I really miss my rigid 29er Cannondale Trail that was stolen last year. This is a story of my second bikepacking experience, back when I was living on Dartmoor and the bike had just been modified with Alfine hub gears…
I really enjoyed my first bikepacking adventure and promised myself that I would plan more of these once I was settled on Dartmoor. It was a soggy winter but spring had arrived and the time was right, and I had been planning…
You see, although my first improvised bikepacking experiment was great, to be true to the spirit of bikepacking is to let the bike take the strain. So gone was the big rucksack and instead I’d invested in a number of specialist Alpkit bike luggage products to carry my overnight equipment. I’d also changed bikes since the first trip, and had a bespoke modified Cannondale rigid 29er, a bike that was definitely the ‘right tool for the job’.
So, it was time for a field test of the new set up and with the weather making a turn for the better there was no time like the present. Bags were stuffed, straps tensioned and buckles clicked then I found myself heading out onto the moors by night.
My ride out was glorious with a bright moon in a clear sky guiding my way. Even offroad I was riding without the need for my bike lights. It was to be the perfect night for it.
Arriving in silence at a sheltered clearing I decided that despite practising with my new tarp in the garden that afternoon, to put up my shelter would be to block my view of the stars. So I simply lay out my Alpkit Hunka bivvy bag with my air mattress and sleeping bag and that was camp sorted.
On my little stove I prepared a late supper, my favourite camp food cous cous enhanced with some fresh pepper and chorizo, and then a tea before settling down for a good night’s sleep in my moonlit bedroom. Did I mention how bright the night was?
It is always exciting to wake up in the middle of an adventure but there is definitely something special about waking from a bivvy, immediately immersed in your environment. A warming hot chocolate whilst watching the sunlight slowly slide across the landscape and then I was up and packing. In no time at all I had left no trace but tyre treads and was on the trail again.
A glorious morning for a ride in any circumstance, I had a fixed grin throughout my extended ride home. I picked one of my favourite local rocky descent to test the various straps and buckles holding my overnight kit in place but the bike packing luggage simply shrugged off the jarring and vibration with ease. I won’t exagerate and say you don’t notice the kit is there, but it is fair to say that it doesn’t make the ride any less engaging or enjoyable.
I arrived home exhillarated and ready for more; bike packing will play a big part in future adventures…