How to inspire "Microadventures" - NOT

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Dave Barter
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How to inspire "Microadventures" - NOT

Post by Dave Barter »

I had a mini-twitter spat with Alistair Humphreys the other day about the phrase "microadventures". I'm massively suspicious of it as when you google short ride images you get shed loads of pictures of sunny days and families having the most amazing times with scrummy food and dolphins. If I'm frank it feels like a "brand" to me more than anything else that gear manufacturers can latch onto and make rucksacks for microadventures etc ..... It also feels a bit cosmopolitan, dare I say it, only something that Londoners can have.

But it's not fair to criticise unless you try. So I set out on Friday to try and have a short ride and add myself to the google image searches. Anyone that knows me, will immediately realise that I 100% failed. Which I failed in a spectacular fashion. It was properly sub standard out there and I mostly hated every minute of it. The best bit was getting home and forcing the largest cheese omelette in the world down my neck. There was not a single moment that fitted with brand "short ride", so do not watch this video if you want to be inspired. Only watch it to celebrate the fact that you are sat in the warm with nothing sat in the garage/sink/your pants festering away needing a clean. Also don't watch it if you are expecting fantastic scenes of flowing bikepacking or breathtaking scenery. What you are going to get is a moaning old f**cker chuntering on in a barely audible fashion in some properly poor show weather. To make it even more "Blair Witch" the camerawork is awful and I utterly could not be @rs3d to edit it.

Sometimes bikepacking is properly poor show and I feel I need the poor show weekends as much as the great ones to make me realise that you cannot pigeonhole or brand what we do. You can try and put it on a postcard but the reality will always "have you " if you set out expecting it to be all ginger beer, beards and campfires with whiskey.

Sorry about the rant and sorry for offending any microadventurers.

Here's the film, the challenge is to make it to the end https://vimeo.com/253130175
Last edited by Dave Barter on Sun Jan 28, 2018 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to inspire "Microadventures" - NOT

Post by ScotRoutes »

Alistair was the first person I was aware of that seemed to be building a brand from something that many folk had been doing for ages. Some of his stuff is really good and I know folk who have been inspired as a result. I think you're right in that it has a certain metropolitan bias. I'm sure he posted something a day or two ago drawing concentric circles around your house on a map (starting at 1 mile) and then visiting all the streets in each circle. A bit like the Veloviewer squares thing I guess. It did occur to me that he had a certain assumption that folk had lots of streets with a mile or so of them, but I guess the folk that do maybe need more encouragement as the "barriers" to enjoying the outdoors are higher.

FWIW I'm still not that comfortable with the "development" and publication of supposed bikepacking routes all over Scotland but I guess that might just be jealousy at someone making a living out of one of my hobbies. Never mind, I've an idea to publicise a route myself and see just what it takes to get it in the public eye and what happens as a result.
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Dave Barter
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Re: How to inspire "Microadventures" - NOT

Post by Dave Barter »

My problem is that I think a large number of people see the inspirational photos/videos/blogs etc... and then go out into reality ... once.

The key is to get them to go out into reality in the first place rather than gloss it all over.
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Re: How to inspire "Microadventures" - NOT

Post by ScotRoutes »

Meh - that's social media in a nutshell.
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Mike
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Re: How to inspire "Microadventures" - NOT

Post by Mike »

:-bd nice one dave
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Re: How to inspire "Microadventures" - NOT

Post by Bearbonesnorm »

I've just watched 'that' to the end and I've got to say, I enjoyed doing do. I've long believed (and said as much) that we need more films / words / images that portray what 'we' do accurately, even if it makes it look and sound awful. We need absolute honesty, not a portrayal of how we'd like it to be or how we think others would like it to be. We all know that it gets grim at times and sometimes the best part of a trip is the end but that's how it is ... you need the ups and the downs.

As for #short ride ... simply a marketing exercise to help make Sebastian and Gimima feel better about themselves.
My problem is that I think a large number of people see the inspirational photos/videos/blogs etc... and then go out into reality ... once.

The key is to get them to go out into reality in the first place rather than gloss it all over.
I wrote this a while ago.

It's not unusual for me to find myself beavering away in the dark recesses of my workshop and this day was no exception. As I busied myself making things ... mainly tea, radio 4 chatted away to itself in the background. In time honoured tradition, Jayne Garvey introduced Woman's Hour just after the news at eleven and I turned the wireless up 'one louder' in anticipation of an hour's lively debate and conversation.

It must have been a hole drilling or maybe grinding day at Bear Bones Towers because I don't recall hearing much of the first half hour. However, when the lure of the kettle finally got the better of me, I found myself listening to a doctorate of something from the university of somewhere talking about a recent study into sexual satisfaction amongst teenagers - no, really. Anyway, this deeply probing study has apparently revealed that many teenagers are finding themselves dissatisfied with their sex lives when they embark on an 'adult relationship'. It turns out that the widespread viewing of internet pornography is to blame. Teens are being introduced to sex through that medium and ultimately believing that what they see portrayed on screen will and should resemble their own fumblings when the time eventually comes. I allowed myself a few minutes reminiscing on the strength of it, then went back to whatever I was meant to be doing.

