WRT - Scary? Unappealing?

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windjammer
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Re: WRT - Scary? Unappealing?

Post by windjammer » Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:52 pm

you could have a tramp camp on the sat night at bearbones towers for all the newbies

Oli.vert
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Re: WRT - Scary? Unappealing?

Post by Oli.vert » Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:00 pm

As a potential nervous first-timer to WRT what attracts me to it is precisely the low-key nature of the event.

Make it much bigger and try to accommodate many more people and it'll start to be work and you'll need to employ people, put prices up a chunk, fill the garden with portaloos and upset the neighbours.

I'm happy with navigation and wild camping, but my fears would be the unknowns.
Am I and my kit ready for 3 days in the saddle?
Is my fitness enough for whatever distance I throw myself at?

I'll only find out by having a go. I dont think Ms Thing could be persuaded unless it was sold as 'just a gentle bike ride in the countryside' and there may be others who feel the same about throwing themselves out into the great green and soggy yonder. Look at all the new folks who post on Bikenbivi with posts asking for bivvy spots near Harpenden - their numbers might suggest that bikepacking is growing, but it could be they're just playing at a new hobby only to move onto the next thing as soon as the sun doesn't come out much. The're's certainly growth in the bikepacking luggage market, but that could just mean more crap lying dormant in people's sheds.

Keep it as it is. A bunch of silly sods mooching about with no fixed direction for 3 days and having a larf and a general good time.

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RIP
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Re: WRT - Scary? Unappealing?

Post by RIP » Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:18 pm

Late to the party here sorry - am in Cardiff so different timezone :wink:. In a nutshell my penn'orth: please change absolutely nothing Stuart, it is Perfection and a highlight of my year. Sorry to hear you had an angsty moment there. Quite hard to get to: good. Weather crap: good. Lots of eccentric nutters: good. Anything could happen: good. Any people could happen: good. Cake: good.

Admittedly if you come alone the first time (I did) it takes a little bit of balls (feminine equivalents etc are available) to get in there and introduce yerself. All I can say is that one of my favourite jokes might help..(and bear in mind this is Reg's 'humour' we're talking here) - 'if you see an unattended bag at the railway station - go up and talk to her!'.
"My God, I'm two-thirds of the way to the grave and what have I done?" - RIP

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RIP
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Re: WRT - Scary? Unappealing?

Post by RIP » Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:23 pm

Bivi spots near Harpenden you say? They could always kip on the cricket pitch which is nice and flat, and there's fab sourdough from Simmons for their morning breakfast :wink:. Not that I, er, did either of those last November of course.
"My God, I'm two-thirds of the way to the grave and what have I done?" - RIP

"It is in the petty details, not in the great results, that the interest of existence lies" - JKJ

"At least you got some stories" - James Acaster

mat_swan
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Re: WRT - Scary? Unappealing?

Post by mat_swan » Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:25 pm

I've thought about it the last few years, and to be honest what's probably meant I've not got round to it is the time of year. It's been around the sort of time of a couple of other events I quite like. That and a regular club trip to North Wales late April all take up weekend days/weekends. It also coincides with the nicer weather and longer days starting to come through in earnest so I like riding at home a lot too! Can't do everything.

I was going to come last year but we'd only been in the house a few months so lots of work to do meant less opportunity for getting away in general.

I will add that I really like the way it runs (at least as seen from afar), the whole 'co-ordinated but not organised' approach.

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JohnClimber
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Re: WRT - Scary? Unappealing?

Post by JohnClimber » Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:09 pm

Yes there are more riders "talking" about bike packing, more companies jumping on the band wagon making gear but only a few (like us) are willing to get out of their comfort zone and go out in all weathers.
This is not an accurate survey just a rough guess by me, but in my local biking club (St Helens) there are around 100 riders, 10 of which have shown an interest in bike packing.
Wotsit and I go out all through the year, out of the other 8 riders 3 are semi regulars getting out around 4 times a year, the other 5 only go out in "the summer". And usually on that single weekend each year they are "doing family stuff"

There are still a lot of riders who simply don't understand why we do it when they can ride trail centres and use the cafe in it car park to be home in their comfy bed each night.

