GET OUT THERE
AND DO WHAT SCARES YOU
BIKEPACKING WITH FELECIA MORAN
May 24th 2019
Felecia Moran grew up not far from New York City and recognized from an early age that she wanted nothing to do with the 60+ hour work week. She set out to hike the Pacific Crest Trail in 2013 after only one night of tent camping—in her entire life. Needless to say, thru-hiking the PCT was a dream come true for Felecia, and the beginning of many exciting outdoor adventures. She has since moved on to bikepacking and is preparing for her first long-distance trip on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route in August. We’re impressed by her moxy and recently took some time to talk with her about what it takes to try a new outdoor adventure.
Why is being outdoors so important to you?
I’ve always been an observer. From an early age, I saw the rat race and knew I didn’t want any part of it. What I did know was that I would travel the world. Boats, planes, and trains were expensive, and coming from a very humble upbringing I instead imagined myself walking across the world. When I thru-hiked the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail in 2013 I made my childhood dreams my reality and actually changed the course of the rest of my life. It cemented my personal belief that life wasn’t about making as much money as possible. My happiness was a direct extension of having life experiences in the outdoors. The simplicity of walking day in and day out, then to roll out my sleeping bag under the milky way each night made me strong physically and mentally. The entire experience taught me to live out of my comfort zone, which ultimately is where growth happens.
How did you decide to start bikepacking?
The idea started about a year ago. I’ve hiked 7,000 miles on various long distance trails and wanted a change of pace, quite literally. The transition from thru-hiker to bikepacker seems like an obvious evolution. In both sports, you push your physical limits day after day. You’re able to witness beauty that simply cannot be experienced when traveling by motorized vehicles. Living outside for extended periods of time, with only the items you can and wish to haul around gives new meaning to what you really need to be happy. Both have a way of bringing you back to what really matters; truly living. I like that I can travel greater distances in a shorter period of time with the bike, but still power my motion with my own two legs and plenty of blood, sweat, and tears.
Where are you headed next?
In August my partner and I will be mountain biking 3,000 miles from Jasper, Alberta to the Mexico/New Mexico border along the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR). This will be our first long distance bike packing endeavor. We plan to average 50-70 miles a day on America’s Backbone.
How did you and your partner meet?
We actually met three years ago thru-hiking on the Continental Divide Trail, the same corridor the GDMBR follows. We fell in love hiking 12 hours a day together for 4 months. It seems fitting to go back to ride the Divide together. This trip is our time to play, to let our souls and bodies alike the chance for growth and adventure. I’m a nanny by profession and I believe in the power of play and curiosity. We both work hard in order to carve out a few months each year that are devoted to adventure. There’s Felecia, the nanny living in Montana, and then there’s Dora the Explorer (my trail name), who spends her time jaunting down trails and sleeping in the dirt.
There’s a famous quote I live by, it goes,
What are your must-have bikepacking essentials?
Comfy bike shorts are a must! I also recommend a high-quality, warm sleeping bag for restful sleep. I always wear glasses so rocks, wind, and sun don’t get into my eyes.
What advice do you have for newbie bikepackers?
Bikepacking gear can get expensive! Don’t get too caught up in all the fancy gadgets. People successfully ride on $500 setups all the way up to $15,000 ones. Just find the essentials to make it work for you. And always make sure that bum is comfy!
Is there anything else you would like outdoor adventurers to know?
Do the stuff that scares you. I know it seems counterintuitive, but you won’t know what you’re capable of until you try, and push on when it gets uncomfortable. There’s nothing inherently special about me. I’m not a genetically gifted, heck I wouldn’t even call myself a real athlete. But I get myself outside. I try new sports and I don’t give up when it gets tough. And neither should you. Go get what you're after!