Memories, scars and wet socks…
WRT (Welsh Ride Thing)
The bike is sitting in the shed dressed neatly in her bags filled with the tools needed for an adventure, lightweight cooking gear in one drybag, food in another, my sleeping bag pushed deep into my saddle pack whilst a tarp tent and accessories are distributed depending on size and weight around my three bike bags. I no longer take hours choosing what kit to take as years of bikepacking have given me the confidence in the limited kit I need and use for a trip. Tomorrow is a great day, tomorrow is the WRT !!
WRT… Who & What?!
Many reading this will already know of Stuart and the community he has created around Bearbones bikepacking, with a busy forum, an online store for super lightweight accessories and newsletters containing wit, stories, memories and all things bikpeacking. I am pretty confident he has been the catalyst for many of us and our entries into this world of adventure on a bike and has certainly shown most of us more tussocks in a day than one would like to see in a lifetime.
This year witnessed the 10th edition of the WRT (Welsh Ride Thing). An annual pilgrimage for many of us that love sleeping under the stars, cooking in titanium pots and using leaves to wipe our behinds in the remotest parts of Wales. The event itself is a testament to Stu and his role within the world of bikepacking. As anyone that can pull in people from all over the UK to an unknown part of deepest Mid Wales, create an event that isn’t really an event and send you out on a route that ultimately is of your own choosing is something that most of us couldn’t pull off. The thing about the WRT is that it has become a staple in our adventure diets, a weekend that we can mark off in our diaries and a few days our families are now used to loosing us to.
With the lure of enough tea to rehydrate a rugby team and enough cake to satisfy any W I gathering, everyone knows the return journey is one to look forward to. Before that though we have to create a route, maybe plan our bivi spots and think about where we will drink that much needed beer. Many regulars to the WRT now have a selection of favourites routes, trails and views and will pedal off to do their own thing whilst others can use the carefully thought about grid references that Stu emails out in the weeks leading up to the WRT. They are guidelines in helping to produce a new route and taking in parts of this magical area that most will not know about. I myself often only do a single night out so I can be back home to spend the Bank holiday Monday with the family, whilst others will spend the two nights out exploring the area, stoping of at cafes or going completely feral and off-grid.
Regardless of how each and everyone of the WRT participants spend their weekend, everyone has a similar goal. Ride bikes, explore the depths of Mid Wales, sleep under the stars and fill their memory banks to the brim with stories from the weekend. Some will only cover 50km whilst others will tap out 100s of kms over the 2/3 days. There are no prizes (apart from mountains of cake) just good old fashioned outdoor fun.
As you may have noticed, this is a blog post giving praise to Stu for his efforts and character. I usually chat about the route, my experiences from the weekend and all that jazz. This time I just wanted to say a big thank you, a huge congratulations for 10 years of helping to entertain the strange, mad and adventurous. Maybe the biggest mention should be that the WRT and its profits are all given to charity.
Bearbones we salut you!! Roll on next year 🙂
A big thanks to Ian Frewin for being my bikepacking buddy and model on this trip 😉
Please scroll left or right for some colour shots of the weekend.