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Bikes of Dales Divide

Bikes of Dales Divide

April 15th 2021

Marcus Nicolson

Age: 30

Location: Glasgow, Scotland (originally from Shetland!)

Your bike: Mason ISO, Vittoria tyres - Barzo up front and Mezcal rear, GRX mechanical gearing, Ergon saddle, Dynamo lights should keep me lit up at night.

Your key items of kit: Hoping to have some snazzy new bikepacking bags from Ross at Straight Cut Design in Edinburgh. Lots of peanut butter related nutrition to keep me going. Washing up gloves in case of rain!

Paul Herron

Age: 42

Location: County Durham, England

Your bike: Bike is a carbon B’Twin Rockrider XC 900. All stock except tyres, because the Hutchinson Skeletons it came with were made of paper. It now sits on WTB Ranger Tough 2.4, which definitely don’t roll as fast but they give me less stress and that equates to more happiness. It even has the stock saddle. The only addition is Aptonia aerobars.

Your key items of kit: Kit is held within an Alpkit Koala seat pack, Bontrager Adventure top tube bag, and Apidura food pouch. Inside these will be a 500g down bag, Alpkit Hunka Bivvy. Galibier Izoard gilet, and maybe a heavier jacket for stops depending on weather. Aside from that, just the regular essentials: waterproof, gloves, pump, tools, and lots of food. Navigation provided by Wahoo Elemnt Bolt. And I might take a Garmin Etrex 20 for backup and better off-road navigation for when I inevitably get lost… Which is likely, because I've not actually looked at the route yet. Oh I'll need lights as well. Cateye 1200 Volt and a head torch, along with a couple of Smart Lunar R1 rear flashers.

Mike Jacklin

Your bike: Bike is a Trek Checkpoint SL6 with Ultegra RX groupset. Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V wheel set with Panaracer 700x43c tyres. Chainrings from AbsoluteBlack, bars are Zipp XPLR and a Redshift stem. All bags are supplied by Roswheel. Lighting all Bontrager and a Garmin Edge 530.

Your key items of kit: Looks like it’s going to be cold at night so an Endura Primaloft jacket and warm gloves. The bags from Roswheel are lightweight and fit snug so that will help over the distance. Zendure powerbank keeping everything charged. Hopefully enough food.

James Craven

Age: 28

Location: Bristol, England

Your bike: Cannondale FSI hardtail, custom Pacenti wheels, Vittoria Barzo front and Mezcal rear tyres. Sram GX 1x12 gearing with 36t chainring, custom barend/pad setup, Exposure MaXx-D front light.

Your key items of kit: Bags from Alpkit and Ortlieb. I'll also take rucksack with bladder. In the packs are lightweight PHD sleeping bag & bivi bag, warm/waterproof layers and lots of food. WAHOO Elemnt Bolt and phone for navigation.

Jordan Matthews

Age: 27

Location: Durham, England

Your bike: Fairlight Secan, 27.5 wheels with 2.1 Maxxis Crossmark Tubeless Tyres. Bars are 42cm On One Brian with some homemade copper pipe TT bar armrest risers on top! 50x34 up front and 11-34 on the back. A mixture of bike bags from different makers, VeloCulture handlebar bag, made out of recycled old inner tubes, check Bev’s work out! http://www.veloculture.co.uk/.

Your key items of kit: Down sleeping bag with bivvy bag and Thermarest Sleeping mat. Going in with caution as I had a very cold night on the race last year in Hawes! For fuel I will take as much Soreen as I can squeeze into the bags. Lights are Chilli Tech front light and Exposure rear. Spare pair of fluffy socks that I didn’t take last year and felt like I was going to lose some toes, hopefully some dry socks to sleep in will help this year.

Julian Davies

Your bike: I’m riding a Trek Supercaliber 9.8 with a 9.9 spec frame and rear shock. All carbon. Gears are SRAM GX 32T 11-50. Full suspension with lockout, 100 mm up front and about 60 mm at the back. Ergon G3 grips, dropper post and Shimano XTR pedals. Lights are Exposure Toro and Blaze with long burn times so I can fire and forget. Tyres are 2.2” with a fast rolling tread for the dry hard conditions.

Your key items of kit: I’m travelling light because the hills killed me last year when I was on a heavier bike with too much kit and different gearing. Bags are all Apidura. Front roll is waterproof and warm jackets, tights for night riding and fleece gloves. Ultra-light sleeping system in the saddle pack, no bivvy bag because I won’t be lying down in the rain. Everything else is on-the-bike food, which is gels and energy / recovery powders by High 5, and homemade flapjack and savoury loaf cake. For nav I’m using 2x Wahoo Elemnt, charging from a cache battery. Spot tracker on the saddle bag.

Kirk Wadsworth

Age: 45

Location: Beetham, Cumbria, England

Your bike: I’ll be riding my Shand Bahookie, a steel mtb chassis, drop bar with Rohloff, all original build kit. I’ve been through a few sets of Conti Race Kings (2.2) They work well on mixed terrain and cost £12 each. I’ve recently swapped a Gates carbon drive for a standard chain, mainly due to accessing replacement parts during the pandemic. Both systems work really well and have pros and cons.

