A mid-summer mini-adventure

Last weekend saw the second running of the Horizons Unlimited 'HUBB UK' event to be held at Donington Park Farm (following on from the old 'Travellers Meetings' held at Ripley, slightly further north).

Shamefully, despite having had these events on our doorstep since moving to the Derby/Nottingham area nearly nine years ago, we'd never managed to make it to either one (quite often due to actually being away somewhere) .  In an effort to rectify this situation, I'd signed us up for this year's event over Christmas (with Sarah five months pregnant).  The original plan was that - baby Toby having arrived in the meantime - we'd use this as a test run for family camping somewhere where we could easily bail out for home at any time of the day or night.  In the end, we decided we weren't quite ready to share a tent with an eight-week-old baby, and just made day-trips to the site from home on Thursday and Saturday.

 A few of our favourite speakers:

  • Ian MacNab, on lightweight cycle touring and racing the Tour Divide.
  • Helen Lloyd, on cycle (and horse!) touring in Asia, including Siberia in winter.
  • Simon Jarratt, on Australia and New Zealand in a VW T4 Transporter.
  • And of course, Grant and Susan Johnson, on the trip that started it all (at least as far as Horizons Unlimited is concerned).

And of course there is the fun of wandering around the site and taking a look at everyone's camping and travelling setups.

A herd of vintage Carawagon Land Rovers:

There were some very expensive and shiny demountable camper setups there, but I liked this one best.  This actually belongs to a guy from my local TRF group.  He reckons he can get the caravan off the back in under an hour to return it to a normal dropside LT35.

The cutest Kawasaki minibike and trailer combination:

RallyRaidProducts LC4-50, as raced by Jenny Morgan in the Hellas Rally (and to be raced by her in next years Dakar).

And where else would you find a C90 that's been ridden back from Mongolia parked next to an ex-California Highway Patrol Kawasaki cruiser?

By late afternoon on Saturday, Sarah was about ready to head home, while I was keen to see the inimitable Ed March talk about leading a group of complete strangers on Honda C90s (including the one above) on a ride from Ulaanbaatar to the UK.  Fine, said Sarah, as long as I dropped her home first, I could even camp overnight.  There was just one problem in my head - I could justify to myself turning up in the car with Toby, but doing so on my own to an "adventure travel" event would be a bit lame.  Even taking the Tenere seemed like overkill when the destination was only five miles down the road.

There was only one possible solution:

Tent strapped to the bars of the trusty Tricross, sleeping bag, mat, and a few other essentials stuffed into my Kriega R35.  The ride back would be about 90% off-road, including fighting through some somewhat overgrown bridleways:

Back at the event site, I tracked down rally-buddy Tony and set up camp opposite him.  Satisfyingly, the bike also fitted nicely inside the tipi with me.

Accommodation for the night sorted, Tony and I headed to the bar for a couple of beers before sitting down to watch Ed's (extremely funny presentation).

Blast from the past #3 - Silliness in Sunny Spain

It's July 2009, and day 1 of the Horizons Unlimited Mountain Madness, a three day orienteering event on the trails of the Spanish Pyrenees.  I'd ended up here as a result of meeting Dave Haines (stood behind me, ballroom dancing with the signpost) through the Performance Bikes magazine forum some time before.  When he put a post on the forum asking for team-mates (and in the process offering the loan of bikes, riding gear, and somewhere to stay on the way down through France), it seemed silly to decline.  The signpost itself is one of the checkpoints, our second of the event, having spent the last couple of hours being extremely lost.

At the time of this photo, I had probably done about three hours of dirt riding.  It's lead to a whole lot more over the last four and a half years, including two more trips to the HUMM (and a trophy from the 2010 event), all the enduro and rally racing I've done, most of the bikes I've bought in the meantime, and ultimately to my USA trip last year.

(The HUMM is, sadly, no more, but essentially the same event continues as 'The Vince')