This weekend I took part in an event organised by Bear Bones Bikepacking, I think it is their 4th Winter Event and this year it was called the Ford Fiesta. That meant we were given a whole list of Fords (the watery sort) and had to devise a route to visit as many as we wanted with one night sleeping out.
This was a whole lot of firsts for me:
- First Wild Camping on my own (and had hail)
- First night in my bivy bag (back garden not included)
- First bikepacking event (essentially lightweight off road touring with soft luggage strapped to the bike instead of using panniers and racks)
It was also by far the furthest I have ridden off road and Wales around the start at Llanbrynmair is by my reckoning quite remote.
My detailed route for Saturday was
and for Sunday
For safety I used a SPOT Gen 3 satellite tracker (as there is no phone signal in lots of places around the route). You can see how that tracked the route on Spotwalla. Note that it only updates every 10 minutes so doesn’t exactly track the whole route.
I visited 7 “official” Fords and had a wonderful time
My Bike for Life in adapted for mountain biking mode was absolutely awesome, lovely to ride and totally reliable. I did get one puncture which was caused by zooming down a very rocky track at over 20mph with several kg strapped to the handlebar and not enough pressure in the tyre. It was easy to fix though and I took a lunch break at the same time.
Anyway a few photos. I didn’t get one of all the “official” fords as the last one on Saturday was in the complete dark and someone (Peter) had waited for me and I didn’t want to hold them up.
Just setting off:
First break part way up 5.5miles of non stop climbing from the start:
The first ford (I used the bridge):
We had very strong winds all weekend as demonstrated by this picture:
Does this count as an extra ford? Yes the ground was quite damp and there were lots of extra fords:
My second ford. You can see my flat front tyre, this was just before I fixed it. Nice lunch spot:
Sunday morning sunrise at Carno Windfarm (very strong headwind):
My 5th “official” ford (to be honest I didn’t see ford 4 which was only 100 metres earlier):
My 6th “official” ford and the first where there was no choice but to cycle through it Again I was glad I was wearing my hiking boots which didn’t let water in despite this being a fair bit deeper than my pedals:
My 7th “official” ford:
But shouldn’t this one just a few hundred metres further on count as well?:
I’ll definitely be doing more of this
Of course grateful thanks to:
- Stu and Dee for organising the event, providing essentials such as the furry dice (as used in Ford Fiesta’s) and providing coffee, toast and cake!
- Stephen for allowing me to do this on his birthday (we did meet up and have a meal together on Saturday evening),
- Jane for supporting me (and doing most of the driving this weekend).
- Shand Cycles for the best Bike for Life in the world
- Beth and Ian of Wildcat Gear for great bikepacking luggage