So, no I have no answer to your question sorry.

Matt
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Re: WRT - Scary? Unappealing?

Post by Matt » Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:12 pm

‘‘Tis wha t’ ‘tis” and it’s grand, don’t be swapping owt :-bd

It’s a bit grungy and dirty and one for the odd balls and our numbers are small

Plenty of other stuff for the ‘hand holding’ types that want prescribed risk and surprise free adventure whose numbers are larger.

We are niche.
Last edited by Matt on Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ScotRoutes
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Re: WRT - Scary? Unappealing?

Post by ScotRoutes » Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:13 pm

Bikepacking is (by my experience) still growing as a thing. I have another mate already keen to do BAM2018 and a few more keen to join us once the weather matches their kit.

As for the WRT, 2 things.

(a) it's a helluva long way away for me.

(b) (and this might be controversial) I've actually no idea what the format is. Maybe that's because it is very informal, but I've never read enough (based on (a) ?) to make it any clearer.

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whitestone
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Re: WRT - Scary? Unappealing?

Post by whitestone » Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:39 pm

Bearbonesnorm wrote:
You still need to move the date though.
I don't ... as the longest running 'bikepacking' event outside of the US, I feel it's other peoples duty to be respectful of their heritage :wink:
And why should you? If you are good enough to organise something then it's up to other people to sort themselves out to make it. The BB200 is on the same weekend as the Bob Graham Club biennial dinner. I'm on the Club committee so can only do the BB200 every other year, tough.

Further to what John Climber says, our cycling club is around 150 strong and apart from Cath and myself there's only two who go bikepacking (they post on here occasionally) plus another two who've thought about it. It is very much a niche activity.
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BigdummySteve
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Re: WRT - Scary? Unappealing?

Post by BigdummySteve » Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:05 am

RIP wrote:- am in Cardiff'.
Did you see me waving from across the bay at heddons mouth?

Talking of reg perhaps the key lies in some form of LHC, although I had route planned I was quite glad to hook up with the LHC. I’d completed a wild camping JOGLE and a fair few bivvy’s before then. Imagine signing up for the wrt without that background or even using the forum.
I think it’s quite a big step for a lot of people to dip a toe into what’s a fairly strange diversion from normal,
If we really want to attract newcomers who perhaps have never even wild camped before maybe we need some formal handholding, a set route, shorter distance and perhaps even a set bivvy spot.
I know this goes against most of what WE like about bikepacking but what we see as normal really isn’t in most people’s minds. Perhaps even a separate beginners event with group leaders, the victims pay the leaders expenses and get .....to sue leader when they do something stupid.... as you were stu.
‘ it’s good to be lost, I don’t want to be found’ -HMHB

MikeW
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Re: WRT - Scary? Unappealing?

Post by MikeW » Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:19 am

Personally I would love to take part but as with the winter event, my shifts in work cause me to be unable to make it. Even if it's my weekend off, with a young family it can be hard to justify the time spent away from them. With that being said I have decided this year to try and get out more on local, shorter rides.

Shorter rides can be even more difficult to justify to the family sometimes as it can be hard to explain to the wife that I might only cycle 10 miles away and sleep under a tarp. She's starting to understand though.

The WRT sounds great though and when the opportunity presents itself, I'll definitely be coming along.

restlessshawn
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Re: WRT - Scary? Unappealing?

Post by restlessshawn » Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:25 am

but my fears would be the unknowns
oh, that's the fun bit


tbh I've struggled to explain the format of waypoints there is no point visiting, though that was to MBO types

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Richard G
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Re: WRT - Scary? Unappealing?

Post by Richard G » Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:11 am

RIP wrote:Late to the party here sorry - am in Cardiff so different timezone :wink:.
You should have said, I'd have come and said hello!

Mbnut
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Re: WRT - Scary? Unappealing?

Post by Mbnut » Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:59 am

I have signed up for this year and I'm wildly excited about it.

I actually have no idea what it is or how it works.... off to have a butchers.



Ok, well that didn't take long.... I'm none the wiser.

See you there.

Asposium
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Re: WRT - Scary? Unappealing?

