Advocacy Toolbox for Bikepackers

The collective power of individuals like you taking action and using your voices to advocate for decisions and changes that have the impact on the bikepacking experience and the landscapes that we ride through is a powerful tool.

You can use this Advocacy Toolbox for Bikepackers when issues or decisions arise that impact our community, trail access, or the landscapes through which we ride. These six tools are proven strategies for moving the needle in democratic political action.

They take anywhere from a minute to hours. Generally the ways to engage that take the most time have more impact and sway on law makers and officials, but research has shown that even small actions like commenting on social media can make a big impact.

The tools provided here are calling your elected official, writing to your elected official, visiting the lawmaker, writing a letter to the editor or OpEd, and using social media to support political action (slacktivism).

​For each tool we offer an estimated time investment, how that strategy works, tips for effective use of the tool, an example, and a photo of Hank the bikepacking pup modeling the advocacy strategy. Because who isn’t inspired to take action by that face?

Some of the talking points we use in these tools inlcude bikepacking-specific talking points gleaned our community surveys. Depending on the situation, it may be helpful to include a bit about bikepacking to give lawmakers context.

This project was made possible with support from our partners at:

Find Your Elected Officials

If you’re ready to act and wondering who your elected official is, here’s how to find your elected officials:

Get your lawmakers’ phone numbers at the national and state level by texting your zip code to 520-200-2223.

Call the congress switchboard 202-224-3121 to get connected with any of your representatives in D.C., or connect here:

Write Your Elected Official

Writing to your elected officials can be an impactful way to make your voice heard. The more time you take to personalize your letter, the more it will stand out and makes an impact. Handwritten or printed letters sent in the mail make your voice stand out more than an email, and an email makes more of an impact than a signature on a petition letter. Every identical letter that is signed is counted as one submitted opinion (even if it has hundreds of submissions or signatures).

An effective letter:

  • Is one page or less, specific to one topic, and courteous.
  • Identifies yourself and your address (lawmakers want to hear from their constituents).
  • Identifies the issue (including the specific bill if applicable) and the action you would like to be taken.
  • Includes a short personal story that relates your life or livelihood to your position on the issue.

Call Your Elected Official

Making a call to your state, local or nationally elected official is one of the most effective and efficient ways to use your voice and make it heard. Representatives are most concerned with what their voters want (so they will get re-elected), so calling your own representatives is most impactful.

What to remember when calling:

  • Be polite, even if you disagree with the stance the official has taken. ! Legislative staff receive dozens of calls each day from voters and gracious callers are better received.
  • Identify yourself, your zip code, and the issue you’re calling about. If you’re calling about a bill, include the bill number and your position with what vote (yes/no) you’re hoping the lawmaker will make.
  • Share a short personal story about how that bill and position impacts your life or livelihood where you live. Personal stories are what make a difference and stand out to be relayed onto the lawmakers.
  • Thank the lawmaker for their work and encourage them to hear your request.

Visit Your Elected Official

Taking the time to attend a townhall or schedule a meeting with an elected official will have the most compelling impact in using your voice to support a position on an issue. Whether at a town hall meeting or appointment with a staff member, identify yourself as a constituent, and share a concise statement about why you care about the issue and how you would like to see the lawmaker vote or act. Come prepared with a simple and concise question to ask.

What to remember about in-person meetings:

  • Town meetings can be found through your paper, your lawmaker’s website, or at
  • To schedule a meeting with your lawmaker, call the office and ask for the “scheduler” to set up an appointment. Keep trying if you don’t hear back.
  • A meeting will usually be with a staff member, which is just as important as meeting with the lawmaker.
  • Plan on being able to make your point in about ten minutes. Have a concise and specific request.
  • State your position and ask for the lawmaker’s position on the issue.
  • Include your personal relationship with the issue, share your position and if relevant, who in your community agrees with your position.

Write a LTE or OpEd

Lawmakers rely on newspapers to gauge public opinion on issues., so voicing your opinion in newspapers through a letter to the editor (LTEs) or an opinion editorial (OpEd) is an effective way to make your voice heard and opinion count.

​Effective LTEs are:

  • 200 words or less.
  • A timely response to a current issue.
  • Engaging . Make it urgent, include a brief personal connection to the issue, and one or two points.
  • End with a call to action for the readers.
  • Well written . Have a friend or family member edit your LTE for spelling and grammar.

Using Social Media

“Slacktivism” or supporting a political action through social media has become a easy and effective way to make your voice heard by lawmakers. Lawmakers use social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to gauge public opinion to help them prioritize what issues to engage with.

Ways to effectively engage on social media:

  • Comment on legislators page, posts or on posts about topics and tag your legislators.
  • Share your own story in a post about an issue, including a call to action for your viewers, and tag your legislators or land managers. These do not go unnoticed.
  • Start discussions with your online community about issues that matter to you to get your community engaged.

Talking Points

Who are bikepackers? What is bikepacking? What do bikepackers value? Because bikepacking is a relatively new and quickly growing disciple of cycling, talking points that generalize what the bikepacking community identifies as what bikepacking is, who bikepacks and why they bikepack can be helpful in building the support of elected officials and land managers. These talking points are generalizations gathered from surveying of the bikepacking community in 2020.

What is bikepacking?

  • Bikepacking is essentially backpacking on a bike – multi-day human-powered travel on trails and/or dirt roads
  • Popular bikepacking routes often link together existing trails, dirt roads, and limited sections of pavement to create weekend- to month-long adventures

Who are bikepackers?

Bikepackers range in age and income diversity, generally spanning 20-70 years old and <$25k to >$116k annual income. While the community is striving to increase the racial and gender diversity of the user-group, bikepackers are predominantly male and white, with just 10% of the surveyed population are BIPOC and 28% are female identifying or nonbinary.

Why do bikepackers bikepack?

Bikepackers primarily bikepack to become immersed in the outdoors and natural world through backcountry experiences and explore and connect with new landscapes and communities.

Bikepackers’ values:

  • Solitude, interacting with other non-motorized users, riding through undeveloped wildlands, and engaging with rural communities have been identified to enhance the experiences of bikepackers.
  • Interacting with OHVs, motorized traffic, noise from human activity, logging operations, mining/oil/gas operations, and dense community development have been identified by bikepackers as qualities of a route or trip that detract from the quality of experience while bikepacking.

Economic impact of bikepacking:

Economic benefits of outdoor recreation, trails, and bicycle tourism are substantial; dollars spent on multi-day cycling trips are significantly higher than those spent on day trips – cyclists contribute $94 per day to local economies.

  • Outdoor recreation accounts for approximately 2% of the United States’ GDP
  • Bicycle tourism in Oregon contributes $400 million to the state’s economy