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Standing at the sign post that marked the start of my adventure across the UK, I thought about how cyclists around the world must be in similar situations. Trapped by the invisible threat of the virus and borders marking the edge of their home countries, the pandemic was limiting global travel to purely essential and even I was getting cabin fever.
DISCOVER THEIR ADVENTURES
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Temporarily layed-off for months from his work as a designer, Jon took the opportunity to embark on an epic solo bikepacking trip when lockdown restrictions eased in the UK. Starting at Land's End and finishing at John O' Groat's, Jon cycled over 1,600 miles via the Scottish Isles and spent a month on the road discovering the UK. The idea for Cycling Through A Pandemic was born during the ride and Jon set to work after his trip, tracking down other cyclists with experiences and stories to tell about cycling during the time of COVID-19.
Cycling through the Spanish badlands on the outskirts of Zaragoza, Sami Sauri and her friend Ibai escaped the routine of daily life in between lockdowns and explored the rugged Spanish landscape. Covering over 180 miles in 3 days on grueling gravel terrain, Sami felt alive again and relished in the challenge that came with being exposed to the elements. Sleeping in abandoned bunkers and watching the night’s sky fill with stars during their trip, they saw how the pandemic affected towns and villages in different parts of the country.
'The Loneliest Highway' is a story of exploring the vast desert plains of Nevada and incredible salt lakes of Utah. Jake and Emily packed up their bikes and set off on a 750 mile cycle on Route 50, going days on end without seeing anybody else and camping out under the stars in the Silver State. Their days were dictated by the sun, waking when it rose and resting when it set. It’s a story of self-reliance, being immersed in nature and the pure joy that riding a bike can bring.
With strict lockdown restrictions in Cape Town for much of 2020, Rae resorted to pitching his tent on the roof of his flat to stay sane. Once the initial lockdown eased and cycling was back on the cards, Rae set off into the South African bush to spend some much needed time in nature. Leaving the busy streets of Cape Town behind him, Rae turned for the dusty and brutal roads towards the Northern Cape to be reunited with his Dad on his wedding day after years apart. A tough three day cycle in the Tankwa Karoo National Park turned vicious as searing temperatures and brutal landscapes pushed Rae to his physical and mental limits.
"CYCLING HAS ALLOWED ME TO KEEP MOVING OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONES AND DISCOVER THINGS ABOUT MYSELF THAT I WOULDN'T HAVE FOUND WITHOUT IT."
- SAMI SAURI
Settling into a quiet life in a remote Patagonian village during Covid-19, the couple watched the seasons and landscape change as they waited for lockdown to end. Taking their time to cherish and remember every mile of their trips through photographs, poetry and stories, they developed a deep connection with the region and fell in love with one of the most beautiful parts of the world.
MOHIT RAJ KAPOOR
Currently based in Lahaul, Mohit had to return to his family home in Rajasthan for the duration of the main lockdown in India. The lack of movement for this serial explorer had a major impact on his mental health as he battled with the stagnancy of life at home with his family and dog. Once able to do so, Mohit set off into the wilds near his home on a backyard adventure exploring the ancient Aravali mountain range.
Adventure guide Henna Palosaari found herself free for an entire summer when Covid-19 hit. Unable to lead groups through mountain ranges on hikes she decided to challenge herself by cycling 3,030 miles around Finland. Guided by the perpetual summer sun, Henna rode along incredible coastlines, through quiet rural towns, to remote parts of Lapland and the north coast. Pushing herself through adversity on her epic solo trip, Henna became mentally and physically stronger, finding a new belief within herself.
Ekaputra and Nadiah enjoyed a food-lovers cycle along the Malaysian coast. Seeking out street food stalls in rural fishing towns and farming villages, they found a country rich in diversity with incredible meals and views around every bend. Stunning seascapes and lush farmlands provided the backdrop for their trip and their discovery of Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures. Follow their story mile by mile and dish by dish through this unique part of the world.
Yearning to escape the monotony of working from home and the grey of the city, architect and photographer Anthony Richelot planned his own version of the classic Bordeaux to Paris route. Swapping the views from his apartment for days spent in wide open countryside he journeyed over 300 miles through historic towns, stopping at delicious bakeries and taking photos with his Mobile Cycle Club teammates and a 30 year old VW van, Ridéon. It was freedom at last.
DANIEL ZAID & KARLA ROBLES
Abandoning their trip on the Baja Divide, David and Karla were forced to explore trails closer to their home in Mexico due to Covid-19. From lapping dusty, rural roads, riding their first mountain bike trails and escaping to the hills outside of Hermosillo, they were able to keep their wheels spinning during the pandemic. On their trips, they slept on idyllic beaches, met groups of like-minded cyclists and witnessed the threats to indigenous ways of life as they formed a new connection with their state and homeland.
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