Bikepacking setup March 2016

Trying something new, a bit of bikepacking shakedown in the Peak District

Decided it was time to take the not-so-new-anymore MTB off out to the Peak District and give some kit a shakedown.

Plotted a route based on walking memories and other peoples’s Strava tracks (this will come back to haunt us later) which appeared to be sane and sensible. Up from Grindleford, across to Lady Cannings, across Stanage, round the edge of Ladybower, up and over to Edale, up Mam Tor, along Rushup edge and then as night falls we’d be on quiet roads, then the Pennine Bridleway. Even eyed up a pub for dinner, with some likely bivi spots a mile further on.

Morning over with at work, and it was onto the train from Nottingham to Grindleford. Bike setup looked much like this as Sheffield station:

Bikepacking setup March 2016
Bikepacking setup March 2016

  • Front is a 20L Alpkit double ended Drybag, with an old bulky Decathlon 3 season synthetic sleeping bag and a Hunka XL bivi bag in there. Mounted using a 3Trees harness.
  • Back is an Alpkit tapered dry bag. Contains an Exped 7L Synmat and spare clothing.
  • Rucsac, 17L running one from Decathlon many years ago, contains 3L of water in a bladder, tools, pump, snacks, etc

A road slog start up the hill from Grindleford station and then we dropped onto the LandRover tracks. Good pleasant riding, were invited to try out the new tracks opening at Canning’s that day but decided against it. Pushed across the first part of Stanage edge till we rejoined the BOAT, then down to Ladybower using the cyclepath along the A57. Nice run along the edge of the reservoir, with a quick break by the dam, which had an impressive amount of overflow overflowing:
Ladybower damn overflow overflowing

Up on the fireroads towards Hagg farm, dropping down to the A57 and then pushing up through the woods. Those of you who know this route will have spotted that we were going up what most people come down. No way we were riding any of that, so a long push with up some awkward rocks followed for a fair while. Very happy to break out of the trees and onto something ridable.

Nice decent into Edale, and then the push up to Mam Tor. I’ve not been up that way for years, and even then just as a walker, so the amount of rutting was a surprise. Another case of riding up what people come down. By now the light had gone, and 40 minutes later we were at Hollins cross. At least with the flagstones we could ride again. Or at least we could till we hit the snow:
Last Straw

At this point a joint sense of humour failure meant we decided to bail to Castleton for dinner and beer. At this point the plan was to ride towards Hope station and find a handy wall to bivi behind and be ready for the first train out in the morning. Then we discovered there was a 23:07 train back to Nottingham, and the resolve dissolved at the bottom of the glasses:
2016-03-11 20.56.12

So ended up back at home for 01:00 on saturday morning. Just a pile of kit to clean and tidy up:
2016-03-12 09.38.53

Lessons learnt on this ride:

  • Check routes a bit better
  • Just because people use a track in one direction, doesn’t mean it’ll work in the other
  • Need to mount main light higher to clear bar bag (helmet light is fine for low speed)
  • Fit bottle cage, so I can put tool tub in there and remove weight from back
  • Conditions are a bit different high up
  • Get used to pushing
  • Enjoy it

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