Your key items of kit: All bags are from Alpkit as they’re reasonably priced if bikepacking bags can be described as that. In the saddle pack is a lightweight Ajungilak synthetic sleeping bag, Alpkit bivi bag and an Exped super light mat. In the front role is my Patagonia gilet, Patagonia Nanopuff trousers, Alpkit thin synthetic Jacket. Additional front pouch is carrying Rab lightweight waterproofs. 2 x stem pouches carrying food (bars, gels, wine gums), lipsalve, spare tubolito tube. In the Fuel Tank pouch is my pump, Anker 10000 power pack and leads for phone, lights, spare batteries, GPS (Oregon 600 with full UK mapping). My Shimano XT pedals have done countless miles in all conditions and they’ve never skipped a beat. Lights are Alpkit headtorch cable tied to helmet with 3 rechargeable batteries and an ancient standard Cateye. 2x standard water bottles with high five carb mix. Small skimo race pack with tiny first aid kit (tape, ibuprofen, paracetamol, bandage, Sudacrem), toothbrush + paste, headphones, chain oil and rag.

Andy Williamson

Your bike: My trusty Mk2 Cotic Solaris, with carbon forks from the People's Republic (no, not Cumbria). Maxxis tyres (2.3"/2.4"), Shimano XT 2x10, Brooks Cambium saddle, Ergon grips/bar ends

Your key items of kit: Garmin eTrex 20 should avoid me getting lost, but I'll have paper maps too. Luggage is a mix of Ortlieb, Altura and Wildcat. What'll be in the bags will depend on the weather forecast - either a Trekkertent Stealth or a RAB bivvi bag. No stove for this, or hipflask, as re-supply shouldn't be too onerous.

Chris Ellison

Age: 57

Location: Austwick, Yorkshire Dales, England

Your bike: For the second year running my bike is the Salsa Cutthoat 2019 frame. The wheels have changed to Enve M50 with Terravail Sparwood 2.2 tubeless tyres. The drivetrain has changed to Rival levers but with a RatioTechnology.com modification allowing it to run 12 speed Eagle with a 10-50 SRAM XX1 cassette and 34T chainring. The pedals are Time ATAC. The bars have been changed to 48cm flared Cowchippers for more space and aerobars.

Your key items of kit: The bags are a mixture of Alpkit, SpokedUK.com and bespoke WildSky DCF Cuban Fiber bags using a WildCat.cc rear holster. The frame has space for 2litres of drink (Vimto!) and the feed bags full of bars. All my warm gear is Torm.cc merino cycling gear with Devold.com baselayers and my indispensable PHDesigns.co.uk down gillet and jacket. My sleep system is a 400g PHDesigns.co.uk sleeping bag on a Thermorest Neoair pad and inside a terra-nova.co.uk Ultra 1 tent. For navigation I use a Garmin eTrex 30 with a phone as backup. My lights are 2x Exposure Joysticks with a handful of cheap (but great) Decathlon.com LEDs. I’m not carrying any cook gear as I hope to pick up stuff at the many towns that the route passes through. My main fear is strong headwinds.

Brian Goodman

Age: 26

Location: Gloucester, England

Your bike: Rig: Sonder Frontier V2 with Sram NX drivetrain, Shimano Deore 4 pot brakes, Rockshox Sid 100mm Fork, Brand X 150mm dropper, LoveMud Hobo 29er wheels, Vittoria Terreno XC-Race 29x2.25 tyres. Bars are Planet X On-One Geoff with Planet X clip on aero bars.

Your key items of kit: All bags are by Alpkit. I’ve gone for a PHD summer bag with silk liner, Sea to Summit half length roll mat and apolitical bivvy bag. Leaving out the stove and hoping to get hot meals in the towns then snacks through the day.

Callum James

Age: 25

Location: Ribble Valley, Lancashire, UK

Your bike: I'll be riding my Shand Stoater. Originally bought & spec'd for a round the world tour (till, you know...). So in an attempt to make it Yorkshire proof it's now on some Hope Fortus 23 rims & pro 4 hubs, 2.1 rear & 2.25 front Vittoria Barzo's. XT drivetrain, 32t up front with 11-42t 11speed cassette, with STI levers via a Wolf Tooth Tanpan. I've opted for comfort towards the off-road end of the spectrum, particularly with the Cam Road section after 530km!

Your key items of kit: As for kit, an Apidura Expedition full frame bag has all my day ride kit, spares, layers, snacks & 2L hydration pouch. Handlebar bag has my bivvy (OR Helium), sleeping pad (Exped Synmat) & sleeping bag (Thermarest Vesper) rolled up for ease of use. This keeps me comfortable down to zero, which might be needed given winter hasn't fully relinquished its grip just yet! My dynamo is set up on the road bike for this year, so I'll be powering my Wahoo & Lezyne lights from a battery pack. The route passes quite a few towns with resupply options, so no cooking system. As for luxuries, I'll pack a toothbrush & anything else will be determined by the weather the day before!

Paul Blair

Age: 53

Location: Saltburn-By-The-Sea , North Yorkshire, England

Your bike: Bike I will be riding is a Canyon Dude Fat bike, standard bike apart from the bars as I’m trying Planet X On-One Geoff bars.

Your key items of kit: Using various Alpkit bags, tent will be OEX Phoxx 1 (coffin tent), sleeping bag is Mountain Warehouse, mat is a Numo from Alpkit, down jacket and thermals are Colombia. I will carrying cooking equipment again this year, it adds weight, but I like the flexibility of it. For water I will carry 2 x1 litre bottles on the forks with a drinking system in one of them, again works well for my style of riding. For navigation I use a Garmin Etrex 25 with phone back up. For night riding I use Alpkit Viper head torch.

Les Brown

Age: 48

Location: York, England

Your bike: I’ll be riding a 2015 Specialised Epic FSR with Lefty fork. The bike has 90mm suspension front and back and a 60mm DT Swiss dropper post. Wheels are 9th Wave 4-shore 29 beach racing rims on DT Swiss 240s hubs and 2.2” Continental Race King Protection tyres. Gears are 12sp Shimano XT/XTR 32T x 10-51T with SRAM AXS XX1 shifting.

