Travel Trend: Bikepacking
One of the best parts of traveling is experiencing the beauty of the great outdoors, and luckily you don’t need to plan an expensive trip abroad to do just that. The emerging travel trend of bikepacking combines mountain biking with multi-day backcountry camping to create a highly customizable experience for outdoor enthusiasts.
It allows travelers to create their own route, ride on the roads less traveled, and explore stunning locations, all with just a bike, a map, and the essential camping gear packed in a bike-specific soft bag. The possibilities are endless with bikepacking, whether travelers choose to stay close to home with a 20 to 50-mile overnight trip or spend an entire week exploring nature. This guide will cover what this emerging trend entails and how outdoor tour and activity companies can tailor their offerings for bikepackers and similar travel styles like backpacking.
What is Bikepacking?
Bikepacking adventures are a fun alternative to backpacking that allow explorers to cover up to three times more distance than they would on foot. Bikepacking can take place on state parks, forest services roads, Rails-to-Trails corridors, singletrack trails, dirt roads, and other trails that allow riders to soak in the scenery on a custom adventure. This already growing trend will only become more popular, as it offers an opportunity to explore new destinations without having to get on a plane or stay in a hotel. As thrill-seekers look to get outside and explore this summer, bikepacking is a great alternative that can be done locally or can even be combined with a road trip.
As this trend continues to grow, cycling and outdoor businesses can tailor their offerings to attract bikepackers who are looking for bike and gear rentals, custom routes, and more. Here are some tips for these types of businesses to prepare for this trend and attract bikepackers.
Offer Long-Term Rentals
If you’re already offering mountain bike rentals, biking gear rentals, or camping gear rentals, consider offering flexible rental lengths to accommodate bikepackers. While there is no standard time frame for backpacking trips — part of the allure of this type of travel is how adaptable it is to each person’s interests — you can assume bikepackers will need rentals at least for a couple days and up to a week or two. Offering long-term rentals that go beyond just a few hours or a day can help you attract travelers in your area who are preparing to embark on a bikepacking adventure.
Create Custom Routes and Maps
Your knowledge of the area where you operate can really come in handy for bikepackers who are visiting for the first time and want to know the best routes and trails for their excursion. If you’re a pro on your area’s trails, consider creating custom routes and maps for your customers and share your insider tips to help them get the most of their bikepacking trip. Whether it’s through an add-on to the rentals you offer, a guided bikepacking trip, or a customized GPS tour, you can use your expertise to help your customers enjoy an unforgettable adventure.
Include Bikepacking Keywords on Your Website
If your tours or activities are already perfectly geared toward bikepackers, make sure this is obvious from looking at your website! You want potential customers to easily find your website when they’re searching for bikepacking routes or gear rentals through search engines, so be sure to include appropriate keywords on any pages on your website where they’re highly relevant. For example, if you’re following tips #1 or #2 with bikepackers in mind, be sure to include copy such as “gear rentals for bikepackers” or “custom routes for bikepacking in [your area].” Do a little keyword research to find the most relevant keywords for your business and location. Just a couple of updates to your copy can help improve your SEO, make your website easier to find, and make it clear to bikepackers that yours is the right company for them.
Write Some Bikepacking Blog Posts
Another great way to boost your SEO for bikepacking searches is to write some related content for your blog. If you have a wealth of knowledge about trails in your area or are an avid cyclist, camper, or bikepacker yourself, blogging is a perfect opportunity to share your knowledge and attract new customers who are looking for what you have to offer. You can start by doing some keyword research to see what people are searching for, and you can also get some topic inspiration from speaking to your customers or your tour guides. There are comprehensive websites like https://bikepacking.com/ that already have a vast library of general content on the topic, but your local perspective can be extremely useful for bikepackers looking to explore your area. Here are some topic ideas to get your inspired:
- A beginner’s guide to bikepacking in [your area]
- Bikepacking routes in [your area] for every type of explorer
- What to pack for a bikepacking trip in [your area]
- Sites you can’t miss on a bikepacking trip in [your area]
- The best campsites for bikepackers in [your area]
Once you get started with blogging, you’re sure to come up with all sorts of great topics to write about. Just think of what you would want to know when exploring your destination, and be sure to stay in contact with readers through comments or social media to find out what they want to know.
Offer Luggage & Bike Storage Add-Ons
One way to set your business apart is by offering luggage and bike storage for travelers. Guests can purchase this add-on through your Dashboard ahead of time or at check-in. The best part about offering this service is that it’s convenient for all travelers, not just bikepackers. Families with strollers and gear and solo travelers with no place to leave their luggage are sure to appreciate this perk.
Travel is changing rapidly as we adapt to life during the pandemic, and trends like bikepacking are sure to endure afterward — the spirit of adventure is not going away anytime soon! As a tour or activity operator, it’s important to stay in the loop about new trends and find ways in which your business can adapt to provide what travelers want. If your business is already a perfect fit for bikepacking, try out a few of these tips to reach new customers! Discover more travel trends in our industry insights guides.