Thomas Corda-Stanley

What type of shelter do you use and why?

I use a Siltarp rectangular sheet in the fairly standard setup tensioned around the back wheel and against the removed front wheel. It creates a quite a nice cylinder effect. The Siltarp is a bright orange so when the sun gets up you don’t have a great deal of choice. Still, it gets you moving.

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

I just use my single speed Cotic Bfe MTB or my croissant de fear (Croix de Fer without predictive text). I’d love to have a fully rigid fat bike or a ++ but I’ve got the area covered with the bikes I already own and haven’t thought up a plausible enough reason to convince myself that another bike is totally valid. Of course it is, but I need to justify it.

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

If I’m honest I’m just getting started. Definitely over 24hrs. The point of the Jennride for me was to cycle a big day out from bivvy to bivvy and then finish. Mission accomplished; not fast but we got to do a two bivvy trip. This will expand into a full week and beyond.

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

Phone power block only. Charges phone which acts as GPS. Not a lot of redundancy so I took a map – remember them?

Map or GPS device or both?

As above – both. And Gav… Gav knows everywhere.

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

Given enough time… maybe. GPS is so easy it robs you of any inclination to map read. Not the best idea so I always have a map and compass but fairly sure I’d fail if the flag lands when I’m in unfamiliar places.

Do you do rides like the #Jennride often?

First time, not the last.

Do you do other types of riding or just bikepacking?

MTB, cyclocross, road, touring and motorbike.

What is the best bit of bikepacking for you?

I love rolling into a pub and getting a slap up meal, a few beers and then rolling along on to a bivvy spot, setting up and settling down. Morning is also great; dawn coffee and porridge, cycling through deserted towns yet to awake, making great distance and realising it’s only 11am.

What is the worst bit of bikepacking?

My own poor preparation (chafed arse could have been avoided or treated) and the reality that you need to go back to work on Monday. I haven’t yet figured out how to pack my uke.

How long have you been bikepacking for?

About a year.

What appeals to you about bikepacking?

I like the idea of minimal gear even though I’m about a pole short of a tent with my current set up. I need to be braver and lose the tarp and groundsheet.

What is your ultimate trip/destination?

Iceland… with cheaper booze. And the Scottish islands.

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

As above – ukulele.

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

Whatever is on the bike. Ideally 26” Maxxis advantage 2.40, now defunct due to the bike Industry no longer supporting the wheelsize I have.

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

More likely to change the bike. Big mountain and trail is more MTB, track and road would be more cyclocross.

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?

I’m a comfort guy. If I don’t get at least a bit of sleep I’m no use to anyone.

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

I packed everything and pretty much used everything. No wait, there was that extra kimono, I never got to use that. Everyone laughed when I brought out my mini lantern with citronella tee-light but nobody got bit.

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

Haha, you say creature comforts, I say essentials. Tomato/tomato (that only really works when you say it doesn’t it). Stove, coffee and hip flask! You’re damn right.

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

Excellent route – we chose to do the 2016 this year. Mostly my fault but we started so we finished. Joined up everything I knew with everything else and threw a whole lot of new stuff in. Great.

Tell us some interesting facts about you?

Now there’s an iceberg that’s best left where it is. Suffice it to say I prefer the long and arduous route to the quick and easy.


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