The Origins of Cycle Camping
It was a real pleasure watching a TV programme several weeks ago about the history of camping, not least because its roots were entwined with the development of cycling, which was the ideal way for the early protagonists to get out into the wide open spaces from their dark satanic mill towns, with their equipment strapped to their bikes. Thomas Hiram Holding, one of CTC’s leading lights in the early years, also initiated the creation of the Association of Cycle Campers in 1901. Being a tailor by trade, his skills enabled him to fabricate appropriate equipment, notably a tent, with which to indulge this novel pastime, which quickly gained in popularity, principally amongst Edwardian gentlemen, who, like the young of our own day, were the most likely to latch on to something new (and were undoubtedly disapproved of by everyone else!). Thus was cycle camping born and long may it thrive!
So when you head off into the wilds on your own camping trips this year, equipped with the latest lightweight equipment strapped to your modern lightweight tourer, riding on smooth(ish) tarmacadam roads, guiding yourself with a GPS unit or a clear, accurate, full colour map, consider the fortitude of your forebears as they set out doing much the same thing but with the most basic of kit, and be of good cheer. They keep telling us that life isn’t going to be easy in 2011 but in some respects we are undoubtedly the luckiest of people.
If you’ve not tried cycle camping, CTC can help get you started. Read information sheet INF3 or call the CTC Helpline.
I’ve already decided this year is going to see a lot of nights spent under canvas (or nylon) and to this end I’ve bought several books about campsites, namely, Camping: Our 100 Favourite Sites; Cool Camping – England & Tiny Campsites. I’ve always considered it a problem finding campsites, never mind cool ones or tiny ones so I’m really pleased to have discovered these books and am looking forward to visiting some of the sites recommended.
Awaiting my arrival back to the office yesterday was a package from Cicerone (www.cicerone.co.uk). In it a new guide called… Lightweight Camping [ISBN 978-1-85284-583-4]. What a coincidence! This really goes into detail about everything and tells you everything you need to know. But turn to the CTC sheet (mentioned above) for the cycling aspects.