Absolute minimalist bike tour

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  • Absolute minimalist bike tour
  • jekkyl

    I have no advice to give but I love the adventure aspect of not knowing where you’re going to sleep. You could probably get away with just a bivvy bag on dry summer nights. Tiredness from the day’s ride would aid sleep in uncomfortable conditions plus maybe a wee dram. Good luck, have fun & we want a ride report & pics.


    I have no knowledge or experience but I think if I was stuck for somewhere to bunk I’d just keep on riding once the pub had shut and have a kip the next day in a park.


    If you are going to sleep out, you might get away with a bivvy bag at low level if it is warm, or you can shelter somewhere. Realistically, I would say sleeping bag and mat + bivvy bag if you are outside and it is going to get wet.
    Spent a night in a YH sheet sleeping bag on the shore of a loch many years ago, because the hostel was full. That was a long night…

    Look on the barebones bikepacking site – all things lightweight and minimalistic and loads who can advise on the forum too.

    Personally I would take something to cook with – or the very least a pot that can be warmed over a fire. If accommodation is sparse the chances are shops will be too. Stu of barebones fame makes some great little meths burners.

    Nothing beats losing yourself in the wilderness on a bike – hope you have a brilliant time 😀

    Edric 64

    Kip in a barn .Dont sleep in one of those orange survival bags though as you will sweat your nuts off!!

    Premier Icon DavidB

    Cheers, here is the plan..it is a bit mental.

    Train to Newport
    Lon Las Cymru to Snowdon.
    Carry up Snowdon
    NCN routes to Wasdale Head
    Carry up Sca Fell
    Not really decided yet but on to Fort William and yes, you’ve guessed it…

    It’s a kind of anti-three peaks protest march. But you can see why I need to be dead light weight


    Phone for a taxi to convey you to b&b then back to trail again in morning. Sorted.

    Premier Icon DavidB

    In a few weeks time I’m planning an epic 6 day journey by bike. I will be going on and off road so taking the CX bike, one of the options may include a mahooosive carry (think Snowdon). So I’m keen to take next to nothing. I normally do this using B&B’s so only carry a change of clothes and a toothbrush. This trip may be a bit more risky as there could be the odd night when accommodation doesn’t work out. I don’t want to pre-book or be constrained by having to go to a town.

    So bike packers, what is the absolute minimum kit you could get away with if you had to do a night or two in the hedge? Not bothered about cooking as hopefully I’d always be able to get to a shop or something. But there is always the risk of not finding any lodgings.


    1. Be aware of any major events which might make finding accom. difficult for miles around. Try to plan around them.
    2. Plan ahead where possible. There will be a smartphone app that helps you find a B&B / hostel / etc.
    3. By lunchtime each day you will probably know where you can/cannot get to that night. Phone ahead and make a booking – you may need to stop a few miles early or push on for longer but either is preferable to a crap nights sleep.
    4. If you do have to carry extra kit – can you hide it at the bottom of the climbs/carries and collect on way back.
    5. I think if you wave enough £ at private owners in the current climate that they would find you some shelter somewhere – even if it was a blow up mattress in the garage!
    6. If you are planning to update facebook / twitter / STW on your adventures and get a good following – I suspect that if you posted a “shit not sure where I will sleep near XYZ tonight” you might get an offer or two by the time you arrived! That would be easier if people understood what you were doing and why.


    That plan is mental! Brilliant, but mental.

    If I were doing it, bivi, lightweight thermarest and sleeping bag. Water filter perhaps. Probably some nurofen too!

    Good luck and please tell us how you got on.


    I suppose it depends on your weight/suffering ratio 😯

    Not sure why you would want to take your CX bike up Snowdon/Scarfell/Ben Nevis, but….

    Bivi bag – It’ll keep the worst of the weather off you and you can always find natural shelter
    Sleeping bag – keep you warm
    Sleeping mat – comfort & stops heat loss into the ground

    8 litre drybag on the bars using a Wildcat Harness (you wont notice its there) and Wingnut on my back for everything you’d need for a couple of nights out in the snow


    Bivy bag, mat and bag.

    Lol at water filter.

    Premier Icon paul4stones

    For the extra weight and size I would add a tarp. I did one night a bit like you plan over the recent BH weekend ie slept out without really knowing where it would be. The weather was pretty good and I thought I would just use the bag but in the end put the tarp up to. The extra shelter afforded by even my shabbily and hastily erected tarp was worth it I reckon.

    Tatty tarping


    Why would you carry your bike up 3 mountains, unless you plan to cheekily cycle down?! but on a crosser?! Lock it up at the bottom shirely and then stash your kit in a hedge and you’re free to climb without weight so you’ll do it quicker. Also not sure a week is realistic. The cycle from Cumbria to Fort bill will be a killer after having 2 mountains and a shit load of cycling already. What you need is a giant golden eagle to carry you off once you’ve chucked the ring into the fires of mount nevis!!

    Premier Icon cp

    Another vote for stash the bike and kit somewhere low down and walk the mountain(s) without it.

    Premier Icon DavidB

    The reason for the carry is that apart from the Ben my route goes up one side and down the other. Also, it is part of the challenge


    I have a proper waterproof down sleeping bag. Macpac used to make them but don’t any more, I don’t know who does them now. Mine is the epic 150sf

    It weighs 540g packed up, and is rated for 12 degrees comfort (but is okay down to more). Packs up into an absolutely tiny package – I’ve had it on my camelbak just strapped on the back and you hardly notice it.

    Have slept a fair few nights out in just it, find somewhere sheltered and soft, get in, lie down. It is warmer with a lightweight thermarest if you can spare the weight, but if you find somewhere with springy undergrowth not too bad without.

    Slept in it in Snowdonia a few years back and got snowed on. I survived fine, although I have to admit I did wake up cold in the morning.

    I wouldn’t choose to sleep in it alone for no reason, but if for some reason you want to travel super light, it means you can just take normal riding gear, add just over 500g extra weight and you have all the kit you need for an overnight stop.


    Just an idea but a mate who did something similar made a harness for his backpack which meant that he could attach the bike to it in a position that kept it stable and meant he could walk up hills without having to use a hand on the bike at all. said it made a big difference.

    He used as much wool as possible and said to keep your “bits” as clean as possible to try avoid sores or boils. iirc he used antiseptic cream as chamois cream though I always thought that sounds a bit harsh for the skin over a long period…

    Premier Icon DavidB

    Just an idea but a mate who did something similar made a harness for his backpack which meant that he could attach the bike to it in a position that kept it stable and meant he could walk up hills without having to use a hand on the bike at all. said it made a big difference.

    I’ve been thinking along these very lines. My idea was to take the wheels out and strap the frame to my backpack. The wheels would be carried in each hand and act as weird sort of walking poles. I am going to give it a go next weekend.

    joemarshall – thanks for that bag idea, I’ll see if I can find a UK supplier as that is just what I am looking for.


    Tout Terrain make a rack you might be interested in:


    It’s called the Sherpa and is designed to carry a backpack on a bike. Might be ideal for your trip, which sounds awesome by the way, so good luck!

    Premier Icon DavidB

    Thanks all, the date is set. I’m heading off 5th July and have wangled 10 days in which to try and get it done. No matter what I’m sure it will be an adventure. Last time I was up Snowdon on a bike I was in a gorilla suit (don’t ask)

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