On a blustery Saturday night in a room above a pub in Hove, Reilly Ambassador Elaine Burroughs and fellow wanderer Helen Kellar are imparting their wisdom and extensive bike packing knowledge. Bike Packing is the subtle art of bundling your essentials into very small bags, strapping said bags onto your bike and propelling yourself out into the wild.
Romantic as this sounds it’s also slightly terrifying. How do I know where to go? What do I wear? What if everything gets wet? How can I pack it all on my bike? What do I eat? How do I eat it?
Which is why Reilly Cyclworks sponsored the Brighton Mitre Cycling Club’s women social event - An Introduction to Adventure Cycling and why I find myself together with about 15 other women in a room above a pub on a blustery Saturday night.
Elaine and Helen have brought their bikes fully laden and proceeded to unpack showing us where the various essential are hiding and hacks such as: “have your food where you can see it so you don’t forget to eat” Elaine or “take a little luxury that make you feel good. Mine is a blow up solar powered lantern that stops me feeling lonely” Helen.
Sleeping was a hot topic of conversation - what to sleep on and in and what to put over you. After waking up with a slug on her face Elaine now favours a tent which folds into a ridiculously small pack and is stowed on her front handlebars. Helen has a bivvy bag which is a minimalist shelter over your sleeping bag. Plus there were more handy tips like sleep on your wet gloves and they will dry in the night! Genius.
Both Elaine and Helen spoke so passionately about their many adventures and the childlike charm of setting off and not knowing where the wind would take you, that Reilly, with Elaine’s help, is going to hold a women only bike packing weekend in May 2022. It will be a chance to cycle, bed down, wake up in the great outdoors and make some friends along the way. You may hate it and scarper to the nearest Premier Inn or you may find your inner adventuress, either way you don’t know till you try.
Girls Go Wild, an introduction to bike packing, May 2022. To register your interest email Annak@reillycycleworks.com
Helen's Beloved Lantern
Read about Elaine's experience at Flanders Gravel here