My manifesto for Leave No Trace bikepacking

Getting to the ride by train

Many of us who regularly take to the mountains and wildernesses of the planet will be familiar with the Leave No Trace ethos – basically respect the landscape, take your rubbish home, don’t go to the toilet near water sources, and bury your poop (or pack it out). However like household recycling this only represents a very small part of my environmental footprint as a bikepacker and outdoor lover – what about the travel to and from our trips?
This manifesto will propose a more holistic Leave No Trace approach to the whole trip, from the moment I leave my front door to the moment I step back in.
We don’t own a car, we haven’t had a car in our household since March 2012. Before that I ran my photography business with business travel using public transport and folding bike. We still use vehicles, hiring cars or vans for trips, moving house, the odd holiday, it’s just not something we need to own any more. We are not city dwellers now either, living far from the city centre up a country road that is a walk even to the nearest bus stop.
I wouldn’t say I was against personal vehicles, some people definetely need them for the whole or part of their lives. Hoewever the whole concept of an internal combustion engine that damages the environment driven by people who are fallible and likely to cause accidents, often with a single occupant, is just very last century. Plus driving is a total waste of time. Negatives aside what I want to do is have more fun, more adventure, more free time whilst minimising my impact on the planet.

The train riaders manifesto

A train riader (sic) is someone who goes adventure raiding on their bike using a train to get to the main ride. This is the personal manifesto that I follow to further reduce the impact of my adventures on the planet.

I’ve been running this train raid and ride strategy for many years using a combination of bikes dependent on the trip. Folding bike with trailer, mtb/fat with the newer bikepacking luggage, commuter with a rucsac. I’ve never been disappointed with the outcome. It’s sometimes harder at the time, it’s always paid dividents longer term improving my fitness and skills. My furthest ride from house to a train station was 16miles or about 1 hours ride on a loaded bike.

That’s it! More fun, more time, more adventure, less money spent, more fitness, better bike skills, less to go wrong on the Big Adventure, less harm to Gaia!

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