The Joys of Big Adventures, Close To Home

Stopping for a restWe’ve always believed that big adventures can be found close to home.

You don’t have to cycle around the world to have a good time, and one of the best “big adventures” we’ve discovered in the last couple of years is the S240 or Sub 24 hour Overnight bike camping trip. It’s pure joy, easily condensed into an evening.

It’s simple. Dead simple. There are no packing lists, or worrying about how much food to take. We typically take our tent, a sleeping bag and mat, a pillow, some picnic foods (cheese, salami, bread, olives, etc…) and a thermos full of tea, plus a bottle of wine if we’re feeling extravagant. We throw a toothbrush and a camera in the handlebar bag and we’re off (here’s another S240 packing list)

You don’t have to meticulously plan a route. After all, less planning = more chance for adventure! Anyway, whatever you forget or can’t figure out doesn’t matter much. You’ll be home the next morning.

It doesn’t have to be far either. Go down the road, slip your tent in the woods or visit a campsite you haven’t yet been to. Ask a farmer in the next village if you can pitch a tent in his field.

These mini-adventures are great for working out the kinks of bike touring. Do a few of them, and you’ll soon discover if your sleeping mat is comfortable enough, or if your stove is really easy to use. And they’re a fantastic break away from the routines of a hectic lifestyle. A bike ride plus a night of camping is the best stress relief we’ve found yet.

On our last S240, we headed out along the canals and green fields near our home in Holland.


We stopped to admire the windmills.


And we laughed at the spring lambs, playing in the fields.


We found a place to pitch our tent (a paal camping site – legal and free camping in Holland).


And we cooked supper, while watching the sun sink over the canal.


The next morning we stopped for apple cake and coffee.

Coffee. Apple Cake. Heaven.

We hung out at the market, and drooled over the cheese. We also had our panniers filled by a kind Iranian man, who heard we’d cycled through his country and starting pulling food off the shelves of his shop. We didn’t get his picture but he sure put a smile on our faces for the rest of the day.

Cheese Stand

Almost back home, we watched as 3 girls made their way along a bike lane (we love living in a country where it’s safe enough for everyone – even kids – to cycle everywhere).

Three Little Girls On Bikes

Not a small amount of adventure for just 15 hours away from home. We were never further than 30km from our house. How about you? Where’s your next mini-adventure going to be?


  1. Brenda in the Boro UK
    12th April 2011 at 6:20 pm #

    Hi Freidel. we are just back from a 3 day, 2 night camp only 40 miles from home. We had a lovely time and on Friday we were able to ride unloaded over the high fells in County Durham. seeing the spring lambs and wild flowers in the hedgerows really lifted my spirits. We were blessed with fine weather for a change but were determined to go anyway. I concur, you don’t have to be miles away to have a good time.

    • friedel
      13th April 2011 at 5:43 am #

      Brenda, that sounds idyllic! I really hope to cycle in your part of the world one of these days. Maybe this summer…

  2. Middle A Cyclist
    12th April 2011 at 8:48 pm #

    Cant’t agree more. Grab the opportunity while you can. I’m off for a two day, on one night ‘mini-tour’ in 3 days time.

    The wife and Golden Child are going away with family for a few days but I’m working for most of this period. I have Friday and Saturday to myself though and the bike is ready. Will be trying out my new tent and sleeping bag and can get two or three British Cycle Quest checkpoints as well!

    All good shake miles down for a longer trip in the summer. Love to cycle!

    • friedel
      13th April 2011 at 5:45 am #

      Good luck with your weekend trip, and especially that new tent and sleeping bag. It’s exciting to try out new gear! We’re heading out again as well, with a friend for some cycle camping fun.

  3. Austin
    13th April 2011 at 4:33 pm #

    How perfect! And the pictures are wonderful, very evocative.

    This is a wonderful reminder that the best adventures are not necessarily the most exotic or the most epic; the best adventures are the ones you ACTUALLY HAVE — the trips you ACTUALLY TAKE, the places you ACTUALLY GO! It’s so easy to sit around and fantasize about far-flung ultimate dream excursions . . . but it’s so much better to get up out of that chair and out on the road! Thank you for sharing your trip with all of us.

  4. Raditya
    6th May 2011 at 2:50 am #

    Great pictures! I agree that great adventures can be found close to home. A trip is not always a long distance trip. What could be great a thing is enjoying what God has given to us in the world, the nature, the view, the people, and all the other things.
    Go green..

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