Your key items of kit: Bags are all Restrap with double feed bags, which for the event will be mostly full of York’s finest pork pies and Scarborough’s best fish and chips. To better cope with the inevitable east coast headwinds I’ve added a Vuka AXS aerobar with riser. Navigation is by a Garmin 1030 Plus with ViewRanger app as a backup on a waterproof phone. Lighting is a mix of Knog PWR light with power bank, Lezyne KTV smart connect and a helmet mounted Exposure Joystick. For overnights I’m carrying a Big Agnes Flycreek 1 tent, a Rab Quantum sleeping bag and Klymit Inertia mat.

Julie Elder

Age: 36

Location: Nottingham, UK

I am heading into the unknown; The Dales Divide will be my first bike packing event so I have been trying to perfect my set up for the past month or so and here is where I have landed;

Your bike: Trek Superfly 9.8 2016, this is my well-loved and well raced XC bike, I think that a Hardtail mountain bike provides comfort both going downhill and on bumpy terrain. I have SRAM XO 12 speed Eagle with a 30T chain ring on the front. Tubeless race king protection, which I have just managed to set up and my front wheel will include a Sonn dynamo hub, providing light and also the opportunity to charge a power pack for my Wahoo and phone if needed.

Your key items of kit: My bags are Apidura with the addition of two pouches from Alpkit which I will stuff with as much food as I can. I may also need an additional tool pouch to hold a spare tube, tool, pump and levers. My aim is to travel as light as possible so I will be carrying a Black Diamond Bivvy chosen for its weight, a Mountain Warehouse sleeping bag and a sea to summit matrass. I have changed my shoes for this race as I am expecting some pushing and gate climbing so I have opted for Pearl Izumi X Alp which have become super comfy in the last few weeks and will give me better grip.

I am really excited about riding the Dales Divide and can’t wait to put myself and my kit to the test!

Sally Ozanne

Age: 43

Location: Kendal, England

Your bike: Salsa Steel rame 29er. Hard Tail.

Your key items of kit: Comfortable bike. Was torn between my gravel bike or hard tail but decided to go with the comfort rather than speed. Essential equipment Sudocrem

Elliot Gowland

Age: 49

Location: County Durham, England

Your bike: My Trusty steed is a Scott Addict Gravel 10. This was originally bought to race cyclocross on but during the lockdown last year I slowly started to transform it into a bit of a longhaul machine. So the bike now has Shimano GRX Di2 with an 11-40 XT cassette and I have kept the SRAM Force chainset with a 42 tooth 1x setup. The wheels are Hope 20 Five with a rather eye catching blue hub and they are surrounded by Panaracer Gravel King SK which I find are a good compromise in all conditions other than mud more so trying to go uphill in mud, it's just not going to happen.

Your key items of kit: The bags I am using are a Restrap saddle bag and frame bag. The bar bag is from Alpkit, the food bag is a cheapy off eBay but this could be gone for the race as it's just not big enough. All the bags have been bought over the winter and this is my first ever set up for bike packing and the Dales Divide will be my first bike packing event.

Paul Dickens

Age: 60

Location: Corby, Northamptonshire, England

Your bike: For my inaugural step into the world of bike packing I am on a Giant TCX Advanced Pro 1 cyclocross bike with 700 X 44mm WBT Raddler Tubeless Tyres. Shimano GRX RX-810 Rear Derailleur, shifters and hydraulic brakes. 40t Single Crankset with Shimano Ultegra 11x34 cassette. Giant SLR 2 wheel set and shimano M520 pedals.

Your key items of kit: As I am 60 years young I have gone for comfort with a Laser 2 man tent from Terra Nova, full thermorest and 800g down PhD sleeping bag. Daytime snacks and energy drinks are Mountain Fuel whilst high calories breakfast and supper will be freeze dried expedition foods using my trusty JetBoil. Lunch and Dinner I want to get on route. My Garmin Edge1030 plus will show me the way (with view ranger phone app as backup) , whilst rear varia RTL515 radar&light and front exposure trace lights will keep me safe (not planning to cycle in the dark) with a 4 port Zendure A8QC external battery charger along to recharge everything overnight. My top tube (snacks), crossbar (waterproofs, lock, gloves, hats, arm warmers, gilet etc) and rear bike bags (down jacket) are from EVOC and handlebar bag is a ROCKBROS (sleeping gear) but I will also be taking a Solomon XA 25 waterproof rucksack to house cooking gear, washing gear, pyjamas (compression topped bottoms for overnight recovery), spare snacks and a 2ltr bladder for water. My Rab down jacket, x-bionic base layer, Castelli perfecto ROS cycling jacket and Gore cycling shorts with chamois cream will be my base kit (weather dependant). My objective is to finish the route (I’ve not got a time frame), have fun, enjoy and take in the scenery , learn what it takes to do another maybe longer event and my biggest fears are: getting cold, wet and lost or my bike braking.

Charlie Garner

Age: 26

Location: Hertfordshire, England

Your bike: Cinelli Zydeco King + stock parts and Vision Team 30 BT wheels.

Your key items of kit: I’ll be running it with a Topeak frontloader, backloader, frameloader, versacage, and riding with a Montane backpack.

Limerick: Turquoise like the ocean, oh so blue

An Italian whippet, charging through the open

Cold as the Yorkshire air or metropolitan ice cream

Breaching the summit of Wether Fell

Turquoise like the ocean, oh so blue

Chris Johnstone

Age: 66

Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Your bike: My bike is a Kinesis Tripster ATR running on tubeless 43mm Gravel Kings with a Son dynamo providing lighting and power via B&M USB-Werk. I will have Exposure lights and a cache battery for back-up. The drive train pre dates GRX so it is a MTB XT rear mech with a Wolf Tools Tanpan to work with road levers on Alpkit flared bars which I love. Running 2x11 with 11-50t gearing to get me up the hills.

