What type of shelter do you use and why?
Tarps are my go to. A 2 x 3m set up gives plenty of coverage if raining. Prefer just using a bivy bag if clear skies.
Is your bikepacking specific or is it just your usual bike adapted to go bikepacking. What, if any, adaptions have you done?
Adapted my “all mountain” Canyon Spectral 29er. Hydration pack on back, bar bag and sacrifice my dropper post with a seat bag.
Are you a sub 24hr, over 24hr or a multi day tour sort of person?
Usually I spend two days and a night out however plans of an epic multi day trip are in the pipeline.
What gadgets do you take with you? Dynamo/GPS/Gaia/Phone etc
Gadget wise, I take my garmin, phone and a portable charger. Occasionally put the GoPro in if conditions looks good.
Map or GPS device or both?
Map to plot the route then GPS on the bars during.
Navigation: can you work a compass, get your bearings etc?
Yes good old Duke of Edinburgh.
Do you do rides like the #Jennride often?
Not as often as I would like however I have a few trips planned for the coming months.
Do you do other types of riding or just bikepacking?
I do all sorts of riding. I came from an XC MTB background when I was very young and then started doing lots of road riding. Now I would mainly ride and race my “all mountain” bike and road bike occasionally doing the odd CX race here and there as well.
What is the best bit of bikepacking for you?
The idea of being completely self sufficient and seeing parts of the country/world for free is what I find most appealing about bikepacking.
What is the worst bit of bikepacking?
When your tarp blows away at 2am.
How long have you been bikepacking for?
Around three years.
What appeals to you about bikepacking?
The self sufficient aspect alongside being able to stay in 5 star locations in 0 star hotels (5 star bivy) for free.
What is your ultimate trip/destination?
I would love to do the Coast Mountains route in British Columbia, Canada. It looks epic!
What is the essential extra gadget/widget or treat that you have to take with you?
Hip flask for sure!
Choice of tyres (size/width/tread) and why you choose these?
29er 2.4” Mavic Crossmax Quest. Super light, super tough tyres. Intended to change them as they came with the wheels I bought however a few trips riding in the lakes proved their worth so they have remained on. Excellent tread so good in wetter conditions but still roll well over the flatter stuff without to much extra resistance (fire trails, roads etc).
Do you change tyres to suit the destination you expect to ride on?
If the route was predominantly loose and “slatey” I would put something with a slightly thicker sidewall on. Specialized Slaughter Grid 2bliss were my go to choice over winter for that extra stability assurance and served very well.
Do you opt for gram counting over comfort? i.e. did you pack the sub 400g wafer light sleeping bag despite it’s gonna be freezing just to save 250g?
Less is more is definitely a thing in bikepacking. I have to hold my hands up to owning the worlds smallest camping stove and a titanium spork.
Have you got the art of minimisation down to a fine art or did you pack everything and the kitchen sink?
I’m getting better. I remember my first trip where I effectively took a spare bike, a 5 man tent and the confectionery aisle from Morrisons. Now I find myself weighing up whether the toothbrush should be sacrificed for an extra couple of cable ties.
Did you take some creature comforts like coffee, a stove a hip flask etc?
It’s always important to have something to look forward to post pedal. On Jennride I had my hip flask and a can of craft beer stowed away.
What are your thoughts on the ride we took the photos at and bikepacking in general?
The ride was great. It was my second Jennride and I preferred the route this year. 99% of the route was rideable and it encompassed some of the nicest parts of the Lakes. The only thing that could have been improved was the weather as no matter the location being wet and cold can ruin any trip.
Tell us some interesting facts about you?
I spend my week days in a lab coat and glasses working for my PhD in molecular biology. The rest of the time I’m looking to satisfy my outdoor / extreme sports needs. I’m big into surfing and spend time touring the coast for places to surf. I’m currently “out of action” as a bivying trip in the Lakes played host to me chopping the top of my finger off and the surgery which reattached it requires me to be “normal” for 4-6 weeks.