My favourite book on cycling is Grant Petersen’s Just Ride – A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike, in which he talks about S24o (Sub-24-hour overnight) micro-adventures.
The idea is to go on short overnight bike/camping trips, on your own, or with a small group of friends. You just set off after work, hop on your bike, have an adventure, and be back in time for work the next morning! The great thing about the S24o is that it’s not too much of a time commitment. You also do not need to fly to the other side of the planet to find adventure, nor do you need to be an elite athlete or have lots of money. Adventure can be found right here on your doorstep! In his book, Grant Petersen also says that the S24o is the most fun he has with his bike!
Since then, going on microadventures has become a regular part of my life, enabling me to reconnect with nature and share memorable experiences with my friends.
Cape Town is the perfect city for microadventures, with an abundance of campsites and nature areas that can be reached after a relatively short cycle ride (between 20-60km). For those who do not want to cycle too far, the city’s network of trains and buses can be used to cut down the distance cycled. With open roads winding through scenic landscapes and plethora of coffee shops, getting there by bike is half the adventure.
Nothing beats the feeling of freedom you get stepping out your door, jumping on your bike and breaking the routine of everyday life and to echo Grant Petersen – I think the S24o is about the most fun I have had with my bike!
PLANNING YOUR MICROADVENTURE
When it comes to going a micro-adventure, it helps to be a little prepared (but not too much, as spontaneity is key to adventure).
CHOOSE THE PERFECT LOCATION
The secret with a good S24o location is that it should be close enough to visit overnight, and yet just far enough off your usual track to be challenging. If possible you can use a combination of cycling and trains, you can take your S24O further out of the city – think Winelands or Overberg. There are many options and really do not need a car to go on an adventure! Grab your maps and guidebooks, and make a list of places you’d like to visit. Or drop a pin on a map and just go! We also have a bunch of great microadventure ideas and routes to download on the website or you can view our directory of bike friendly camping spots.
PACK YOUR GO BAG
Food, bivy sack or small tent (protect you from wet weather), sleeping bag and mat, appropriate clothing (be prepared for wet or cold weather), pocket knife, firestarters, first aid kit, flashlight, toothbrush. Once you have fine tuned you microadventure packlist, it’s a good idea to keep your go bag packed and accessible, that way you can just grab everything you need and be ready to go at a moments notice, whenever adventure calls.
KIT OUT YOUR BIKE OR NOT
The best thing about an S24o is that you don’t need a touring bike to go on an adventure. Any bike will do. Although you can ride with a back pack, it may be worth fitting your bike with a rear rack and panniers or bikepacking bags. As the trip is so short, you don’t have to carry everything and the kitchen sink.
GO WITH AN OPEN MIND
In the words of author and micro-adventurer Alastair Humphreys –
Adventure is the spirit of trying something new, trying something difficult. Above all, adventure is about enthusiasm, ambition, open-mindedness and curiosity.
The best routes are the ones you haven’t ridden. You could pedal the same loops year after year. Many people do, literally or figuratively. But to grow, you need new rides. Risks. Turn down lanes you’ve long seen but never traveled. Get lost once or twice, then double back to where you started and try again
Live like this and you come to see unknown territory not as threatening, but as intriguing.
– Mark Remy, Bicycling Magazine 9/01
Photographs © David Malan
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Six friends take on an epic adventure traveling from the Cape Winelands through the Klein Karoo to Kleinbaai on the Cape’s coast.
Adventure is not only for ‘Adventurers’. Sometimes the best adventures can be found right here on your doorstep! Enter the world of micro-adventures where every day can become an opportunity to hit the refresh button on your life.