Your key items of kit: I have a mixture of bags from Alpkit and Apidura for food and tools. What is not shown in the photo is a Alpkit seat bag which will be for a bivvy bag with no sleep mat, waterproof and dry clothing depending on the latest weather forecast. I will use a Garmin 530 for navigation and Komoot on the phone for a backup. I will attempt the ride on a self-sufficient basis and realistically it is going to take me 3 days.

Dave Breedon (pair with Jo Gibson)

Age: 50

Location: Kirkby-In-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, England

Your bike: My bike is the (Alpkit) Sonder Ti Broken Road, with Rockshox Reba forks, and a X-fusion dropper post. It’s running a 650b Hope Fortus wheel set, and WTB 2.8 Ranger tyres, (Rear is a tough casing). It has SRAM Brakes and 12 speed Eagle drive train, with a Sonder finishing kit, plus the cheap as chips but reliable Shimano 520 pedals. (The bike being pretty new will get some upgrades over time, probably the too thin grips being the first to go).

Your key items of kit: All the bags on the bike are Alpkit, but I also use an eVOC 10L Back Pack, (I know not the done thing, something I may address in the future, but don’t normally have a problem using it). The bike loaded in the picture weighed in at 19kg, (1L of drink, and food included), plus the back pack at 4kg (1.5L of water). The weight may increase slightly has a few bits were not needed on that trip, but I will remove the light but bulky cook gear. My base layers will be Endura BaaBaa merino, Alpkit shower/wind jacket, with a warm Rab down Jacket. I will also pack (unless good weather is forecast), my Madison waterproof trousers and a rain jacket. I do have a Alpkit Ordos2 Tent, but unless bad weather is predicted, I will just use my Alpkit Hunka Bivvy, Alpkit Nemo air bed and Pipedream 400 sleeping bag, with a silk liner. The lights are Exposure, Toro for the bars and joystick for my helmet, and I navigate using a Garmin 520plus, I’m currently using a light weight Endure A2 power bank, but need to change my old heavy and not holding charge Anker, still deciding on what with. Like Chris I hate headwinds, but having had Covid through work in February, I’m still finding I’m getting more fatigued than normal, and haven’t done more normal miles, so concerned how it’s going to affect me. It’s improving but there’s only one way to find out. Hoping to complete the full route is the goal, certainly not in it to win it.

David Watts

Age: 50

Location: Girton, Cambridge, England

Your bike: Falkenjagd Hoplite ST Titanium 2016 Frame; Renstahl Black wheels with DT Swiss spokes. Tubeless Mountain King Continentals tyres. Drive train is a Rohloff Hub 500/14. 32T Chain ring, Shimano SP clip in pedals. Bike Cockpit - Baryak extenders and Carbon strike aero bars (Double taped) with 60mm risers (Very comfortable). Ergon GP-6 grips.

Your key items of kit: Lights and charging - SON Dynamo with Edelux 2 Light and Cinq Plug 3 USB charger - 20000Amh back up battery pack. Bike bags are Apidura, feed bags from Apidura very useful for snacks. Sleep gear - Big Agnes 1 man tent; Thermarest self inflating pad and Katabatic quilt (expensive but well worth every penny). Clothing - Gortex windstopper trousers and top. Merino Cycling warm clothing, and spare thermals underwear for sleeping. Food- SOS energy bars and gels and expecting to pick up food on the way. Main concern will be the weather as hoping for lovely views 😊

Dave Jackson

Age: 45

Location: Hull

Your bike: Bike Frame: Pivot LES Carbon 29er, Forks: Rockshox SID, Gears: Sram AXS, 34 Oval ring up front, 50 - 10 cassette, Saddle: Brooks B17 (awesome!), Handlebars: Jones H bars (not pictured), Brakes: Hope Race X2, Seat post: Crank Brothers, Hubs: Sonn 15 front, DT Swiss 240 rear, Tyres: Continental Race Kings (protection), Bags: Arkel front and rear 25L max, Apidura fuel tank, Alpkit frame bag, 2 x Apidura bits and bobs bags (?!), Aerobars: ProSomething, Lights: front, Klite dynamo powered. Rear, Lezne battery powered. Navigation: Garmin Edge 1030 plus, Ridewithgps on phone as back up

Your key items of kit: Frame bag - top section holds up to 3ltr of water and mini track pump, bottom section hold water filter and 'tools' I know I'll likely use (multitool, chain oil, chain cleaner). Rear bag - holds all sleeping stuff, RAB sleeping bag, OR Helium Bivi, Thermarest airbed, silk bag liner, sea to summit pillow, hygiene stuff. Rea bag pouch - Spare batteries, cache batteries, cables for charging. Front bag - Tools for emergencies, food that's not going to be needed anytime soon. Fuel tank - Mini music player, chamois cream, Vaseline (for lips), money, cache battery when in use

Kit Highlights: Aside from feeling that I always carry too much, it all works! Perhaps the best is knowing that I can go from pedalling to sleeping in my bag in under 5 minutes! Race fears: Not being able to get coffee when I need one!

Steve Coombs

Age: 52

Location: Corby. Northamptonshire, England

My first attempt at Dales Divide, as I had to cancel last year due to quarantine after returning from Europe.

