After a failed attempt at bikepacking last year – where I learnt a lot of lessons – it was long overdue to have a second attempt.
I made some changes to the setup; ditching the tent that was mounted across the handlebars, instead opting for a bivvy bag which was stuffed in with my sleeping back on the back.
The two homemade fork cages held drybags containing clothes, toiletries and a sleeping mat. A small frame bag held phone, keys, wallet etc, with 1.75L of water in two bottle mounts.
Behold, the laiden On-one Parkwood 29er.
It was 28°, sunny, and not a cloud in sight; that and deciding to eat at a pub for the evening we managed to make the journey without rucksacks – big win!
Niall was my partner for the trip, riding my commuter-ified old mountain bike (Specialized Hardrock). That has a rack and two panniers on the back for plenty of storage.
Keeping the route short to appease my knees, we started off in Linby, heading through to Ravenshead and Harlow Wood, then over to Rainworth and up through Sherwood Pines – taking advantage of one of the way marked circular trails. As much off road riding as possible was goal for this route, but that had it’s hazards – a farmer’s sprinkler irrigation system strayed onto the route a couple of times – at least that gave a chance to cool down in the intense heat.
Finally we passed through Lidgett and picked up the railway line to the Ollerton area.
Niall only fell off once on some soft sand – excusable seeing as this is his first time off road riding.
A meal was eaten at a local pub and then off into the wilds to pick our bivvy spot. The box of wine diminished quickly as the sun went down.
Beautiful cloudless sky – view from the bivvy bag.
Shall we make a fire? The temperature was dropping a little, so off to forage for some deadfall and kindling. Soon we had one going.
The next morning brought a rather unpleasant hangover, but a lie in until 8.30 and a forcing a granola bar down helped a little. Then on to a cafe for second-breakfast before the return journey began.
This time Niall navigated – he definitely needs the practice – but after a couple of about-turns we made more a tarmac-based journey back via Edwinstowe, Clipston, Mansfield and Blidworth. With a few bridleways mixed in we arrived into some off road routes at Blidworth Bottoms.
From there we headed over to Papplewick and spotted the historical pumping station was open to visitors.
And beautifully restored pistons.
A very impressive building.
After that it was a short cycle back to the car, via a pub stop of course. A very satisfying and successful adventure!