike Hub Directors Weston Neiffer and Evan Walterman hosted the event, moderating a lively discussion amongst the panel comprised of seasoned bikepackers Heather Heynen, Perry Jewett, Michelle Stampe, Jason Thorman, and me. The energetic crowd then peppered the panel with questions and media wizard Eric Clayborn recorded the event for an anticipated future video presentation. 

After an hour or so, the panel dispersed into the audience and bikepacking discussions continued well into the evening. Not surprisingly, the loaded bikes brought for a "Show & Tell" generated much interest and many additional questions. A few people even pedaled around the parking lot on my 65 pound Jones 29+, fully loaded for a multi-week ride. 

The crowd filters into Black Hills Bike Hub's "Bikepacking 101" gathering.

The true measure of the value of "Bikepacking 101" will emerge over the next few months, as the Black Hills Bike Hub will be hosting a series of group bikepacking rides. The first is Saturday June 29 - Sunday June 30, with three different routes all starting from Sturgis Brewing Company, ending at a group camp site at Alkali Creek Campground, and returning to Sturgis. Something for everyone. BHBH Bikepacking Overnighter Series - Round 1

If you're anywhere near the Black Hills on that last weekend of June and would like to join, go to the Black Hills Bike Hub website or FaceBook page for more information. 

Kudos to the Black Hills Bike Hub for their efforts to break down barriers to entry, mentor newcomers, and build our bikepacking community. Hope to see you out there.

Perry Jewett, Heather Heynen, Craig Groseth, Michelle Stampe, Jason Thorman.
2024 BHBH Bikepacking 101 panelists.
(image by Weston Neiffer)

Here is some of Eric Clayborn's work to help make Bikepacking 101 happen.

And finally, a little Johnny Nash to brighten the day.

I Can See Clearly Now, Johnny Nash (1972).

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