Your bike: I will be riding a home built 29er using a Hongfu frame and rigid carbon fork. After cursing my 27kg up every big climb of French Divide, I vowed to cut my weight significantly for the future. I am running a Son38 dynamo front wheel built with a DT Swiss XR391 rim. Rear is currently a Mavic Crossmax but I have a carbon rim, spokes and hub on order, hopefully to build and test before DD. Drivetrain is XT 1*12, running a 34t front ring. Tyres are tubeless Mezcals, with 2.25 up front and 2.1 rear. If I get the new wheel built, this might change to a 2.25 also.

Your key items of kit: Packing is a mixture of kit. Bar bag is a cheap harness and drybag. Frame bag is custom made by Bike Bags UK. The seatpack is from Altura and the feedbags and top tube bag are cheap ebay/amazon items. For longer, hotter rides I carry a bladder in the frame bag but for DD, I will travel with bottles. Frame bag can then be used for food and kit. I will carry Gore Shakedry jacket and maybe waterproof pants but am hoping the weather will be kind.

Sleep system is a SOL bivvy covered with a Gatewood cape if rain is expected. Sea2Summit Spark1 bag with a silk liner, all resting on a Neoair pad. I will have a down jacket and merino leggings for extra warmth off the bike and sleeping. Lights are dynamo powered K-Lite Ultra front and B&M Secula rear. I will carry backup battery lights but don’t expect to need them. Navigation is with Garmin 1030 using iPhone and Komoot as a backup. Charging will be courtesy of a Cycle2Charge converter and a small pass through powerbank. I may bring a small meth stove and Ti mug, to make a warm drink if the weather is cold. For the very little weight, it can brighten up an otherwise bad day. I will carry snacks but plan to find meals along the route.

My main concern is finishing in time, as I must be home on Tuesday.

Carrig Suleman

Age: 30

Location: Carlisle, UK

Your bike: Riding a Pipedream Alice, Sram Apex 1 with either gravel or mtb tyres depending on conditions. Carradice saddlebag and homemade custom frame, top tube and bar bag.

Your key items of kit: I'll be bringing a lightweight PhD sleeping bag, bivi bag and a Thermarest and the ever faithful Haglofs LIM jacket if the weather gets cold.

Stuart Austin

Age: 56

Location: North Herefordshire

Your bike: Niner, 56cm frame, Shimano groupset.

Your key items of kit: Apidura seatpack, bar pack, full frame pack, top tube bag carrying my tent, stove and clothing is still a work in progress.

Ross Phoenix

Age: 35

Location: The Deep South; Cornwall, England

Your bike: An off-the-peg On-One Whippet, the only change is the switch to running tubeless. Tyres are a Schwalbe Racing Ray 2.25 at the front and a 2.2 Cross King Protection at the rear.

Your key items of kit: Mix of bags with Alpkit 20l upfront, Muddy Fox on the back with an Exo Rail, RockBros frame bag plus a WHEEL UP top tube bag with two awesome custom stem bags from PricklyGorse. My sleep system is all Alpkit, (stylish) Elan hooped bivvy, Numo sleeping mat and PipeDream 400 sleeping bag. Merino socks, Isobaa merino base layers, Rab down jacket, beanie. A 3L Platypus bladder stored in the frame bag. Cateye Sync Core and Kinetic with some seemingly invincible Poundland “get you home” lights as backup and a Petzl headtorch. 20,000ah Anker powerbank and navigation is Garmin etrex 20 and my phone.

Thomas Casey

Age: 30

Location: Essex, UK

Your bike: Cotic Solaris Max XL (battered up old friend), FOX 34, Mavic AX wheels, Sram Gx and dropper post, carbon bars + ridefaar clip on, Ergon grips and saddle, maxis ikon 2.35 and 2.4 ardent (may change for something faster) : mix of Topeak and Restrap bags (waiting for a custom frame bag) and I will be riding with an evoc camelback. Using an exposure race and a couple of rechargeable rear lights and a head torch.

Your key items of kit: Sleep kit up front clothing in the back and food and spares in the frame bag. My luxury item is a titanium stove and some fire-pot meals stashed away for my evening meals so I’m not stopping as much. Looking to enjoy the down hills and endure the steep climbs, hence the bike choice.

Neal Haines

Your bike: I’m riding a self-assembled mix and match bike based on a Genesis Vagabond frame with self-built Shutter Precision Dynamo Front and Hope Pro Rear 29" wheel set. Tyres are tubeless Vittoria Barzo 2.35 Front and Specialized Fast Track 2.1 Rear. Gearing 1 x 10 Shimano. Jones H bar handlebars providing the steering and contact points are Ergon GA3 grips. Previous hand nerve numbness issues have led to this comfortable combination. SP dynamo runs a B&M IQ-X front light and normally powers Garmin eTrex 20x GPS, via a switch, B&M E-werk and Cinq5 Smart Power Pack allowing power independence and recharging abilities. Exposure Lights Joystick and Tracer carried for extra visibility and use as head torch if required. eTrex runs off AA batteries and dynamo power with non-reliance on specific OEM batteries. This a boon for long self-supported adventures where resupply is easy.

Your key items of kit: Bags on this trip are a mix of WildCat Gear Tiger Seat Harness, Alpkit custom Stingray frame bag, Stem Cells, Kanga handlebar harness holding a dry bag and Revelate Designs top tube bags. Due to previous experience and valuing a decent sleep, however short it is, I'm carrying a Mountain Equipment Firefly sleeping bag, Integral Designs Bivvi (WITH BUG MESH!!) and Alpkit Cloudbase air mat. No stove. Lots of chocolate. Hoping for a dryish route otherwise packing may have to be reconsidered.

