The WRT has moved. If you're looking for info, entries or anything else bikepacking related try Bear Bones Bikepacking, the Bear Bones blog or the Bear Bones forum - ta.

Yea, yea, yea, but what is it?

The WRT is a 3 day and perhaps more importantly 2 night ride through and around mid Wales. You'll be expected to be self sufficient, carrying everything you need and sleeping out in or under whatever you think best. It's not elitist, entry is open to anyone who wants to try it. All the money raised by the WRT goes to the Wales Air Ambulance charity ... an organisation I hope you'll never need.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hoorah ... WRT 2011 is on!

That's right, the last Bank Holiday weekend in May will see Welsh Ride Thingers hitting the mountains of Mid Wales once more. I know it's a loooong way off yet but there's been a few eager folk in touch already, so I thought it only right to let everyone know the pain and suffering will continue next year!

No need to do anything rash, like get in touch. If you keep your eyes and ears open (here and Singletrack world would be good places) then you won't miss the boat ... which might be useful if the weathers anything like it was for the first day of last years WRT!

Monday, June 7, 2010

The 2010 WRT raised ...

Ok, we've just had a final tot up and I'm happy to say that the Wales air ambulance charity are now better off to the tune of £624. So, thank you to everyone who took part and a very large thank you to those people/companies that donated prizes ... you'd possibly be surprised how many companies either chose to ignore requests for help or made promises they wouldn't or couldn't deliver. The next time you're looking to spend some money please remember those people and companies who helped. As mountain bikers the air ambulance is something that could mean the difference between living to ride another day or not.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Feeling Lucky?

Firstly thank you to everyone who came and braved the weather on Saturday ... I hope Sunday and today made up for it. So, the raffle winners were:

167 John Large
119 Paul Crone
465 Alex Baker
137 Duncan Mellor
42 John Talbot
459 Owen
48 John Talbot
400 Amy
423Nick Gilling
251 Thom Bostock
277 Paul Pomfret
191 John Platt
411 Amy
393 Geoff Lever
303 Kev C
356 Dave Adamson
350 John Moore
432 Nick Gilling
309 Paul Leach
32 Taylor
69 Jamie Talbot
302 Kev C

There we go, some folk won more than once but that's the luck of the draw. If you're names down but had to leave before the draw we'll get your prizes in the post this week.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

and so it begins (nearly).

Well, it's nearly time for the 2010 WRT ... soon come round hasn't it. To those people who entered but for one reason or another aren't able to come, take a little consolation in the fact that you've still helped a very worthy cause. For all those who are coming remember to enjoy yourselves, you'll be riding through some fantastic country, be a shame to miss it with your head down and arse up!
See you all on Saturday and keep praying to the weather gods.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Not long now then

Well, in 2 weeks time it'll all be over. Hundreds of miles ridden, numerous stories to tell and a few hundred quid raised for a good cause ... I'm hoping for a tiny amount of sunburn too. There seems to be a few people concerned about their routes or lack of route. If anyone has got any real concerns feel free to get in touch and I should be able to put your mind at rest ... this can not be thought of as cheating as you can only cheat in a race. Remember there will be parts on everyones routes that are a bit of a slog, push, drag or perhaps even carry but it's all part of it. So, if the route you've planned looks like some kind of death march into the unknown ... don't worry you won't be marching alone!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Route planning.

If anyone is still planning their route and doesn't spend much time on the Singletrack forum then you might like this. allows you to plot routes on your computer amongst other things. I'll not pretend to fully understand everything the site is capable of as I'm much more a map and compass type fella but it would seem to be proving quite useful. There's a WRT thread running over on STW at present which should shed some more light on bikehike and other useful sites, you can find it be going here ...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I'm sure most people will have noticed that some of this years grid references pass close by bothies. They tend to be interesting places in great locations ... which is the main reason they're on the list. That doesn't mean that you can't use the odd one though.
If you are planning on staying in any bothies then (in my opinion) I think it's only reasonable to give something back to there upkeep. You can do this by joining the MBA who look after most of the bothies in the UK (there is a bothy on the list which isn't looked after by the MBA). It doesn't cost a lot to join and besides helping maintain these fantastic places you'll also get a magazine 6 times a year which is really very good.
If you've never been to a bothy then it would be well worth taking a trip to the MBA website  and have a look at the bothy code. Most of it is common sense / good manners but it won't do any harm to look.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Wanted - Geoff Lever and Alison Mitchlemore.

