Bivvy a Month 2024

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RIP
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2024

Post by RIP »

Time for the quarter-time round up then?

Quite a few bonkers enterprises this Winter.

A number of fallen comrades too :sad: .
"My God, Ponsonby, I'm two-thirds of the way to the grave and what have I done?" - RIP

The sign outside the asylum is the wrong way round.....

"At least you got some stories" - James Acaster
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summittoppler
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2024

Post by summittoppler »

Tractionman wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 3:17 pm
summittoppler wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2024 2:10 pm
And as per normal, they'll be a film coming soon :-bd
and what a top film it is too :-)
Thank you for watching and enjoying :-bd
BAM: 2014, 2018 & ......
2024 Bikepacking nights: 4

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benconnolli
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2024

Post by benconnolli »

Ok, I'm going to do a two sentence summary of the ride, then muse about this style of riding for however long feels appropriate. I also made some logistical notes for myself, but realise that these could be a useful resource? I am no expert in this at all, but feel a shared mistake can still be learnt from.

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An image of the road disappearing into soft Lake district hills.
*I will endeavour to add these images in, but quite enjoyed the daft descriptions too.

This was a self supported ride from Kendal to Glen Clova (400km) with an audax attitude on roads or cycle routes on a utility bike. I slept in a windy ditch for 3 hours, had an epic 17.5 hours on the bike then booked into a Travelodge before completing in about 40 hours.

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An image of a soggy Ben grinning in a grey sunrise. Welcome to Scotland sign in the background.

There is this scarcely accessed appreciation of a place when you pass through it with maximum efficiency. Fantastic purpose is given to life when you strip it down to forward motion on a bicycle.

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An image of Ben grinning with trees and a hardpack gravel trail vanishing into the distance behind him.

I was simply meeting my needs, ignoring any wants. But honestly I had the best time. Feel like there's plenty of lessons from this to take into everyday life. I deliberately say everyday rather than real life, because epic bike rides feel more real.

Often people liken doing these kind of adventures to scratching an itch, and I agree. Initially, after the scratch, you feel satisfied. Then not long after, you are left even itchier. This ride has left me wanting to do more, harder, further. To hone in my art of efficiency and body management. Push new boundaries and break mental barriers. Confirm 300km is possible. Do a 200km, doss out, then do another the next day. Push and hike over rough terrain, crossing rivers, battling bogs.

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An entirely unrepresentative image of bright blue skies being reflected off the grand union canal.

Recently I heard some advice that kind of revolutionised how I view hard things, so I'll share it so that other people may benefit too. Reframe your mindset from I have to do X more miles into I get to do X more miles. This made the challenge a positive, hard is good. I spent pretty much the entirety of the ride having the best time of it, and that's most important at the end of the day.

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An image of Ben grinning with a blurred outline of the fourth road bridge from Edinburgh behind.

Logistical lessons. Get out of the saddle a fair bit on ups. Mainly it helps for your bum to get some air, but also changes muscle groups. Line up snacks in a consistent jacket pocket, with reserves in frame bag or accessible while riding. Eat regularly. Take a 1L bottle so you can fill up with delicious milk from the vending machines (open 24hrs a day). Chips are good value from pubs and arrive sharpish. Going at what kind of feels somewhere like 80% effort is sustainable for every waking hour of the day. Loading panniers/the bike asymmetrical will add pressure to that hand contact point, changing this up removed pins and needles for me. Komoot audio directions with the route downloaded offline worked 99% flawlessly. Leaning into a comfy bike setup allows you to focus on battling the hard stuff, like riding, rather than simply being ok, so in all aids efficiency. Having redundancy in lighting options allows for one to run out, or get rained out, and you to keep riding. Grin and bear it, focus on the GRIN. Rural shops often have a little bakery stall. Fab value cakes and pies that approximate a balanced diet which is important in body sustainability. Also saves having to prep food before you go or carry it with you, and supports the wonderful local area.

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An image of the cockpit of a bike. Two orange panniers, one with 2L of matching irn bru strapped to the top like a radioactive jet booster.
Last edited by benconnolli on Sat Apr 06, 2024 7:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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psling
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2024

Post by psling »

I went beyond two sentences and read the whole post. A picture paints a thousand words but your fewer words did indeed paint the picture(s) for me. Except... in my mind those pictures mostly had a Scottish mountain in the background until I realised they were in fact 'selfies' :lol: :wink:
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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fatbikephil
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2024

Post by fatbikephil »

Right you lot, it's time for the first quarterly tally!
I currently have the following as still in the game after a horribly wet and miserable winter....