Lewis Clark

Age: 27

Location: West Lothian, Scotland

Your bike: Custom steel flat bar 29er, single speed with an obnoxiously noisy Hope hub, Maxxis Ardent tyres (2.4 up front and 2.25 on the back), nothing fancy really it's just a mostly functioning bike.

Your key items of kit: I’ve strapped on some Custom Merit Gear stem bags, Wee Cog frame bag, Lomo 13L seat pack and altura front roll. Thermarest mat, bivvy, quilt and down jacket for sleeping. Whisky also for sleeping. Garmin 530 for the route and back up on the watch.

Tom Molyneux

Your bike: My bike is a GT Grade Carbon as it’s pretty new I’ve not upgraded any parts, so it’s mainly Shimano GRX groupset with 30/46 up front 11/36 at the back.

Your key items of kit: Bike bags are Apidura. I’ll be using a Garmin 830 for navigation. I’ve a MSR bivvy bag with OMM bag and Thermarest Neo air mat. I will take a cooking set MSR burner small butane canister. I will carry small amounts of food like a couple of pre-weighed breakfasts and coffee, the rest I’ll buy along the way. I’ll carry a water filter and extra 2litre water bladder for bivvy sites.

John Allan

Location: Calderdale, West Yorkshire, England

Your bike: Stooge Speedball. Steel frame and Ti Truss fork. Vittoria Barzo/Mezcal 29 x 2.5" tyres. On One Geoff bars, ergon grips, profile design TT clip-ons.

Your key items of kit: Exposure lights, Wahoo Elemnt Bolt and cache battery. Bags are a combination of Restrap, Altura, Topeak and Alpkit. One season down sleeping bag, Alpkit mat and bivvy bag. Extra clothing dependent on weather forecast. Small first aid kit and hygiene stuff. Numerous spares, tubes, chain lube etc lots of food, 2x 550ml bottles and a Katadyn water filter.

Mark Lewis

Your bike: Charge Cooker steel single speed frame with EBB. Alfine 8 gears. SON dynamo hub.

Your key items of kit: Apidura bags. It’s a smooth ride but heavy!

Chris Moorhouse

Age: 51

Location: Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England

Your bike: A Stanton Sherpa Ti with a standard triple.

Your key items of kit: A mixture of Wild Cat, Alpkit, Restrap and Surly. Bar bag attached by a Surly rigid cradle, top tube bag a modified Restrap race. Frame bag, seat post, harness and bag are all trusty Wild Cat.

Carl Hopps

Age: 34

Location: Leeds, England

Your bike: Ribble CGR 725, 650b Mavic all road wheels with 47c Vittoria Terreno Zero tyres, 44cm Ritchey WCS Butano handlebars, Brookes all weather Cambium C15, Sram 1x drive train, cree 960 front light, Exposure TraceR rear light and probably some blinky back up lights, and a bell for the sheep!

Your key items of kit: Restrap race saddle bag, large frame bag, stem bag x2, top tube bag, canister bag and race musette in case I need to carry extra supplies! I'll be carrying sleeping kit & down jacket in the saddle bag, tools, pump, tubes and light batteries in the frame bag and stuffing all the snacks into the rest of the bags. It looks like it'll be a hot one so I'll be carrying a 3rd Restrap mag bottle in one of the stem bags.

Jason Black

Age: 50

Location: Letterkenny, Co Donegal, Ireland

Your bike: Mason Bokeh 62cm steel frame with Ritchey flared VentureMax handle bars & 100mm stem. Ritchey seat post and E2 Infinity saddle. Garmin Edge 1030 and external Garmin power bank. Sinewave beacon front light and rear. Son Delux dynamo hub fitted on Hunt wide rim gravel wheels with tubeless ready WTB Riddler 45mm x 700mm at 35psi for race. Rotor 155mm cranks on a 2X drive train 50/32 tooth rings and 30/10 rear cassette. SRAM Force mechanical shifting and braking. CeramicSpeed bottom bracket. Look MTB Carbon X-Track pedals. 3 frame mounted bottle cages for 2 water bottles and 1 mechanical.

Your key items of kit: Tailfin carbon arch mount rear bag & top frame bag. Medical kit includes face mask (shopping), 10 x Plasters & antiseptic wipes, 6 x throat tabs & paracetamol, 10 x Rennie and 1 x small Sudocrem. Clothing kit includes Morvelo Endurance race gear, Kask Protone helmet, Morvelo race cap, Morvelo s/s high moister wicking base layer, Morvelo s/s jersey, Morvelo arm warmers, Morvelo leg warmers, Morvelo Race shorts, Morvelo merino wool socks and Morvelo mits. Lake MTB shoes. Spare clothing includes Morvelo Race shorts, thermal jacket, thermal gilet, Assos rain jacket, Assos 3/4 rain pants, gloves and a buff. Sleep system includes STD 500fill sleeping bag and external waterproof bivvi, Thermarest mummy lite inflateable sleep mat. Iphone & external battery pack. Charging cables. Brothers bike multi tool. 2 spare tubes 1 tubeless kit. Frame pump. Mason Bokeh Spare rear mech hanger. Gear cable. Spare SRAM break-pads. Schrader-Presta valve converter. For food I will eat on the move from shop cafes etc.

Kevin Still

Age: 50

Location: Little Crosby, Liverpool, England

Your bike: Frame is custom Moots Mountaineer YBB. Wheels are Santa Cruz reserve carbon rims with DT 240 hubs. Running Maxxis 29x2.6 Ikon rear and Rekon up front, probably overkill for this race but it’s my summer mtb setup. Fox 34 step cast forks, sram AXS XX1 gears, Shimano XTR brakes, Chris King BB and headset, Thomson seat post, stem and carbon bars. Bags are Apidura with a new addition; Revelate designs down tube bag for me brew up tackle!

