Kapat Ikon
Ego Versus Nature - Bikepacking

One must have some passions…

I know this is a very controversial introduction, but family, work or school is not a passion, these are our facts that cover most of our lives. Passion belongs only to you and our life is an adventure that we compete with only ourselves.

True happiness is directly proportional to how accurately we blend our family, friends and business with our passions. All of these determine who you are. Those who stand out with their work in the blend are known as workaholics, those who stand out with their family are the mother / father of the year, those who stand out with their friends are buddies, and those who stand out with their passions are selfish. But those who make this blend well win the appreciation of everyone, as a leader who is self-confident, happy or successful. Balance in life is important and how well we live depends on this balance.

Except for my private life, my passion has always been activities that increase my adrenaline level. I have always been interested in extreme sports that compete with myself and always push my limits. As I exceeded my own limits, I realized that I got rid of my ego, made more successful decisions in my business life, got closer with my family and had better quality time with my friends. Actually, I think of these activities I do on weekends as a training to overcome the challenges that life poses to me during the week.

In recent years, I have begun to spend my remaining time, usually in nature, by taking long walks and camping by myself. This gave me the opportunity to get to know the nature and make a good friendship with it. Although I saw this as a sport in the early days, being a part of it without harming the nature later became my passion.

I decided to combine this passion with cycling to go longer distances, push the limits and increase physical difficulty. Of course, it is very important to choose the right bike and the right equipment to make this transition. We all buy bicycles for ourselves or for our children. When buying my first bike, I made a mistake just as anyone can make and bought an MTB (Mountain bike) recommended by a biker without doing the right research. These bicycles are not suitable for use in the city and on the road; they will tire you out a lot. MTB with their thick thread tires and suspension system are models to be used in mountainous areas. When I realized that I had difficulty in riding the mountain bike on the road and also there was not enough room to carry my materials, I started doing research to get the right bike.

While riding on the road, we sometimes come across people with their tights riding bicycles fast. These types of bicycles are ROAD bicycles. The purpose of such bicycles is performance. Since performance is important, these bikes are made of carbon or aluminum, and their weight has been reduced as much as possible. Since aerodynamics is very important, it is not very comfortable to use and if you are not considering performance, I would not recommend you to buy these bikes. But some people like their appearance and wish to buy such bicycles. Buying CYCLOCROSS bicycles, which have gained popularity in recent years, you can both enjoy the performance and enjoy them without suffering from back and hip pain.

If you just want to do sports and use it as a means of transportation in the city, then the right choice for you will be COMMUTE style bicycles. I highly recommend you choose these models of bicycles if you are interested in buying one for yourself and your children. In these models, comfort is at the forefront and by fitting a shopping bag, you can go shopping or have a picnic with your friends, and collect beautiful memories that you can share on social media.

If you start to enjoy cycling after a while and feel ready to camp on weekends, or believe that you have the time to explore the world, then TOURING style bicycles should be your choice. These bicycles made of light steel (chrome-molybdenum) are designed to allow you to carry loads as much as possible. Besides using materials that are easy to repair on long roads, suitable gear systems are also used  for you to pedal comfortably up to the hills you climb with a load. I recommend you to follow Gürkan Genç, who has been on the road for about 8 years. He is currently writing a true road story. (insta:gurkangencc)

And let’s talk about my passion: BIKEPACKING...

Unfortunately, I cannot translate it into Turkish because there is not yet a Turkish word equivalent to Bikepacking. The basic philosophy of Bikepacking is "LESS IS MORE". Less is more and it is enough to lead a happy life. Gravel style bicycles are used in bikepacking. We can think of these bikes as a mixture of road, tour and mountain bikes. In Bikepacking, our tours usually take between 2 and 5 days and we prefer pathways in nature as a route. Although we usually share beautiful images in photos, there is actually a great deal of physical challenge and pain in the background. You struggle with yourself in nature and try to be a part of it. Since the terrain is challenging to handle, you only take the necessary materials with you to reduce the weight. Your water is limited and you have to make use of clean water sources on your route with special filters. You get to learn to deal with these physical challenges after a while, but the main challenge is the time you spend with yourself.

When you hit the road and see the entrance to the forest, you fill with fear. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a forest full of dense trees, at the beginning of the pathway. You leave behind all your loved ones and the life you trust and are familiar with. You have a long unknown pathway you need to go on your own. As you get into nature, you begin to understand how small you really are in the universe, and as you realize the beauty around you, the fear in you is replaced with a passion to explore. When the air gets dark, the voice of nature becomes frightening. When you start your fire, you are safe again. Then you start thinking and chatting with yourself. As the conversation deepens, you face yourself. You are startled with a crack of wood coming behind you and look into the darkness without knowing what to see. When your pulse returns to normal, you realize that it's actually you that you're looking at in the darkness.

Well, we have created our life by imitating the lives of other people. We, who don’t act as we are, have created a huge black hole in our life in an effort to feel safe, maybe not to lose what we have or to improve our social status. It is time to go to bed; you throw a few more wood into your fire and enter into your tiny tent. With your aching bones as a result of the challenges you face all day while riding and falling off your bike and your legs scarred in the bushes, you lie down on the ground and look up at the sky. Although the stars, trees, moon and universe are so big, the narrow tent is as cramped as our own lives. Now, the sounds you hear around do not scare you, nor the sores on your body hurt... It is the moment when you make peace with yourself. When you realize that you can endure pain without anyone’s help, you will hug yourself and sleep peacefully. The best moment of Bikepacking is the pleasure of success when you complete your route. Now, you feel ready for any challenges that you may encounter during the week.

The biggest obstacle we face in life is the limits we create. Exceeding these limits requires courage, strength, and resistance to pain. If we want to be successful or if we want to be role models for our loved ones and our children, we must first defeat ourselves.

Keep in mind that we still remember the great leaders not for their rhetoric but for what they have achieved.



Executive Director - Aktaş North America

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