Well it would seem that everyone has got their grid references apart from a couple who's emails keep getting bounced back. The people in question are, Alison Mitchlemore and Geoff Lever. If anyone knows them can you either give them a copy of the pdf or ask them to email me with an email address that works ... ta.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Grid References are out!

Well that's it then, the grid references and map details for the 2010 Welsh Ride Thing have gone out this afternoon. If you're on the list but haven't had the email and pdf then firstly check your spam folder and if it isn't there then email me and we'll get it sorted.
So you've now got a month to work out a route, panic, do it again and so on and so forth. If you've never slept under the stars or ridden with a fully loaded bike then it might be worth having a trial run during the coming weeks too. Good Luck.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stoves ... again.

While in the bright lights of Newtown yesterday I happened to call into the sell everything shop for a quick look around their 'camping' section. I have to say I wasn't expecting to find anything of interest, just the usual selection of family camping stuff ... 3' thick air beds, sleeping bags the size of a cow and tents you'd need an HGV to shift. However, something caught my eye and I came away with a tiny little stove. Even though it says Gelert Blaze PZ Micro on the box it's actually the same stove that Outdoor Designs used to sell under the name Camp3. The only difference is that this cost me £12 and Outdoor Designs ones were £50!
The thing weighs under 90g (for those that are bothered) and the picture should show how big it is. Quality seems good and it even has piezo ignition and fold out titanium pan supports ... very posh. I haven't made a brew with it yet but I'll take it out into the mountains next week and give it a try. If you're in the market for a stove then I reckon you could do much worse than getting hold of one of these.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A backpack for backpack haters?

An incident a couple of years ago involving a deep rut, a separated shoulder and a 40 mile ride home left me with a dislike of carrying anything on my back when riding ... until 2 weeks ago. A week long job monitoring a DofE cycle expedition in the Brecon Beacons had me searching for a new waist pack - bum bag type thing, it had to be waterproof, lightweight and have enough capacity to carry a days worth of gear but I couldn't turn anything up so gave up looking. Whilst buying some new dry bags for the same trip I happened to spot the Gourdon dry bag / backpack hybrid things at Alpkit. I decided that for the money if I didn't like it I could just use it as a normal dry bag so ordered one.
I went for the smallest 20l one and it's great. Firstly, it weighs next to nothing and it's fully waterproof (as you'd expect a dry bag with straps to be) but it also has a bladder pocket, 2 mesh side pockets, an external bungee for lashing extra stuff on and a removable foam back stiffener which makes a handy seat. I used it again this weekend whilst doing a first aid course. Packed in it were, waterproof trousers, Montane winter weight jacket, 2l of water and my butties plus a few bits and bobs. There was still plenty of room to spare and joy of joys it didn't give my shoulder any grief!
I reckon if you're still pondering how best to carry your gear then you could do far worse than buying one of these. They're available in 20, 25 and 30l versions and various colours so there might be one to match your eyes. Go and have a look here and see for yourself. P.S I'm not just saying this and yes I did buy my own.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The List.

I wasn't going to bother with this but there seems to be a little confusion so here's a list of all those entered for this years WRT. If your names not there and you've sent a form off then email me and I'll look into it. If your names not on the list and you haven't sent a form off then sorry but it's too late.