Your key items of kit: Sleep system is MSR e bivvy, Nemo down quilt, Exped sleep mat and a Wild Sky Cuben fibre tarp-just in case! My ‘luxury’ items are a small stove-not sure how I’d cope without a brew first thing in the morning, and sea to summit down pillow-it packs down to the size of a tennis ball and is super comfy. Navigation is with a Wahoo roam, with phone for backup. This is my first bike packing race, so it’ll be interesting to see how I go and how I approach it, really looking forward to it though!

Chris Hollingbery

Age: 34

Location: York, England

Your bike: Rigid On-One Lurcher, Salsa carbon bars, Pro Missile aero bars, Easton EA90 SL seatpost, Stan Crests on Hope Pro2 Evos, 2.1 Ikons Front and Rear. Sticking with 10-speed XT for now, although 12-speed would have been nice!

Your key items of kit: Thermarest Hyperion 32 UL bag, Rab Synthetic jacket & spare gloves on the front, held on with the zip-tied cage from a Salsa EXP Anything Cradle. 2x Alpkit Stem bags for food. An Alpkit top-tube bag for electronics (i.e. 2x 10Ah battery packs), tools I need at hand, etc. Alpkit seat-pack for tent (just the outer of a ME Ultralite 2) or Bivvy (Alpkit Hunka) depending on weather, sleeping clothes (merino leggings & top), Alpkit Cloud base, Sea-to-Summit pillow, spare bike bits, and lucky brick. Using an Exposure Joystick with a 10.4Ah extender battery, with a little Exposure light for backup. Navigation brought to you by Garmin Edge 830.

James Oldroyd

Age: 47

Location: Ossett, West Yorkshire, England

Your bike: Rose Pro Cross. My cyclocross race bike with 36/46 chainset and Di2 shifting. Only change is 35mm gravel tyres. Would have liked wider tyres but that's the max the rims will take.

Your key items of kit: My first bikepacking ride and possibly my last so I've tried to minimise cost as it could all be on Ebay next week. Frame, saddle and front bags are all Lidl. Bivvi and Sleeping bag are Mountain Warehouse Microlite 500. Navigation Wahoo Bolt. Lots of power banks. Amazon lights. Most importantly spare gloves, hand warmers, spare warm socks and down jacket.

Tim McInnes

Age: 39

Location: South East London

Your bike: I'll be riding a Mason Bokeh with Teravail Rutlands 47m, SRAM Force 1x with 10-42 on the back and Hunt x Mason 650bs with a SON dynamo and USB for power. I'm not expecting it to be a comfortable ride but it's a steed that's got me through a few adventures it wasn't well equipped for so I'm hoping for the best this weekend!

Your key items of kit: I'm trying to travel light for once so apart from the clothes on my back, basic sleeping arrangements, lighting to get me through the night, as well as some protection against possible rain, there's not anything of particular note. Apart from a bar bag shaped like a watermelon for food.

Lewis Phillips

Age: 30

Location: London (originally from Norwich, Norfolk)

Your bike: Trek Crockett 5, Custom 650b DT Swiss RR481 rims on Hope RS4 hubs, Hutchinson Touareg 47mm tyres, SRAM Rival 1x Mechanical Groupset (38T Front Chainring, 11-42 Cassette), Praxis cranks and chainring, Ravemen PR1200 front light, and Profile Design tri bars.

Your key items of kit: TBC (with this being my first exploration into the world of bikepacking)! Topeak Frontloader, Restrap race frame bag, Apidura saddle bag, snack/extra drink pouch off Amazon, Mountain Warehouse bivvy + sleeping bag + inflatable mat. Hammerhead Karoo 2 for navigation.

Andy Turner

Your bike: My bike is a Trek Checkpoint SL7 with SRAM AXS Mullet gearing. 40t chainring and 10-51t cassette. Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V wheels with 40mm Bontrager GR2 front tyre and GR1 rear tyre. Bags are all supplied by Roswheel. Lights are a mix of Bontrager lights and Petzl headtorch.

Your key items of kit: Kit wise, this is my first bikepacking event so everything is a little guess work as to how far I can ride each day balanced with how much food i'll need. The other dilemma is the fact it's due to be cold but dry, can I get away with the sleeping bag with 4 feathers in or do I need something a little more substantial. Navigation is taken care with using a WAHOO Element Bolt.

Eugene Farrell

Age: 59

Your bike: Boardman 8.9 MHT, SRAM SX Eagle 1 x 12 Speed 11-50, Vitoria Barzo XC Race 2.25 tubeless. Shimano PD EH 500 pedals. Selle Italia Novus Boost Gravel saddle.

Your key items of kit: Up front Portland Design Works Bundle Roll, piggy backed by Wizard Works /Pannier Pepos bag. Alpkit Lodo and Podsacs stem bags for snack food and light stowage. On the top tube is another Podsacs bag for essential stowage, on the frame is a Blackburn Outpost bag, and to the rear is Tailfin X three rack with Trunk top bag. This is a great rack, really light and allows the bag to be removed for access to clothing. Sleep system is Sea to Summit Etherlight Insulated XT mat, OEX Helios down bag, and because it’s predicted to be cold a Scottish Silkworm liner. I am sleeping in the Alpkit Elan Bivvy. Navigation is Garmin 830 with Garmin 530 as backup, together with Garmin E trex touch 35 with OS maps for when I get lost. Hydration is via Ultimate Direction vest as I can drink more easily. Main light is Exposure Race MK 15, these are brilliant. Back up light Planet X wide beam. Running lights are Knog Cobber and Lezyne Strip Drive Pro. Spare bib, 2 base layers and tops for riding, Gore jacket with zip off sleeves. Reflective gilet for night riding as alternative to jacket. Knee warmers for day/night. Fleece top and trousers for dry sleeping. No cooking kit, a few emergency gels, mini Banana Soreen loaves and Snickers, peanuts and a whisky hip flask. Toothbrush, painkillers, plasters and biodegradable body wipes. Electronics recharged via Anker power bank. 3 spare tubes, chain link in saddle bag. 2 Hiplock Z locks for security, these are super light and give that extra reassurance if you have to leave the bike unattended. Oh yes, some Bum Butter for friction relief.

