We caught up with Conor Macfarlane, the man to talk to if you're inclined to take bike's along on your travels. He filled us in with some of his top tips on camping, biking & digging yourself some extra fun. What a legend...
As much as I like camping, I also like having another excuse to get out and explore new areas whilst also getting away from every day life for a while. When it comes to just camping, I can get a bit annoying for the other people if I haven’t expelled some energy during the day.
So, my favourite activity to combine with camping is biking, and along with biking comes digging; if you want unique features and jumps to hit. So here are a few tips to make your camping/biking/digging adventure better.
Feldon Fact #1 - Scope the area where you want to go camping.
Finding good zones isn’t always as easy as you may think. Sure, any trip you go on there will be places to ride, but it's finding fun places that may take a bit more effort than just going on any old trip. Ensure you know something about the area you are heading into;
- Has there been gold mining there in the past?
- Are there scree slopes?
- What will the dirt be like?
- Is it dense forest of open tussock land?
A lot of this can be found out online or talking to people who have been in the area before. Sure, a lot is guesswork, but at least you have a vague idea of what area should suit what you are looking for. And of course is there a good camp spot?
Feldon Fact #2 - Take all the essential tools you may need plus more.
I take a wide variety of earth moving implements, as you never know which one you will need. You could get away with one spade and a pick, but having the right tool for the job will make your life a lot easier.
Feldon Fact #3 - Don’t rush into digging.
Take your time finding the right spot to build a feature, many an hour can be wasted building a feature that may not work as you'd planned, or more often then not, it can take a lot longer than you thought. Pick a spot that requires minimal digging if possible, using the natural contours to your advantage. Some spots such as scree slopes may require no work at all.
Feldon Fact #4 - Many hands make light work.
Bring along a good crew of mates who are keen to lend a hand, many hands make light work!
Feldon Fact #5 - Take your time hitting a feature for the first time.
If you happen to have built a feature that is pushing your limits... take your time to hit it, as quite often you will be out of reception or a long way from a hospital. I take multiple run-ins to gauge my speed before I hit it, along with thinking of what I am going to do if different scenarios happen; such as where is the next best exit direction if my chosen direction is out of the question. I would also recommend carrying a Personal Locator Beacon if you are out in the sticks, just in case!
Feldon Fact #6 - Take plenty of food and water.
After a big day of riding food and liquid refreshments are always in order. I always pack extra food, as after extra physical days I tend to eat anything in sight. Better to have too much than not enough.
I hope these tips help make your next trip that much better. Whatever your excuse for getting out camping is, make it happen as much as possible.
Words by the talented Conor MacFarlane.
Photos by the talented Callum Wood.