Tom Stephenson

What type of shelter do you use and why?

Tent currently, but looking at getting a bivvy to reduce weight.

Is your bike bike packing specific or is it just your usual bike adapted to go bike packing. What if any adaptions you’ve done?

My bike is a rigid steel plus bike and is therefore probably considered bikepacking specific however it is equally suited for a variety of different riding.

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

Mainly over 24hr. I believe the essence of bikepacking is to ride at a slower pace and enjoy the journey.

What gadgets do you take with you? dynamo/gps/gaia/phone etc

A phone. Only for use in emergencies, again I think one of the main merits of bikepacking is the sense of escapism and the disconnect from civilisation.

Map or gps device or both?

Map. Tried and trusted.

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

Yes, can’t go far wrong with a decent map and compass combination!

Do you do rides like the #Jennride often?

No, not really, in fact it was my first organised bikepacking event.

Do you do other types of riding or just bike packing?

I enjoy all time of bicycling – Mountain, road, gravel, singlespeed commuting; the lot!

What is the best bit of bike packing for you?

The sense of freedom and self sufficiency.

What is the worst bit of bike packing?

The unforeseen weather.

How long have you been bike packing for?

About six months.

What appeals to you about bike packing?

Going new places and seeing new things.

What is your ultimate trip/destination?

The Andes

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

Merino wool spare socks

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

As wide as will fit! 3.00″ in this case. I believe wider tyres are better regardless of the bike they’re on as they provide improved grip, comfort, control and puncture resistance.

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

Not really, just use the same tyres year round.

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??

No, comfort always comes first. As is exemplified with choice of saddle (Brooks Team Pro).

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

I tend to pack only what I believe to be absolutely necessary, but with few a exceptions. These include a down jacket and windproof pile vest.

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

No, we just relied on local pubs and shops as they’re never in short supply in the South Lakes.

What are your thoughts on the ride and bike packing in general.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Jennride and bikepacking in general. I think it is great for anybody with a love for the outdoors and cycling also.

Tell us some interesting facts about you…

I work with highly confidential information that I can’t divulge.


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