Greg Richards - Alex Baker - Rebecca Baker - Ian Barrington - Paul Pomfret - Ian Nutt - Geoff Lever - Steven Bromley - Mike Thomas - Alison Mitchelmore - Amy Baron-Hall - Sam Good - William Good - Roger Baker - Adam Bournes - Kevin Roderick - James Shorten - Anja Fischbach - Patrick Adamson - Nicholas Goodwin - Tim Williams - David Gaule - Shaggy - Duncan Mellor - Taylor - Nick Gilling - Robert Langley - Philip Bowler - Nigel Bache - John Moore - Neil Parkes - David Adamson - Simon Battersby - Paul Smith - Paul Leach - Steven Brookfield - Lourdes Ordzco - Hamilton Carroll - Nik Skidmore - James Davenport - Thom Bostock - Alan Ready - Javier Martin - Ian Middleton - Owen Elson - Matthew Cockerham - Luke Ellis - Simon Jones - Paul Crone - Jamie Talbot - John Talbot - Helen Sherwood-Taylor - Freddie Platt - Dougal Platt - John Platt - John Large - David Lancaster - Lee Jones.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

SSEC10 ... Say hello if you're going.

If anyone is attending the European Single Speed Championships over the weekend of April 16th - 18th then come and say hello. I'll be riding a black Carver 69er with a fetching tartan saddle ... see you there.

Friday, April 2, 2010

If your names not on the list you're not coming in.

Enteries for the best non-race of the year closed on Wednesday night. I've counted up and it looks like we've 52 riders this year with a good mix of solo riders, pairs and groups. The hills and mountains in mid Wales are pretty quiet even over the bank holiday ... but something tells me they might not be so quiet at the end of May.
Everyone who entered will get the grid references and map details at the end of April. Those that aren't riding will have to wait until after the event to see where they didn't go.
Late enteries may be allowed but it'll hinge on what you try and bribe me with!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Road to nowhere!

There was always a slight concern about where everyone was going to park at this years WRT. Even though we're surrounded by a vast expanse of nothing, flat ground is at a premium. The only really viable area had what some might describe as a bog at the entry ... not good for cars.
You'll be glad to hear the problem should now be sorted with the building of our very own Appian Way. We now have a 40 yard raised road into the field that means 4x4 is now optional. It took 2 diggers and a rather large dumper all day Saturday to build it so I'm hoping it'll be well up to the job.

Monday, March 29, 2010

No torch required ... perhaps.

I've just realised that there will be a full moon on May 28th which with a bit of luck will mean lots of light on the nights of the 29th and 30th ... a real bonus if you're planning a late camp. The lack of any light pollution in the area should also mean lots of stars, so you could always throw away the compass and gps too, use the stars to navigate and become truly hardcore (obviously this isn't to be recommended if it's cloudy or in fact at all).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

AlpKit ... Purveyors of bivy goodness.

There can't be many people reading this that haven't heard of AlpKit. It seems that they've pretty much got everything you could want for nights out under the stars. Quality bivy bag at the right price, performance down sleeping bag for the price of a synthetic one, titanium cooking gear ... like I say, all your bivy essentials. The new Airlok XTra dry bags should be of great interest as they feature loops on the outside which allow them to be easily strapped to your bars / frame, etc ... the ultimate in lightweight baggage perhaps.
If you're in the market for equipment for the wrt or any other trip then pop over to have a look around and get yourself sorted.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

King of the swingers!

Last week saw me sleeping in a hammock for the first time. It's something I've meant to do for quite some time but never got round to it but an email from Taylor gave me the excuse I needed. It transpired that Taylor and family were spending a few days at their mansion over the other side of Mach' and Taylor was planning to ride back to Knighton ... a reverse Trans Cambrian. I wasn't going all the way to Knighton, instead I was going to do a there and back with mid point been where ever we got to on the first day.
So, Friday night saw us dragging a couple of far too heavy bikes through a forest high in the Welsh hills before setting up in a very small clearing. I have to say that my hammock was comfy, warm and water tight with the inclusion of my small tarp. Taylor was more comfy and certainly warmer due to him having a hammock underblanket and had it rained his much larger tarp would have protected half the Welsh sheep population too.
Taylor has kindly given me a kit list of what he was carrying and he's certainly left nothing to chance. Remember though we were expecting night temperatures well below freezing and there were still patches of snow within the forest so the bikes were pretty heavy (as my quad insertion strain will testify).