Post by Asposium » Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:08 am

Mbnut wrote:I have signed up for this year and I'm wildly excited about it.

I actually have no idea what it is or how it works.... off to have a butchers.



Ok, well that didn't take long.... I'm none the wiser.

See you there.
Day one
Arrive
Talk rubbish about bikes
Drink tea, eat cake, eat bacon roll
Raffle
Ride around 13:00
Later, camp and sleep

Day two (Sunday)
Ride
Eat
Camp
Sleep
* order to be decided on the day

Day three (Monday)
Ride (to BBT)
Talk rubbish about bikes
Drink more tea, eat more cake, hopefully eat more bacon rolls.
Pack up
Depart

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Jurassic pusher
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Re: WRT - Scary? Unappealing?

Post by Jurassic pusher » Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:45 am

Asposium wrote:
Mbnut wrote:I have signed up for this year and I'm wildly excited about it.

I actually have no idea what it is or how it works.... off to have a butchers.



Ok, well that didn't take long.... I'm none the wiser.

See you there.
Day one
Arrive
Talk rubbish about bikes
Drink tea, eat cake, eat bacon roll
Raffle
Ride around 13:00
Later, camp and sleep

Day two (Sunday)
Ride
Eat
Camp
Sleep
* order to be decided on the day

Day three (Monday)
Ride (to BBT)
Talk rubbish about bikes
Drink more tea, eat more cake, hopefully eat more bacon rolls.
Pack up
Depart
Day Four
Frighten the life out of the wife when she wakes up next to a tramplike looking fella.
Try to find any moving parts on your bike that`s caked in Welsh mud and sheep doings.
Keep grinning at memories of a great weekend!
Come in, she said "I`ll give you shelter from the Storm"
Bob Dylan.

jameso
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Re: WRT - Scary? Unappealing?

Post by jameso » Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:39 am

the WRT is in no way 'failing' but is in fact, performing its role perfectly. Watering it down in an effort to encourage more people is never going to happen but encouraging people to embrace the reality does I believe happen.
Agree - I've only made it to one but as a social event with no pressure and a genuine BP experience it's spot on. It's Wales in Spring, you might get wet, there's pubs and bothies, a good crowd there, it's great.
As for options, maybe the WRT presents people with too many options already? Could be bewildering for people not entirely at ease with free-rein and the responsibility that's attached to personal decision making?
You could link two GRs to promote a particular track (or 2) that stands out as a classic, a different one each year, to add a bit of known quantity. I think what people like about something where the route finding has been done is that sense of being sure to ride something good. I like a bit of HAB and don't mind a bog on the way but the prospect of mapping a bad route that was 50% bog and 50% non-existent BW may put some off. I suppose for that you have the BB200, from what I hear? : )
But leaving things open is good. There's plenty of resources to find good trails, you just need to do a bit of research and that's part of the whole experience isn't it?

slarge
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Re: WRT - Scary? Unappealing?

Post by slarge » Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:56 am

I think I entered the first one after seeing your post on STW all those years ago, but that weekend is always a family weekend, hence I had to cancel. The weekend is a tricky one - for those with youngsters it takes a lot of brownie points to be away for 2-3 days, and getting a few mates to all get the same weekend away often takes a small miracle.

The format appeals to many, but the reality of planning routes, getting kit, figuring out where to eat and sleep all takes time and some money, so you are often left with a few newbies, and the faithful ones. A predetermined route of sorts might encourage some more, plus some guidance on eatieries and sleeping spots / B&Bs. My better half would do it if it didn't involve sleeping in a bag/tent and riding bikes..........

We had the same with MTBO - the numbers never went above about 70. The format appeals but the reality doesn't....

Keep it real and evolve it Stu, don't change it. People will come and go, friends will be made, and memories savoured. Sometimes less is more :-bd

By the way, I have never done the WRT, so speak with no direct knowledge, however I am there in spirit at every one and have some O levels.

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Bearbonesnorm
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Re: WRT - Scary? Unappealing?

