Sunday, 16 August 2015

Madventure - A micro adventure packed into a single day off

So I don't get too many days off, that can be a problem during the summer holidays with a young family.

This year, in my fifth year in the current shop, I decided to do something about it before the girls get to an age where they don't need me (I hope they always will, but I know there will be a period where they think they don't and that's almost certainly when they will need me most).

So this weeks "madventure" involved bikepacking. The girls were given a couple of dry bags on Monday night and instructions what to pack. I was particularly impressed when I came down to find a bag and a note to me with a checklist of what I had told them to pack, all ticked off and in the bag. Excellent work, kids more organised than me. CHECK!!

I was trying to get out of the shop bang on 5 to start our "madventure", but alas it was not to be. Late phone call with insurance brokers and at the very last minute, a cyclist in need meant that it was gone 6 before I got home. Final packing of the panniers and we were away just after 7. Then a quick phone call to return for the only bag I hadn't packed myself.

A quick stop at the chippy in Brynsiencyn for some Carb-loading and we were soon in Newborough. Pumped up the kids tyres and adjusted the seat heights, then fitted the panniers and tent onto the bike and we were off.

We blasted through the woods, the kids just had their little backpacks I was using the Thule Pack 'n' Pedal Racks on both front and rear and the Thule Adventure Panniers 26 litre on the rear and 16 litre on the front. I packed the Tent a Wild Country Coshee 3 on the deck of the rear carrier, and a rolled up Therm-a-rest on the front. Everything else fitted easily into the panniers, a pair of Exped Synmat UL sleeping mats, a pair of Vango Wilderness Junior sleeping bags, my own lightweight sleeping bag, two drybags with changes of clothes for the kids, a Black Diamond Voyager lantern, compact remote gas stove, double potset, mugs, some dehydrated meals and 4 litres of water in an Ortlieb Water Bag and a small teddy for the benefit of my youngest. It all fitted into the panniers with room to spare and onto the bike with surprising ease and only took a couple of hundred metres to get a feel for the new weight distribution. I was very impressed with the way that the system worked.

We rode through the woods and into darkness, until we reached the clearing that I had identified as our destination. The Wild Country Coshee 3 tent was quick and easy to pitch on my own, although the girls helped with pegging it out and we were soon tucked up inside.

I popped the stove on to make hot chocolate and was soon asked about the "chicken curry" that we were supposed to be having for dinner. I'd assumed that had gone by the by with the chip shop supper, but the girls had other plans. I added boiling water to the expedition foods Chicken Korma and left it to rehydrate. Soon all three of us were tucking into it and it went down very will with both the kids and I.

At around 6 am it started raining, but this didn't disturb the girls, so we slept in until well after 8.

Again I got the stove on and this time we had porridge with maple syrup and porridge with strawberries, both were very tasty, for me the strawberry probably had the edge.

We packed away all our kit and the tent relatively easily and were soon on our way again.

The only downside to wild camping here is that it was pretty much downhill all the way in from where we had parked, so I had to cajole the girls into keeping moving and on more than one occasion was informed that riding uphill "is not fun".  Perhaps we have a future client for Antur Stiniog??

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