RIP
Muddypete
Mrs Polisherman
Blackhound
Raggedstone
Frog
Gecko76
Verena
NeilA
Sean_iow
Javatime
jimmy G
Samwise
FBPhil
Doresetshirelad
Boab
vegancheese
JudithG
Bearlegged
Summittoppler
Leerowe76
GoneCaving
BenConolli

Any more? Let me know!

That said, despite the horrible weather there has been some top bivvy stuff - nice to see the bivvy bag only crew are out in force again, despite the dampness. Also lots of good sheds, dodgy tunnels and subways, mud, playparks, gigs and daffodils :-bd

In the spirit of none competitiveness I'm going with accolades rather than awards....

Sean proves that we did have a winter with his -4 bivvy. My lowest temp was 5 degrees!
Javatime demonstrated that desolation doesn't mean mountains - his salubrious spot the severn bridge - give me the Cairngorm plateau any day.
Summit toppler and Dorsetshire lad should be given a Michelin star for their culinary masterpieces
Raggedstone gets back to our roots (or routes) by scoring some quality tussocks
Verena for pushing the boundaries of 'off the wall' bivies
Gecko and BenConnolli both provided insights into literary genius hitherto not previously seen on this forum
John Allan and BenC also demonstrated how shortcuts can lead to the longest rides, epic journeys, the pair of you!

Anyway, well done all for making it this far and those who didn't there is no reason not to keep going as BAM is for life, not just a year :grin:

So it's spring! (Ha!) look forward to more rain, but warmer and with insects...
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sean_iow
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2024

Post by sean_iow »

What has happened to our weather when someone who lives on an island off the south coast (practically the Med) is mentioned in dispatches for the coldest bivi :???:

I wish it was still -4 as it would be dry.
Adventure without risk is Disneyland - Bikemonger
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Boab
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2024

Post by Boab »

Evidently, in February, we had 248% of the twenty year average rain fall around here.
There are theories at the bottom of my jargon.
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fatbikephil
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2024

Post by fatbikephil »

https://meagaidhblog.sais.gov.uk/2024/0 ... snow-rain/
See images of Met Office forecast over March - looks like we need to head to NW Scotland. Similar parallels to 2012 when The NW got roasted and the rest of the UK nearly drowned, for the whole of spring and summer.
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GoneCaving
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2024

Post by GoneCaving »

GoneCaving wrote: Wed Mar 27, 2024 11:25 am So has anyone studied what looks like an inverse correlation between the time remaining in the month to get in a bivvy, and the likelihood of it being raining?
Back out next week for a decent three day spin and two consecutive nights out (April weather should be glorious as a consequence!)
I put this theory to the test this week, on a long two day ride from Wicklow up the midlands of Ireland and back home. Yup, the theory is bobbins, it rained!

I had initially planned a two and a half day ride, but was called into duty to take my mother in for a hospital appointment, so compressed the ride into two days. Starting near Roundwood, I initially headed South along some of the more ridable bits of the Wicklow way, on a grey and damp Tuesday morning. The climb out of Glendalough to the Shay Elliott memorial is a bit of a sod, but only a warm up for the climb out of Glenmalure up Slieve Mann. Then down into Aughevanagh, and eastwards across to the River Barrow greenway, and a well deserved sausage butte.

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After a nice break, watching the river flow by and listening to the birdsong, I headed North along the riverside, more than a little mucky given the rain this year, and then on to the more developed parts parts of the greenway at Athy, and up as far as Monastrevin. From there it was backroads for 30km, before picking up the Kilbeggan Canal Greenway, into Kilbeggan for a pizza!

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From there is was another 20km to the northern end of Lough Ennel, and a camp for the night. 168km for day 1. I'd been seeing dark black clouds behind me for the last hour or so, but was fortunate enough to be able to get set up for the night before the rain started, and it rained heavily for much of the night.

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However, I must have some luck as the rain cleared just as I was getting up, though a really slow start for me. Day 2 was an awful lot of minor roads, and while there was no big climbs there was a lot of small ones. I hadn't packed much for breakfast, so was glad to find a lovely cafe in Castlepollard, and a full Irish.