• Hammock                                     

• Merino top

• Trousers

• Socks

• Woolly hat

• Down Jacket

• Long sleeve shirt

• Inners

• Outers

• Socks

• Shoes

• Gloves

• Gilet

• Helmet

• Glasses

• Sleeves

• Rain jacket

• Gps

• Underquilt

• Tarp

• Top quilt

• Sleeping bag

• Stove/fuel

• Lahoon

• Dried food x2

• Bars

• Coffee

• Gps

• Spare batteries

• Maps

• Mapcase

• Compass

• Head torch

• Gerber knife

• Brufen

• Brake pads

• Water filter

• Tick twister

• Spot

• Bog roll

• Toothpaste/brush

kit list worked out fairly well although my chilli con carne for

breakfast was sh1te so I'd take a different one and I didn't need the

sleeping bag AND the top quilt so just one of those.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

New bars ... designed for bivi trips!

Strapping dry bags to your bars is becoming quite a trend but it does have a few problems. Having enough room on the bars between your controls can sometimes be an issue ... not anymore! These new, FFS bars from Welsh company Arsface have been designed to address that problem.
Manufactured from agricultural grade tree, they feature a full 4' 7" width, 7 degree back sweep and 12" rise. Designer and part time singer with the Irish folk trio, Da Tree Fellas, Jonny Knob said, 'these should be big enough to strap 32 dry bags and 7 spare tyres to and still have room spare, they're right good'. The back sweep puts your hands in a very relaxed position with minimal weight on your wrists. The design also allows for the bars to be 'flipped' which should make them suitable for 29ers too.
No price has been set yet but I am told they will be available in light oak, dark teak and pine. I'm lucky enough to have a pair on very short term test so I'll report back once I've ridden them.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Inspiration and ideas.

If you're reading this then it's a safe bet that you've some interest in either, off road cycling, bivvying and quite possibly both. If that is the case and you haven't just stumbled across this whilst looking for adult entertainment then these 2 books should interest you.
First we have, The Book Of The Bivvy. It contains everything you could possibly want to know about the art of kipping rough, we call bivvying. There's bivi history, choosing a bag, coping with rain, camp choice and something which should be of interest to anyone riding the WRT ... a chapter on crossing Pumlumon (or Plynlimon in English). I've had an old copy for 10 years or so and I still pick it up now. The one in the picture is the new edition and you'll have a chance to win a copy at the WRT. If you can't wait that long just pop over to Cicerone (the link's over there>) and order one, trust me you'll like it.
Next we have what should be considered the Bible of adventure cycling, The Adventure Cycle-Touring handbook. It doesn't matter whether your riding 30 miles and camping or riding from north to south America, this book will be useful and entertaining. Besides pretty much everything you could ever want to know from a practical point of view there are also chapters detailing other peoples adventures around the globe. If ever something was going to inspire you to pack up and pi$$ off this is it. A new edition is due out within the next month or so (again you'll have the chance to win a copy at the WRT) but you shouldn't really be waiting that long to read it ... so follow the link over there> and get a copy ordered. If you don't enjoy it then you have no adventure in your soul, it's nearly time for Eastenders and you dropped a stitch on your knitting!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Stove Wars ... A late entry.

Taylor called round to drop some stuff off last night and amongst everything was his Jet Boil stove. Not wanting to miss an opportunity I thought we'd give it a go. Now, these things have a fantastic reputation for fast boil times, efficiency and build quality so I was expecting it to give the present leader a good run for its money.
The test was carried out in the same way as before. It took a few minutes to put the thing together but I think I made hard work of it and a semi trained chimp would have been quicker. The only thing I didn't do was use a wind shield. It's pretty still out there and as Jet Boil seem to have thought of everything, I figured it doesn't come with a wind shield so doesn't need one. Fuel was a half full, 100 size gas canister. Within 30 seconds of lighting things were looking pretty impressive, after 2 minutes I had tiny bubbles forming ... not far off I thought. I was wrong. It took a further 4 minutes before it produced a 'rolling' boil, so 6 minutes total.
I don't know how much difference a windshield would have made but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have dropped the time vastly. Taylor assures me it is very efficient and I can vouch for the quality and design (it all packs away into its own mug / pot so is pretty compact and light) but I still can't help thinking it should have been quicker. We're out this weekend on an overnighter so I'll see how Taylor gets on with it. All I've got to do now is try and get it all packed away again ... where's your chimp when you need it?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

What tyres for ...

