It’s forecast to be another scorching hot summer day in old Blighty, and there is no way I’m missing the opportunity to get out on a bike.
I just need the perfect excuse…
I had recently recorded the review of the Riese & Müller Superdelite at our showroom in Nailsworth and whilst it is getting good feedback about how informative it is, it just really doesn’t inspire me….
I’m the visual type and quickly get bored of reading.
But give me some scenery and a story and I am hooked 🙂
So maybe an off-road adventure somewhere new would do the trick. I could explore uncharted territory, push myself and the bike to the limits, travel for days on end living simply in a tent and stopping for basic supplies as required.
This all sounds great, but I really have only had one day available and need to fit it all in!
Looking for some inspiration.
I needed inspiration. And what better place to start than the Bikepacking book which got me so interested in all this to begin with.
From the moment I first opened the Bikepacking by Lawrence McJannet, I was sold.
In fact, I didn’t need to even open the book. The cover says it all.
Then, heading off into the wilderness, I would cycle through the day, in no rush, taking in stunning scenery and maybe getting a wild swim.
As the evening drew in I would find a secluded place to set-up camp, cook a meal, and settle down for the night.
This was the dream. I had attempted it earlier in the year, and the reality was very different! Check out my blog post Cotswold Wild Camping to see how it played out!
So maybe camping isn’t for me. But long old days cycling and exploring new places definitely is my bag!
So I had booked Rufus my film making friend for a day. As it was summer, there was not much let up from the day job. And the evening before I was frantically scrabbling around thinking what we should do.
I flicked through the Bikepacking book and started looking at the routes which were intended for a couple of days on a standard bike and chose one which had the possibility of getting a swim in.
I re-created the in route in Komoot and sent it to Rufus and agreed to meet at the showroom first thing in the morning where I would have loaded some bikes into and onto my van.
Adventure planned, but what bike should I ride?
The next morning I was up early and deciding which bikes we should take.
The route was going to be a combination of both on and off-road. Nothing too technical (so I thought!) and around 25 miles. We would easily cover it on a single 625Wh battery.
The addition of full suspension would be nice and a Nyon cockpit with it’s sat-nav would be a handy addition.
In the end, I loaded up our Superdelite GT Rohloff, with GX pack and Nyon cockpit. I was having this bike.
But what should I choose for Rufus?
But, it wouldn’t really be the best bike for the day, especially as he would have to carry the filming equipment as well.
So I loaded a Homage GT Rohloff, 625Wh with GX pack and Kiox cockpit. Perfect for the day and would happily keep up with the Superdelite on the rougher stuff.
But as a joke, I also put the Tinker in the van and when Rufus arrived, I told him this was his ride for the day.. Which he seemed happy with!
We headed down the M5 and then south at Exeter until we reached our start point in a remote car park just outside of Sidmouth.
We arrived at our start point near Sidmouth
As I was unloading the bikes Rufus was asking if it would be possible to ride the route on the Tinker.
Now, whilst it would technically be possible to ride the route on any old bike, there is always going to be a good and bad choice.
So, I agreed the Tinker would be fine and I loaded the perfectly equipped Homage back in the van and we set off!
About half a mile down the road, we hit our first bridleway, and the Superdelite sailed over it like it was a recently resurfaced motorway.
Rufus and his Tinker struggled a bit more but we agreed it couldn’t get much worse than this and forged on…
“fast-flowing, dry, dusty, double tracks”
We soon found ourselves riding fast-flowing, dry, dusty, double tracks through cool wooded areas before crossing the edge of a golf course.
Then there were deep cut tracks with fern covered sides, and yet more fast riding. This was the best workday ever.
The route went on like this for sometime, with stretches of tarmac to break things up and ensure we continued to munch the miles.
Then, things changed..
We found ourselves riding up tracks with large loose rocks. These were a little tricky at times on the Superdelite, but the little 20” wheels on the Tinker were starting to find their limit.
But to be fair to Rufus, he is not a quitter, and I don’t remember him getting off and pushing, even though it probably would have been the easier option at times.
On the Superdelite, it really felt you could point it in the direction you wanted to go, up the power and drop a couple of gears and it would go through anything.
That’s until we found ourselves trying to ride through a track that must have been cut away by a water flow and was not even rideable. But it was downhill and we had managed to get so far down it that the thought of pushing the bikes back just wasn’t an option.
We climbed a tree with an ebike!
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, there was a tree across our track. The verges were so steep and high we couldn’t climb up and round the tree and to go back was too far. Plus, we are two fit young men having an adventure. So we decided to climb through the tree with the bikes.
This wasn’t just a case of lifting the bike up over a fallen trunk.
We actually had to climb through the tree with bikes over our shoulder. And if you have ever lifted a Superdelite with both batteries in, it’s not something you would want to try too often.
After a lot of cussing and sweating and pulled muscles I miraculously appeared on the far side or the tree, and only damage to the bike was a detached mudguard!
Rufus almost skipped through the tree with Tinker and joined me a couple moments later. Maybe he had cut the tree down the night before, knowing how smug I would be about my Superdelite by this point in the ride.
I only fell off once…. on camera
Then, again the ride continued, far less eventful other than the great riding and scenery at every turn. And I only fell off the once. Well, once on camera!
Eventually, we arrived back in Sidmouth and headed out to Jacobs Ladder beach where we dived into the sea to wash off the sweat and dust of the day, before our last mile and a half back to the van.
I jumped back on my bike, knocked the assistance level up into turbo and started the unexpected huge climb. Unlike Rufus, who got about a quarter of the way up the climb before his little 500Wh battery gave up up him and he started the long hard push, in the blistering heat back up to the van.
The friendly thing to have done, would be to get off and walk with him, but I got far more pleasure riding up to the top of the hill and back repeatedly telling how far he had to go. I think he really appreciated my help.
When Rufus arrived back at the van, he rode the Homage briefly to see what he had missed out on before we loaded up the bikes back up and headed home to Nailsworth.
It was an incredible adventure and really felt like we had packed a few days of travel into one long day. And the best part was a really comfy bed and a decent meal in the evening, before getting up early the next morning ready to put in a few more workdays before heading out to do the same again.
There is no question the bikes were amazing.
I loved the dualbattery on the Superdelite. At no point during the ride did I have range anxiety. I just upped the power as soon as it got difficult and floated over everything.
The two things I will now be recommending to everyone is full-suspension and sat-nav.
Whilst the suspension is going to be dependant on your intended terrain and of course budget, the Nyon cockpit with built-in sat-nav paired with Komoot was a Godsend.
It must have saved so much time compared to getting a map out at every turn. And we were able to spend more time enjoying the flow of the ride and the scenery instead of navigating.
One lesson we have learned, is that whilst you can do almost anything on any bike, there is also the right bike for the job.
I think next time given the choice, then maybe Rufus would have chosen the Homage. That said, the Tinker and Rufus came home in one piece and it was an absolute blast 🙂