Introducing the Love Where You Ride Project from Bikepacking Roots


Introducing the Love Where You Ride Project from Bikepacking Roots

Bikepacking Roots (BPR) is excited to share the Love Where You Ride project. Recognizing that bikepackers traverse landscapes from those with wilderness qualities to rural communities to urban areas, we have created a set of Positive Impact Bikepacking practices that riders can apply to travels and racing. We also partnered with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics to adapt their standard Seven Principles specifically for bikepacking and adventure cycling.

We hope that from the grizzled veteran bikepacker to the fresh newbie, bikepackers of all experiences will join us in striving to ride and bikepack in a way that supports the landscapes, communities, and our future collective access for bikepacking.

The vision for what evolved into BPR began on a flight to the Patagonia region of South America. Eventual BPR founders Kurt Refsnider and myself were embarking on a self-designed dirt-focused bikepacking trip around northern Patagonia and an attempt at bikepacking the new long-distance trail known as the Huella Andina. It was 2015, and bikepacking was just starting to explode in popularity.

New bike bag brands were popping up in basements around the country at seemingly the same rate as new bikepacking races adding to the calendar. As participants in the ultra-endurance bikepacking race community and also experienced expeditionary bikepackers, we were witnessing the impact of a rapidly growing sport. It was common to hear of race routes crossing private lands and stories of bikepackers defecating in open spaces while leaving trash behind them in communities. At the same time, magazines, websites, and forums became incredibly helpful sources of how-to information for new bikepackers.

Kurt and I began scheming about what could be done to help guide the bikepacking community toward a future of being well informed, caring about the places we ride, travel to and the impact they have on that place, and having the skills and knowledge to conduct their bikepacking in a way that contributed to a positive outward-facing user group identity. Ultimately, we founded BPR as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2017 to, in part, foster a bikepacking community that advocates for where we ride, is recognized positively by communities, and has a respected voice at the table of land management and recreation discussions.

Since then, data from our annual Bikepacking Community Surveys have shown that aspiring and newer bikepackers commonly enter the sport without substantial previous experience in outdoor (and especially backcountry) recreation activities. As such, we see a great need and opportunity to help provide tools for our community to minimize negative impacts on the places we ride, and beyond that, strive to have positive impacts along the way.

Now, as we head into 2022, our team and community at Bikepacking Roots has grown. We represent 8,000 members and in October of this year, we hired our new Executive Director, Ally Johnson to lead us into the future of cultivating a positive bikepacker community. To learn more about the Love Where You Ride project and about each of these principles, please visit the BPR Love Where You Ride web page and follow the BPR #lovewhereyouride social media campaign.