Sonder Technician Jack went for a long weekend bikepacking and camping at the Hay-on-Wye literary festival.
The closer your campsite to the event and town, the more the pitch costs. So we appropriately camped a short few miles ride up on a beautiful hillside campsite. We had a couple of talks lined up from authors and planned to meet a couple of friends at a more ritzy grass pitch later on the weekend.
After some last minute Googling, we found a fifty mile route ending through a river for an optimistic swim, perfect breaking in for Sarah’s new Sonder Camino. Couple of coffees and packed some bakery treats and we were off. Sarah at once felt more confident on her new bike, wider tyres and hydraulic disc brakes made a huge upgrade from her last roadie. Some big hills straight away. Been a minute since we have tackled some larger ones, pieces of lungs coming out in heavy breaths and knees brushing past my ears, well worth it. The route was great, really felt remote in some areas, great undulating roads, not too much flat sections and great vistas of the Brecon Beacons.
Arriving at a small café, before we knew it, my friend was up in my personal space asking all about the Camino's new geometry. He was an expert in everything cycling as well and talked me through all Sonder's new products. I roughly mentioned our route and he was already engrossed in my phone on the handlebar mount telling me the route was rubbish. We thanked him and left him to talk to passersby about whatever subject, it wouldn’t matter.
The end of the route came to the river, a great spot for our first swim of the year and skimming stones. We had to pass through a herd of cows in a business meeting, who weren’t impressed with our intrusion, and left some passing comments that made Sarah feel threatened enough that she left me her new bike and ran off and over the stile.
The rest of the weekend was spent with our friends, sharing stories eating from food stalls, and buying lots of books. The campsite was unfortunately a bit Hay-on-Magaluf, but on the last night we had the field to ourselves. We found out why through a sleepless night, a huge thunderstorm rolled right over head. Great bright flashes of lightning light up the tent, thunder shook the air mattress and rain beat the tent, we decided the car was safer place to watch the show and had a rough nap in our sleeping bags in the front seats.
Sarah really suits her new Sonder, bombing hills faster, skidding longer, more adept off-road, really stoked with her new ride, already planning weekends away with the lakes gravel gang.
Long live long weekends!