Global adventurer Nathan Millward offers his motorcycle camping tips
With biking for pleasure set to resume in England on March 29 and self-contained holiday accommodation forecast to open on April 12, we can start planning trips – and what could be better than strapping a tent onto the bike and heading off?
MCN spoke to #ride5000miles group member and vastly experienced motorcycle adventurer, Nathan Millward, for tips on getting the most from under-canvas capers.
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"The main thing with camping is its affordability," says Nathan, 41, who’s covered more than 250,000 miles across 22 years – previously exploring Australia, North America and the UK.
"You can get some stunning views for just 15 quid a night," he added. "Your bike’s right next to your accommodation, too, and you haven’t got to carry all your kit into a hotel."
So, it’s affordable and convenient, but what do you need to take with you? Not a lot, according to Nathan.
"Take three basic things - a sleeping bag, roll mat and a tent. Two-person minimum. Those three items should fit into a 40-litre dry bag," he explained. "You can get a roll mat for around £25 and Vango is a go-to for a reliable, budget tent for around £40-£50. You can get a decent camping set-up for about £120.
"I would avoid the cheaper festival tents, as they tend to be single skin," Millward continued. "Put it up the garden before you set off. Go through your kit and make sure everything is there."
If your touring budget can stretch to it, Nathan recommends eating at local pubs and cafes, rather than lugging a camping stove, saying: "It saves you carrying any gear. If you’re on a tight budget though, take one pannier of dry food and the other with your stove and that keeps the cost down.
"Some of the best spots are pubs with a site attached," he added. "They are often more relaxed, sometimes free and you’ve got a pub right next to your tent!"
Nathan is a professional motorcycle tour guide and runs biking trips through dorothysspeedshop.com
#Ride5000miles members reunite after lockdown for a camping adventure
First published on 17 August, 2020 by Dan Sutherland
With lockdown restrictions gently easing to allow for some proper homegrown motorcycle touring, members of the #ride5000miles group packed their bags for a three-day weekend of adventure in Wales.
Setting off from various parts of England on Friday July 24, the riders met up at Cranberry Moss campsite, in Oswestry, before riding into Wales on the Saturday to pitch tents at Snowdon Base Camp, situated at the foot of the mountain.
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"Meeting up with everybody again was really good," said Peter Phelps, 38, from Maidenhead. "The lockdown has taken a massive chunk out of the riding season and this time last year, I’d probably done three or four weekends away.
"To actually get out and do some camping was really brilliant," the BMW K1200GT rider continued. "The roads are like a billiard table around there – they are so smooth, with some stunning scenery."
Enjoying three days of biking company, the trip also allowed the riders to explore some of the stunning Welsh roads; including a tour of Anglesey up to Holyhead and the challenging twists surrounding their second overnight stop.
"It was a great weekend," Sally Weighill, 56, from Grantham, said after riding over on the Friday night after work. "The roads in Wales are outstanding and I probably saw two potholes, if that. The scenery was absolutely spectacular too."
As well as letting them experience motorcycling in fresh surroundings, the trip was an opportunity to reconnect with old friends.
Enjoying countless trips together before lockdown and some smaller journeys as restrictions have eased, many on the trip have known each other since meeting at the inaugural #ride5000miles gathering in 2018, at the H Café, in Wallingford.
"I’d been to Wales before, but only Cardiff, so I thought it would be cracking to ride up to Snowdonia," said John Jess, 49, from Reading. "All of us have met through the group and none of us are previous friends."
Having recently returned to England from Spain, John added: "All of this was driven by #R5K, so thanks to MCN – it’s changed my biking life."