Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Dry Run

With less than a week to go before my bikepacking trip, it seemed like a good idea to air out my camping gear and try a dry run in my home city.  The idea was that I would spend the day on my bike and then set up camp in the backyard.
Home sweet camp
The day started out in the rain which was a good thing.  What better way to train?  If you're out in the wilds on your bike and the weather turns bad, you have not many choices but to ride.  By the time I got downtown, the rain had eased up and in fact the sun began to burn off the damp.

After six hours of saddle time, I made it to my "camp" in the backyard.  My bike was covered in road splash which also meant that all its components were covered in a thick layer of sand.  Where the sand came from I have no idea but it was necessary to remove it before I rode any farther.  Being home, it was simply a matter of uncoiling the garden hose rather than dumping the bike in a creek if I was on the trail.
Bikey wash

Where we bikepack, it is not always possible to have a campfire, so it was a luxury to open up the woodshed and haul out dry fuel which I split using a survival shovel that my son had given me for Father's Day.  There was no need to find kindling since I could simply use my wife's blowtorch (yes she has better tools than me) to get a blaze going.
That's the way uh huh!

When we're bikepacking, most of our meals come from packages of dehydrated foods that we supplement with fresh vegetables bought from a local grocery store or roadside stand.  Camping in the backyard with a fridge full of food just steps away, it felt luxurious to have a meal served by my daughter and all I had to do was to cook the burgers over the fire.
It wasn't until 2:30 in the morning that the down - side of camping in the backyard presented itself.  The constant noise of traffic from the nearby ring road prevented me from enjoying the new Hubba Hubba tent I had been given for my birthday.  As well, I wasn't able to get a full night's sleep testing out a sleeping bag that I was considering buying.  But I would have had to get up anyway since my Thermarest mattress was flatter than a pancake - reminding me of one more thing to add to my growing list of tasks and errands that needed doing before the real trip begins.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

On Your Mark Get Set...Go?

At the tv station where I work I'm often asked to do a variety of tasks.  Just yesterday I had two shoots, I taught someone how to operate a minicam, a photo was needed of a prize giveaway and I had to drive two co-workers to a graphic design shop.  But the most interesting assignment was assembling a bike that our breakfast show intends use in a contest for the Tour of Alberta.
You could win this

It was while assembling the Devinci bike that it occurred to me that in only three weeks I'll be on the Kettle Valley Railway with my good friend and cycling partner Roy.  I'm working twelve days straight right now and I'm worried that there won't be enough time to get everything ready.
The two cycling amigos suck it in!
A trip to Mountain Equipment Co-op is still needed to stock up on freeze-dried foods and  Cliff bars.  Since I like coffee in the morning, I'm thinking of bringing my survival stove from my bug out bag from which I can boil up some water and use the camping Melita - like coffee maker (still to buy at MEC).
Weird looking but works well

Every year it's like this - just when the weather is decent, work gets very busy but I remind my self that when the time comes that Roy and I disappear into the mountains, it will all be worth the effort.