Lauren Johnston

Age: 27

Location: Livingston, Scotland

Your bike: Sonder Camino - what's the difference between a gravel bike and a dropbar MTB? I'm running 27.5" wheels (handbuilt in Glasgow by Torvelo Bike Repair) with a SON28 dynamo hub so I don't need to stress about charging lights, chunky 2.1" XC tyres, 34T single chainring and a 42T dinner plate on the back which will hopefully keep me riding more than walking!

Your key items of kit: I've got my Ortlieb rear pack which has my sleep set-up (bivvy, OEX mat, vango sleeping bag and liner) and a whole bunch of layers. I've gone with the Outdoor Research Helium hooped bivvy because I'm too precious for a non-hooped one. On the front I have my Camel Chops bag for the stuff I want close to hand (extra gloves, waterproof jacket, water filter) and most importantly I have my Topeak top tube bag for easy access snacks! I'll also take a couple of packable rucksacks that I can chuck on the outside of the rear pack so I can minimise the number of food shops I need to do! I've managed to squeeze the majority of my tools/spares into my bottom bottle cage but I'm crossing my fingers really hard that I don't need to use them!

John Fettis

Your bike: Cube Hardtail, Rigid fork since SID is out of action.

Your key items of kit: Ortlieb Saddle and Bar Bags and Altura gas tank. Bivy, tarp, down sleeping bag and neo-air mat. Cold & wet weather gear :(

Ian MacNab

Age: 64

Location: Hebden Bridge, England

Your bike: Frame - Van Nicholas Redwood 29er, custom built by me, fully rigid, Tyres - Front 2.6 Vittoria Mezcal Rear 2.35 Vittoria Mezcal. Gears - 34 x 11-46. Carbon bars and forks.

Your key items of kit: Bedrock front, Revelate accessories, Defiant rear, and DIY frame bag. Sleeping system: Goretex bivi bag, duvet and jacket Lights: Exposure Revo dynamo on bars, Exposure Joystick on helmet Navigation: Garmin eTrex 20, plus spare eTrex 20 as backup. Favourite kit: Granite designs dingly dangly cowbell aka "cricket bell". Aim: make it to the start, then get to the finish, anything else will be a bonus.

Danny Bellion

Age: 31

Location: London

Your bike: My bike for the 2021 Dales Divide is a Mason Bokeh. 48mm Rene Herse Oracle Ridge tyres with a SRAM 34 - 11/42 drivetrain. Secret weapons are a Redshift suspension stem and Cane Creek EESilk seat post both providing a massive 20mm of travel. Who needs a full sus mountain bike?

Your key items of kit: My stuff fits in an Apidura full frame bag & seat pack with food and powerbank in Alpkit stem & top tube bags. For hydration I have a 2L bladder in the frame bag. Running a SON dynamo with K-Lite front light.

Simeon Jurukov

Age: 56

Your bike: Curtis titanium hardtail MTB with 27.5” wheels. Front single chainrings 32t with 11-42t cassette. Tyres are Schwalbe 2.35”.

Your key items of kit: Bags are a mix of Apidura and Alpkit.

Simon (Abandon All Hope) Hindle

Age: 49

Location: Cottingham, East Riding of Yorkshire

Your bike: I’ll be riding my Sonder Frontier 29” Fully Rigid with Kinesis forks (on loan from Dave Jackson). GX Eagle 32 x 10-50. Bars, Grips and Inner Bar Ends are SQLabs, Aero set up is from Profile Designs. Hope brakes. Sonder Wheels with tubeless 2.2 Vittoria Mezcals. A Sonder Dynamo on the front powers a KLite (it did have a rectifier until the shakedown – it doesn’t have one now!!); supported by a plethora of Aldi flashers and my Black Diamond headtorch. My Brooks B17 Saddle got a last-minute reprieve.

Your key items of kit: All of the bags are from Alpkit, dry bags from Osprey. Sleep system is a TerraNova Bivvy, Thermarest NeoAir XTherm Pad, Western Mountaineering Bag (we don’t tell Sue how much that cost) and Sea to Summit Pillow (I know sheer luxury) … oh and some Rab socks (A-MEZ-IN). Navigation will be by the stars and luck but mainly by eTrex 32. 4 Litres of water on board – Platypus 3L and 1L bottle with some magic powder in it; carrying 1.8Kg of high fat foods (circa 7000 calories) but will be stopping for pizza (probably more that one!) I’ve a multitude of baselayers, Alpkit Kepler shorts (try them); Rab down jacket, Rab Downpour shell, some Berghaus Packlite trousers and Shimano boots. Endura gloves x2. Kitchen Sink. Bike Is weighing in at 27kg wet … without rider 😊 … a significant amount more with (128kg … I’ll let you do the maths).

This will be my third attempt at this loop; but the first from Arnside. The last two have ended in disaster. My aim … simply to get round; I have to get round to pick up the car!! Good luck to my fellow Crazies – Have (type 2) fun.