Bikes of Dales Divide 2024

Bikes of Dales Divide 2024

29 March, 2024

The Dales Divide has emerged as something of a season opener for the off-road calendar in the UK whilst also attracting foreign talent. It’s grown in popularity and competition enormously since its inception in 2019 and there’s rarely been a year where the record hasn’t been broken. For this year's edition, over 250 riders will be lining up.

Riders have the option of riding the full route from North England’s west coast town of Arnside to Scarborough on the east coast and back, totalling 600km, or they can opt for a shorter route of 400km but missing out on fish and chips in Scarborough!

Northern England’s moors and uplands are notorious for their inclement weather, especially in early spring, so read on to learn how riders are equipping themselves for this double traverse of some of the UK’s most exposed riding.

Follow along with our commentary from the ground by our Managing Editor, Kitty Dennis.

Bobby McNicol

Name: Bobby McNicol

Age: 32

Location: Manchester, UK

Bike: Vitus Rapide 29 CRX, Shimano XT, Hope Fortus Pro 5 wheelset, Schwalbe rubber.

Key items of kit: Rapha kit, Restrap luggage.

Ali Fraser

Name: Ali Fraser

Age: 35

Location: Bristol, UK

Bike: Canyon Grizl CF SL7 SRAM eTap, 1x 36 x 10-44, Maxxis Rambler 50mm, Redshift stem.

Key items of kit: Hydration vest!

Carl James

Name: Carl James

Age: 51

Cap number: 22

Location: Southern England

Bike: Cervelo Aspero. Shimano 2x. Zipp 303s with Pirelli Cinturato in 40mm flavour. Did it last year on the same bike.

Key items of kit: Tailfin Aeropack, Apidura and Altura bag. Bivvy, unused since last year, I’m hardly big on experience! Therm-a-Rest bag and mat. I’ll need to sleep!

Bob Nash

Name: Bob Nash

Age: 54

Location: Colne, Lancashire

Bike: Mason ISO : SRAM Rival 1x Groupset with 12 spd Ratio Technology upgrade (I need the extra gear!) : Hunt Wheels, Mezcal Tires (set up tubeless) : Exposure Lighting (front, rear and ont'ed). Tailfin and Restrap Bags carrying all the unnecessary kit I'll probably not use!

Key items of kit: Clothing is mainly a mix of Rapha and Albion : Sleep will happen inside a Nanok sleeping bag and Alpkit Bivi Bag on a Sea to Summit insulated mat and pillow. A Wahoo Elment Roam will hopefully keep me on track with a Garmin Fenix watch and iPhone as backup, all charged by a power bank and/or cafe stops. Nutrition and fluid intake is taken care of by Styrkr and any shop I come across en-route! A small First Aid kit sits in the bottom of my bag for any unforeseen accidents or incidents to either myself or any poor soul I come across as I ride. My luxury item is a set of Earbuds for when I need a distraction from the pain and suffering I will inevitably suffer along the way! I've tried to keep things to a minimum this year as last year my bike looked and felt like I was going on a world tour!

Craig Morrison

Name: Craig Morrison

Age: 55

Cap number: 44

Location: Kinsale, Ireland

Bike: BMC URS. 34 -52 easiest gear, 45mm Schwalbe Ultra bite up front, 40mm at back.

Key items of kit: Apidura bags and Hydration vest.

Simas Gineika

Name: Simas Gineika

Age: 39

Cap number: 56

Location: Lithuania

Bike: Ridley Kanzo Adventure (2023), Mullet build: Rival shifters and Eagle GX RD. Cassette 10-52, 40T chainring. 45mm Vittoria Mezcal tyres. Rudy suspension fork.

Key items of kit: Tailfin rack, Apidura frame bag and handlebar bag. Handlebar bag: Bivy and a sleeping bag. Framebag: Spares and tools. Tailfin: Extra clothes (warm & rain) food, water filter. Lights: Supernova Airstream. (battery pack powered).

