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Barney has taken the – if not impossible – then wildly ill-advised step of actually taking his young kids bikepacking. Read on for some abject lessons in what not to do…


Ah, bikepacking! The lure of the open trail! Of long arduous climbs and long, sweeping singletrack descents just before you unravel your bivvy bag beside a babbling stream on a glorious summer evening. Then it’s a simple matter of cooking industrial quantities of quinoa and lentils to hoover up before cracking open the port and a fine selection of cheeses before settling down to a nicely tipsy snooze.

A rough approximation of this is no doubt the image that many of you will harbour about the joys of this increasingly fashionable pursuit. Others, perhaps, will fixate on the training possibilities inherent in carting all your own gear with you. The rufty-tufty ‘alone with the wilderness’ image. And still others may pooh-pooh the idea as simply rebadged cycle touring for the unbearably hip and probably bearded.

But what of the average family type person? The adventurer who loves the idea of escaping into the wilds, but yearns to share the experience with their own little people? Or perhaps, who can’t sweet-talk the other half into shouldering the entire burden of bedtime?

Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s perfectly possible – as long as you remember a few key rules. These essentially boil down to forgetting everything that made bikepacking fun in the first place, and ensuring that you have sufficient improvisational skills to make totally arbitrary decisions on the most pointless of ‘critical decisions’ on the spot. But then, that’s what parenting is all about, right? This aspect of it just has more bike wheels, and fewer home comforts.

So, in a series of foolish and ill-advised experiments, I have taken my children bikepacking. There will be some among you who will react with incredulity – there are certainly enough of those people in the real world. My eldest, Eliza, is barely old enough (they thought) for this sort of thing. She’s six. She can ride a bike pretty well (although she’s not big on hills. Or straight lines, for that matter) and she’s keen as mustard. The spirit of the adventurer courses through her veins – either that or pure liqueThed jelly babies.

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About Singletrack

Editorial: Chipps is in an upbeat mood and thinks that things have never been better. UK Adventure: Land of the Midnight Sun: Pete Scullion heads to the northern tip of Scotland in search of midnight sunlight and spectacular trails. Column: Don't Call It A Heatwave, Just Call It Summer: Fearing the weather will turn, Chipps is worn out from riding day after day after… International Adventure: Uncharted British Columbia: e organisers of the BC Bike Race lay on this increasingly spicy taster menu of Canada’s finest trails. Classic Ride: North York Moors: Where better place to start a ride than Fryup? Olly Townsend takes us on a tour of technical trails that he can’t quite believe are legal. Bike Test: Beyonduro: To infinity and beyond… well, maybe just 170mm. Dean Hersey tests out three huge travel bikes from Nukeproof, Santa Cruz and Whyte that are not just for riding downhill. Trail Hunter: Quantock Hills: James Vincent revisits old friends on new trails in the Quantocks and remembers how much fun it is to ride without having to carry your bike. International Adventure: Trans Angeles: Hans Rey, Missy Giove, and Timmy C. from Rage Against e Machine go on an all-star ride across Los Angeles, from the mountains to the ocean. UK Adventure: Tyke Packing: Barney defeats the lightweight, solitary, point of bikepacking by taking his young children with him. We’ll let you decide if this is a how-to guide, or a list of reasons not to. UK Adventure: Back to the Future Sanny goes on a trip down memory lane, and his body reminds him why modern bikes are a good thing. Last Word: The Same Sort of Different. Hannah thinks that the world can be a more interesting place if you ride a bike. We Just Work Here: Who we are, what we do and who we would trust to build us a bike from scratch.