Once again we have ventured to Brother Cycles “Brother In The Wild” bike-packing, gravel riding, beer drinking weekend of fun. We missed last year due to it clashing but having been to the first event back in 2017 we were stoked to be able to make this years event.
With the rain forecast and not looking to become much brighter over the weekend driving down to Dorset the clouds soon came in the further we made our way to base-camp. That being said we were welcomed with a sunny smile, given our beer and food token and setup camp ready for the fun to start.
As people from all over the UK started to arrive it was fantastic to bump into folks who were at the original Brother’s event back in 2017. The festival like atmosphere attracts all kinds of people, all of whom are there just to chill-out, ride bikes, drink beer and have a good time…….what could be better?
The Friday night ended up far boozier than I had originally planned as Joe, Jim, Rob and Christy sank a couple of cases of beer, two bottles of wine and god knows what else. Add that to the couple of rounds I bought and I am surprised any of us had the legs the following day.
After a hearty breakfast supplied by Velo Domestique Cafe and Joe cooking up a second treat we were ready to go. Our stomachs lined with bacon fat and the left over beer that was still in our system we decided to opt for the longer route and make the most of the day. Looking at the map we didn’t really have much of a clue as to where we were going and that was part of the fun. Riding events like these where there is no time gap, no cut off and no real rush you can explore at your own pace and enjoy.
As soon as we were off the beaten path we knew that the rain was going to be a factor in the adventure ahead. Paths had been washed out becoming boggy tracks to deep to walk in let alone try and cycle through. Those brave enough to try became stuck, wheel spinning, mud flinging before eventually ending up calf deep.
Pushing on, and that is what we did for a fair while, the roads and gravel paths became welcome brakes between the muddy sheep poo infested fields. All the while we were joking, enjoying ourselves and possibly regretting the beers from the night before. The stunning views of the Jurassic Coast are always breathtaking even if the rain is coming down. There are very few places in the world that have a coast line like that in Dorset and being able to ride so close is one experience all cyclists should try.
Just when we were getting going disaster reared its ugly head. A snapped chain and no tool that could fix it. Thanks to Christy, YouTube and a cable tie we managed to get it unstuck and fixed. There was nothing stopping us now!
There were three routes for you to choose from over the weekend and for those sticking to the Saturday and Sunday you were greeted by fantastic views over Chapman Pool, Studland Bay and Ower Bay. With all of the routes taking in Corfe Castle the weekend never disappointed when it came to scenery.
As with all rides like these from time to time you’ll pass another cyclist all of whom seem to be having a blast as they discover the Purbeck region. Back at base camp as we rolled in the chance to drink more beer, listen to the DJ spinning some tunes and Jet McDonald from Boneshaker Magazine who gave a talk about his new book ‘Mind is the Ride’ – a look into cycling, philosophy and life on the road during a 4,000 mile trip to India. All this paired with Pannier.cc supplying the smoked cheese made for an evenings entertainment that was a warm welcome.
After another night of heavy drinking and some rather dubious mushrooms the morning came far too quickly and even the bacon sandwiches, fresh sourdough bread and smashed avocado needed its way to get the ball rolling. Once everything was in semi-working order, thanks to Brother Cycles I was out and about on their new gravel bike “Mehteh” which is the Tibetan name for the Yeti (More on that to follow).
These weekends are clearly geared up for those wanting a bike-packing mini adventure with the added bonus of a festival. With over 200 people at Brother In The Wild you can clearly see that the mixture of cycling, camping, beer, music and fun is the way forward. I’m already looking forward to next years event which will give me time for my liver to recover.