My partner and I had a
n argument discussion about how to refer to our upcoming bicycling adventure through the Cascades, carrying everything we need to feed and shelter ourselves for one week – particularly to those who don’t know us. It was a good distraction from having to drive to and from Eugene for an appointment that could not be made in Corvallis – thank you kind neighbor who leant us your car so that we could do so without taking the entire day off work to get to Eugene and back. The discussion started as we passed by “Camping World” which seemed to sell RVs, or, as I prefer to call them, gorvs. “How can gorving and backpacking both be camping?” he asked.
Between our close friends, we call what we do bicycle camping, having given up on “bicycle touring” as evoking images of supported bicycle touring. What we do is not supported. But, realizing that car camping and gorving are both referred to as camping, I worried that bicycle camping may lead an uninitiated to believe that we drive our bikes to a campsite. Something I frequently see.
Thinking myself clever, I coined “bikepacking” since I see our recreation as the bicycle equivalent of backpacking. Of course, in retrospect, I was not so original. While I can’t remember hearing the term bikepacking, apparently someone was clever before myself. The boy complained that bikepacking sounds like you are going to a factory to box up our beloved two-wheeled friends. I tried to explain that that would be bike packing, not bikepacking; unconvincing. He started angling for his favored term: land-canoeing. He argues that, like whatever-you-call-what-we-do, a canoe carries the weight (just like a bicycle) and you propel it forward.