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I'd had a bit of a cold before starting and I really wasn't feeling in great form, so the distance passed slowly. A slow leak of air from a fairly worn rear tyre wasn't helping much. Early on I was considering putting out a distress call to my darling wife, but being fairly stubborn I pushed on, and arrived home early evening for a hot bath and a warm meal. 153km on day 2.

So that's 4/4 for '24. The weather's going to improve soon right? Or at least for WRT???
Last edited by GoneCaving on Thu Apr 11, 2024 8:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Boab
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2024

Post by Boab »

fatbikephil wrote: Thu Apr 04, 2024 2:02 pm https://meagaidhblog.sais.gov.uk/2024/0 ... snow-rain/
See images of Met Office forecast over March - looks like we need to head to NW Scotland. Similar parallels to 2012 when The NW got roasted and the rest of the UK nearly drowned, for the whole of spring and summer.
Well, buckle up...
Storm Kathleen to bring unseasonably wet and windy weather to UK and Ireland
Winds of up to 70mph may hit coastal areas this weekend as rain and snow could cause travel disruption in Scotland
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/202 ... nd-ireland
There are theories at the bottom of my jargon.
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Blackhound
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2024

Post by Blackhound »

Another amazing ride from John Allan, I am looking at the Way of the Roses this year, not in 14 hours though! I like the C2C2C idea as well, not sure if I can get the time though.

I know that climb up to the Shay Elliot memorial that GoneCaving rode as well, I had wondered about bivvying near there perhaps. One of my aunts lived in Glendalough until recently so know the area a bit.

Edited for correct forum name
Last edited by Blackhound on Fri Apr 05, 2024 8:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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JimmyG
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2024

Post by JimmyG »

This one almost didn’t happen. To explain, while on a week’s holiday in Moray last week, I crashed and burned on an off-road ride just as the light was fading. I remember saying to myself, "I’ll put my front light light on in in a minu…" :o It's a long story but suffice it to say it involved a ditch and happened so fast I didn’t have time to use my brakes… so used my face and helmet to bring myself to a halt instead. With the exception of my bloodied glasses, I’ll spare you the photographic evidence.

ImageUntitled by Jimmy G, on Flickr

It was not a pleasant experience but when I got over the initial shock, I did eventually manage to get back on the bike and roll gingerly back to the ranch. I was in a lot of discomfort, mostly around my neck and shoulders, and barely got a wink of sleep that night. A CT scan a couple of days later confirmed whiplash injuries but fortunately ruled out any serious structural damage or internal bleeding. It’s therefore just a case of waiting for the bruising and stiffness to subside before getting fully back in the game, as it were.

Notwithstanding the above, I wasn't about to let it derail my BAM series and, having by now returned from Moray, I drove to Gullane in East Lothian on Saturday evening (30th March). I then picked my way in darkness through the woods to an area I’ve visited several times previously, a series of sheltered hollows behind the dunes at Gullane Beach. Nothing too adventurous and, truth be told, I did more walking than riding in the end but it was enough to be going on with given my fragile state.

ImageUntitled by Jimmy G, on Flickr

ImageUntitled by Jimmy G, on Flickr

ImageUntitled by Jimmy G, on Flickr

ImageUntitled by Jimmy G, on Flickr

ImageUntitled by Jimmy G, on Flickr

Conditions throughout the night were windy with occasional light showers but I managed to have a reasonable sleep nevertheless. On awakening and gradually unravelling my weary body, I packed and headed home… to be met by Mrs G shaking her head and rolling her eyes. Can’t say I blame her but it had to be done!

In summary, that’s 3 from 3 in ’24 and a total of 75 consecutive BAMS. My intention is to do something more interesting in April!
Last edited by JimmyG on Fri Apr 05, 2024 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
One day, you’ll wake up and there won't be any more time to do the thing you always wanted to do. Do it now. – Paolo Coelho
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Bearlegged
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2024

Post by Bearlegged »

Ouchy! Heal up well Jimmy!
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RIP
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2024

Post by RIP »

Aye, commiserations :sad: . One salutes your fortitude and dedication to the game!
"My God, Ponsonby, I'm two-thirds of the way to the grave and what have I done?" - RIP

The sign outside the asylum is the wrong way round.....

