For a lot of cyclists, the last week of December marks the annual Festive 500 challenge. Cycling enthusiasts attempt to ride a total of 500 kilometers between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve in a challenge.
We also intended to saddle up and power through the 500 kilometers, like we did last year. However, a combination of illness and work-related stress crashed and burned the plan. Additionally, we couldn’t really be bothered to add any ‘pointless’ mileage to our total year distances. So what to do now?
Well, this is where the Bikepacking.com Good Night Challenge came in. Good Night 2022 invites people to sleep under the stars, have a good night outdoors, and blissfully send off the year between December 25th and 31st.
The good idea
Robin had everything planned out. The idea was to collect our camping gear and cycle to the biggest hilltop in our local area – just 35 kilometers from home. We’ve been there before, so we knew on a clear day you can see both the skyline of Malmö (Sweden) and Copenhagen (Denmark) in one line of sight. This had to be an incredible spot to see the fireworks at NYE. We could already imagine ourselves peaking through the doors of our tent, watching the colourful pyrotechnics in the sky. Whilst sipping champagne from a camping mug.
The false start
But then we had a look at the weather forecast. Chances of a clear sky were absolutely null. The weather app on our phones predicted a visibility of a lousy four kilometers. And to top things off, the meteorological outlook showed torrential rain and heavy winds with gusts up 70 km/h.
But still we decided to head out to go NYE camping. We collected our stuff, wrapped ourselves in waterproof Gore-Tex gear from head to toe and we rolled out. To the train station. Approximately 1200 meters from home. Some say all adventures start with a train ride.
The reality of NYE camping
We rolled out for a proper start, hoping that the forecast had changed. Despite the bitter cold drizzle, the ride itself was rather enjoyable. There is something special about riding a bike in total darkness. We took a wrong turn and ultimately ended up on a hiking track with the typical Swedish wooden decks. You can’t beat a little adventure when you go NYE camping.
When we finally arrived at the hilltop in the natural reserve Häckeberga, there was zero visibility of the skylines. Because of the strong wind gusts it took a lot of effort to even get the ground sheet in place. It for sure didn’t help that we are still figuring out the best way to pitch our brand new Sea to Summit tent. After battling the wind for some time, the half-pitched tent almost blew away. We had no other choice than to seek out a more wind-sheltered location.
The happy end
So, did our little plan got us pinched? Yes, maybe. Because it was impossible to camp at the hilltop. We did not see any of the fireworks as it was pouring down at midnight. And we didn’t raise a glass since we forgot the bring a bottle of champagne.
So was our NYE camping adventure a fiasco? Certainly not! We got exactly what we wanted: a good night spend outdoors. At the very least, one to remember. And during our ride back the next morning the sun even peeked through the clouds. A great success of the Bikepacking.com Good Night 2022 challenge and a magical start of 2023!
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