Steve Coombs

Name: Steve Coombs

Age: 55

Cap number: 82

Location: Corby, Northamptonshire

Bike: Hongfu FM199 frame built up with Reba fork and XT groupset. Wheels are self-built with DT XR391 rims and a Son dynamo, rolling on Mezcals.

Key items of kit: Tailfin rear pack. I won’t be using the fork packs shown in the photo.

Adam Lewis

Name: Adam Lewis

Age: 56

Cap number: 108

Location: Dalgety Bay, Scotland

Bike: 2017 Giant Trance upgraded to 12-speed (XT). Aero bars (first time), for Fenix headlight mounting.

Key items of kit: Tailfin top tube (power bank, tools & snacks, down tube (spares) and aero pack (OMM Rotor smock & sleeping ‘kit’; not ‘system’ 😉). Revelate Designs Egress front pouch (Layes, first Aid Kit, snacks) and Alpkit custom framebag (Apidura bladder, LED Lenser headtorch & food).

Harry Walton

Name: Harry Walton

Age: 42

Location: Cheltenham, UK

Bike: Vitus CX Energie

Key items of kit: Sector Wheels, Fizik 3D printed saddle, few bits of the TT bike, redshift stem, a double crankset. Restrap hike-a-Bike harness, Apidura frame and food bags and PRO top tube bag.

Cameron Kerbel

Name: Cameron Kerbel

Age: 22

Cap number: 7

Location: Poulton Le-Fylde

Bike: Specialized Epic Evo, Schwalbe ThunderBurt 2.35” Tyres, Prime J bend aerobars and Mucky Nutz front mud guard.

Key items of kit: Apidura: Backcountry long top tube pack 1.8 litre, Backcountry down tube pack 1.8 litre and Expedition saddle pack 9 litre. EVOC frame pack 0.8 litre.

Lee Endres

Name: Lee Endres

Age: 37

Location: Sheffield

Bike: Cervelo ZFS-5. SRAM Transmission has been an absolute life saver so far - let’s hope it holds out.

Key items of kit: Tailfin on rear. And a front mud guard to keep poo out of my face!

Toby Willis

Name: Toby Willis

Age: 44

Cap number: 84

Location: Chester, UK

Bike: Enigma Escape MkII with custom Enigma Paintworks forks. Pura Velo carbon wheels / Tune hubs. SRAM Eagle AXIS Mullet 1 x System. Hope brakes. Maxxis Ikon tyres.

Key items of kit: Exposure Lights, USE Components. Restrap custom frame bags.

Rachel Fox

Name: Rachel Fox

Age: 38

Cap number: 81

Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

Bike: 2017 Giant XTC, Alpkit Confucius handlebars, SRAM NX 1x11 drivetrain with a 28T in the front and an 11-46 in the rear. Vittoria Barzo 2.1 front and Mezcal 2.1 rear tyres.

Key items of kit: Bags: Revelate Designs Sweet Roll, Decathlon B'twin 520 Double 2L front bag (great for easy access snacks), Restrap saddle bag,= and a frame bag homemade from some old waterproofs #CircularEconomy!

Navigation: Garmin Edge 840 Solar, Sleep system: OR Stargazer bivi, Western Mountaineering nano quilt, Senchi Designs fleece hoodie and leggings. Lights Exposure Sixpack and Joystick.

James Doddrell

Name: James Doddrell

Age: 28

Cap number: 33

Location: Kendal, Cumbria

Bike: Focus Atlas 6.9. GRX 1x11 with a 40 by 11-42. DT Swiss wheelset with 700x47 Teravail Rutland durable compound. Profile Design aerobars with a bar fly 4 tt mount to hold the Wahoo ELEMNT roam and Lezyne 1000XL up front.

Key items of kit: Bags are Alpkit throughout, with an old first aid kit bag attached to the frame with inner tubes/spares. Also wearing a Salomon running vest for easy access kit. Sleep system is a Mountain Equipment Lunar sleeping bag, Alpkit Numo mat, and a bivvy bag which I think is Mountain Warehouse. Riding kit is mostly just road cycling gear from Endura/Gore/Castelli and for waterproofs a pair of POC trousers and Mountain Equipment Changabang jacket which hopefully won’t get too much use! Off the bike clothing is a mixture of Haglofs/Arc'teryx/Paramo. Other key kit is Garmin watch with the route as a back-up, head torch, 30,000A battery pack (which I underestimated how big would be and is literally a brick).

