Recently, with the kids being off for Easter and me being flat broke, I needed a cheep activity to get us into. I’d heard about Geocaching, mostly through twitter and a consultant we’ve used at work. It quickly became an obsession. My daughter loves it and so does my son as long as it isn’t too far and he can swop a toy or two. However, it turns out, it’s most certainly not just a family event.
Nor is it that cheep. As well as constantly buying little toys for the children to swop, I paid for a three month premium subscription to www.geocaching.com (worth it by the way). Then I ended up buying a Garmin Etrex 10 handheld GPS unit as using the phone app just killed the battery way too fast. It’s dead simple and pretty much just tell me the heading and distance to the geocache I’m hunting. It does other stuff as well but having having just a heading and distance is the most important part to me.
Thanks to the little Garmin and Geochachin, I’ve got a great new way to explore new places. Now, when I have a bit of time, I’ll choose a geocache based on how far I have time to travel then I mount the Garmin on my bike and just ride. The Etrex 10 is not a sat nav so, with just a heading to go on, you have to figure everything else out for yourself. Whether you get it right or wrong, it takes you to new places and down roads you’ve yet to explore.
I’m currently of the opinion that the YBR125 is the best geocaching bike. I did take the VStrom off geocaching just before I sold it but having to stop on a hairpin bend caused me to drop the bike. The Guzzi, well, you always feel like you’re lucky if it starts and with all the stopping, there’s a lot of starting to do. I don’t like pushing my luck when it comes to the Guzzi. With the YBR, you always know that it will go down any lane and just as easily come back up it after you had to turn it round somewhere narrow. Also, it’s pretty much fuel intolerant. Most importantly, it’s so easy to ride, you don’t struggle to pay some attention to the navigation.
I’ve now got a list of Caches I’d like to find on my way home. Once I’ve found them, that’s it. They’re spent. Done. Next time, you go looking for a new one, somewhere new. That’s the beauty. I’ve now found most of the ones on my route to work so next time I’ll be finding a new way. In this way, I’m finding I am visiting new places, or even just noticing places I’ve ridden through or past hundreds of times. It’s been quite a revelation.
I recommend Geocaching to anyone who just likes to explore their world on a motorbike, foot, bicycle, car (if you really must), unicycle or whatever. Check out www.geocaching.com for more information and a better explanation of what geocaching really is. You could also do a google (other search providers are available) search for other geocaching websites. I also recommend the Garmin Etrex 10 over depending on a smart phone. Give it a go but be warned, you might get addicted!