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We got to go bike camping in the Willamette Valley a couple weeks ago with our friends at Stumptown Coffee, Sellwood Cycle Repair, Portland Design Works and Limberlost. Jake, from Sellwood Cycle, took some amazing photos along the way and wrote up a really nice piece about it on their blog, you can find it here. What’s unique about this trip, one thing at least, is it was an overnighter, sometimes called a S24O or Sub 24-hour Overnight trip. Originally coined by Grant Petersen of Rivendell, it’s an awesome way to get out of town and refresh yourself without all the fuss a typical backpacking or bike touring trip would require. The trick really is the overnight, waking up in nature really changes your routine and perspective on the day. None of us were expecting to feel so fresh, especially after the climbing the day before.

I took along a GoPro and we put together this HD video of the trip.

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On this trip we had a number of people that were trying it for the first time. Steve from Stumptown reached out to some bike camping and outdoor brands to get some samples of products they felt were right for a couple of nights out and we each had the opportunity to test some different gear. We set up three friends with our new Metroride for the trip, typically sold as an urban commuter helmet, they found it worked just as well as a touring helmet thanks to its light weight, generous vents and adjustable fit. Folks also really liked the Fidlock magnetic buckle.

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What I love about it is how it really captures the essence of the overnighter. Riding out there on a beautiful, sunny afternoon, watching the sun set over Soter Vineyard, waking up at our campsite and, after making coffee every way imaginable, cruising the gravel back roads home. Take a look at the profile of the route and you’ll see, it wasn’t a flat ride at all, especially the return trip. But friends, new and old, made it all seem to fly by. We left Thursday at noon and were back in town Friday with time to squeeze a couple hours of work in before spending the weekend planning our next trip.

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Interested in giving it a try? Here are a few things to consider as you plan your first Overnighter:
– Select a destination. A lot of campgrounds have hiker/biker sites available these days and they’re often the best ones too!
– Pick a route that avoids busy roads wherever you can. We rode a mix of neighborhoods, country roads and old highways. You’ll probably want to keep it around 30-40 miles max.
– Pack just what you need for the night. Choose items that are lightweight and serve double duty when possible. I took a sleeping bag, sleeping mat, 1-person tent, stove, pot, spork, repair kit, mug, wool long underwear, rain shell and head lamp. This was all in a Carradice saddle bag.
– Don’t forget to eat. Fill your pockets with food and repackage dry goods like COFFEE, instant oatmeal, soups & fig newtons into baggies that are easy to stuff in between things in your bag and provide great energy. Check out the Snow Peak folding pour over coffee maker.
– Take a camera and a book. Take a sense of adventure. Take a friend. Take your time.

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How do you like to get away from it all? Have you tried bike camping? What were your experiences? Share your questions and comments below and thanks for reading.

All still photography courtesy of Jake Ryder/Sellwood Cycle Repair  

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