Jade Saskia Simpson-Field

Name: Jade Saskia Simpson-Field

Age: 32

Cap number: 32

Location: Leeds, UK

Bike: I'll be racing on my Cube AMS one-11 full sus this year. I've got a Son dynamo and K-Lite ultra V2 light on the front, Shimano XT 12 speed, 30t x 10-51t. Flat pedals, 29x2.4 Maxxis Rekon, Fox suspension 120mm front and back. I'm overbiked this year!

Key items of kit: Ortlieb QR saddle bag, Revelate Designs bar bag and Salsa Cradle, Restrap top tube bag and stem pouches and an Evoc bum bag. Carrying Sea to Summit Spark 2 sleeping bag, OR bivvy and Sea to Summit mat, spare kit x 2 (It's gunna be cold and wet!) and an extensive amount of snacks. Luxury item - tiny electric pump for my sleeping mat. Probably won't bring the crocs.

Geert Bennenbroek

Name: Geert Bennenbroek

Age: 39

Location: Amsterdam

Bike: Surly Karate Monkey on 27.5", Maxxis Ikon front and rear and SON dynamo lighting & charging.

Key items of kit: Ortlieb frame & seatpacks, Tailfin top tube 1.1l flip top and Topeak harness & drybag. Extra battery charges front & tail light. 1.5l hydropack and 1l reserve under downtube.

John Horlock

Name: John Horlock

Age: 45

Cap number: 36

Location: Yarm, Stockton on Tees, UK

Bike: Specialized Epic Evo, Maxxis Rekon Race 2.25 and TT bars.

Key items of kit: Apidura 7l seat pack, Zefal top tube bag, small bar bag nad bar bag strapped to the down tube. USWE hydration bag and Exposure MaXx-D lights.

Hugo Fahie-Wilson

Name: Hugo Fahie-Wilson

Age: 25

Location: Kent, UK

Bike: Fairlight Holt - Custom built by myself for long distance mixed terrain riding. Rigid Enve fork and seat post. Full Shimano XT groupset. Dt Swiss XM421 rims on Hope pro5 hubs. SQlabs swept back bars. Ergon saddle and grips.

Key items of kit: Ergon grips with bar ends and SQlabs inner bar ends to keep the hands happy. Several spare waterproof socks to keep the feet happy. Ass Savers Win Wing to keep the butt happy. Double Wizard Works Feed Bags for endless snacking capacity.

Carl Hopps

Name: Carl Hopps

Age: 36

Location: Leeds, UK

Bike: Fairlight Holt, SID 110mm forks, Shimano XT groupset, Sonder Confucius Handlebar, Hope Fortus 26 Pro5s wheels, Vittoria Mezcal 2.35 29" tyres. Brooks Cambium C15 saddle and Mudhugger mudguard. Mudguards - Mudhugger

Key items of kit: Restrap bags: Race 7L Saddle (Albion insulated Jacket X2, knee warmers, waterproof gloves & socks), Race Top Tube (pump, multi tool, tubeless plugs, sweets), X2 Race Stem Bags (Snacks, Hydration Tablets, Quick links, Power bank, Cables) and Canister bag (emergency bivvy, Albion Merino top, extra gloves and buff, a few more snacks). Lights are Exposure Toro, Trace, Blaze and Ledlenser MH10 head torch. I'm wearing Albion Zoa waterproof jacket, Albion pocket bibs, Decathlon Merino top, Albion mesh base layer, Waterproof socks and Specialized Recon 2 shoes.

Alex McCormack

Name: Alex McCormack

Age: 26

Location: South Devon, UK

Bike: Fairlight Holt

Key items of kit: Tailfin Bags, Fuel+ on the food and Albion clothes.

