First (very short ) tour

fatjel

Über Member
Location
West Wales
Have had a fairly crap year so far and have ended up broke and staying in West Wales with my daughter.
Audaxes here are way to hilly for me so I have come up with a new (for me) cycling plan.
Touring or more precisely escaping with a tent on my bike for a bit of peace and quiet

First I needed a suitable bike so as I had an unused Kaffenback frame decided to use that
Disc brakes , steel (hopefully strong frame) and I always liked it.
Unlike the London Road that replaced it which lost it's wheels , brakes and mudguards to the new project
Deore 26/36/48 chainset , sora derailleurs , chain and 11-32 cassette were nicked from the Jamis Quest along with a nice carbon seatpost, charge spoon saddle and shimano flat/spd pedals
Had some flat bars with deore shifter / brakes already fitted ( unused and for the life of me I can't remember why I bought them)
Couldn't use my favourite rack because of the discs so cobbled together one from two bendy ones

Put it together in less time than it took to write this and loaded with sleeping bag, bed mat thing and a tent had a quick test ride up the mountain

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Went quite well , nothing fell off saddle came a bit loose

https://www.strava.com/activities/1562548439 not the fastest but it is a real mountain

Total cost thus far £0.00 Excellent

Bike sorted on Thursday so had a hunt for a campsite about 30 miles away for the weekend
Found one in Gwnfe , if I'm honest it was an easy choice as the cheapest within my set distance
Sorted a route on ride with GPS and loaded the Garmins .

Had been scrounging camping equipment for a couple of weeks
A tent which my daughter calls the coffin was free as was her old sleeping bag
The son in law donated a self inflating air bed / mat thing
I had a small gas cooker and gas cyclinder that I hadn't used last time I went camping as no one smokes any more so had no means to light it

So Saturday morning a couple more bags were added and I loaded the bike ,
Tent , bedding , saucepan, cooker , spare shorts , tshirt , cup , plate ,spoon , coffee , 2x picnic bar, 2 x Whisper bar, 2 x Soft mints , 2 x pot noodle, 2 x pasties
two tubes , tyre levers , mini pump, multi tool, battery pack and leads .. What else could I need

The bike by now was so heavy I couldn't lift the back, so more than 8kg
Ready for the off .... Note the smiles gone as I try to support the monster I've created


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Anyway set off up the hill (everything is uphill in West Wales)
Was in first gear almost from the off and had a short walk within the first half mile.
I discovered pushing a fully laden bike up a 16% incline is as hard as riding it
I ground my way to the top in first gear knowing the next bit was 5 miles of downhill which kept me going
20 miles and about 3 hours later I reached Llandeilo where I stopped for a bag of chips which I ate sat on the wall of a builders merchants
Scenic ? not so much so didn't bother with photos

The ride so far had been fairly easy if slow and I headed off for the last 8 or 9 miles into the campsite in the Brecon Beacons country park
I used to do that Ditchling beacon on my way to and from work so was fairly confident I'd manage
An hour later I was still struggling up that hill , Eventually I got to the village of Gwnfe and went down the steepest hill I'd seen all day to the campsite


https://www.strava.com/activities/1567212434

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Hard to see from my dodgy picture but theres a long list of prohibited campers
Could be why I was the only guest
I have to say the place was kinda nice.. There was a caravan with toaster, electric kettle and mcrowave
Showers and toilets , was tempted to shower and probably would have if I'd brought a towel
Made a coffee and unloaded the bike

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Doesn't look much off the bike .. Tent went up quite easily

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and I got on with the packet of choccy digestives (the chair I pinched from the kitchen area)
After that I ran out of things to do.. There was a pub but it was up the top of that hill
I spilled a cup of coffee in the tent which kept me busy for a bit and damp for a bit longer
I had a phone signal and 3g so messaged everyone I know , and looked at various fora
Had a soggy microwaved pasty lots of sweets and turned in early

A few lessons learned ..

Bring towel ,soap etc perhaps a book .

I had tho a good nights sleep and the silence was deafening
This morning I headed off home about 9 am
The first hill was a slow business but I had made the route through Llandeilo so I could get some breakfast on the way home.
Seemed worth the extra miles
Nothing was open on a Sunday morning of course so had a cold pasty and water for breakfast

The slog up LLanllwni mountain to home was fairly testing but here I am alive to tell the tale
https://www.strava.com/activities/1569538767

All in all it seems like a success and something I shall be repeating (with less hills)
I shall take a towel next time and escape for 3 or 4 days
Is this the longest write up of the shortest tour ?
 
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Slick

Veteran
Looks like a good set up. Glad you enjoyed your night away and I hope the rest of your year begins to improve.:thumbsup:
 

steveindenmark

Legendary Member
A camera is always a good thing to keep you entertained and you have that.

Its good that you are out and about but I have no idea how you can fill those panniers so full fo one night out. But that is part of the learning curve.
 
OP
fatjel

fatjel

Über Member
Location
West Wales
I hardly had anything in the panniers @steveindenmark a very bulky sleeping bag filled one .
Maybe I’ll find a smaller one or bigger panniers.
First priority is a new ,stronger rack as that one wobbled alarmingly and almost lost a pannier at one point
Will wear different clothes too.
Wandering round in cycling tights, shoes and bright yellow jacket not a great everyday look.
Am thinking of a few days jaunt around Carmarthenshire,Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion very soon
 

Elysian_Roads

Senior Member
I hardly had anything in the panniers @steveindenmark a very bulky sleeping bag filled one .
Maybe I’ll find a smaller one or bigger panniers.
First priority is a new ,stronger rack as that one wobbled alarmingly and almost lost a pannier at one point
Will wear different clothes too.
Wandering round in cycling tights, shoes and bright yellow jacket not a great everyday look.
Am thinking of a few days jaunt around Carmarthenshire,Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion very soon
Great thread @fatjel. Am hoping to do some touring also this year so always useful to hear other experiences.

Hope things improve and keep us up to date with your adventures.
 

JSedgmondo

New Member
Great read. Note to self: I must plan a tour for next year!
 

HobbesOnTour

Über Member
Location
The Netherlands
Late to the party, but wanted to add my congratulations on your tour! I like your style!

I second the idea of a micro-fibre towel. Very handy and never underestimate the restorative powers of a shower, especially after a wet day.
For evenings, check out some Podcasts in whatever topic that interests you. If you've a smartphone use whatever podcast app you have and download some before you leave. Entertainment (& education!) on your travels.

Or, if your budget can stretch to it and you like to read, a Kindle is very handy to have. I love to read, but find myself distracted at home. Never thought I'd like a Kindle, but it has numerous advantages over a paper book - not least you can bring your whole library with you without the weight! ^_^

Looking forward reading about your next tour!
 

Rupie

Senior Member
As someone planning my first trip I am paranoid about security. What were your worries and how did you sort being on your own and needing to sleep and going into shops etc...?
 
OP
fatjel

fatjel

Über Member
Location
West Wales
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Hiya @Rupie . I answer questions at a similar pace to that which I cycle. Dead slow
I have to say security is a worry.
I usually don't let go of my bike but in a touring situation it's inevitable.
I have a largish combination lock which would deter all but the most dedicated bike thief.
Leaving a loaded bike outside shops seems high risk tho again it can't be avoided
I have yesterday obtained via Ebay a Carerra folding bike which is going to be this years tourer.
It can at least sleep in the tent at night
 
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