Ray Roberts S24O

That’s “Ess two four oh”, in case you thought the last digit was a zero.

An S24O is a “Sub 24 hour Overnight” bike camping trip, and the term was coined by Grant Petersen, of Rivendell Bicycle fame.

If you have to work for a living and don’t have summers off, bike camping is easier to fit in, and the easiest way of all is with Sub-24 Hour Overnight (S24O) trips. You leave on your bike in the late afternoon or evening, ride to your campsite in a few hours, camp, sleep, and ride home the next morning. It’s that simple, and that’s the beauty of it. You can fit it in. It requires almost no planning or time commitment.

For this S24O, we rode from central Denton out to Ray Roberts, and we camped in the Isle Du Bois campground.  That campground has nice, large, secluded campsites which border the lake.  You can walk 30 feet and be in the water, which feels exquisite during the summer.  Our route was about 17 miles each way, and it’s fairly flat with a climb up the lake dam near the park.  One of our campers climbed it just fine on a single speed mountain bike, so it can’t be that bad.

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The route out there is beautiful, and once you get north of Loop 288, the city unwinds into grassy fields and a wide shoulder to ride on.

nice, WIDE shoulder

nice, WIDE shoulder

I think packing for bikecamping is easier than packing for car camping, because you can’t haul as much on a bike, and it’s harder to endlessly capitulate over which shoes to bring (and then end up bringing all the choices).  Since you’ll only be out for a day or so, you won’t need a cooler or much cookware.  We usually bring a burrito for one easy meal, and I usually pack a sandwich for a simple, no-cook breakfast.  The simple comforts/needs are the most appreciated.  As always, we made  Bookish coffee in the morning, just like at home, ground by hand.

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Zassenhaus turkish coffee mill, unbreakable french press

Isle Du Bois campsites at Ray Roberts are not directly accessible by car, so they’re quiet, easily accessible by bike/foot, and you won’t have headlights/sound interrupting your quiet camp experience.  Except for occasional trolling fishing boats and buzzing recreational watercraft, it’s pretty quiet. Even in the dead of summer, the water is refreshingly cool, so bring swimming clothes.

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I liked our route, which used the northern half of the Greenbelt trail.  Wide tires are nice for this kind of riding (I use 28c-35c), but our friend Cooper came along with us on skinny road tires and did just fine.

At a minimum, you’ll need a rear rack to carry some stuff: tent, sleeping pad, food, clothes.  A front rack is also nice, because it can even out the load and make the bike easier to handle than if unevenly loaded.

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After a long mid-morning swim, we packed up and rolled out.  Efficient bike camping generates minimal trash which can be easily hauled out.

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On the return ride on the Greenbelt, we stopped at the Old Mckinney bridge.  It’s a 100+ year old dilapidated structure, but the main concrete piers tower over the shallow creek.  I think the sign said that Bonnie and Clyde had used it as an escape route, but I can’t find any mention of that in historical text.

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There’s a gas station on the return route, in case you need water, snacks, or a pear tree.

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3 thoughts on “Ray Roberts S24O

  1. lil' J says:

    Bout time! Just a point of info, I believe the route is closer to 25 miles. Also, the Hawthorne (our campsite of choice) is one of only two primitive camping areas, the other being Wild Plum. All other campsites are car and RV accessible, making them much less rad

  2. Devin says:

    We’ll have to take into account the ripeness of the pears in planning future trips. “How about an S24O?”,… “Nah, the pears are probably bitter.”

  3. Chandra says:

    Just wanted to say, I loved reading your S240 post. It thrills me to see some like minded folks!
    Peace :)
    -Chandra…

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