Name: Loïc Olivier
Lives in: Gatineau, Qc
Best plan for an overnight bikepacking microadventure?
Keep it as close as possible to home.
Feeling uninspired? Open up Google Maps and figure out where you live. Do you notice a wooded area close by? A nature park? A wildlife reserve?
For me, it’s in Gatineau Park,1km away from home.
Favorite spot to spend a week away from town?
Leaving for a week is a bit hard these days. But I do get to take off for 3-4 days at a time.
I fell in love with Charlevoix last summer. It had been years since I’d last visited the area. It’s a stunning region and people are very friendly. And there’s a lot of steep hills up there, it’s awesome! Can’t wait to go back.
How do you plan your micro adventures? What and who inspires you?
A lot of people inspire me!
First off, the Ottawa Valley Bikepacking Collective, a loosely-formed group of bikepacking freaks who all learned of each other’s existence through Tall Tree Cycles, Ottawa’s best equipped bikepacking bike shop. I bikepack with these pirates most of the time! We now have a Facebook group (290 members and counting!) and I can arguably say that the group has become THE best source to discuss bikepacking routes in Western Quebec and Eastern Ontario.
I’m also super inspired by people who mix their bikepacking with other means of active transportation, like bikepacking and packrafting (some people call it bikerafting). Packrafts are small inflatable crafts that can fit in a backpack or that can be carried on your bike in a handlebar bag. Once inflated, you attach your bike to the raft’s bow and off you go from one end of a lake to the other, down a river or following tens of kilometres of shoreline. I’m always checking out Alpacka Rafts’ Instagram account. The company is based in Colorado and makes well-built and rugged boats that are used in crazy and crazier adventures all over the world.
Roman Dial and Mike Curiak have been mixing bikepacking and packrafting for years. Their blogs are gold mines, filled with useful information and fantastic pictures. I dream of doing some of the things these guys do each and every year.
I’m also inspired by a guy named Toni Lund, a Finnish bikepacker with sisu who fully lives his northernness. He goes out on wintery S240s, in -20C temps, and sleeps in lean-tos in some of the national parks that he visits. His blog and his Instagram accounts are pretty cool.
What are some of the essential gear you carry on bikepacking trips?
I’m still figuring it all out (lots of trial and error) but I always have a bike repair kit, a mini first aid kit, a buff, sunscreen, a cycling cap, electrolyte tabs, peanut butter and camp booties.
When it comes to gear, are you a minimalist or do you favour comfort?
Weight doesn’t matter to me much. I’m more concerned about space. I’m not a tall guy and so I have limited storage space on my bike. If the item takes a lot of space, it has to be super useful or it’s staying home.
I have riding buddies on both end of the spectrum. It’s always entertaining to see what they bring with them on the trails!
Morning routine – Espresso or latte?
At home: double espresso. Short.
On the trail, I’ve tried Starbucks Via, Nespresso powdered espresso, brewed coffee… All good options as far as I’m concerned. Next time, I’ll try turkish coffee. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.
What’s the last microbrew you discovered?
I think I might be the last person to learn about IPA du Nord-Est! It’s an awesome New-England-style IPA, hazy, cloudy, opaque. It’s a stunning beer. If you see it in a store, grab a bunch because if you don’t, someone else will!!