What I learn't from my 'shakedown' last night!

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by Bigtallfatbloke, 29 Jul 2007.

  1. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    :biggrin:Last night was 'shakedown' night. I decided to camp out at Kelvedon hatch and see if all my gear worked and if I needed to change anything before my trip...it's all part of the learning curve I am on.

    I couldn't have picked a better night to test the gear...it pissed own all night, heavy continuos and torrential driving rain from about 1pm to 6 am. The field ended up sodden and water was about an inch deep in places on the site, even though it is on a slight hill.

    The tent:

    I pitched the tent in the middle of the camp site close enough to a fence so i could lock up my bike. It took me about 10 minutes to 'get it up' (so to speak) and all was well...but the footprint I used was slightly to big and in the early hours the water started to seep through the ground sheet a little as it had collected on the footprint. Also the fly sheet held the deluge off ok, but I would not want to rely on it has the deluge continued for another day or two. The inner stayed 100% dry. I am however feeling the need to spray the outer and the groundsheet with some serious waterproofing of some kind....but I am unsure what to use:wacko:.

    I may also stab the footprint with my penknife to allow any sitting water to drain.

    I learn't not to push the tent pegs all the way into the ground as they were hard to get out in the morning. I learn't to count my pegs back into the bag.

    I learn't to use a full pannier to hold down the tent in the wind whilst pitching and packing.

    I learn't that my road shoes are bad on campsites under an inch of water...I needed crocs or flip flops, but ended up 'barefoot in the park'.

    I learn't that i cannot sleep well after two strong coffee...so i'll carry green tea from now on.

    I managed to cook my dinner and my breakfast on my Trangia 27 non stick with no problems. But it did need two fills of the burner to complete dinner ....bangers, beans and dumplings...with Garlic and chile...yummy....but I was glad of the two tent vents later that evening! I did feel the need to add a frying pan lid to my cook set...so I will cut one out of some heavy tin foil dishes (like ready made dinners sometimes come in)...either that or I will take a few sheets of tin foil.

    I learn't to pitch away from large groups and caravans...they make a lot of noise and their dogs bark too much.

    I learn't that I like having two lights in the tent, and that T light candles are homely under a wet fly sheet ( I was careful)

    I learn't that I want that palm sized telly for sure.

    I learn't not to pitch between the water supply and the bogs...people trip over the tent in the dark.

    I learn't that my ear plugs are not able to drown out the sound of the heavy rain on the tent

    I learn't that I probably will be investing in one of those air mattress thermo rest type thingamy bobs because folding my mat in half was not effective and it's difficult to keep flat.

    I learn't that camp sites dont sell meths and that the temptation to eat chocolate is overpowering when bored.

    ...BUT what I really learn't was that i am in fact THIN...SKINNY....a Veritable stick insect....compared to Caravanners!!! I was th ethinnest one on th esite I swear!...The mobile home brigagde were there in force, all the comforts of home...TV, sat TV, Fridges, Diniong table and chairs...you name it...But above all they had BEER...Crates of BEER...lots of CRATES of BEER....it was like a competion ...who could get fattest by drinking th emost beer, who had the most obnoxious beer belly (mostly the women would have won that competition), an dwho could shout loudest from one side of the field to the other at their equally strange friends...who rather than walk across the field insisted their loud friends telephone them!!

    I learn't that this species keeps Pit bull terriers with spiked collars presumably to guard their satellite tv and fridge...not to mention the BEER from strange looking cyclists in small tents!

    ...all in all a worthwhile experience....I shall apply th elearning gained and set off into oblivion a wiser man:biggrin:.
  2. Brock

    Brock Senior Member

    Hehe.. great stuff BTFB, I'm glad you had a worthwhile experience. They sure are a weird bunch those mobile homies, as are the people in caravans (or 'jammers' as the Isle of Wight ferry loaders call them). I've noticed the usual pass time on camp sites is to sit around staring at everyone else, presumably everyone thinking how strange everyone else is. I prefer to retreat to the local pub as soon as the tent is up myself.
  3. Fab Foodie

    Fab Foodie hanging-on in quiet desperation ...

    Good write-up BTFB, sounds like some good learnings.

    My No1 tip...don't camp in the UK! Abroad is always better...less Brits, less rain!

    Amused by your observation about the modern British caravanner, I've seen this breed too, chuffing great 4x4's to go with all the other ugliness too. Real modern pikey's...Chavavanners....

