With just under a month to go, we decided it would be a good idea to have a little test run. We managed to rustle up some friends and a loose plan to cycle some of our local-but-less-travelled roads and camp out at a secret camping spot up on Ilkley moor. Then, as the weekend approached, the weather got colder and colder. But being fairly glutton for punishment, we cracked on anyway.
Saturday was cold, really cold, but dry and sunny, and we set off from Leeds, heading on small lanes out towards the dales. The route i’d planned was quite a hilly one, but it was a really clear, beautiful day, and we found some amazing new roads with some great views across the dales. I’d found this great road across the dales from near Blubberhouses to Appletreewick which I wanted to try, it was a dotted line on strava, and un-streetviewable, but I had high hopes. This road quickly turned to a rocky, muddy track across Barden moor, totally isolated, with incredible views and some great climbs and technical descents. In summary, it was great fun.
After a swift pint at Appletreewick, we back-roaded to Bolton Abbey then main-roaded it to Ilkley, getting to the shop for evening supplies just before 4. Stocked up on dinner, snacks and drinks, we rode up towards the Cow and Calf, then headed off up the moor. The path quickly became un-rideable, giving us half an hour of excruciating hike-a-bike, climbing nearly vertical up slippy muddy trails. But soon we had set up camp, had dinner going, and were sitting by a fire, looking out over the twinkling lights of Ilkley.
Although it was freezing cold, we spent the evening keeping the fire going, eating and drinking, and having philosophical conversations about space. It was windy and we had to wear all the clothes we had bought, but it was fab.
Sunday morning came, and after summoning the courage to get out the sleeping bags, we packed up and headed off up the cow and calf to warm up. It was early, freezing cold and misty, but the roads were quiet and a Wetherspoon’s breakfast was calling. After a couple of punctures and a lot of food and warming up in Bingley, we headed home on the canal.
I feel pretty prepared for our trip now, if I can survive the freezing north, a Portuguese/Spanish spring will be balmy. Our kit was ideal, and I feel confident we have invested in the right stuff. We can use our cooker to make our usual every-night pasta, and the tent is perfect. Riding half-loaded was surprisingly okay, although I am very glad I have the granny ring available. We are ready to go.
Micro adventures are fun, easy, cheap and can be a big or as little as you want. I feel a little put out that I won’t be able to have any micro adventures for a while, but as it’s because i’ll be on a mega adventure I can’t really complain. But I am a total convert, you only need a weekend, or a night, and can go far and find somewhere new to go, or camp in your garden, but it feels like a proper break from life.