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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy - I'm an experienced at road touring and mountain biking, but not bikepacking. I've put together a kit for my mountain bike and want to try it out this summer.

For those of you who are experienced at bikepacking, I was wondering what would be a reasonable expectation for daily mileage when on single track. I'd expect mileage would depend on the condition of the trail, but I want to get an idea of how far I can expect to get in a day. I realize it will be less than on pavement or dirt roads, but I have no idea of what a reasonable distance would be.

Background -
I ride an average of 80 miles per day when touring on paved roads and have ridden as far as 167 miles in a day. My longest paved ride last summer was 115 miles.

When I mountain bike on single track, I typically ride 15-40 miles with about 1 to 3 hrs in the saddle.

Thanks.
 

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"...mileage would depend on the condition of the trail..." You nailed it. Prevailing wind and elevation are factors as well. I would not underestimate dirt/fire roads. I've struggled to get 20 in a day, and gotten over 60 without an all-out effort. If you routinely ride 40 miles in 3 hours, you'll kill it with a loaded bike and all day to ride.

Load that beast up and ride it. That's what shakedown rides are for, boss. Cheers...
 

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"...mileage would depend on the condition of the trail..." You nailed it. Prevailing wind and elevation are factors as well. I would not underestimate dirt/fire roads. I've struggled to get 20 in a day, and gotten over 60 without an all-out effort. If you routinely ride 40 miles in 3 hours, you'll kill it with a loaded bike and all day to ride.

Load that beast up and ride it. That's what shakedown rides are for, boss. Cheers...
Well said. Conditions are key. I am a recreational bikepacker and not a racer, so I am not generally riding super fast. I strive for 30-50 miles a day on average in an area with a good deal of climbing (assuming you actually have the whole day) but again, it depends on the conditions. 70-80 in a day is doable but about my limit as far as still having time to explore, take detours, take photos, maybe a nap and enjoy myself. I have ridden longer, but I like the roses and the smelling thereof. My time is about the same as you for my regular 35-40 mile weekend rides. I also figure, if I can ride 40 miles in 3 hours unloaded, I should certainly be able to ride that far loaded if I have all day.

Another way of looking at it is how fast you ride. Unloaded, I average about 13mph or so on flat singletrack. Loaded in the mountains I have been as slow as 5mph but I bank on 7mph when planning. If its flat, I increase to 10mph or so. I really just use these as estimates to figure out what time I need to be on the trail to reach a particular destination. I actually like getting to my camp spot a good deal before sundown so I can get off the bike, make camp and explore the area a little. Doesn't always work out that way, but its nice when it happens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for all the input! I really appreciate it!

I'm really looking forward to starting with a couple overnighters to troubleshoot and get used to the differences between road touring and bikepacking. I'll hopefully find time to a longer trip before the end of the season!
 

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I've said it for years: Not all miles are created equal.

Here in the central Cascades there's lots of 20-something-mile-rides that take pretty much all day even unloaded. I've tentatively put together a 36 mile day ride route I've been eyeing for years, and every guy that's ridden out there kinda blanches at it when I show them. They've ripped off 50+ mile days down in Bend no problem so... yeah... lol.

Shakedown cruise is where it's at! Handling a loaded bike on singletrack can be 'interesting', so get out there and experience it on terrain you're expecting to encounter on your big trip.
 

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Probably the most notible local example would be Ward, Spovegas, etc. trip through the Quilomene last year. I'll let the mighty Spove himself do the 'splainin'....

You may have noticed that the total distance we would be covering is just over 50 miles. In four days. Elevation profile notwithstanding, I couldn't imagine, at the outset, how a trip that averaged just 12-13 miles a day could be even moderately challenging. But I was intrigued by the scenery and the chance to get out and bikepack in some remote areas. I packed a book, so I would have something to do during all the downtime. Heh, heh, in 20/20 hindsight, what a fool I feel like, as I type the previous sentence.​
26InchSlicks: Colockum Quilomene Traverse - Introduction

Ward said that book was never cracked on the entire trip. :devil:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Probably the most notible local example would be Ward, Spovegas, etc. trip through the Quilomene last year. I'll let the mighty Spove himself do the 'splainin'....
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Ward said that book was never cracked on the entire trip. :devil:
Thanks for the link. I read through it and enjoyed the pictures. That elevation profile looks gnarly!
 

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I averaged a 4.1 mph moving speed (2.3 overall) in the 2013 AZT750. 300-330 miles singletrack out of 770. About 90k climbing? My time was 13d16h. The winner, Max Morris, avg. 6.0 moving speed and 3.7 mph overall. His time was 8d12h.

Those are real world numbers of ppl trying hard on hard trail. I would say that most touring bikepackers would have numbers looking like mine or worse over the course of a 3-5 day slog over trails. Max's numbers would take some real work to achieve. Is every singletrack loaded multi-day ride like the Arizona Trail? No, but it is a good example of what average speeds are all about. Typical racers ride and stop at about a 60/40 ratio. Touring folks usually reverse that trend.

Arizona Trail Race and AZT 300 2013 live tracker by trackleaders.com
 
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