O.P Founders go Dadpacking for #12hoursofmay

Luke & Christian attempt to spend 12 hours outside with two 3 year olds...

Words & photography by Luke (OP co-founder)

Christian and I met through riding bikes - at a set of traffic lights in Chorlton-cum-Hardy specifically. The fundamentals of O.P were also formed on a bikepacking trip. We both now have two kids each, so it was about time we took our eldest ones with us and showed them just how profficient we are at faffing with bikes, tents and kit.

We’ve done some ace #12HoursofMay trips in the last two years - big days out and audacious school night bivvies but the idea of the challenge is that it’s very open to interpretation. A first joint 'dadpacking' trip was definitely within the ‘rules’.

So with a sunny forecast and a window away from running the business, this newly formed 4 person peleton loaded up trailers and headed outside for 12 hours, ready to embrace more faff than we have ever known. We are now the packhorses to Joss and Peggy’s 12 hours of May adventure...

Welcome to the 5kph Club.

Here are some observations from the ride...

Plan Modestly

Now is not the time for grand plans, mega distances or multiple summits. We jumped on the train (an adventure in it’s own right with a bike trailer) to get out of the city and into the good stuff, with a whopping total of 21km planned for our 12 hours. And even that had a bail out option at 14km!

I also made sure to plant the idea in a few days before so an early pick up from nursery and heading straight to the noise and bustle of Piccadilly station wasn't a shock. Joss knew about the trip and seemed excited, as long as “we had enough snacks for the train”. Priorities.

Pack Generously

We’ve done our share of packing light for previous trips but a weight saving exercise, this was not. 1kg of popcorn kernels, a mega Alpkit stove, wet wipes, pillows, Fireman Sam fire engine and accessories were all coming with us. We both use a trailer to carry our kids so happily they pack out pretty well.

Stop frequently (but pick stops wisely)

This applies to most trips out with kids in trailers; as the last thing you want is to make the trailer somewhere they don’t want to be. ‘Short’ stops aren’t really a priority when you’re 2 and 3 years old. So when you do stop, lean into it.

When they do fall asleep, cross your fingers that it's at the same time and take that as your call to press on.

Practice Camping

Our 12 Hours of May ended around midnight but we wanted to camp anyway. We had use of a garden which is a good shout if you're still getting used to it. Practicing with the tents at home helps too, getting them familiar with the space, the smell(!), etc. They tend to love being in tents. We stopped about 6pm with loads of time to adjust, run around and eat.

Usual bedtimes are out of the window when it's light til 10pm so make 'staying up late' part of the experience.

Have a Back Up

Again, generally always a good idea anyway but we made sure our loop didn’t go too far from the place we planned to sleep and noted at least 3 ice cream vendors we could get to to rescue a situation. The route had a bail out if we needed to shorten and the place we were staying had space inside if they decided tents were only for Dads.

Take a Friend

Joss and Peggy loved hanging out and getting stuck into doing whatever we were doing, putting up tents, cooking, faffing. Just embracing that all those things needed to be done extra slowly was the main different to trips pre kids. It's all new and exciting to them.

Going with another grown up is also very handy. It's an extra pair of hands to hold gates, lift trailers over station barriers, watch kids, find wet wipes, etc. It's also someone to remind you how lucky your are to be outside with your 3 year olds and still riding bikes like you used to.

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