I'm sure you'll agree, it's a story that says much about modern society, teenagers, the internet and wasting money on studies but what has it got to do with us? Bikes weren't mentioned, I never heard anyone use the word tarp or bivvy and not once did they discuss the merits of a meths stove. You're right, it's got absolutely nothing to do with us in our capacity as two wheeled travellers ... or so I thought.

As far as I knew, the memory of listening to that particular interview had simply sunken to the bottom of my mind, never to be seen again. I can only assume that the day it floated back to the surface was the day my brain had run out of other stuff to ponder? I couldn't shake off the thought that somewhere I'd come across the same phenomenon as outlined in the broadcast; Then it dawned on me, of course I had, I was surrounded by it ... it was bikepacking!

The increasing popularity of bikepacking has not only lead to more people doing it but also, more people wanting to or perhaps just thinking about doing it. Across the world, you'll find bikepacking virgins hunched over computer screens when they think everyone else has gone to bed, their monitors filled with tantilising images carefully crafted to get the juices flowing and blood pumping. Although the world portrayed on screen, is in the main a real one, for most of us the scenes played out are little more than a seductive fantasy. Some films depict the 'perfect trip' - the trails, weather, company and scenery are all the stuff of dreams and picked out in glorious HD for our voyeuristic delight. Others adopt a different approach and focus on the 'struggle', a seemingly never ending three way between man, terrain and the elements that ends in a triumphant climax for all present.

Let's be honest, watching someone ride a bike along a canal tow-path or push one beside the edge of a ploughed field is pretty dull. While the person doing the riding or pushing might be enjoying themselves, you probably don't want to watch them do it because quite frankly, it's the bikepacking equivalent of watching your parents 'at it' ... it's certainly not a turn-on but in the main, it is reality. With this in mind, I wonder whether bikepacking has now reached a critical point. A point where the collective community should be aiming to educate rather than titillate and perhaps portray a more realistic version of what goes on? If we don't change tack, I fear there may be a lot of disappointed people out there when they discover, it's not quite like it is the films.
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htrider
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Re: How to inspire "Microadventures" - NOT

Post by htrider »

Looks like a good trip to me! (aprt from t' weather)
Better vid than all those ones with the soulful jangly guitar music / young people wittering on about how life changing it all is / amazing scenery / lots of high fives etc. etc. Riding in crap weather is all part of the experience.

PS, get some mudguards!
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Dave Barter
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Re: How to inspire "Microadventures" - NOT

Post by Dave Barter »

PS, get some mudguards!
I walked into a near empty pub at about 10.30pm and had a pint stood at the bar. Was chatting to an ex-bike courier and a hipster, both of them told me I was covered in poor show and needed some mudguards. As I left they pissed themselves as I'd covered my little area of the bar in mud. It looked like I'd crapped myself upwards. I offered to clean it all up but the bar lady would not have it.
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Re: How to inspire "Microadventures" - NOT

Post by pistonbroke »

Makes me feel very homesick :lol:
I used to think that rides like that were character building but have come to the conclusion that rides like that gave me a character that I'd rather not have.
My brother in law came out last week and we rode over 200 miles in almost perfect weather. We had the first rainy day of the year on Friday otherwise it's been warm and sunny since we got back from Christmas in the UK.
Re the twee short ride thing, it was always thus, videos of base jumpers, snow boarders, downhillers, surfers etc trudging uphill for hours for 20 seconds of adrenaline aren't very sexy. If the upsurge of interest in bikepacking means an improvement in the availability and cost of good kit as more companies jump on the band wagon, then it's a thumbs up from me. Once the bubble's burst, and it will, then the hardcore will continue to do what they've always done. There's plenty of wilderness to go at especially in our own heads.
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Re: How to inspire "Microadventures" - NOT

Post by psling »

It's like self-flagellation, isn't it; cleansing of the soul and coming out a better person! Character building :cool:

Liking the special sound effects to give the impression of riding at speed whilst standing still...
We go out into the hills to lose ourselves, not to get lost. You are only lost if you need to be somewhere else and if you really need to be somewhere else then you're probably in the wrong place to begin with.
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Re: How to inspire "Microadventures" - NOT

Post by Matt »

Just went to see what the ‘Twitter spat’ was all about but it wasn’t really a proper spat more of a #microargument
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Re: How to inspire "Microadventures" - NOT

Post by jam bo »

This place has its reputation for a reason...

