Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bike Camping

Yesterday and today I decided to relive my bike camping days and took a trip some 70km away to a provincial park to camp overnight and then ride home.

I used to do a fair bit when I was younger, but now over 50 it is not quite as I remember it. The bike is heavier and it takes me longer to pack! In fact, compared to my other bikes, touring seems like driving a truck.

There is, however, something magical about having your tent, sleeping gear etc all in your bags and you are free to explore the road. On day one I followed a bike route, it was rambling, twisty and I got lost a few times. Today, I decided to 'go straight' and followed one road. On Monday, after making many wrong turns and cycling in the heat, I arrived in Manotick at the black dog cafe, not hungry but thirsty enough to drink a river. Two ice teas, a salad, three glasses of water and one large Beau's lager later I was ready to roll. I arrived at the campsite at around 3pm. On Tuesday I decided to take a direct route.

My direct route led me into North Gower where I spent some delightful time in the town archives speaking with the archivists. History never ceases to fascinate me.

My campsite was at the Rideau River Park, a lovely small provincial park. I set up my tent and was joined by Cyril for supper. We had a roaring fire, I had a drink and then put my breakfast away. I carefully put my eggs, bacon, tomato and bread under a pot with a heavy peice of wood on top. In the morning, the bacon and bread were gone, the eggs broken and the tomato left. I made an egg and tomato omelet.

I was excited to try my coffee filter for my coffee and boiled some water in my new kettle. The coffee was so bad even I could not stomach it. I will repeat the experiment at home and see what happened.

My speed was reduced with this bike. I could maintain a speed or around 24km/hr but there is no way I could maintain a speed close to 30km/hr which is more what I am used to. At times, I felt like I was pushing a lead weight.

I got to try my new Hubba Hubba tent...beautiful, sleeping bag worked and even the thermarest pad worked well. The new camping equipment is so superior to my old 25 year old gear which was far bulkier.

To all those folk who are regular bike campers kudos to you. it is a LOT more work than mere road riding.

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