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Thursday
Nov022017

the return of the cheapskate adventurer

I was in my bikeshop today, I mean the local one, not one I own and the owner was trying to persuade me not to buy puncture proof mountain bike tyres. The thing is, the trails in my neck of the woods are puncture paradise. I don't really care if the tyre is heavy and hard as long as I don't have to wheel home a beast on rims. But the puncture proof tyres are a tad pricey...and it made me think about when I was a kid and doing adventures for the absolute minimum of cash. In fact pretty much everything was determined by what I could find in my dad's shed or in my pal's garage. We built a coracle and covered it in the trailer cover. We used his dad's ex-army aluminium outrigger canoe to go down the river stour. We built shelters from groundsheets and built treehouses from wood found in a dump. I was a real cheapskate when it came to victualling my boyhood expeditions too. On one, my stingy control of finances led to a mutiny when two tins of meatballs were purloined and eaten in protest at my meagre rations. 

Being a cheapskate, though, is a good way to get things moving. Too often we hold back for exactly the right kit. Go with what you've got. Now I know that really cheap kit can be worse than useless- unless you bodge it into shape. I did a 350 km hike with a rucksack with no frame carrying initially a 25kg load- killer! But I made a frame from sticks and cord and it worked pretty well. If you're not in too much of a hurry cheap skate adventuring can be fun.

My new maxim: go with what you've got. If you haven't got it, check the pound shop first. And only ebay as a last resort...

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