:-bd
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Re: How tso inspire "Microadventures" - NOT

Post by HUX »

Brilliant Dave :YMAPPLAUSE: :-bd
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Re: How to inspire "Microadventures" - NOT

Post by pistonbroke »

Just a thought, can we have another swear filter thing which changes "micro-adventure" to "twee little ride out" ? Seems appropriate.
Edit, ha ha ha, already been done!
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Re: How to inspire "Microadventures" - NOT

Post by darbeze »

You were missing your bobble hat Dave. That's your problem!
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Re: How to inspire "Microadventures" - NOT

Post by Bearbonesnorm »

You were missing your bobble hat Dave.
Big fan of the whole large bobble hat, long, thick scarf ... but no f*cking coat look. :-bd
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Re: How to inspire "Microadventures" - NOT

Post by jaminb »

Dave Barter living the dream

Great film Dave. I agree with Stu more reality footage with dry (v wet)backing comentry required.

how about accompanying low moment footage with BAM submissions. The breakages, wrong turns, terrible weather, scary tractors, bugs, turds and sleep depreciation are the best part of the stories (along with stunning photos) for me.
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Re: How to inspire "Microadventures" - NOT

Post by In Reverse »

You want us to do videos of our turds??
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Re: How to inspire "Microadventures" - NOT

Post by Zippy »

Dave Barter wrote:Sometimes bikepacking is properly poor show and I feel I need the poor show weekends as much as the great ones to make me realise that you cannot pigeonhole or brand what we do.
I really think you have to experience the crap to properly experience the good, and this makes the good better. Same with stunning scenery – for it to be stunning, it also is bleak when it’s bad…and then a fully featured wonderful landscape is far better enjoyed when you’ve trudged up their, through crap weather to then be treated to a change in weather and a wonderful landscape. That’s so much better than getting off a coach to the same image. Same with “microadventures” or however you want to label it.

So Dave, what you’ve done is mean the next time you get something good on a short ride, it will be even better than if you only ever experienced the good.

Or something, I might just be rambling….
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Re: How to inspire "Microadventures" - NOT

Post by Zippy »

Bearbonesnorm wrote: If we don't change tack, I fear there may be a lot of disappointed people out there when they discover, it's not quite like it is the films.[/i]
I dunno, I always find reality beats fiction by far. Fumbled bedroom activities with another is better than watching something on a screen, going out and doing a medicore power slide with an open diff is better than watching Ken Block gymkhana, and going out bikepacking in whatever form is better than watching a video about it… In all cases I know it’s not like the films, but it’s still better to do than to watch.
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Re: How to inspire "Microadventures" - NOT

Post by whitestone »

This was our first bikepacking trip https://vimeo.com/130923205 let's just say it was grim! :shock: It was the weekend of the Ft William World Cup DH when they cancelled it due to the weather. It's a wonder Cath ever wanted to head out again :|
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Re: How to inspire "Microadventures" - NOT

Post by Giacomo »

This is interesting.

I've just got back from a weekend bikepacking in mid Wales. We rode in the pissing rain for 2 days and stayed at Moel Prysgau bothy. We had a great time. The ethos of the trip was to ride with heavy bags, full of steak, various cheeses, port, whisky... You name it. Whilst we had a bearded dude with us, enjoyed some fine hipster ales in the evening and the various trendy coffee making devices and boutique packets of coffee made an appearance in the morning, we also got soaked, one of our groups cranks fell off 50km from the car, we were all miserable at one point or another... Don't get me wrong, it was a brilliant weekend full of adventure and we're all itching to get back out there.

Now then... there was another group of bikepackers out riding in mid-Wales this weekend.They were from a well-known bikepacking/adventure/touring/micromuncher blog/website (that have received attention on here for hipster bikepacking videos in the past) and had a (insert luxury cycle clothing brand here..) clad entourage with them. Whilst we didn't see them at all over the weekend their social media representation of the weekend was a little different to ours to say the least. Despite riding the same gravel tracks, crossing the same rivers and ingesting the same sheep sh*t ridden mud from our bottles. Wherever there is a product to sell, the image portrayed to us is vastly different to reality. THEY EVEN MANAGED TO FIND SOME SUN! We didn't get a break in the clouds all weekend, so no idea which valley they were in at that given moment...

Anyway... Essentially 2 groups doing the same thing (they stayed in a different bothy) and 2 very different stories to tell. One is reality, the other is a twist on reality designed to sell an image and a product. And I should also say that I don't mind the videos and social media hype that come from these people, I do find some of them inspiring and as long as I keep reality in check (by doing the odd BearBones 200 or something like that) then the balance is easily restored.
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Re: How to inspire "Microadventures" - NOT

Post by Matt »

Link to video for a compare & contrast?
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Re: How to inspire "Microadventures" - NOT

Post by Bearbonesnorm »

I do wish people would refrain from the social media circus until they're back home. Not doing so, simply makes you look like an attention grabbing whore with a look at me, look at me mentality who's likely missed the entire point of bikepacking and simply wants to use it as a platform to flog summat.
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Re: How to inspire "Microadventures" - NOT

Post by benp1 »

Interesting that, would also like to see the difference

Excluding my local ones, I don't think I've ever done a bikepacking trip in the dry. It has always rained for some or all of it...
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