Aaron Prasad: The Joy of Bikepacking

I came to cycling quite late in my life after following in the pedal strokes of a close friend who was touting the many joys and fitness benefits of his new favourite hobby. It sounded like a wonderful way to spend time outside, enjoy nature, see places, and spend time with others. So I grabbed a used road bike and started learning…mainly how not to fall over while clipped in. It took a few times.

Since then I’ve gone through several different iterations of my cycling setup, and seven separate steeds before discovering the wicked Montu Kopis, and the Montu philosophy: producing quality garments and bikes that reflect our characters as people, and to assist us in the enjoyment of experiencing the world. I have truly never enjoyed a buying experience so much as when I purchased my Kopis. Not only did I love the beautiful green frame (and how funky that would look with my custom wheelset with orange hubs) and the infinite mounting options that come standard on this build. And holy **** the thing is light.

As a rider, I will never lead the pack in terms of pace, but I do love going for long rides. I’ve learned that one of my favourite things in life is to start a bike ride in one place, and end in another. I also learned that this was an actual thing—bikepacking.

So I thought the best thing for me to do would be to do my first bikepacking trip in a different country. I ordered some gear, packed my bags and a gravel bike, and headed south to Colombia (a bucket list destination for me). I quickly learned what to do and what not to do on my 640km journey along the Caribbean coast, starting and ending in Cartegena.

I’ve also been lucky enough to spend a month in Cape Town, South Africa, where a different bike got me through my first 50km bike race and up and down the various peaks and bays there. It was some of the most incredible geography I’ve ever seen, and included a century trip to Cape Point.

All of this has led me to understand so much more about what I like and need in my bike: generous main triangle frame clearance (for small and large frame bags), lots of attachment points for mounts, fenders, extra bottles, fork cages/bags, and top tube accessories/bags if needed. As the team at Montu will tell you—or as anyone who knows me will tell you—I am an extremely difficult customer to please. I was astounded at how patiently and expertly they broke down all the details for me, including a full geometrical analysis comparing the Kopis to my previous bike, the Norco Search XR.

I also had a custom road wheelset made and I love that I can just swap out my adventure wheels for the road wheels on this frame. So even on this gravel frame with generous tire clearance, I can hit the pavement for a few hours usually to struggle up the local hell-hill, Scenic Caves Road, here in Collingwood, Ontario. That being said, I might give the Montu Osiris road frame a try in the future…you know, ‘cause it’s another bike.

I am incredibly excited to share my story here, and to see what I can accomplish with this new bikepacking/gravel bike in the coming seasons. I hope to be able to share many more experiences with my Kopis!

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