This won’t be the first time I’ve done a multi-day bike ride. The challenge is, that it will only really be the second, and the first one was back in 1993.
In Autumn 1992 at the tender age of 22 I went to live in Japan, and then, as now, I decided to make an already complex trip even more so. I took my bike, having been commissioned by Mountain Biking UK to write an article about riding the western coast, from south to north. Everyone I worked with thought I was mad, as I’d planned the ride in February. They were right! Blizzards; mountains; 2-mile-long tunnels, yep, not the best plan. Still, I made it and MBUK published the article.
Wind the clock forward 30 years and here I am again — with a trip into the unknown, or rather the ‘part-known’.
I decided to ride from Liverpool to Vestre’s new factory and HQ — The Plus — for a few reasons.
First and foremost, the other designers who’ve been invited on this inaugural visit are all going by plane. This is one of the world’s most sustainable buildings, so I felt the need to become the ‘collective carbon offset’.
Second, the 14-year-long Team Dransfield ‘Ride Around Europe’ has just come to an end, on Friday 9th September 2022. Since 2007, over 50 riders have raised nearly £600,000 for charity and I’ve completed three legs, two from Copenhagen to Stravanger via Oslo. Can you see a plan forming? I didn’t want this great work to end in London, so I’m carrying the flag back to Oslo and perhaps setting the scene for an anti-clockwise pan-European adventure…
Finally, I’ve discovered (or rediscovered), the joy of bikepacking over the last few years. I’m past riding for speed, and I’m not yet ready for ‘leisure touring’, so from here on it’s all about the miles, the vistas, and wild camping under the stars.
I know that over the next couple of weeks, as I make my way to Oslo, under my own power and with only myself for company, there will be challenges, hiccups and navigational errors, but most of all there will be stories to tell. I’m hoping they won’t be as eyebrow raising as some of my scrapes in western Japan, and I don’t expect an octogenarian gentleman to discharge himself from hospital just to host my visit (a whole other tale!), but I’m looking forward to reporting my progress, the ups and the downs and of course, capturing the vistas I so dearly crave when I’m out on two wheels.
For now, time to get the prepped bike back from Ian and Jane at Northroad Cycles, sort the last bits of my kit list and make sure I’m caught up on my sleep.
See you when I get there!