Mostly, this is random stories from my various trips as I collect them, but I've a wee backlog to get through too and those will pop up occasionally.

Feel free to leave comments.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Sometimes, you don't have to go far....

When I've been out on journeys with my bike and tent, I thought it was just off-road touring. Now, we have a whole new word for it..."Bikepacking". I have to admit, that sounds way more cool and exciting. The magazines and forums seem to be developing a taste for it and we are also seeing the emergence of new gear - particularly for load-carrying. Having thrown a few fits struggling with panniers through waste-deep heather, or those stupid stiles on the Speyside Way, it's good to see that someone is getting to grips with the problem.


One of the advantages of this kit is that many more bikes are suitable. No longer is load-carrying demanding rack mounts and a rigid bike. With this in mind, Mark has been getting his gear together and we decided it would be a good idea to do a "dry-run" somewhere local to see how it all works out. For me, I also wanted to try the Fatbike with a bit of weight on the bars and see how my new sleeping bag, mattress and stove/pan set all worked out.


Being typically 2012, we watched the planned date approaching under grey, leaden skies calculating just how wet we'd get on the way to our planned bivvy spot in the Pentlands. As it didn't seem to be drying out any, we had a last-minute change of plan, opting for what would likely be drier terrain out in East Lothian.


Saturday dawned and, miracle of miracles, it wasn't actually raining. In fact, it looked like May had decided to put in an appearance after all. I headed down to the shop to pick up Mark and discuss packing/carrying arrangements. While his Mojo certainly looked "awkward", we couldn't find a technical fault with what he'd achieved. Knowing here was no hurry, we set off and stopped at Aberlady for a drop of liquid refreshment. That was a rather pleasant start to a Saturday evening which then led on to a couple of photos and the start of what would be a very short ride round some of the coastline.  





We certainly got lucky with the weather. Beautiful blue skies and a lovely quiet bit of coastline made it feel like we were a long way from home.

It got cool as the sun set





This felt like a long way from home


I'd been all "Blue Peter" the day before, making a pot cosy. After boiling up some water, I added the pasta, did a quick re-boil and took the pot off the stove. 12 minutes later, the pasta was ready. That adds up to quite a saving in fuel cost and weight. The cosy also kept the pot warm as I was eating out of it.


Mark eating while I wait for my pasta to cook
Food consumer, the evening was spent chatting and drinking malt whisky - just for the warming effect you understand.


A lovely morning
I had a very comfy night. The Pacific Outdoor Elite sleeping mat was warm and comfy and I wasn't slipping off it, though I've bought some seam sealant to add some grip "dots". 

It was about 6.30 when the sun started warming the tent up and it got too warm for me to lie there in the sleeping bag. Mark snoozed on while I cooked and ate my breakfast. The poor soul hardly gets a lie-in these days, so it seemed such a shame to wake him :-)

It didn't take us long to re-pack everything and we set off for Falko in Gullane, the Fatbike tyres coping admirably with the sand, Mark having to push both up-and down-hill on occasion. It was a rather forlorn Mark and Colin though when we found Falko to be still closed. Not to be thwarted, we headed instead for Dobbies 2 for 1 breakfast. £6.00 for two full breakfasts, toast and tea/coffee. Now that's what adventure biking is all about!