Rather amusingly, parts of England - including where I live - are in the grip of an official heatwave (Level 3!). The weather has been extremely settled & good recently, but it is amusing that there have to be nationwide alerts if summer actually turns up properly on consecutive days as no-one seems to know what to do (the last heatwave was in 2006). Level 4 is apparently a national emergency, so I look forward to seeing what state of panic ensues if that happens.
With sleeping inside being a little difficult (at least it's not humid) I thought last night was a perfect opportunity to try out a few of the bike-packing items I've bought recently. That is - a Thermarest Neoair inflatable mattress that provides a lot of mattress considering how tiny it packs down, an Alpkit bivy bag and a very cheap & lightweight sleeping bag.
So with my sleeping bag strapped to the handlebars of my singlespeed & everything else loaded into my Camelbak (better & more permanent carrying solutions will appear after new bike is collected), I headed out into a very pleasant evening to scout around the forest for a suitable bivy site for the night. It was very nice riding in the cool of the evening & there were few people around (it's nice to see someone riding an identical bike to one which you had ten years ago) - but I didn't want to get too far from home as the following morning I had to ride home, shower, make lunch, breakfast & then ride to work before seven o'clock.
On my well worn route to the centre of the forest, I found a few potential sites & eventually settled in a small clearing in some woods well off the beaten path. It's a simple arrangement to set up - ground sheet, mattress then sleeping bag inside bivy bag on top of all that - so I wasn't expecting many problems & there weren't any. It has been sometime since I've slept under the stars, so it was nice to watch the night take over from dusk as I lay staring at the sky. Shortly after, a herd of horses walked through seemingly crashing through the undergrowth (I bet they weren't, but it was so quiet it sure sounded like that), grabbing a supper of grass noisily as they went. I was a little nervous that they'd be so startled by my presence that I'd some how get trodden on, but it wasn't quite as bad as coming out of a tent in Nakuru National Park & discovering a herd of giant water buffalo staring at you. A frog visited me too - that was odd as I was nowhere near any water, I thought.
Anyway, the rest of the night was uneventful - but it was still a bit warm, so sleep was fitful. Eventually the alarm went at five and I got up, decamped, watched a herd of deer close by and rode home - somehow I got to work even earlier than normal. So a successful little outing trying the gear & adding a small amount of adventure to my normally quiet week. It's nice to know the forest is so convenient for more than just riding - it'll be easy to head out to safe surroundings to test more overnight gear in the future.
6 hours ago