When I first started cycle touring, I followed the traditional approach of bike rack and panniers, with a bungie or two to hold my tent on with. My bike would weigh a ton, but I could carry everything I was prepared to haul around with me. I remember taking on the first leg of my round Britain ride........ As a woman who rides a 'small' bike and has a tendency to faff, I struggled to find a bike-packing saddle pack that worked for me.....
I'm still a little nervous if I'm honest about embarking on an off-road ultra that is approx 8 times in distance further than anything I have done so far in training. As someone who have never done this kind of thing before, one way to help me sort out my nerves has been to understand what the route is going to throw at me
From long distance road rider to off roader - what I’ve learned since making the transition. Forget everything you once knew about speed… 10 mph could be a very good average, but so can 6 mph. Some trails will be fast and exciting, whilst at other times you might be…..
Now that I had set myself on a course to complete the Great British Escapade I needed to get comfortable with off road riding. But with my Ribble CGR having a road set up, I needed to consider whether it was going to possible to make inexpensive changes to the bike to make it suitable, or if I would in fact be better off dusting off my old Specialized Rockhopper that had been languishing in the basement for years.
As I’ve started to enjoy getting off the beaten track, I’ve found myself yearning for a new challenge for the year. As someone who always get excited about hearing of new adventures, I can find myself quickly signed up for things without really thinking about just how far outside my comfort zone they are. This year has been no exception.......I started to wonder if I might be able to do an off road bike-packing race. I mean, come on, how hard could it be?
I had only gone a few miles, not even as far as Penrith, but it was clear I needed this energy boost early on. I should have tried to sleep for longer in the camper, but when you know that time is ebbing away, and you've woken up, something in your brain tells you that if you are awake then you should be moving forwards.