My first Bike and Bivvy

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Silbury Hill Bivi Spot

I have been threatening to do this for ages and I eventually plucked up the courage to get out and do a solo bivvy camp out.

I didn’t go far, about an hour from home and had a return home plan via the A4 if need be, which I think would take me about 30 mins.  I had no bike lights but a pretty decent torch and gorilla tape that I could use to strap it to my bike helmet or bars.

My original plan was to head for the West Woods, but my disliking of strange noises in the night got the better of me and I thought the fewer rustling trees the better. This spot in a field next to Silbury Hill was sheltered from the rain that looked likely by a large tree and was low enough to be out of the wind.  At least I thought it was!

I made the shelter by using the top of the barbed wire as support and tied the corners with guy rope.  I pinned the other end to the ground with 2 tent pegs and laid my bike on it for good measure.

Shelter Kit List:

  • Tarpaulin – approx 3m by 2m from Amazon £8.00
  • Bivvy Bag – Mountain Warehouse approx £20-25
  • Paracord/guy rope – £5
  • Tent pegs x 4 (only used 2)

The long grass provided some cushion from the remarkably bumpy ground, but also scraped and scratched against the tarp all night spooking me every few minutes.

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Cosy – Tarp Shelter

I had bivvy bag and a 2 season sleeping bag from Mountain Warehouse and was plenty warm enough at night.

My bike bag was loaded with every usual spare, tools and first aid, as well as some extra layers and clothes in case I got wet and a variety of last minute food snatched from the cupboards at home.  Baked Beans, cuppa soup, tinned soup, few biscuits, cereal and tea bags.

I had 2 litres of water specifically for boiling for tea (on top of 2 that was in my hydration bladder) and about a half a pint of milk.

My cooking set up consisted of my Alpkit Jackal Brukit and smaller Kraku stove – the idea was to have the two so I didn’t have to worry about cleaning out the cooking one to boil water in for tea.  I’ve previously done a short review of the Kraku – check the link on my Youtube channel.  The Brukit might need some treatment also soon.

Thoughts and conclusions

This was my first bivvy and by default my first solo bivvy too – so what did I think? What would I do different next time?  Would there be a next time?

In the whole I enjoyed it once I settled (or got too tired to worry about the noises), and I’d love to do this again. I am now hoping for a warm September and looking for some other spots within an hours or so from home.

Sleep – I was perfectly comfortable and warm enough maybe by the end of September I’d need a warmer sleeping bag, but for a coolish August night this was perfect.

Shelter – The tarp fixed over the fence was ideal.  Maybe I could use something to protect it from the barbed wire (some old inner tube or something), but otherwise this was perfect.  I need to try some sort of free standing shelter next, maybe some poles are required.

Food – One night is easy. I took a tin of soup, a crusty roll, some biscuits and tea for the evening. And took a portion of cereal (mixed up some granola, choco pillows and raisens) and more tea and biscuits for breakfast.  I also had a couple of bananas and cereal bars.

Clothing – As it was August and I wasn’t far from home I had my riding shorts and jersey on. And i took a spare jersey, socks and a water proof – as well as a woolly hat.

Lighting – I could do with recommendations for a night light / lamp of some sort. I had a pretty decent mini torch with me and spare battery, but could have done with some sort of lantern.

Time for some research.

I’d be keen to hear any advice on your set up.

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Just go out will you!

Under the bridge
Under the bridge

Its great riding with your mates.

Banter, racing, taking photos, stopping at the cafe, motivating each other up the hill, egging each other over the drops, laughing and joking. But its also great to go out and do stuff on your own.

Your pace might be faster or slower than the group you ride with; your ideal choice of ride might be different also; or you might just like the solitude from time to time. If you are like me, with a busy family life and commitments, there are also times when your diary just doesn’t line up.

I use this time to explore and often find stuff even on my door step that’s fun, either for riding or for photos.  I love that I can do this at my pace without everyone waiting for me. It means I can change plans or direction when I want, cut the ride short or extend it without the gang having to vote on it.  I can also do silly things like talk to the camera and take endless selfies !

So the next time you miss the group ride or can go out Saturday and not Sunday, don’t sit at home being sad that they will be having fun without you – go out and have fun on your own…

Here’s two videos 6 months apart of me doing a little solo spin on my local trails.  Note the bridge in the first video….  This the same spot where I got some water and made a brew 6 months earlier in the second video.

Please Subscribe to my Youtube channel and comment on the videos – even if you don’t like them – comments and feedback are really useful!

Stove Shield Bargain from Amazon

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You may have seen my little video a few weeks ago featuring the Alpkit Mytimug and Kraku.

Gratuitous plug of previous blog post and YouTube video.

Well it was a little breezy so i set about looking for a cheap and light shield for the stove.

I eventually found this little one on Amazon. I am sure there are a 101 similar ones available but at £5.99 I figured I couldn’t see the point in shopping around.

It flat-packs down, as small as my iPhone 6 and weighs only 120g.

The 9 detachable aluminium panels are very flimsy but this is what makes it so light. As you can see its the perfect height for the Kraku stove and is ideal for keeping the breeze off and letting the stove do its thing unhindered.

You can detach the panels if you wanted to make it smaller – I could take 2 off to make this a snug fit – and the end pins are longer allowing you to fix the shield to the ground.

So for £5.99, barely any weight and no real space needed to carry this is ideal.

Any questions, comments or if you have an experience with a similar piece of kit please let me know below.

Pannier

I don’t often just post a link to a website.

I am not about re-blogging other people’s content.

So this is much more than that. This post is an invitation to you to go and view my favourite website this week (maybe that could be a new feature of the blog #thinks#), go and wonder at expertly written content, fantastic photographs and beautiful illustrations.

Pannier is a website (with a little shop) that’s all about touring and bikepacking and I just love it.

Start here with this informative page discussing a typical kit list for a bike adventure:
https://www.pannier.cc/prepare/full-unsupported-touring-setup-cycle-touring-kitlists

And then stay a while looking at some of the journal entries  and finally marvel at the maps! Explore LEJOG on this one:
https://routes.pannier.cc/route/lands-end-john-o-groats-west

 

Plan B

Bike Packing
Luckily my NS Bikes Surge has a Bear Warning System

B is for BikePacking

We had booked the “Introduction to Bikepacking” trip with MTB Guiding a few months ago and three of us from the relatively flatlands of Wiltshire were really excited to be going on our first over night bike ride.

Meeting Tom Hutton at the Elan Valley Visitor Center at 10am on Saturday we discussed the plan. Along with the ins and outs of a guided ride we had the added complications that camping would bring to the ride and the extra gear and precautions we would need to take.

When bike packing in the mountains you have to carry all your usual gear that you would take on a long bike ride as well as a long list of other items to support an overnight stay.

Continue reading “Plan B”