By Ambassador Mikael Hedberg

Imagine leaving work on your bike knowing that while your co-workers are stuck in traffic, getting angry at other drivers you’re embarking on an epic bike adventure.

It’s so simple really. Just grab a couple of bags, strap them onto your bike and you can have a great mini adventure over the span of just a half-day or so. Instead of rushing home after work, spending an hour or two in front of the stove and cleaning dishes. Then finding yourself crashing in front of the TV watching some meaningless show on TV, and later barely making it to bed. Only to wake up a couple of hours later to start a new lap on the hamster wheel.

Wouldn’t you rather eat your dinner at a nearby lake, watch birds search for food in the water, and enjoy a nice sunset. Only to get a nice outdoor sleep, waking up hearing a choir of chirping birds while you pack down your tent, before you make your way to work? 

Well, an overnight backpacking trip can make all those wishes come true. It’s amazing what a night’s sleep under the stars can do to calm you down in an otherwise stressful existence. To be able to breathe that crisp spring forest air. 

During the spring I try to go out and do these short trips once every other week. And as I go on them during the workweek I still get to spend quality time with my family during the weekend, so I’m actually not sacrificing that much of my time away from my family.

It’s also a great way to get into shape for the real backpacking season that begins when I get my four weeks of vacation time off from work. Plus I get to fine-tune all the adjustments I need to do on my bike and camping gear upon going on a longer tour.

Even though I usually just make it about 20 miles away from work, that’s ok by me. It’s not really about the distance. It’s more about the feeling of freedom, just being able to get out in nature. And you might think that “huh, what kind of an adventure are you going to have just an hour or two away from work?”. You’ll be amazed with all the new things you didn’t know existed just around the corner from your job. If you’re usually taking the car to work, your main objective is probably to get out of dodge as fast as possible. But you’re missing out on so many great things just a stone’s throw away from work.

Keep it simple. Usually, I really like to cook myself a nice dinner when I’m out on my longer bike tours, but when I go on these overnighters I try to keep it simple and basic. I just bring a freeze-dried meal and a small stove so that I’m able to heat up some water. Everything to maximize the small amount of time I have at my disposal. Other than that I just bring my sleep system and some clothes to sleep in. I usually eat breakfast when I arrive at work in the morning.

I am fortunate to live in Sweden where we enjoy the freedom of Allemansrätten or Freedom to Roam, which basically allows us to put up our tent wherever we want. But if you live in a country that has restrictions on where to camp it might be a good idea to check if there are any campsites available close to work a couple of days before your trip. And since you’re going on a work night chances are pretty good that there are plenty of campsites to choose from.

A good tip is to let your boss know that you might be running a bit late in the morning. It can be difficult to motivate yourself to trade in your morning ride for a morning in front of the computer. But when I finally arrive at work in the morning, usually an hour late or so, I can just feel how invigorated I am from that night spent under the stars and I make up for that lost hour in no time. I’m never as productive as when I’ve taken a nice bike ride into work in the morning. But then after lunch, I might find myself staring into the computer screen dreaming about next week’s epic adventure.