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:21 am

You could link two GRs to promote a particular track
I do kind of try and do that now to a degree. However, a degree of luck will always be required to link the two 'good' points :wink:
Ok, well that didn't take long.... I'm none the wiser.
Perhaps that's the trouble. The format is so simple and quite unlike owt else, that people are sometimes left with the feeling that they must have 'missed' something in their understanding. A sign of modern times perhaps?
It’s a bit grungy and dirty and one for the odd balls and our numbers are small
Fair point. Answers many questions.
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psling
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Re: WRT - Scary? Unappealing?

Post by psling » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:58 am

Personally I think the format is just about spot on; I don't believe you need to change anything really Stuart and you can be proud of what you have created.

It takes place on a Bank Holiday weekend and therefore competes with a lot of other events, both cycling and other (I put off doing my first WRT for a while because I used to do the Dyfi Enduro for example). The WRT is established on the first BH in May; this should not be changed.

The WRT caters for our particular interest group and we are probably more aware of developments in the marketing and promotion of 'bikepacking' than most others and so it registers with us more than others. There will be a lot of armchair bikepackers out there who will have read the glossy articles, watched the drone-filmed videos, bought the kit and planned lots of amazing trips; chances are their dreams haven't been realised yet. What I'm trying to say is that the WRT will never sell out at ten past midnight when entries open because the market really isn't that big - entries are already impressive in reality!

The whole 'waiting for grid references, getting out the maps, planning various routes, watching weather forecasts, deciding on kit, then changing plans' thing is all part of the event; it doesn't just happen over two or three days in May!

And, for anyone worried about riding and walking huge distances through inhospitable terrain then you really don't have to. If it suits your needs, you need only ride a few miles each day to the nearest camp site if that's what you want to do. You really do make your own plans beyond arriving at BB Towers and then returning some time later.
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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summittoppler
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Re: WRT - Scary? Unappealing?

Post by summittoppler » Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:21 am

I've done this bikepacking lark for a bit now but I've never been to a WRT, despite JohnClimbers best efforts over the last couple of years. Tbh I was all set for this year as I did give JC my word but it turns out I have arranged something else on the same date which I forgot about. And I've just read that this is the tenth year of running, well done for that. I'm not too sure as to why I've never turned up, I can't blame the distance as you're a 2-3 hour drive away. I'll blame my Mrs as thats the w/e of our 'meeting anniversary' but that said she does let me out from time to time.
The concept sounds great and maybe the 'newbie's' are apprehensive thinking everyone will mock their billy tins & Gelert sleeping bags which I'm sure they won't.

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Re: WRT - Scary? Unappealing?

Post by benp1 » Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:44 am

My first ever bikepacking trip was the 2014 WRT, lots of wild camping and bivvying experience, but hadn’t done any real bike riding, certainly not with real hills and never loaded

Started and finished on my own, rode about a third of it with others, and spent both nights camping with others. It was absolutely brilliant

The only problem is the date, bank holiday weekend often means clashes. I’ve done two in total, I’ve had wedding clashes twice and this year it’s my sons beaver camp. I’ll be back as soon as I can make it again!

Strangely, the jennride in the Lakes is almost as popular I think? But that has a couple of routes, even though you don’t have to follow them, and some entertainment at the start

Asposium
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Re: WRT - Scary? Unappealing?

Post by Asposium » Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:11 pm

Could we get grid points earlier?
Gives more time to plan

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Re: WRT - Scary? Unappealing?

Post by middleagedmadness » Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:27 pm

As in my first reply to the post this will be my first wrt and possibly my 3rd attempt at bikepacking ,but I just don't understand the fear of turning up alone and meeting new people , maybe it's because I've lived in a few different countries and travelled a fair bit ( not in a gypsy kind of way ) and I find it quite easy to chat with strangers ,but everyone on here seems helpful and friendly ,I fully expect to be riding and bivying on my own most of the time but hopefully will get to have a bite to eat or a few pints with some of yous , people in general need to be more accepting of spending time in their own company and learn to enjoy the break from normal routine

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Bearbonesnorm
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Re: WRT - Scary? Unappealing?

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:28 pm

Could we get grid points earlier?
Gives more time to plan
{genuine} Really, is a month not long enough?
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