I love touring, but it’s not always possible to get away to a new country or spend months and months touring. Of course there is nothing stopping you going on a tour from your door but sometimes its nice to mix things up a bit (and it gives you an excuse to get some new gear!). There are many ways of mixing things up, unusual bike or location, a strange time of year, a high speed record breaker or a Low speed cruise, the possibilities are endless.
I have already tried some more unusual tours. I have done a couple of tours on my fixie with a friend from University. The first was locally for a bit of fun to find out how feasible the idea of fixie touring was. It turned out it was much more feasible than we had imagined. For the next trip we decided to up the ante with a trans-national tour. We spent 4 days cycling from France through Belgium to The Netherlands then back again. I plan on posting some useful tips and tricks for wannabe fixie tourers and hopefully post about more fixie adventures in the future.
In 2011 I had a month free for a cycle tour however I was lacking the funds to leave our shores (in search of better weather). Having spent 6 months cycling round Europe the idea of spending a month cycling on the busy British roads really didn’t sound that appealing. That was when the idea of an off road tour emerged. I had been reading about the Tour Divide (a mtb race from Canada to Mexico down the continental divide). Seeing pictures of people bikepacking was exciting and decided I needed to give it a go. The UK is covered with byways and paths so I needed some fixed points to form the basis of my route. I would be riding a mountain bike anyway and Wales happens to have some of the best mountain bike centres and trails in the UK so I decided it would be rude not to try and pay them all a visit. The idea was spawned and soon after I was off.
I cycled around 1000 km from South Wales to North Wales offroad as much as possible, crossing mountain ranges and stopping off at every trail centre on the way. One of the bonuses of riding so close to home was that mates could come a join me at the weekend to hit the trails. Off road touring can be a bit of a daunting prospect for some so I plan on posting tips and tricks I found useful. I plan on travelling with my mountain bike so hopefully i’ll be posting about other off-road tours in more unusual locations.