...the Welsh Ride Thing? I'll know we've become mainstream when I see that post heading on Singletrack World. This is just a little thank you to Singletrack really, after all the whole WRT came about because of a thread about the Great Divide. Chipps and the good folk helped us out with 'prizes' last year, which was great because no one else was bothered. The WRT also got a magazine feature in Singletrack too but I think the real stars there were the people who took part, took pictures and wrote about their experience. I believe we should be getting some goodies this year too. It's people like Singletrack that make things like the WRT possible so next time you sell something on the classifieds bung them a couple of quid or take out a subscription ... without them the mountain bike world might just become a little too sensible and besides who would you ask about tyres?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Carradice ... if it ain't broke

Carradice have been producing cycle luggage up in Lancashire for quite a while ... over 70 years in fact, so it's safe to say they know what they're doing. They're possibly most famous for their saddlebags, some members of the RSF are still using the same one more than 40 years on!
I think it's far to say that Carradice have perhaps been a little over looked by the mountainbike world but I think this'll change with the rising interest in off road touring ... many of their products are ideal for our purpose.
I have 2 saddle bags, a Super C (big one in pic) and a Barley. The Super C has a 23l capacity which means I can get pretty much everything required for an overnight trip in there, including a sleeping bag. The Barley is quite a bit smaller with a capacity of 7l, I tend to use it for guiding duties and day rides. You might be thinking, having all that hanging off the saddle must make the bike handle oddly - well it doesn't, you really don't notice the things there. Both have proved to be fully waterproof, the Super C even during a N to S Wales trip last August where it didn't stop raining for 4 days solid!
One really nice thing about them is the way they age. The more use and abuse they get the better they start to look, very much like a Brooks saddle. So if you're in the market for something to carry your gear go and have a look at the full range of stuff - it'll be something to leave to your grand kids!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

For those who don't like bivi bags.

Sometimes you don't want a bivi bag. Perhaps it's winter (or British summer time) and you're out for a few days, a bit more shelter might just be nice ... a little tent maybe?
The trouble with little tents is the price, the smaller and lighter they are the more they cost. A tent costing £100 could be classed as cheap. This on the other hand really is cheap (but not nasty). It's a 1 man, double skinned, lightweight tent and it costs under £30.
Every time I put this thing up I try and find fault but I can't. It's waterproof, doesn't suffer with condensation, has a bathtub ground-sheet, weighs 1.5kg and packs to 40 x 15 x 15cm or a bit less if you fight with it. If I was to be very critical I'd say, there isn't much porch area and it pitches inner first ... I suppose if you need a porch a small tarp could be used and you can't pitch it outer first so get over it!
Please don't think I've gone soft here, bivi bags are great but at this money I think there's always a place for something like this ... in summer! So, if you fancy one just type Gelert Solo into google and away you go.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Stove Test Shocker ... Results In.

 Comparisons are done and the results are in and I have to say it took me by surprise. From cold, each stove boiled enough water for 2 cups of tea, the water had to reach a steady rolling boil before been deemed hot enough. All 3 were run at full power or as near to as possible / sensible (that'll be a first).
All times are from a standing start but with fuel source in place, any priming, lighting or warming through are included in the time ... for the Kelly Kettle the time 
includes lighting the fire in the base!
• MSR Dragonfly petrol stove. Running on half full bottle of Coleman fuel with a fully pressurised fuel bottle. Stove was used with an aluminium windshield. TIME 6 minutes 53 seconds.
• Coleman Pocket stove. Running on a half full, small (100 size) propane / butane canister. Stove was also used with the windshield stolen from the MSR. TIME 5 minutes 26 seconds.
• 1 Pint Kelly Kettle. Running on some old bits of skirting board and an envelope from this mornings post. No windshield - it doesn't need it. TIME 4 minutes 37 seconds and remember that includes lighting it.