Andrew Broadway

Name: Andrew Broadway

Age: 41

Cap number: 89

Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

Bike: Sonder Dial, Shimano Deore XT drive chain, DT Swiss wheelset and RockShox SID fork.

Key items of kit: Waterproofs and many many pairs of gloves!

Tom Stockton

Name: Tom Stockton

Age: 45

Cap number: 62

Location: Manchester, UK

Bike: Santa Cruz Blur 2020, Fox 34 120mm, Continental RaceKing 2.2 tyres on some old Hope wheels.. 11 speed XT drivetrain (11-46). ESI X-chunky grips & SQLab inner bar ends. Exposure lights: MaxxD and Joystick.

Key items of kit: Alpkit Kloke Bivi, Alpkit pipedream 400 (looks nippy overnight on Saturday), Exped sleeping mat.

Apidura long top tube bag full of Veloforte bars, electronics & bum cream. Ortlieb seat pack with all my sleeping gear. Wildcat front harness with spare layers, gloves etc. Couple of Alpkit stem cells full of jelly babies, peanut M&Ms and peperamis. Small frame bag with spares, bog roll & 64g of baby wipes.

I'll also have a Salomon running vest to carry my waterproofs / insulated jacket and some tuna & feta butties.

I've probably overpacked but the peace of mind of having a bit more kit should hopefully put me in a decent mental state at the start which will make a much bigger difference than trying to save a few grams.

Dan Morton

Name: Dan Morton

Age: 36

Cap number: 9

Location: Sheffield, UK

Bike: On-One Scandal

Key items of kit: Alpkit 20l dry bag with homemade bike tyre harness, Restrap 2l race top tube bag, Alpkit Koala 13l seat pack, water bottle repair kit and spares. Mudguards!

Myles Painter

Name: Myles Painter

Age: 38

Cap number: 110

Location: Aberfoyle, Stirling

Bike: Sonder Broken Road

Key items of kit: Alpkit bar bag, Tailfin rear pack, and various misc frame bags and backpack filled with food. (Dog not included)

Alex Fthenakis

Name: Alex Fthenakis

Age: 38

Cap number: 71

Location: Glasgow

Bike: 2022 Specialized Epic Evo Expert

Key items of kit: Cyclite Aero Bar Bag (clothing spares). Tailfin Top Tube Bag (powerbank and nutrition). Alpkit Rear Top Tube Bag (charging accessories and spares). Tailfin Downtube Bag (all the spares I hope not to use!). Tailfin Rear Pack (Sleep system and overnight amenities). SWAT Box (puncture spares).

Lights: Exposure Strada and Diablo. Sea to Summit Spark SP1 Sleeping Bag. Exped Airmat HL and Alpkit Kloke Bivvi.

I'm trying to implement a lot of my learnings and favourite bits of kit from the GBDURO last year but life has got in the way so it's been another last minute scramble! I've never been bikepacking on this bike and have had a grand total of 30 minutes for a shakedown ride on the loaded bike (and brand new Mezcal tyres...) Dropper and Tailfin aren't playing nice together in terms of clearance so I've got a rigid post on order and if it arrives in time I'll fit that instead. Otherwise, I might just need to tape over the dropper lever to remind myself not to use it.

Hopefully all works out!

Crispin Hoult

Name: Crispin Hoult

Age: 54

Cap number: 75

Location: Trossachs, Scotland

Bike: Canyon Dude, Lauf Forks, 4" Jumbo Jims

Key items of kit: Poca bags with frame bladder, Therma-a-Rest NeoAir mattress with Alpkit bivvy, OMM bag and some pizza slices.

Adam Bloom

Name: Adam Bloom

Age: 53

Cap number: 121

Location: London, UK

Bike: Lapierre Prorace CF 9.9

Key items of kit: Restrap race bags, Alpkit Ultra sleeping bag, Therm-a-Rest NeoAir, Sierra Designs bivvi, Exposure lights x2 and Haribo.

