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Use Your Weekend

Mountain Biking

My aim for the year is to showcase small, cheap, simple, close-to-home microadventures. Microadventures serve to scratch the itch for adventurous souls trapped by the bludgeoning of chance in sensible office jobs. They act as stepping stones for people who dream of a major expedition but feel that at the moment they are not quite ready. And they are a kick up the backside to anyone whinging and whining with excuses about how they don’t have the time or the money or the skills to get out there and challenge themselves.

I have started deliberately small, with ideas that absolutely anyone can manage. In January I entered a race. And in February I went for a weekend away. These are micro microadventures. But they are brilliant.

If you add up all the weekends, statutory leave and Bank Holidays you’ll discover that you have at least 132 free days every year. 132 days is a long time. You could row across the Indian Ocean in 132 days. The difficulty of course is the fragmented nature of these 132 days. You have to be determined to use your weekends rather than frittering them with IKEA and the X-Factor.

So my microadventure for this month is a challenge to Use Your Weekend.

Annoyingly I live about as far from wilderness as is possible. And yet by late morning on Saturday I was still high on a Welsh hillside, breathing in fresh air, looking down over the sunlit Bristol Channel, and about to scare myself silly on a downhill mountain bike trail.

Go somewhere you have never been before. Ride hard. Get wet, cold and muddy. Laugh with your mates. Then relax, aching and exhausted, having earned your beer. Use Your Weekend.

Here is the video I made:

Do you have any examples of inspiring, invigorating weekend microadventures?
And do you have any recommendations of microadventures I can try this year? Have your say in the comments or let me know on Twitter

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  1. I live for these microadventures. My favourite is 24 hours in the Lakes with a bivy bag. Jump on the train at Manchester, get off at Windermere and see where I end up. I’m usually wet and deprived of sleep (!) but occasionally you have one of those magical nights out… clear skies, great sunrise/sunset etc etc

    • fantastic – I wish I lived near enough the Lakes to do that…
      *southern exile*

    • That sounds fantastic! I will be up in the lakes in mid August, I’m coming over from the US to visit friends, but trying to see as much natural England as I can, North York Moors, Yorkshire Dales, and Lakes District!

  2. JoJoBiker Posted

    This is absolutely brilliant! You spend 3 years riding round the whole world and now are getting excitd about a weekend with your pals mountain biking. This is brilliant!

  3. I recently walked from Sydney to Wollongong in Australia with my brother. It was an overnight hike and we filmed the journey. We slept in hammocks, in the Royal National Park.

  4. Love the “microadventure weekend” concept! When the weather’s fine, the climbing gear is thrown in the bag of the veedub, along with a bit of grub, a few beers and a bottle of wine. Down we’ll trundle to Swanage (nearest crag) for a weekend of scaring ourselves silly on the rock. When the weather’s not fine, the bikes go on the back too, so we always have the option of getting tired, wet and muddy if the crag’s too slippery. Sometimes, we’ll leave the veedub behind, and just go out on the bikes, or on a long run, or enter a race. Even a weekend in is a microadventure, particularly when staying in bed till midday, surrounded by all the Sunday papers, listening to the radio and the rain outside and eating boiled eggs with toasted soldiers! No weekend is wasted, they’re too precious.

  5. Microadventures – Just do it! I love microadventures, you can fit them into a weekend, or even your lunch break. That’s the beauty of them. I’m lucky with my ‘day-job’ as my working hours are odd to say the least. I start early, have a HUGE lunch break, usually 4 hours, then a couple of hours early evening. This gives me time for the outdoors almost every day. If I’m not finding somewhere new to walk, then I can do old walks, just faster, carrying more weight, taking more photos etc.
    My next microadventure is my walk to school. I’m going to walk via every junior school in the local councils area, to finish in time for the ‘Breakfast Club’ at the school in my street. Midnight – 7.30am. I’ll be walking along side a bright yellow duck, raising money for the kids and having an adventure all at the same time. Cheap, fun and for a good cause, all on my doorstep. Can’t be bad!
    All I have to do then is go back to all the schools one at a time and get all the kids to Walk to School, microadventures for micropeople.
    Take a look –

  6. TONY JOHNSON Posted

    And I love the beer at the end. How do you think of these things?!
    I’d be so tired if I’d done all that riding to have even any brain left to think of doing that beer shot. Loveit.

