Ride to mountain. Climb mountain.
In Linesman Jacket and Pant.


Half of this story is about a ride.  

The other half is about a hike. 

The adventure was to see if we could combine the two, take as little gear as possible, and use our riding gear to hike a small mountain (or big hill depending on your point of view). 

I know your time is precious so I've tried to keep it fairly concise, but if you want more at the end of the email I'll tell you how you can watch the film. 

Part 1: The Ride. 

The mission was to ride from the east of England, near Newcastle, to The Lake District in the west, near Keswick. It's a wonderful part of the UK and one that I know well. 

Regular newsletter subscribers will have already been introduced to the cast of riders, myself, JB, Jim and Marc (take a look here for a reminder and review of the Himalayan 450). 

Slaley Forest in Northumberland offered up our first dose of trails. The seasonal TRO that restricts access over winter had just lifted and we were among the first this year to enjoy the flowering yellow gorse before winding our way through the narrow forest trail. 

A felled tree provided the first teamwork exercise as we banded together to manhandle JB's Himalayan 450 under the low obstacle. 

Many hands make light work. 

We were kitted out in Linesman Pants, a mix of base and mid layers that included The Supershirt, and Linesman and Singletrack Jackets. This gave us the ability to layer up or down depending on how much sweaty Himalayan lifting we would be required to do. 

JB rides in The Linesman Jacket Black and new Linesman Pant Sand.

Marc's Linesman Jacket back vents were OPEN!

From Slaley it was out of Northumberland into the big open vistas of Weardale, and up over Coldberry End which at about 700 meters is one of the highest green roads in England. Thankfully free of snow on this fine Spring morning. The route starts with paved tarmac and slowly degrades into loose rocky boulders. A real testament to the power of nature and lack of highway maintenance budgets. A pain if you want to get anywhere in your family saloon car, but a fine opportunity for the adventure motorcyclist. 

How the road started...

...how the road ended.

The first sight of our destination arrived at Hartside Pass on the top of the Pennines, along with the next challenge for the bikes. A wide, deep muddy puddle split the trail with no option other than take it head on. What the Himalayan gains in low-seat-confidence it gives up in ground clearance as JB discovered. A little wriggling and a tug from Marc is all that was needed to get going, but it was Jim who came worst off, and he wasn't even on a bike! 

Cameras ready.

Jim takes a swim.

Thankfully the spring sunshine beat down and dried Jim off as we dropped into Cumbria and onto The Coach Road, a long hard packed track that acts as a gateway into the northern Lake District. It didn't take long for Jim to get soaked again, Marc being the mischievous collaborator once again. 

Our campsite was near the base of Catbells, a popular hiking route next to Derwent Water. It had taken us almost 12 hours to traverse the 120 or so miles across country, but for some the hardest challenge was yet to come. 

Part 2: The Hike. 

Put four adventure riders in a field with two options, one a long easy hike up a well worn tourist track, or the other a hard direct scramble up the steepest slope available. Well, it's no surprise that the next morning we found ourselves out of breath using feet, knees and hands to drag ourselves up what turned out to be a much harder scree slope than any of us had anticipated. 

We had opted to head up 'Nitting Haws' which was the most direct route to the ridge that connects Catbells with High Spy. Beware any path on the OS map that is straight and crosses a great deal of contour lines. Short it may be, easy it was not. 

The 'flattest' bit of the hike.

Getting steeper, with Derwent Water in the background.

Marc picks his line carefully.

JB eases his way around.

Pit stop with a view. 

We were all wearing our Linesman Pants, the same that we had worn for the previous days ride. In motorcycle mode, they are lightweight, breathable, abrasion resistant and achieve CE AA safety rating. For the walk we simply removed the knee and hip armour and used them as a pair of hiking pants. 

Now, to manage expectations, they are a little heavier than a regular old hiking pant, but only just. 

For the scramble they did a great job of giving us the flexibility we needed alongside tough knee and bum protection as we made our way up (and down) the sharp scree slope. 

I'll be talking more about The Linesman Pant (and this new sand colour) in an another email soon. 

Jim takes the Forcefield armour out of The Linesman Pants ready to hike. 

We covered less than 3 miles in the same amount of time it had taken us to ride across country the previous day. On the bike the experience was one of travelling through a changing landscape, staying connected and immersed through the act of being in the open air. On this day, hiking up a steep hill, the experience was more intimate. 

We laughed, teased, shared and reflected on both days. It was in many ways the same, but different. 

I've ridden many thousands of adventure miles (my bike tells me it's over 21,000). I've also hiked up many hills and down hundreds of miles of paths. But this was the first time I'd thought to do both on the same trip. 

It made me realise that many of us use our bikes to access wild places, and the network of trails that projects like the TET make available to us are a precious and wonderful resource. 

If you've got the time, or are looking for a new experience, combining the ride with a hike can open up a new relationship with the wild landscapes we enjoy so much. 

For me, the joy of the Ride & Hike had been that it had been two full days of adventure that had started as our wheels rolled off the driveway. 

We had made the ride to the hill as rewarding as the hike up it. 

Am I going to ride & hike every time I'm out now?

Probably not. 

The call of adventure riding is still strong. 

But the next time I've got a multi-day trip planned to a beautiful part of the world, I may just factor in a rest day for the bike and stretch my legs a little. 


Greg Villalobos.

There is a Ride & Hike film! 

We will be premiering the Ride & Hike film on The Adventure Spec Stage at The Lightweight Adventure Festival this 12 - 14 July 2024.

With bonus Q & A session and Adventure Spec prize giveaway. 

Take a closer look at our clothing, luggage and hard parts and meet the Adventure Spec team.

See you there!




This story was first published in our email Newsletter. Subscribe now for the most ADV email you will get all week!


What's the new Himalayan 450 like?
On a multi-day adventure?