Adventures, Bikepacking, Cycling, Inspiration, Lifestyle, MTB, Wild Swimming

A Tale of Two Seasons…

It was the night before my birthday, a bright full moon, only a few days after the summer solstice and we were in the middle of a heatwave – could there be a better time for a cheeky bikepacking microadventure?

Once bitten, twice shy…

So I was super keen, but the last time I’d headed into the mountains, three months earlier, I’d come back down the following morning with my tail between my legs having had a rotten night.  I’d taken too little kit, wasn’t ready for the weather, picked a poor bivvy spot (in fact really should have taken the tent), ran out of water and had a chilly, uncomfortable night…

The Facebook post about last time I tried this…

Let’s Try that One Again…

So, I needed to do better, but this time the weather was on my side, I had a bit of time to pack and I wasn’t trying to take ‘fast and light’ to the limits.   I decided to take my tent (inner only) rather than the bivvy bag because I feared the bag may be a bit stuffy and wanted some protection from biting insects.  All packed, I set out from home with optimism and enjoyed a fabulous sunset and moonrise as I climbed ever higher onto the mountain.  It would be fair to say my timing was a bit out and more of the evening ride was in darkness than I’d planned but the moonlight was so bright that I only needed extra light in wooded areas.  The area I’d earmarked for a camp was perfect and I quickly set up my tent inner in the dark and fell into a fitful sleep.

Morning Glory…

What a scene to wake to!  The sunlight slowly crept into the bowl I was camped in, an area I shared with a handful of geese, a few sheep and an inviting little lake.  With a brew made, the tent down and drying off in the sun and my gear packed, it was time for a dip.  It is such a joy to combine bikepacking with wild swimming, and the location I’d chosen was ideal – a perfect birthday present to myself!

Back on Schedule…

But I had things to do, and could start to feel a grumble in my stomach, so it was time to dry off and crack on with the ride.  It is worth saying that the fully loaded Sonder Broken Road rides surprisingly well; sure you need to hit the low gears when the gradient steepens but it stays balanced and once on the flat or descending it holds its momentum well – best not to get in its way!  So I was in no hurry to get home and took a winding route into Abergavenny.  As I ordered a much deserved bacon sandwich it struck me that the whole time on the mountain I hadn’t seen a soul but here the highstreet was busy with people wandering aimlessly – oh, why?  Anyway, stomach satisfied I headed off to play tennis to the occasional strange looks.  Using a bike set up for load carrying as transport, what a novel idea…


Finally it was time to head home as my legs were getting tired – a couple of hours of cycling either side of 90 minutes of tennis will do that!  I arrived back, unpacked the bike but this time left the bikepacking bags in place to encourage me to get out on my next microadventure sooner rather than later…

Birthday Bikepacking Route
Birthday Bikepacking Route

For those who might be interested, the Strava file for this ride is here.

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1 thought on “A Tale of Two Seasons…”

  1. Pingback: Bikepacking Basics

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