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The Joys of Bicycle MicroAdventures

Photographer and cyclist David Malan discovers that adventure is not only for ‘Adventurers’ and that the best adventures can be found right here on your doorstep! Follow his journey into the world of micro-adventures where every day can become an opportunity to hit the refresh button on your life.


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!

all aboard

This idea really appealed to me, so I set up a S24o Bicycle Microdventure Facebook group and kicked off our first micro adventure by booking a campsite at Miller’s Point for a random Thursday night.

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.

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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 busses 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!

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TIPS FOR STARTING YOUR OWN MICRO ADVENTURE

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. Using a combination of cycle and train, 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.

cars suck

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.

packing up

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. As the trip is so short, you don’t have to carry everything and the kitchen sink.

gear for adventure

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.

Share The Adventure. Send us your story. Email hello@bicyclecapetown.org

Or join in our next S24o adventure

almost there

Photographs © David Malan

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