Bivvy a Month Challenge
Global Fat Bike Day 2018
We all know December 1st 2018 was ‘our’ special day as it was this year’s Global Fat Bike Day. However it was made even more special for me this year as I bagged my final Bivvy a Month for the year.
I’ve organised the last 4 rides on GFBD at the very picturesque Newborough on the Isle of Anglesey in North Wales. For me this is one of the best places for fat biking and makes a stunning backdrop for a wild camp. Some fine forestry, a long coastline and a historic island ticks my boxes especially when shared with people who have not been here before.
So late afternoon I picked up my work mate John for the 50 minute drive to the start of the ride on GFBD. The wind was blowing straight in from the coast which gave a chill in the air. The two of us went for a pedal around the fine singletrack through the forestry with our loaded bikes. John rode his Charge Cooker and I was again on the ever faithful Salsa Mukluk with the Apidura bikepacking bags. Riding in the forest gave us some shelter through the afternoon as the wind continued to blow. I arranged to meet four others at a fine wild camp spot which I’ve used many times before late afternoon just before the sun went down. We got to the spot and we were introduced to a couple we’ve not met before. That’s GFBD, bringing new riders together as what we had in common was the love of riding wide tyres. With tents pitched the fire soon got lit and a centre point was made for the night ahead. After a feed of rice and steak it was time for some liquids to ‘toast’ the achievement of #BAMfatbike2018 around the camp fire and also to actually toast some fine Welsh cakes. One of the other guys was also toasting his completion too which was great to be part of.
As the evening went on so did the rain, so after the big drops started to fall everyone headed for their tents. As the rain hit the canvas of the tent I had time to enjoy my cheese and biscuits with the vin rouge I brought along, I recalled my trips this year and realised this was one of the very few times rain had fallen on me during the Bivvy a Month Challenge!
The final #BAMfatbike2018 sleep went well and the kit was soon packed up in the Apidura bags for the final time this year. The plan now was to ride back to the cars and meet a few others after ditching the bags. The weather looked miserable at first but soon turned bright with temps around 10°c but with still a strong breeze from the coast.
Ten of us left for the ride through some of the singletrack as we chatted along the way. We passed some fine examples of ‘lava pillows’ which were formed thousands of years ago when this area was deep below the sea. After several miles of single and double track we headed out onto the coast where the wind was still blowing. As the others went in search of firm sand near the water edge I stuck close to the dunes in the high water line. I came across the remnants of a wooden hull from some historic boat which had washed up but this was surpassed by one of the highlights of the ride. The wreck of the Brig Athena which ran aground in 1852 was partly visible in the sand which made for a great photo stop.
Our next part of the ride was the ever stunning Llanddwyn Island. The name Llanddwyn means “The church of St. Dwynwen”. She is the Welsh patron saint of lovers, making her the Welsh equivalent of St. Valentine. In the 5th centrury Dwyynwen returned to the small island to live the life as a hermit as her love life didn’t go to well. The island was also an important part of local maritime history as a lifeboat station was situated there from 1840 and a lighthouse built in 1845 guided the many ships exporting Welsh slate.
As we left the island the wind was on our back making the beach ride a real blast as we headed south. This was soon over as we then turned left and headed north on the other side of the dunes protecting the marshland. With the sun on our back we got ourselves back to the meeting point with no mechanicals and smiles on our faces. For those who rode here for the first said it wasn’t to be their last as they loved the ride.
As for what to do in 2019, its time to reflect and plan…..