My Son's First Bikepacking Micro Adventure.

My son has been quite keen to have a go at bike packing himself, ever since seeing the photos of my adventures. So we have been busy planning and plotting a micro adventure in the forests to the North of me. The first hurdle was trying to work out how to convert his bike to carry luggage, I tried bike packing style bags, followed by several different rear racks that I have in the cellar, until we finally found a rack that would fit the small frame. Then we fitted a set of old Ortleib panniers and took a few rides around the neighbourhood forests to check it would work. Once we had the logistics sorted, with the weather set fair this last weekend we made a plan.

Day One

Setting out in the warm sunshine, we were soon out of town and onto the quiet country lanes, passing fields of tall corn ready for harvest. A nice gentle start for 5km before plunging into the first gravel road.

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The gravel road then crosses the glider school runway and we wait patiently for the runway controller to beckon us across. The track bisects the middle of the runway and we rode over the steel cables that are lying ready to launch some more gliders into the skies. After clearing the runway we rested the bikes up against a tree and turned to watch the gliders launch, much to the joy of my son.

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After a couple more kilometres of quiet roads we leave the roads again and plunge into the forest. It's slow going at first as the path is rough and muddy in places. As is typical here, the surface is constantly changing over the next kilometres, from hard packed mud, to gravel, to sand. At times it's so soft that we are reduced to pushing the laden bikes as we sink too far into the ground to gain traction. We stop often for snacks and rest to pace ourselves and just enjoy being out here in the solitude of the forest.

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Nearly 20km in, we reach Anglesteichbeck and stop by the lake shore. We're on the edge of the Hiede, a large area of heather moorland, which is currently in full bloom and as such, teeming with hundreds of people out walking and enjoying the late summer sun. We soon head back onto the bikes and up onto the Teifental, then onwards, heading ever further North. After the Teifental the number of people drops off considerably and we are back on our own. As we hit 30km my son really starts to dip, he's put in a monumental effort and the track has started to get really rough. Distance is an abstract concept still and he can't see an end to the day, we slow to a crawl, just over 8km an hour. There's no where to pitch up in the tight forest and we increase the frequency of the breaks as I do my best to keep his spirits up. Slowly the kilometres tick by and eventually at 35km we arrive by the lake I'd been pondering wild camping by. We collapse down in happiness on the shore and take a breather, sadly though, it really is not good ground for a tent, no bother though, a short walk away is another lake and this one has a wonderful patch of ground by the lake.

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First job is to break out the cooker and cook a large bowl of food to bring our energy levels back up. We then spend a contented evening next to the lake relaxing and enjoying the solitude before throwing the tent up in the last of the evening light. As the moon rises we crawl into our sleeping bags and collapse into a deep sleep.

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OP
chriswoody

chriswoody

Guru
Location
Northern Germany
Day Two

The next day dawned clear without a cloud to be seen. The lake was shrouded in mist that was gently boiling off as the sun rose above the trees, a lovely sight to wake up to. I popped some water on to boil and we sat in the morning sun eating breakfast.

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We had a short walk around the area after breakfast, a small green frog sat on a rock bathing in the morning sun and the heather was laced with cobwebs, rendered visible by the morning dew. My son then got stuck into packing away his sleeping bag and helping me strike the tent. I then showed him how to sweep the site to make sure we'd left nothing but slightly flattened grass and then we headed off.

We had the luxury of the moors to ourselves at this time of the morning and we struck off through the heart of the moor, the air was alive with the hum of hundreds of bees enjoying the blooming heather.

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Like the previous day, the terrain under our wheels was ever changing, after the sand and dirt of the moor, we turned South and onto beautiful gravel roads heading down through the trees. I've ridden this track before, but there is something magical about this tunnel in the trees, I'm not sure what it is, but I love it. My son was also enchanted and loved the easier riding the gravel allowed, we flowed along chatting merrily in the morning sun.

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At the end of the track is a small car park adjacent to the road and the starting point for many peoples adventures onto the moorland. We stopped and ate a second breakfast here as cars pulled up and people laced boots or unloaded bikes from cars.

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We crossed the road here and continued South through the forest. The track had turned rough again and progress was slower, but we were in no rush and ambled along chatting beneath the canopy, just pleased to be out here on such a gorgeous day. Before too long we turned off onto a gravel fire road and the speed picked up again, a short downhill section provided much shouting of joy from my son as he tore along between the trees. So far we had been following a route I've ridden a number of times, but now we turned aside and took a short cut. I was a little unsure of how it would be, but it proved to be sublime, kilometre after kilometre of wonderful gravel fire road, weaving this way and that. Like yesterday we paused whenever my son felt he wanted a break and rode at his pace.

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As we drew close to the thirty kilometre mark, he again started to flag and we took a break under a sprawling old Oak tree. Some chocolate cookies I "found" in my bag revived the flagging spirits and a nearby information board had a map of the area. I showed him what we'd covered and how much was left. He's spirits revived, we set off again into the forest and the last kilometres towards home.

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5km from the house, we emerged from the forest and on to the same quiet country roads we'd traversed the day before. My son had described the ride as lolly popped shaped and now all we needed to do was go back down the "stick" towards home. 36km from the campsite and 71km in total, we rolled into the garden, dirty, tired, but elated. A wonderful weekend full of amazing memories and adventures and hopefully the first of many to come. I just need to plan my daughters first adventure now!
 
