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Bearstock? As with so many things in life, it all started with a flash of electricity between someone’s ears. That electrical impulse was converted into the medium of speech and before you’d considered that Robert might be a relation, the idea of a ‘party’ had been born. It was scheduled to coincide with the Bear Bones forum inducting its 1000th member and also, the fifth anniversary of the cuddly bear himself.

Like all good parties, there’s a few prime ingredients required to ensure that everyone has a good time. They include, food, music, drink and most importantly, people – and I’m happy to report that Bearstock had no shortfall. The locally sourced food was fantastic and wouldn’t have been out of place had it been served at a posh wedding buffet, rather than to a farm yard full of cycling’s unwashed. The music was an eclectic mix of tunes all nominated by the attendees and seemingly covered every musical genre of the last fifty years – please believe me when I say, seamlessly slipping Gary Glitter into Delany’s Donkey wasn’t easy. Alcoholic lubrication was dished out on a pre-order basis, so I assume everyone had enough … certainly, some of the wobbly dancing would lead you to believe, more than enough. What about the people? Around seventy of the aforementioned unwashed, pedalled and pushed their way to Bear Bones Towers. Some I’d never met, others I ‘knew’ via the world wide web and an ever growing number I see on a fairly regular basis – all individuals yet all sharing a common interest bringing them together. 

Saturday afternoon entertainment came in the form of ‘The Tussock Racing World Championships’ – yes really. Ian Barrington (himself, not adverse to some desolate moorland yomping) dreamt up the idea some time ago and Bearstock seemed like the ideal venue to bring it to life. Twelve brave souls pitted themselves against a course of hand-picked tussocks and each other. They all raced valiantly with no quarter expected or given but as with any race, there can only be one winner and that accolade fell to Rob Wixey … you can read an in-depth post race interview with Rob HERE, there’s some interesting insights for any other athletes hoping to one day emulate this pinnacle of sporting achievement.

The Tussock Racing World Champion on the right of your screens.

As late afternoon drifted into early evening, an uninvited gang of gatecrashers arrived – midges, more midges than I’ve seen for a long time. Bikepackers are hardy though and with a liberal application of their favoured repellant and resplendent in head-nets, continued undeterred. By 1.00am most people were partied out and had retired to their respective tarps, tents and bivvy bags to snuggle down and await the arrival of morning. 

No, not rain or snow … midges!

It arrived right on cue and as the sun warmed everyone through, the Bear Bones kitchen worked flat-out to feed those emerging from their slumber. Sleeping bags were aired, bikes packed and farewells said. By mid-day, only the lone road warrior they call Tony was left. He had a fair way to go, didn’t have a map and also didn’t have to be back home until Tuesday … true bikepacking spirit. 

The morning after the night before.

I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who came and apologise to all those I never got chance to speak to … and to all those people who said, “same weekend next year?” Not a chance.

Special thanks to John Climber for pictures.


  1. Lawmanmx says:

    and i will keep your pen drawn map of the cambrians Forever Stu 😆

  2. I should hope so, it took a full twelve seconds to draw.

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