    Best to try and find smaller sites where there's no chav attractions, but agree it's not easy.

    Some 20 years ago, me and the prototype Mrs Foodie went on a 2 week cycle tour of Normandy and Brittany, basic cheapo ridge tent, Trangia, map and a few travellers cheques...probably one of our favourite holidays ever. Maybe when the kids are older and no-longer want to come with us, we'll do it again.

    Sounds like you're good to go!
  4. Brock

    Brock Senior Member

    'chavavanners' :thumbsup:
    I must admit, during the coverage of the awful flooding in Gloucestershire, the sight of a number of mobile homes being washed away did elicit a guilty smirk. I realise that probably makes me a bad person, sorry.
  5. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Miserable Old Bar Steward

    One of those was mine, last seen floating past Guernsey apparently ! :thumbsup:
  6. OP

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    ...I forgot to add...'Chavervanners'(:thumbsup:) have kids....thiese kids are very similar in appearance to the families pit bull terrier, and I found out also in character. These are easy to distinguish from the other kids on the site because this lot do not ride bikes. Their 'exercise' consists of rolling around the site between oversized caravan and the water and rubbish section, emptying endless used beer tins and Chinese take away wrappers into black bins. They then disappear into the chavervan to watch a dvd and eat crisps until they are disturbed (once again) by Mrs Charvervanner screaming at them to "Git orf yas fat arse and empty those f'kin' tins you lazy sod!"...at which point the door opens, and several choice words of abuse are hurled in the direction of Mrs Chavervaner...which in turn inspire Mr Chavervanner to retaliate in her "Defence like" with a range of expletives only the chavervanners on the othe rsid eof the field appear to comprehend and find amusing. This results is Mr Chavervanners mobile ringing to the tune of "land of hope and Glory" and various degrees of laughter as he informs his mate across the field that..."yeah that fck'n told the slob eh...lil' toerag ...time he lernt some fc'n respect!"

    ...any way.. look, what should/could I do to increase the waterproof qualities of my tent in such deluges??????
  7. Pleased to see you enjoyed your shakedown run. Sounds like my kind of luck.
  8. OP

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    ...I discovered a small tear in my groundsheet which probably accounts for the small aquatic intrusion...I have just learn't that puncture repair kits actually contain tent groundsheet repair pads...amazing
  9. OP

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    [QUOTESome 20 years ago, me and the prototype Mrs Foodie went on a 2 week cycle tour of Normandy][/QUOTE]

    I would like to do that. I have been to Normandy twice to see the the invasion beaches and the inland battlefields in the Falaise gap. Very, very, much worth a visit. I went once on my tod in a car and the other time on a guided tour over 5 days. Doing this on a bike would be perfect. I know Normandy has much to offer other than the WW2 thing as well, and a combination of th etwo, especially in summer has to be a winner.
  10. Yorkshireman

    Yorkshireman New Member

    That sounds like really good fun :thumbsup:
    You might not believe it (well you might looking at my avatar;)) Bigtallfatbloke, but it only seems but a few short years ago that caravan and camping were the province of genteel and charming people (if you ever see one of those old films of The Cyclist Special Train Excursion things you'll know what I mean). I tend to try to find the most remote site with the most basic facilities (if there's a 'Club House with Licenced Bar' I'm not stopping:smile:).
    It might pay you to have a look on here :-
    It's a site a lot like CC was before C+ 'over-ran' it:smile:, in fact you might recognise a name or two :thumbsup:.
  11. ufkacbln

    ufkacbln Guest


    Been there and made all the same mistakes!

    Talking about Chavs......

    Remember camping in Saxmundham in Suffolk (Yes - I know - close to Essex!)

    Asked a couple camping near us about the showers and the reply was......................

    "We've only been here a week so we haven't needed them yet"
  12. sloe

    sloe New Member

    Nice one, enjoyed reading that.

    But you don't need a telly - you need a book! Can recommend the ramblings of Bill Bryson.
  13. giant man

    giant man New Member

    Essex innit?
    LOL oh what fun eh?

    Don't we live in a wonderful county eh Bigtallfatbloke?
  14. Dayvo

    Dayvo Just passin' through

    Oi, steady on! Chavs and Essex men/women are completely different species! :thumbsup:
  15. col

    col Veteran

    (mostly the women would have won that competition),

    Great thread:laugh::thumbsup:
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