BPS 400: An Aussie Bikepacking Film (Video)
The BPS 400 is a scenic bikepacking route nestled away in a quiet area beyond Brisbane, Australia. This year, riders pushed through rain and peanut butter mud, and Limmel Co. was there documenting the entire thing. Watch the full-length 2022 BPS 400 video here, including a ride report from the route creator and a gallery of photos…
There’s something unique about bikepacking in Australia. The rugged and unpredictable terrain calls our adventurous spirit and sparks a primal need for freedom. Luckily, you don’t need to go far to escape everyday reality. A few hours of riding in any direction will lead to an unforgettable off-grid adventure.
I’m passionate about creating the ultimate bikepacking experience for adventurous people, but my true vision is to inspire more people to experience bikepacking themselves. Bikepackshop.com has hosted many rides, but as interest in the recent BPS 400 ride started to build, I had the idea to film the entire ride from start to finish and create a documentary of the trip—including the good, bad, and the ugly. I knew I couldn’t film it myself because I’d be riding, and my equipment was limited to an iPhone.
I stumbled across Harrison Candlin and Blake Gannon from Limmel Co, Aussie creatives who’ve been totally nailing the outdoor film space. I knew I wanted to work with them, and we soon got together and started making plans to document the BPS 400.
It turned out we all shared the same vision of making the BPS 400 adventure film much more than just a documentary of one bikepacking ride. We wanted to create a bikepacking movement down under. The question was how to make that happen. We hatched a plan to develop a series of videos to bring that vision to life.
After months of planning and much eager anticipation, the first day of filming rolled around. The chill vibe of the media crew from Limmel Co made the filming experience seamlessly blend into the whole adventure. They even (somehow) made a bunch of media novices look good in front of the camera!
The BPS 400 adventure film perfectly captures the way we were feeling and the vibe of the country landscape of South-East Queensland, Australia, an area just outside Brisbane. It reflects the vibe of bikepacking as seen through the eyes of five riders: Asher, Jake, Archie, Simon, and me.
On the first day, we started the ride from the picturesque and historical Brisbane Valley Rail Trail at Wulkuraka Station, just outside Ipswich. The ride started on a semi-remote dirt fire road, away from cars and the noise of the hustle-bustle we had just come from.
We could hear the whirring noise of a drone above us, filming our every move. Secretly, it was cool to have a drone following us. We felt like real actors. Later, we were blown away by the footage shot from that height; it was completely breathtaking. It shows how beautiful this rugged landscape is when seen from a different perspective.
Our group rode for a while, enjoying each other’s company and the scenery (while trying to outride the drone!). But then we endured an unfortunate stop-start to our momentum, caused by about half a dozen flat tyres over three hours. Luckily, we had loads of spare tubes.
After surviving the punctures, we arrived in a town called Esk, about 80 kilometers along the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail. There, the route makes a turn onto Esk-Crows Nest Road and through Maria Creek Road, Anduramba, and Nukinenda. This section was so remote that it had no internet service, no people, and absolutely no help if we needed it. It was surreal to be so isolated without the ability to contact anyone outside our small group.
As we continued on, we found that this part of the route was deceptively hilly, with a huge climb (resembling a wall) to finish off the last 10-kilometre roll into our first-night campspot at Emu Creek. We arrived late and tired, but nothing would stop us from cooking up a delicious stir fry for dinner and downing some well-earned beers.
We woke up on day two and noticed some light rain. In fact, it had been raining throughout the night. We checked the forecasts, and unfortunately a lot more was coming our way over the next few hours. A late start put us behind schedule, but the scenery was way too good not to enjoy.
We finally left camp and rode straight into a 300-metre vertical climb. Needless to say, this would normally be an awful way to start a ride! However, we were cold, wet, and desperately needed to warm up. So, a climb ticked all the boxes and got our bodies warm quite quickly.
We then encountered rain. Lots of it. In fact, the unrelenting rain caused a change of plans for day two. What was meant to be a campout in the small town of Jimna became a race to reach a closer town called Linville by sunset. The conditions were far from ideal, and after battling the thick sloppy mud for hours, we were desperate for a warm meal and hot shower at the Linville Hotel.
But as fate would have it, by the time we arrived in Linville, the sun had already set, and we couldn’t find a dry spot to camp anywhere. It was freezing cold and weren’t keen for the night ahead. It’s amazing how creative people become when they have limited options! We pitched up under a picnic table that conveniently had a large roof. My sleeping bag was still wet from the night before, but luckily I’d packed my emergency bivvy, which I used as a liner in the sleeping bag to keep me dry (it worked!).
Looking back, day two was a low point for us. By about 10 a.m., we were soaked to the bone by the torrential rain and didn’t dry out until bedtime. As the day wore on, the mud became worse and made it increasingly difficult to ride up any gradient without slipping out. The effort was intense. Thankfully, we had waterproof bags that kept most of our other things dry.
I was struggling with a knee injury that progressively worsened after continuously pushing through the thick mud. What started off as a mild niggle, became super painful to walk on and excruciating to ride. I was feeling the mental struggle by the end of day two.
Surprisingly, I slept well during the night and recuperated some of my energy, but waking up on day three was still the hardest thing I’ve done in years. My knee was in a bad way, swollen and throbbing. I jumped on the bike to take off and when I started to ride, I could barely move, let alone ride up the slightest incline. Because the rest of the ride was going to be hilly and muddy, I unfortunately had to make the call to end early. It was a heartbreaking end to my BPS 400 experience.
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