Travellers' Tales: Flash-dash touring microadventures

Frank heading home with the wind behind him
Frank Burns had a few days spare for some spontaneous bike trips, so he had a little adventure.

Take Alastair Humphrey’s excellent idea of the microadventure, and add ingredients like spontaneity, guaranteed good weather, a favourable wind direction, and a comfortable bed for the night, and you have something I call the flash-dash. Let me explain…

Late one evening, hungry to ring some changes in my riding, I looked at the weather forecast for the next three days and discovered it was going to be fine, with the wind consistently blowing from the west. So how could I take advantage of that? Simple.

I checked the diary, got the green light from my wife, and looked westwards on the map. I took a train to the Peak District, spent a night at YHA Ravenstor, and then enjoyed two days and 267km cycling home with a tailwind all the way, stopping overnight at YHA National Forest to break the journey.

A second flash-dash saw me jump on the Thameslink at Bedford, which took me all the way to Brighton. With the wind still blowing from the west, I hugged the coast for 234km, all the way to Margate, where I was able to pick up a train to London.

A final flash-dash was a bus-assisted day venture, beginning in Buckingham, speeding through Milton Keynes on an old railway track, and stomping through the Bedfordshire countryside the wind chasing my tail for 75km.