Bikepacking: The new way to see the world

Andrew Munro 3 March 2017

shutterstock mountain bike 738x410

Bike travel insurance up 75% from 2014 to 2016.

Australians are a pretty fit bunch. More than 1.5 million Austrians cycle daily, and increasingly they’re going "bikepacking" for a change of scene.

This involves taking your bike with you as you hit overseas trails. It's a lot faster than hiking, combining scenery and thrills in a way that helps travellers see a lot more than they could if trekking on foot.

Bikepacking is taking off and world famous hiking trails are increasingly opening up for bikers, allowing you to cover a lot more ground and make the most of your time overseas.

Unsurprisingly, it’s getting popular. According to the Allianz Global Assistance team, the number of people taking out extra bike cover with travel insurance has risen by more than 75% from 2014 to 2016.

Some overseas trails are more popular than others. Top locations include:

  • Bikepacking Trans Germany, Germany: A 1,000 mile trail linking existing hiking paths.
  • The Seven Sisters Mountain Range, Norway: Exceptional terrain and outstanding scenery.
  • Colorado, USA: Where bikes take over when the snow clears.
  • Kananaskis Country, Canada: A tight collection of more than 20 trails throughout the parks system.

If you're after more inspiration check out TourRadar's bike tours for a collection of more than 600 bike tours in 82 different countries and live reviews from those who've been there.

What to know before you go

There's a reason bikepackers don't tend to travel without mountain biking cover.

Without bike cover you might not be covered for medical expenses that occur while cycling and almost certainly won’t be able to claim the cost of damages, theft and similar. When you’re taking on isolated trails in a foreign country, and your bike is your only mode of transport, you don’t want to take unnecessary chances.

The main caveat to watch out for is that cover generally doesn't apply to hired bicycles. You'll typically need to take your own bike with you, and seeing where Australians are going, this is just as well. You probably don’t want to ride an untested hired bicycle on some of these trails.

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Picture: Shutterstock

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