The Responsibility of Freedom

The Responsibility of Freedom Self-Reliance is Paramount

There’s no question that we mountain bikers are going farther on our bikes than ever before. The advent of modern suspension technology, lightweight frames, dropper posts and reliable brakes and tires has made it easier for us to venture higher into the mountains and wander deeper into places once considered downright crazy to explore by bike.

At the same time, advancements in bike-bag design have made it possible to pack ultra-lightly, stuffing the bare essentials into waterproof seat and handlebar bags compact enough to allow for unmitigated singletrack shredding on a fully loaded mountain bike. This, along with continued refinements in backcountry expedition gear, makes surviving in abject wilderness all the easier and compels many of us to roam inhospitable environments with unprecedented confidence.

Gone are the days when bulky panniers largely limited us to dirt roads and primitive doubletrack. What was once described as “extreme bike touring” has come to be known as “bikepacking,” and it is no longer considered a fringe activity for loners and lunatics. More people than ever before are taking their bikes into the wilds, from over-nighters near home to multi-day traverses of the planet’s tallest mountain ranges.

We’ve proven we can go almost anywhere on a bike—even to high-elevation zones without the slightest trace of a trail. Long the domain of backcountry skiers and snowboarders, rocky alpine ridgelines are now fair game for mountain bikers, with terms like “exploratory bikepacking” and “backcountry freeride” used to describe niche disciplines. The modern mountain bike is increasingly being viewed as the ultimate tool for adventure and freedom.

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