My ‘Bivi a month’ journey started off from my hospital bed. It was around midday on April 15th 2016, the drugs that had kept me happy were wearing off after the previous day’s operation, a burst appendix had led to a serious infection. I was 3 months into a new job, one where I returned home every night, after 20 years of hotels and driving long distances. Maybe it was the drugs or perhaps the prospect of a long recovery I suddenly thought … “if they can do it so can I”
In this instance ‘they’ are bikepackers and ‘it’ was the Bivi a Month challenge on the internet home of UK bikepacking http://bearbonesbikepacking.co.uk . I’d bivvied (which can include nights away in bothies) many times before but because of my mid-week away hotel life style, I found it difficult to get away at weekends on a regular basis.
So, there I was in my hospital bed, hours after a major operation, planning how I could do this each and every month. I spoke with my wife about it and we decided that the best option and one that would fit in around our home life, would be to head out on Friday nights and return back home on Saturdays. I’ve also found it best to try and do my ‘one a month’ as early in the month as possible; just in case the weather turns poor, because despite what they might say, even really hardened outdoor people don’t like the rain that much.
Since April 2016 I’ve bivvied on a tidal island and got wet feet racing the incoming tide, the Lake District on the now annual #JennRide and high up on the top of the local sand dunes. I’ve cycled to mid-Wales from England, endured (enjoyed) a ride to a Welsh bothy on the wettest day of the 2016 armed with nothing to start the fire with and I’ve walked to the local woods with my dog only to have him keep me awake with his barking at owls all night (he’s not coming again). I’ve slept for free in many places and opened my eyes to everything from industrial northern towns to the sea lapping at the beaches of Anglesey. There’s been tarps, tents and bothies where we’ve even been joined by a gang of Goth’s with flaming torches before midnight, I’ve bivied solo, with friends and with strangers who have become friends.
I’m lucky enough to have several Travers titanium bikes www.traversbikes.com to help me on my travels. They’re all different but each is fitted with Lauf forks www.laufforks.com and Brooks Cambium C17 saddles www.brooksengland.com which make for very comfortable travels. My light weight gear is carried on the bikes using WildCat bikepacking gear www.wildcatgear.co.uk
I use 3 bikes for my bikepacking trips depending on their length or the terrain. My CX/Adventure bike for local, tarmac or gravel rides, my fat bike for beach and sand dune bivvy riding and my 29er+, which is my main long distance, off road bikepacking bike. It features a dynamo hub which powers a KLite front light and a Rohloff hub in the rear wheel for its simplicity and low maintenance.
I have 2 more bivvies to do to complete my personal 12 out of 12 challenge, but as I’ve already got the worst months of January and February under my belt and with several events planned this year, plus a week-long Fat Biking trip to Iceland already booked up, I think I might as well carry on to complete my bivi a month challenge for all of 2017 as a continuation to the story.
Written by John Moore aka JohnClimber, with special thanks to Stuart, Meraid & Iola.
And here is the finished article with a direct link to it