  7. The concept of micro adventures really appeals to me as something straightforward that opens up opportunities to try something new and visit exciting places without having to invest huge amounts of cash, if any. Going on an annual two week trip out of my precious annual leave allowance has never cut it so slotting these short trips inbetween really keeps my morale up too.

    A couple of weeks ago a friend and I tried to row down Lancaster canal for a few days. The trip was a complete disaster, our cheap overladen dinghy was punctured beyond repair and deflated on the towpath within the first day. I absolutely loved the experience though and haven’t laughed as much in a long time.

  8. I love the Microadventures idea. In the last months a mate and I drove over to Yorkshire to do the Yorkshire 3 Peaks and two weeks ago spent the weekend up on Ben Nevis climbing Gardyloo gully! Late in March we’re going to paddle the length of the River Tyne!

    For those of us addicted to adventure and the outdoors microadventures are perfect! P.S. Great article in Geographical magazine Al!

  9. Run the Anglesey coastal route… it’s 125 miles.

    Hiking around carrying camping gear will take about a week, but with support (or caching) you could try and do it in a long weekend!

  10. Car, rucksack, shelter, stove, clothes and quilt. Add them with a map and compass and throw in some hills and moors. This leads to lots of weekend adventures for me. I should dust the mountain bike off. Great video by the way.

  11. A weekend is certainly long enough for an adventure. Admittedly with the advantage of living in Oman, I crossed a small desert on a Bank Holiday weekend!

  12. A weekend long adventure ? I wish I had that much time !

    I work 7 days ( nights to be exact) a week and have about 8 hours of daylight.
    For me adventure revolves around activities, so choosing a destination, first I think if I can do more than just one activity there.

    Luckily , in my state ( WA) it’s pretty easy : hike in the morning, surf in the afternoon, and ski in the evening…

  13. That’s a sweet bike trail! I totally agree with the whole weekend adventures. Here’s one I did recently similar to your M25 adventure.

  14. Why not try a cycling weekend in France trying out some of the Tour de France route? We are not that far from Mont Ventoux if you really want to test your stamina and there are plenty of other smaller mountains to practise on first! Take a look at some cycling posts in our Blog to get a flavour of what’s possible –
    If you prefer hiking there are countless trails here for all levels of proficiency – we have plenty of info on trails at our house.
    Flights to Nimes, Marseille and Avignon mean a French micro adventure is a real possibility.

  15. “Weekend Warrior”: a person who holds a regular job during the week which restricts their ability to party/go on trips/partake in awesome activities, and thus plans epic weekend adventures to compensate. As much variation and quantity of awesomness is packed into the weekends as physically possible, warranting the rest of the work week to recharge for the next weekend.


    Just pulling your leg… 😉

  16. Fantastic first person vid of an urban mountain bike race in Chile…

  17. Ive been doing ‘A Walk a Week’ as prep for the Death Railway Expedition Im doing in April/May with my bro.

    Doing a walk each week has been an amazing way to get out and see the world around me; Ive loved the adventure and joy it has given my weeks!

    You can see more about it here

  18. Had the most micro of adventures this morning and loved it. A simple cycle to a local pond and then a swim in the freezing water. Loved it! Cheers for the inspiration Al! Seano

  19. Great idea and way of life. I am a lawyer by training but a bum at heart. All my life I have slipped away at every chance. Life is so short and there is so much to see and do. I hitch hiked all over the US and Europe, years of single handed sailing, bike touring and mt biking, kayaking and back country skiing. I can’t help it, I am compelled to see what is over the next hill or around the next corner.




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