From 7 Hills to 7 Passes, the Cycling Adventure of a Lifetime

With the increasing popularity of bikepacking there are quite a few people who have succeeded in crossing the entire planet by bike. At the moment Mark Beaumont is on track to beat the world record by circumnavigating it in 80 days. He does, of course, have the benefit of a back up vehicle and a team to support him.

But most round the worlders aren’t record breakers – they want to do it unsupported and their motivation is to view the planet from the best position you could possibly get – from the saddle. Ride Velo were inspired when we came across a website set up by a couple of Italians called Daniele and Simona who are pedalling across the world in support of World Bicycle Relief which provides bikes for students, health workers and private enterprises in inaccessible parts of the world.

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The Torino-Nice Rally: a Test for Man and Machine

The last few years have seen increasing popularity of unsupported ultra cycling or bikepacking races like the Transcontinental or Japanese Odyssey. The concept is that competitors can choose their own route as long as they hit certain checkpoints. The Transcontinental has grown from a small event with only 30 competitors, to 350 riders taking part this year, racing 4,000km across Europe in just seven to ten days.

If the idea appeals to you but you’re a bit nervous of tackling several thousand kilometres in a limited timeframe, not to mention competing against some of the best ultra cycling stars around, like Emily Chappell, there is another option.

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A Rookie's Guide to Bike Packing

Ok, we're not claiming to be experts here or anything - we've not gone head to head with Mark Beaumont round the world or just returned from a 5 year stint alongside Super Cycling Man or anything. No. We just did our first bike packing adventure along the south coast of England, which is pretty tame, I admit. But we did learn a few things along the way, useful tips for genteel explorers cycling a few hundred miles to visit family and camping along the way, sort of thing.

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Bespoke Cycle Touring from Oxford Bike Works

We’re in the 'between' season - post Tour and pre Vuelta, many of us feeling bereft having devoted so many hours glued to the telly for the best part of July. For us, the only diversion to compete with the tussle for the yellow jersey is pipe dreams about cycling touring, or bike-packing as the serious aficionados call it. 

So gripping is this fantasy that it actually took us into the wilds of Oxfordshire to meet the owner of Oxford Bike Works, Richard Delacourt. For those not hooked on adventure cycling blogs, Oxford Bike Works is literally the only serious provider of proper, hardcore bikepacking steeds, favoured by legends such as Tom Allen and Anna McNuff (look them up if you’re not in the know!)

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