Monday, 19 January 2015

Misadventure with a tarp and a bike...

The weather has been typically Shetlandic for some time now, but I had hope of a weather window at the weekend. Well if I looked around at various forecasts I hoped one of them might be right in the way I wanted it!

In the hope that it did work out I spent some time going through my camping gear for a set up that would work on the bike. Santa had brought me a couple of Alpkit items, namely a seat bag called a Koala and a top tube bag called a Fuel Pod, along with a lightweight down jacket.

Here's a video of the gear I proposed to use for my first bikepacking overnighter...

At the same time Clare decided the time was right to decorate the kitchen. I hate the smell of paint, decorating and the general upheaval, so with the faintest of hopes of less wind and rain I set off for a short ride to Trondra and a spot on the south side of the island that has a nice outlook.

It rained on and off as I cycled there and the wind had dropped considerably so it was looking promising. Unfortunately with the amount of rain, sleet and hail we've been having, combined with the naturally spongy ground up here everywhere was totally sodden. Not surprising, or unexpected, though I liked to hope for the best.

Here's camp Kev. The first of 2015...

The DD 3m tarp has the front wheel supporting it across at the back and the handle bars at the front. I put a bag under the forks to protect the brake callipers a bit...

You can see the setup better in the video below.

As it turned out I was home sooner than planned. I hadn't really felt like any tea, but ate one of the dehydrated meals and a cuppa to have something warm in me. I was only 5c, but with the very cold damp it felt a lot colder.

Sadly not long later as I lay in my sleeping bag listening to Liza Tarbuck on Radio 2 I had the urgent need to race to get shoes on and get out. Out into the now northerly wind complete with sleet to bare my bottom. It wasn't pretty. Over the next hour this was a regular event and a close race at times.

Feeling awful and no longer enjoying my trip I decide to pack up quickly and head for the comforts of home. By now the northerly wind had picked up more. Something I'd expected, but I'd also planned to be in bed when it did. Anyway as fast as I could I splodged across the moor and cycled home in the dark into icy sleet and wind with the joys of another emergency pit stop before reaching home.

Here's a video of my trip...

I'm currently feeling pretty yucky with an upset stomach still and fluy head cold yuckiness going on. I'm glad I came home; I was obviously just coming down with something when I left. Also Sunday morning was pretty grim with more sleet and snow so it would have been a long cold wet night followed by the same to get home.

Still the tarp set up was good. Very low, but stable too. The Koala seat bag worked brilliantly despite me having it over filled. On the road there was enough clearance from the wheel, off road the odd rough bump had it brushing the wheel, but not much. It also proved totally waterproof. My home made pop can stove was a little gem too along with my candle box. So for all it was no wonderful night under the stars it wasn't a total waste of time. It was a gear test essentially anyway and the gear passed!

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