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RoMeR

Well-Known Member
My son has been quite keen to have a go at bike packing himself, ever since seeing the photos of my adventures. So we have been busy planning and plotting a micro adventure in the forests to the North of me. The first hurdle was trying to work out how to convert his bike to carry luggage, I tried bike packing style bags, followed by several different rear racks that I have in the cellar, until we finally found a rack that would fit the small frame. Then we fitted a set of old Ortleib panniers and took a few rides around the neighbourhood forests to check it would work. Once we had the logistics sorted, with the weather set fair this last weekend we made a plan.

Day One

Setting out in the warm sunshine, we were soon out of town and onto the quiet country lanes, passing fields of tall corn ready for harvest. A nice gentle start for 5km before plunging into the first gravel road.

View attachment 544584

The gravel road then crosses the glider school runway and we wait patiently for the runway controller to beckon us across. The track bisects the middle of the runway and we rode over the steel cables that are lying ready to launch some more gliders into the skies. After clearing the runway we rested the bikes up against a tree and turned to watch the gliders launch, much to the joy of my son.

View attachment 544586

After a couple more kilometres of quiet roads we leave the roads again and plunge into the forest. It's slow going at first as the path is rough and muddy in places. As is typical here, the surface is constantly changing over the next kilometres, from hard packed mud, to gravel, to sand. At times it's so soft that we are reduced to pushing the laden bikes as we sink too far into the ground to gain traction. We stop often for snacks and rest to pace ourselves and just enjoy being out here in the solitude of the forest.

View attachment 544590

View attachment 544591

View attachment 544592

Nearly 20km in, we reach Anglesteichbeck and stop by the lake shore. We're on the edge of the Hiede, a large area of heather moorland, which is currently in full bloom and as such, teeming with hundreds of people out walking and enjoying the late summer sun. We soon head back onto the bikes and up onto the Teifental, then onwards, heading ever further North. After the Teifental the number of people drops off considerably and we are back on our own. As we hit 30km my son really starts to dip, he's put in a monumental effort and the track has started to get really rough. Distance is an abstract concept still and he can't see an end to the day, we slow to a crawl, just over 8km an hour. There's no where to pitch up in the tight forest and we increase the frequency of the breaks as I do my best to keep his spirits up. Slowly the kilometres tick by and eventually at 35km we arrive by the lake I'd been pondering wild camping by. We collapse down in happiness on the shore and take a breather, sadly though, it really is not good ground for a tent, no bother though, a short walk away is another lake and this one has a wonderful patch of ground by the lake.

View attachment 544597

First job is to break out the cooker and cook a large bowl of food to bring our energy levels back up. We then spend a contented evening next to the lake relaxing and enjoying the solitude before throwing the tent up in the last of the evening light. As the moon rises we crawl into our sleeping bags and collapse into a deep sleep.

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Thanks for posting
 
OP
chriswoody

chriswoody

Guru
Location
Northern Germany
Nice. :smile:

But it looks like Touring to me.
Or possibley Cycle Camping if you want to be more specific.

(I've finally caught the allergy to the "Bikepacking" word - it's more infectious than CV19! )
Well to be fair, I was wondering what to title the thread! My bike was set up with bike packing bags and we we're traveling as light weight as possible given the circumstances. However, my son was using more traditional panniers and racks. We were somewhere in that middle ground were you could call it either really.

Whatever folk feel comfortable calling it, it was still a cracking adventure and hopefully he'll be thirsty for many more.
 

RoMeR

Well-Known Member
Well to be fair, I was wondering what to title the thread! My bike was set up with bike packing bags and we we're traveling as light weight as possible given the circumstances. However, my son was using more traditional panniers and racks. We were somewhere in that middle ground were you could call it either really.

Whatever folk feel comfortable calling it, it was still a cracking adventure and hopefully he'll be thirsty for many more.
I'd call it a adventure, sure he will want more in the future, small steps to start with. He could be the next Alistair Humphreys.
 
Not too long ago there was a craze for "24hour ride somewhere" adventures, with some catchy acronym. So basically a mini-tour with one night spent outside. It didn't seem too specific about luggage type (thank the lord), but did overlap a lot with the bikepacking zealots.
I liked it cos people could just set-off after work, or spend Sat/Sun (like Dad+son did here), whatever. (I don't think 24hours was too specific a requirement :P) A nice stepping stone to more commited self-sufficient touring.

"24SO"? something like that.
 
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OP
chriswoody

chriswoody

Guru
Location
Northern Germany
Blimey I've started something with the title! ^_^

Bike packing zealot, mmm I like the sound of that!

I've come from a mountaineering and sea kayaking background as well as having undertaken many a bike tour with full rack, panniers and the kitchen sink.

So the idea of ultralight weight cycle touring with low volume soft bags appeals to me. It means I can ride much easier off road and onto more technical terrain like my Slovenia trip earlier this summer. I can understand why folk like to call it bike packing to differentiate it from more traditional touring arrangements and think there's merits to both approaches, my bike will also allow both approaches, so I tend to pick whichever one suits the sort of tour I want to undertake.
 
I can understand why folk like to call it bike packing to differentiate it from more traditional touring arrangements and ...
But they are very often just riding on roads between hotels! Just with "lightweight aero" luggage!!!
If you don't believe me, look on Instagram :P

Basically, people want to be cool, and trad touring wasn't cool. So they need to use a cooler name. There was a thread about this last week ...
 
Ah lads and lassies,
A man takes his young son away on their first bike adventure (we can agree they were bikes, right? ^_^), they have a great time and the commentary is about the label to attach to the adventure????

There's a young girl waiting in the wings to join in the next time.....I really hope she's not wondering what to call it! ^_^
Get off your high horse donkey, Senor Hobbes! I think you'll find all the replies have been positive. Don't try to make something out of nothing :P
 
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