"At least you got some stories" - James Acaster
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fatbikephil
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2024

Post by fatbikephil »

Sorry to hear that Jimmy, glad you are recovering. Seems to be a few mishaps going on this year...
The pic of your specs reminds me of those old safety films you got shown at school telling you not play on building sites etc - the shots always switched from a youth with a look of horror on his face to his mangled shoe or trampled hat or something....

Well done for doing the bivvy anyway :-bd
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Verena
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2024

Post by Verena »

Ouch Jimmy! Admirable dedication to the cause though :-bd
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Blackhound
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2024

Post by Blackhound »

Great to hear it was nothing serious ithe end, heal quickly.
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thenorthwind
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2024

Post by thenorthwind »

Sounds painful Jimmy :o Well done on getting back out anyway!
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sean_iow
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2024

Post by sean_iow »

Ouch!
JimmyG wrote: Thu Apr 04, 2024 8:05 pm to be met by Mrs G shaking her head and rolling her eyes.
Apart from the ride there and back, biving is basically resting... which is the best thing to do when injured for recovery :wink:
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JimmyG
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2024

Post by JimmyG »

Thanks all. Much appreciated. When all’s said and done, though, it was a case of pilot error. :roll: Since the incident I’ve been suffering from tingling in my fingers (temporary nerve damage) but this is gradually easing, thankfully. Just a case of being patient.
One day, you’ll wake up and there won't be any more time to do the thing you always wanted to do. Do it now. – Paolo Coelho
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Boab
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2024

Post by Boab »

Ouch, I feel your ditch pain. Heal quickly.
There are theories at the bottom of my jargon.
benconnolli
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2024

Post by benconnolli »

Managed my April despite rail strikes. Rode an impressive distance from Birmingham on traffic free trails (mainly lots of canals). Did you know we have more canals than Venice?!

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I was using this BaM to test out a new luggage system, and it definitely has legs. Carradice Nelson saddlebag with Karrimor bar bag strapped to the front rack platform. Had my os maps in the window and everything.

Got heckled by some Fridays night revellers at a canal side pub as I refolded my map and must've looked lost. Canal proceeded to be extremely boggy and hard going, but there's no way I retraced my tracks and looked like I was actually lost.
Made it to the Earlswood reservoir. Dossed out in the also boggy nearby woods. Managed to find a bit of dry ground despite the drizzle due to a thick canopy of holly above. As this was in the ride to sleep style, I proceeded to read the art of Zen and motorcycle maintenance. Class book that I feel I will get on well with.

Image

Slept early and long, had a brew, saw lovely sunrise through the woods. Bimbled home alone quiet morning lanes.

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GoneCaving
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2024

Post by GoneCaving »

JimmyG wrote: Thu Apr 04, 2024 8:05 pm It was not a pleasant experience but when I got over the initial shock, ... A CT scan a couple of days later confirmed whiplash injuries but fortunately ruled out any serious structural damage or internal bleeding.
Yikes, glad to hear you escaped serious injury.
Blackhound wrote: Thu Apr 04, 2024 7:27 pm I know that climb up to the Shay Elliot memorial that GoneCaving rode as well, I had wondered about bivvying near there perhaps. One of my aunts lived in Glendalough until recently so know the area a bit.
There are three Adirondack shelters on the Wicklow Way, so if you push on over the Slieve Mann climb out of Glenmalure, there's decent shelter in the forests above Aghavanna. I camped near there two years ago, not knowing about the shelter and it was a particularly midge-plagued spot.
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JimmyG
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2024

Post by JimmyG »

GoneCaving wrote: Sat Apr 06, 2024 2:15 pm
JimmyG wrote: Thu Apr 04, 2024 8:05 pm It was not a pleasant experience but when I got over the initial shock, ... A CT scan a couple of days later confirmed whiplash injuries but fortunately ruled out any serious structural damage or internal bleeding.
Yikes, glad to hear you escaped serious injury.

Thanks GC. So am I ! :smile:
One day, you’ll wake up and there won't be any more time to do the thing you always wanted to do. Do it now. – Paolo Coelho
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Re: Bivvy a Month 2024

Post by Blackhound »

Duncan, thanks for the tip, if I look like needing somewhere to lay my head in the area I will check those out.
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