Bikepacking for First Timers
Bikepacking is exactly what it sounds like, Backpacking with a Bike! A fusion of mountain biking and lightweight camping as a way of exploring and adventuring. This might be a simple overnight expedition near where you live to escape the routine of normal life, a night under the stars in a beautiful place to disconnect from the digital world and wake up to watch the sunrise somewhere special, or a long overseas adventure exploring new places. The beauty of bikepacking is that it can be all of these things, or indeed whatever you want it to be.
Heading off with your bike loaded for an adventure brings a rewarding sense of self-sufficiency. The ride becomes a journey of discovery, of the natural world around you, and of yourself, forcing you to step outside your comfort zone and leave your warm bed and mod cons. But you'll be amazed how refreshed you feel after a trip, how your body and mind feel recalibrated and the World seems a better place once you've spent a night under the stars. Some of the best nights we have had have been those where we have headed off with a bike and kit and slept outdoors, and we'd love to share that with others.
People have been strapping bags to handlebars and loading up backpacks to head off on longer adventures since mountain biking began, using bikes to explore wild and remote routes unreachable on day trips. But in recent years, a new wave of bikepacking has emerged, with specialised gear that makes it lighter to travel with and still enjoy the riding, and better kit to make spending a night outdoors more comfortable. It is now more fun, and more accessible than ever!
A bicycle and a few bits of kit are all you need for a bikepacking microadventure, but what about all the other questions you have? How do you load a bike up so it is still rideable, what kit should you take, how do you know where to go, what food to cook, where to sleep, how to travel and leave minimal impact on the areas you stay in?
That's why we've organised this trip! We know there are dozens of adventurous folks, many of whom have been in touch with us, who are itching to take their first steps on an overnight adventure like this, and just need a bit of guidance, a chance to see if it's for them, or even just a bunch of like-minded riders to share the adventure with.
We've put together a weekend guided trip with 2 days of riding and an overnight bivvy, in some of our favourite parts of the north of England, especially for those looking for an introduction to the world of bikepacking.
The riding will not be overly technically challenging, but it will be mainly off-road, on rough tracks and bridleways, and so is not suitable for total beginners or those very new to Mountain biking with minimal off-road experience. We'll cover a reasonable amount of distance so you should have a good level of fitness, enough to spend 4-5 hours riding each day, which might not sound a lot, but bear in mind your bike will be a lot heavier than you are used to.
You obviously also need to be up for a bit of an adventure! We'll be staying out in the wild, and there won't be the usual home comforts, anything you want to bring with you, you have to carry on your bike! The weather might not be as idylic as that vision you have in your head (hopefully it will!). Having said that, we genuinely think you will feel like you have been on a proper adventure, had a great time with a bunch of other adventurous souls, and have been bitten by the bikepacking bug after joining us on this trip!
We’re delighted to announce that we have partnered with Ortlieb this year to allow all guests on our trips the chance to use and test items from the fantastic quality product range they offer for bikepacking luggage. In addition we’ll be providing lightweight but comfy Exped camping mats, Optimus stoves, as well as tarps and bivvy bags from Alpkit!
2020 dates coming soon!
£160 per person (non refundable deposit of £50 payable at time of booking)
6 places available
Peak District, Lake District - Exact start/finish locations to be communicated via email
Start time 9.30 am Saturday
Finish time 1.30 pm Sunday
Camping and cooking equipment
Picnic lunch on day 1
Food for dinner and breakfast
2 days Guided ride including overnight bivvy
Instruction in all things Bikepacking!
What's not included
Mid and Post-ride cafe stops
Transport to/from venue
Accommodation pre/post weekend
What bike do i need?
The best bike for bikepacking is the one you already own, something you're comfortable with and used to riding. A hardtail mountain bike is the ideal option as it is easy to attach frame bags to, meaning you can carry less in a backpack, but robust enough and fun to ride on the tracks and trails. A full-suspension frame is fine, but space for luggage is a bit more limited, so you will probably need to carry more in a backpack as well. There isn't really any need for a big-travel full suspension bike on this trip, as the trails we will ride won't require it, but if that's all you have and you're most comfortable riding it then we won't stop you! A gravel or cyclocross bike is not really the bike for this trip …it would feel a little unforgiving on some of the terrain we’ll be riding on! If you have any questions about the suitability of your bike then please get in touch.
Can i hire a bike?
Yes if you let us know early enough! All the areas we use have the potential of places to rent bikes from. There will be an additional cost for the weekend to rent a bike.
What riding experience/fitness do i need?
The riding will not be overly technically challenging, but it will be mainly off-road, on rough tracks and bridleways, so you should be used to regularly mountain biking on hilly routes, and feel comfortable on at least easier red graded trail centre trails, and/or rough natural bridleways. The trip is not really aimed at beginners/novices. We'll cover a reasonable amount of distance so you should have a good level of fitness, enough to comfortably spend 4 - 5 hours riding each day, which might not sound a lot, but bear in mind your bike will be a lot heavier than you are used to.
what will be the format/itinerary for the weekend?
We'll spend the first morning showing you how to load the bikes up from a base, before we set off on our adventure. This can take a bit of time as everyone's bikes are different and need different combinations of luggage. We'll also have a practice at riding the bikes once they are loaded so everyone feels comfortable riding.
We'll enjoy a picnic lunch, and then set off out on a ride, reaching our bivvy spot by early evening, usually aiming to pass a cafe en route! We'll teach you how to set up camp, what to cook, and talk about ways of leaving minimal impact on the environment in the places we stay, and answer any other questions you may have about planning your own trips.
We'll spend the night under the stars, chatting, laughing and hopefully getting some sleep, then after breakfast the following morning will pack up and ride back to base, returning by early afternoon. Aiming to finish at a Cafe for well-deserved food before unloading and sorting out kit and luggage return.
Is there accommodation where i can stay the night before?
In the Peak District, we recommend getting in touch with Pete and Alice of Adventure Pedlars, who run the Adventure Bunkhouse in the Hope Valley. Their awesome bunkhouse is normally run as a place to rent out for groups, but if there are a few people from this trip looking to book then they may be able to offer dorm beds to individuals for a very good price. You can find more information here.
In the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales, we also have accommodation we can recommend to people who are travelling far and would like to stay the night before or after the trip. These vary from camping, bunkhouses, hostels, B and B’s, to Hotels. Please get in touch for further info.
What if I've done some bikepacking and want a bigger/more adventurous trip?
This trip is really aimed at those new to Bikepacking, or new to the areas where the trips are run. If you are looking for advice on the next steps to take and bigger adventures, get in touch! We’ve spent years adventuring all over the UK and abroad and can put together custom trips for you, or offer advice on where to head.
How do i book a place?
Simply click on the button below which will take you to our contact page, and let us know you'd like to book! If you have any further questions feel free to ask via this form too!