In the first part of our bike maintenance series, how to make your bike go faster, we covered the things that every speed demon should know. This time, we’re going to look at what every bike owner should know, regardless of your cycling habits.
Your bike keeps you fit, gets you out amongst the elements, lets you travel, and provides you with entertainment; so don’t neglect it. Here are some tips to keep your bike going for longer.
Whether you are an accomplished explorer or a weekend walker, camping and outdoor activities can be a great way to spend your leisure time. There’s nothing like sitting in a magical trance with family and friends, letting a dancing campfire entertain you whilst toasting one more marshmallow or the enticing smell of a summery BBQ.
However, experience aside, it is important to stay safe, especially if you are out in more rural areas.
When you envisage your next camping trip, there’s one element that impacts all the others. We use it to cook food; we use it for warmth; we use it for light when we’ve arrived late and the torch is playing up. It’s what we sit around when we’re swapping stories and looking over a map to plan the next day’s activities. It is, of course, a campfire – and most people don’t know how to light one properly.
Oh sure, when the weather is hot and dry it can be as easy as collecting some leaves and twigs and tossing a match on them, but how long will that last? And what if it’s raining?
Every mode of transport we take when going on holiday has its advantages. We love our cars because they give us the freedom to climb in and easily go wherever we please. Our motorbikes get us out amongst the elements. Public transport allows us to reduce our carbon footprints.
Cycling offers all of the above, plus a few unique advantages of its own. It’s no surprise, then, that so many people are choosing to take holidays designed around riding their bikes. But cycle touring isn’t a new fad; for many it’s a deep-rooted passion.
For others, however, the concept of going on a British holiday where you leave your car keys at home, don’t book a train ticket, and only pack luggage that you can carry on your back (or on the back of your bicycle), is a relatively new one. So if you’re thinking of touring Britain on your pushbike for a weekend, a week, a month, or perhaps even longer, here’s a beginner’s guide to cycle touring to help you get started.
This is a guest post by Jen and Sim Benson, authors of the Wild Running guidebook.
There are many different running disciplines, from road and track to trail, fell, and cross-country, each with its own set of rules. In writing Wild Running, we hoped to capture all the best bits from each discipline, finding the best running terrain in the most beautiful places without being restrictive. In short, Wild Running is about getting out and having the most fun it’s possible to have at a run.
Why run wild?
The essence of wild running is in the excitement, location and pure joy of running a route, rather than the surface it is run upon. Freedom, fantastic running terrain and the exploration of new and beautiful places are all key to a perfect wild running adventure. Wild running takes you away from everyday life, providing the freedom to discover and explore fantastic new places. The experience of running in remote areas teaches us self-reliance, makes us fitter and stronger and encourages us to become better at finding our way. A wild running adventure can be as gentle or as testing as you choose to make it, and it can be different every time, but the key ingredients – an adventure somewhere amazing, with great running underfoot – are always there.
Dual running is a new sport for the UK, but is well established in the Nordic countries, with routes in Norway’s fjords, where it’s an efficient way to get between isolated villages .
In its simplest form, it combines the pace and exploration of trail running with the companionship of bringing another person along.
Your dual running team needs two members. The first, known as the ‘blaster’ provides the power, with leg strength and stamina critical. Most blasters are also runners as well, as this is an excellent way to build up to the high level of fitness required for dual running.
The second member, the ‘master’ is carried by the blaster. They provide the navigation (and motivation!). Generally lighter than the blaster, they need good upper-body strength and navigation skills.
It’s unusual to have a dual running team where the members reverse roles, although Swedish champions Aleksek Persson and Öden Albrecktsson did this after Persson sustained an Achilles tendon injury.
Many lovers of the great outdoors spend more time learning survival tips they’re very unlikely to need than they do learning simple, essential first aid practices. While these tips might not seem as glamorous, you’ll be happy you know them when you’re out amongst nature with no phone signal.
Of course, first aid isn’t something you can teach in a blog – it requires full training and practical experience. In this article, we’ll be going over some useful beginner’s knowledge and must-have items to get you started on outdoor first aid.
Answer: Exploring wild cave systems – or simply another name for caving or potholing. Far from being something altogether different, spelunking is the largely-American term for caving, which actually has strong etymological roots – having come from ‘speleology’, which is the scientific study of caves or their environments.
According to several authorities, trail running takes place on softer, more cushioned terrain like grass and mud. It’s defined as ‘heading off the beaten track’ on routes that aren’t marked nor in some cases even actual paths at all. Some interchange ‘trail’ and ‘fell’ running, but the two concepts are quite different, with the latter acknowledged as far more ‘rugged, rocky and extreme’.
Is trail running, therefore, as simple as running on any surface that isn’t solid? Not exactly. It’s about leaving the hustle and bustle of leaving everyday life behind; it’s about feeling the breeze on your face, negotiating tree roots and being alert for overgrown branches. It’s about spotting wildlife (I actually encountered a deer on one of my recent runs) and enjoying nature. Essentially, it’s more fun than running on the road.
Building a raft can be a challenging, fun and rewarding activity, whether you’re creating one as part of a team-building activity or just simply want one to trek down a local river in. You can either create one with your mates or ask your family to lend a hand.