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.

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