This month's BAM was a little different to previous months.
I had an outdoor first aid course booked, so instead of driving down in the morning and back afterwards, I combined it with this month's BAM and rode down after work the night before the course.
The plan was to join the South Downs Way part way along its length and find a place to sleep. I'd massively overestimated how far I'd be able to ride after work and at nearly midnight (much later than planned) still 10km+ shy of my planned bivvy area along the SDW I decided to find the nearest spot and get some sleep.
This was my first time finding a spot both in the dark and in an unknown area. Well, I was in a woodland I'd seen on the map and had thought of as a potential spot, but wasn't planning to stop there.
I wandered off the main path a little, and soon enough found a spot I was comfortable enough with. I often feel like I wake a lot during the night, but often wake up in the morning feeling well rested, so I'm not quite sure what's going on there.
At some point I did wake to the sound of a deer running (what felt like very) near by, and clapped a couple of times to scare it off.
I woke super early at around 5am and had to make alternative plans for breakfast, having run out of water the night before and being unable to make overnight oats. Oddly, I seemed to be in one of very few areas of the South East with basically no signal.
I spent a while searching for both water and somewhere to eat with very patchy signal, not wanting to get up and move without knowing what direction was best.
Eventually I found a cafe in an industrial estate near to where I'd slept, and to where the first aid course was and crucially would be open by the time I packed up and got there.
To my dismay, when I arrived at about ten past seven it wasn't open – it was meant to open at seven. Dehydrated and hungry I was annoyed to have to find somewhere else, but just as I started to search on my phone the door opened – relief!
If you're even in the area (unlikely but possible) Diplocks Cafe is a nice place to stop and get some food. As they were quiet they were absolutely fine with me bring my bike in and hanging around until it was time to leave for my course.
I left with what I thought was loads of time to spare to get to the Scout site that the course was being held at, but thanks to a main road between me and it, that proved difficult to cross safely I arrived only just in time.
The course was good, the acting even better, the scenarios that we did felt pretty real! I recommend https://www.elst.co.uk/ if you need some first aid training.
Soon enough I was on my way home again, trying to bash out 60km between 5pm and bed time, ready for work the next day.
I pushed hard and basically didn't stop except to get some chips from a fish & chip van a happened to see, eating snacks while riding and got home at about half nine – slow for some, pretty good time for me while loaded up.
Another BAM done. Next month will be covered by doing King Alfred's Way (assuming the trains aren't completely screwed), so I'm looking forward to that.