By Gabriel Robson
What could be more fun than loading up your bike with basic camping gear and heading off on an adventure with friends? Gabriel kitted out his Cooper Monaco ready for a bike packing adventure to the Isle of White.
I love the Cooper Monaco because it offers lower maintenance with the Shimano 11 speed Alfine hub, the ability to run wide gravel tyres and slightly more relaxed geometry. Overall it makes it the perfect backpacking candidate. Paired with suitable bike bags and all the essential gear the bike was packed and ready to adventure.
Taking the passenger ferry from Portsmouth, we arrived at Ryde and began our cycle. Following a quick stop off to grab some snacks we took the coastal path heading counter clockwise with a stop off planned at Shalfleet Quay. Taking a variety of roads, gravel tracks and paths after a comfortable few hours riding we arrived at the glowing quayside. Having a moment to catch our breath, we threw together some sandwiches and finished the stop off with the essential biking flapjacks.
Re-energised, we continued our journey with the aim to continue along the coast to Yarmouth. However, with the light fading, we decided to cut across the island from Bouldnor in hope of making it to Freshwater bay for a swim before dark. With a questionable choice of music playing through our bluetooth speaker we pushed on racing the sun to see who would sink into the sea first. Taking quiet country roads and gravel paths we arrived with no time to spare, dumping our bikes and jumped into the tropical looking water and watched the sun dip behind the headland.
With our overnight tent pitch at a friend's nearby farm we reluctantly left the bay and continued the last leg of our ride arriving just as the sun disappeared.
We spent the next day exploring the island, cycling to the needles, swimming at different beaches and finished it off with a fish and chips.