Alex Wride

 

“Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity”
Plato

I find a great of Joy and profound sense of mindfulness whilst journeying by simple means. Spending days on a bikepacking trip opens up a whole new world of exploration, seeing the landscape in a more intimate way.

Every item carried has been evaluated for its need, usefulness and stripped of excess. Having made the final cut it comes along on the journey and I am glad I have it with me. A final set of items that allows comfortable travel but no more. Simplicity does not mean easy, any fool can be cold and uncomfortable. The joyous sense of air rushing past your face in matched by an inner contentment that you have no need for anything else. You have found harmony with the world and your life. All other stresses and cares are put into perspective and real needs like finding somewhere to sleep for the night, or somewhere to live, somewhere to be, become of highest importance.

After living and journeying by simple means for a day or so you will notice a rhythm, the rising and setting of the sun, the dawn and dusk choruses marking the changing of the guard, the ebb and flow of the tide, how your bike matches the gradient and surface of the trail. The longer you travel, the subtleties you will notice. I love taking off the shackles of life and going for an adventure.

What type of shelter do you use and why?

Bivy bag, tarp on longer trips or if rain is forecasted. Tarps are extremely versatile, and be rigged in a whole manner of ways depending on weather, environment, function. It also means you get more of a sense of truly sleeping outside. Being able to watch the wildlife, sunrise or rain from the comfort of your bed.

Is your bikepacking specific or is it just your usual bike adapted to go bikepacking. What, if any, adaptions have you done?

I have a bikepacking bike that I now ride more than my full suspension bike. It is a fat bike so I have made some skinny wheels for touring on less rugged trails.

Are you a sub 24hr, over 24hr or a multi day tour sort of person?

Multi day. What I find appealing is the slowing down, taking time, just to enjoy riding and being in that place.

What gadgets do you take with you? Dynamo/GPS/Gaia/Phone etc

None. I do have a meths burner made from an old coke can. I take a phone for emergency/taking pictures.

Map or GPS device or both?

Map. Much more reliable, gives more options for exploring.

Navigation: can you work a compass, get your bearings etc?

Yes.

Do you do rides like the #Jennride often?

No, I usually ride solo or with a friend.

Do you do other types of riding or just bikepacking?

I also ride a full suspension xc bike as well as sometimes my road bike.

What is the best bit of bikepacking for you?

See above.

What is the worst bit of bikepacking?

Going to work after a ride/unpacking.

How long have you been bikepacking for?

Under a year.

What is your ultimate trip/destination?

Would like to go Germany, Poland, Boreal forest.

What is the essential extra gadget/widget or treat that you have to take with you?

Jelly babies, Alpkit myti mug.

Choice of tyres (size/width/tread) and why you choose these?

Fat 4.0 inch came with bike. Low pressure wide tyre makes handling easier when loaded.

Do you change tyres to suit the destination you expect to ride on?

I do have a set of skinny wheels for gravel tours. 2.1s.

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?

Just enough to be comfortable but no more.

Have you got the art of minimisation down to a fine art or did you pack everything and the kitchen sink?

Still think I could refine a little but I would have to re-buy equipment for the sake of gram counting so I have a workable set.

Did you take some creature comforts like coffee, a stove a hip flask etc?

Coffee is a non-negotiable.

What are your thoughts on the ride we took the photos at and bikepacking in general?

The JennRide is a great event. Like-minded people riding and raising money for a cause that is close to many people’s hearts. I was glad to see it so well supported and to someone who usually rides solo or only with one or two others it was highly enjoyable to meet to chat to so many folk and hear of their own adventures. Refreshing to ride an organised ride that isn’t money making, highly sponsored or elitist. It felt like just what it was – good people from the biking community coming together through their enjoyment of riding to remember a great person and hopefully help others. Simple.

Tell us some interesting facts about you?

I’m lucky enough to live and work in the South Lakes. Always happy to be outside biking, canoeing, journeying in the outdoors.

I am a new comer to bikepacking only having acquired my Genesis Caribou and bike bags last November. It is an approach to journeying that I have wanted to pursue for a while. I have ridden mountain bikes since my early teenage years and though I have ridden many miles in different counties and countries, I have always wanted to ride more than a circle, which I inevitably seem to do, smaller or larger depending on my afforded time.

My first forays into bikepacking started with the Lakeland Loop which I rode over four days.

Early this year my partner and I rode the Old Ghost Road in New Zealand’s South Island. This recently opened, purpose built trail is 85km of single track riding taking in a seemingly never ending but well benched uphill (2600m of it), epic contouring ridgelines, expansive views of the Southern Alps, scarily tight switchbacks, swing bridges spanning otherwise impossible chasms, sublime stomach clenching drops and some of best flowing downhill I have ever ridden. The route has top class rustic mountain huts, even equipped with DIY showers and wood burning stoves.

In May a friend and I rode from Plymouth to Minehead over Dartmoor and then Exmoor. We took 3 days to complete the 210km. This is a great route taking in some fine trails, haunting moors, Tolkin-esk woodland, olde English countryside and more than a few country pubs.

 

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