As I say quite a surprise. There's obviously a slight size penalty with the Kelly Kettle (although the weight is pretty even for all 3 when you take fuel into account) but on the plus side, you'll never run out of fuel, break it or lose a bit. You can cook on the Kettle too, just use the fire in the base with your pan or whatever on top. However, I think if I was just out for a night or 2 in the UK then I'd opt for a small gas stove over anything else. It's the lightest, smallest and cheapest of the 3 and waiting an extra 49 seconds for a brew won't kill you!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Will it be much longer?

Here's a picture of Taylor taken on last years WRT. I don't think I've ever seen anyone look quite so desperate for a brew, judging from the mist I guess it was taken first thing in the morning so perhaps he can be forgiven for the 1000 yard stare. Anyway looking at Taylor got me thinking about different stoves and just how quickly you can get a brew sorted. As soon as I get chance I'm going to put my anorak on and conduct a little test.
For anyone still with me and conscious ... I'll compare a small gas canister stove, a backpacking petrol stove and a Kelly Kettle and see how long each takes to boil enough water for 2 brews. You'll have to contain your excitement for a few days until I get round to it though and I promise to post pictures of all the burns I sustain.

Mini Review ... Snugpak Stratosphere

One of the drawbacks of some bivi bags is the hole in the top. If you're using a tarp then you don't have a problem. If not, then a bag you can fully enclose yourself in makes sense as it'll keep the rain and flying/biting things out. Whilst a fully enclosed bag will give good protection it may lead you to think you've died and are now trapped in a body bag ... step forward the hooped bivi. This one from Snugpak may offer the best of both worlds. It has 2 pre-bent aluminium poles which support the 'roof' giving a surprising amount of room above your head and chest so you feel far less trapped once inside. It takes around 2 minutes to erect from stuff sack to home sweet home. You can forsake the poles and use it just as a normal bivi bag if you want.
There are 2 midge proof vents, 1 at the front and 1 at the back, both with storm flaps. You have the option of leaving these open on clear nights but you can keep the midge nets in place if you're getting eaten alive. The vents also mean condensation shouldn't be an issue.
It's never going to be as light or pack as small as a more basic bag but that might be a sacrifice you're willing to make. It comes with 7 very heavy steel pegs which help to push the weight up to 1.3kg. Substitute these for something else and you should be looking at an all in weight of around 1.1kg. Put the poles somewhere else too and you should half the pack size. Quite a few hooped bivis exist but most are much more expensive, often over twice the price of the Snugpak. 
Is it any good though? I don't know yet, I'll give it a try and if I survive I'll report back.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Might be a bargain for someone.

Just happened to be looking at various websites as you do and came across some heavily discounted GoLite stuff at The Shangri-La shelters / tents are reduced quite heavily and are ideal for adventure cycling - can we call it that? Both the 2 and 3 are single skin with no floor but a floor or inner tent with floor can be added. From experience I can say that the 3 is pretty big with more than enough room for 2 with all your gear or even 3 big lads with a bit of squashing. Pack size is small and importantly they're light. Used on their own they're like a very posh, less draughty tarp. Add an inner and it becomes a real tent ... and no I'm not on commission.

Anyone fancy a practice?

This years grid references won't be released until the end of April but I thought I'd put up last years in case anyone fancies a dry run. That's not to say I expect to see you out in the hills ... but you might like a chance to work out a route on paper. It's surprising how long it can take and just how many options there are. Good luck.

Start SN871975












Reap what you sow?

There's quite alot of talk about how best to carry your gear on an overnight or multiday trip. Things are quite different when you're riding off road so panniers don't always seem the best solution. A frame bag, bar harness or seat post mounted carrying system would seem to be the hot ticket at the moment. Both Epic Designs and Carousel Design Works turn out some really nice stuff, much of it custom designed. Both companies are in the US though and the current state of the pound doesn't make them cheap.
 So, we've decided to hold a contest for the best homemade gear carrying system used for the Welsh Ride Thing ... we'll even have a prize for the winner. You don't need to make one of everything, one item will do fine. It must be your own work, no bribing the local knicker factory to knock you something up because that would be cheating.
There's plenty of inspiration on the internet, I'll give you these to get you started. - Possibly the most famous and widely used rackless systems. - There's some of their stuff in Singletrack issue 55. - Search the forums to see stuff people have made. - UK company who can supply all the materials you'll need