Andrei Tereskin

Name: Andrei Tereskin

Age: 35

Cap number: 58

Location: London, UK

Bike: I will be riding my battle-tested Sonder BrokenRoad. Drivetrain: 30T chainring 10-52 cassette with cable SRAM X01 derailleur. Have custom built wheelset with dt-swiss 350 / son28 hubs laced into NEXTIE carbon rims. Even though some people think that Dales Divide is a gravel route, in my opinion hardtail mtb is the most comfortable gravel bike. I have tiny RideFarr aerobars, SPIRGRIPS and Ergon grips with barends (yay to more hand positions!).

Key items of kit: Dynamo setup for riding at night: Son 28 paired with kLite mtb version. Sleeping kit: not too worried about the weight and speed so taking a tent, 3 season inflatable mat and quilt for maximum comfort if the weather is not perfect Bags: a mix and match type of setup with Apidura Long Top Tube bag / Revelate Designs Feedbag, Tailfin Aeropack and Ortlieb full frame bag.

Martine Fitt

Name: Martine Fitt

Age: 38

Cap number: 41

Location: Bristol, UK

Bike: Sonder Broken Road hardtail with 2.4" tyres

Key items of kit: Ortlieb saddle pack, Alpkit stem bags and frame bag, and a dry bag strapped to the handlebars because I haven't got a proper bar bag yet!

Jaap van der Salm

Name: Jaap van der Salm

Age: 38

Cap number: 80

Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Bike: Carbonda fm936 with 120mm travel. Hunt trail wide wheels, Wolfpack 2.4” tires. 30t x 10-51 Shimano XT drivetrain and brakes. Lezyne lights.

Key items of kit: Mix of Miss Grape, Restrap, Tailfin and Vaude bags. Front: Helium bivy, sleeping mat, rain jacket & pants. Saddle bag: quilt, down jacket, dry clothes. Frame: food & water. Downtube: tools & 2 powerbanks.

Geert Bennenbroek

Name: Geert Bennenbroek

Age: 39

Cap number: 70

Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Bike: Surly Karate Monkey, 27.5", Spank 359 rims with 2.35" Maxxis Ikon tires, SRAM GX Eagle groupset, Magura MT5 brakes, SON dynamo and lights.

Key items of kit: Ortlieb frame & seatbag, Tailfin top tube bag 1.1L flip and Topeak Frontloader harness & drybag. Dynamo USB charger and a 10k mAh powerbank. Evoc 1.5l hydropack, 1l Nalgene in Everything Carrier and 0.5l bottle in feedbag.

Roel Massink

Name: Roel Massink

Age: 40

Cap number: 99

Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Bike: Canyon Exceed

Key items of kit: Mixed bags (Restrap, Ortlieb, Tailfin), Exped Bivy and EE quilt, Exposure light, rain kit, extra pair of socks and thermo. Food. And a foldable backpack for extra stash.

Brad Murphy

Name: Brad Murphy

Age: 31

Location: Newcastle, UK

Bike: Giant Revolt 1x with 53mm tyres foolishly squeezed in.

Key items of kit: Running vest not in the photo full of snacks and a 2l water bladder. Front bag has a comically large tent for this type of ride, some warmer sleeping stuff, sleeping mat. Rear bag has a 2nd set of clothes and the sleeping bag. I might try and squash the sleeping bag in the front bag before the ride starts. Frame bag has Electronics, battery, spares, waterproof and tent poles. Down tube bottle has some tools and spares like brake pads, bolts, tyre levers etc that I hope don't get used... Top tube bag is currently empty but always gets filled with odds and ends. Bringing 3 rear lights and 2 lights for the front (Strada and a Fenix) as well as a head torch strapped to the helmet (Fenix).

Allen Boardman

Name: Allen Boardman

Age: 41

Cap number: 125

Location: North West England

Bike: Hunt 29er

Key items of kit: Acepac Bags, Poca Bags, Mezcals, My Sheepy Mascot, Sense Of Humour & Penguin Bars.

Kevin Knowles

Name: Kevin Knowles

Age: 67

Cap number: 37

Location: Staveley, Cumbria

Bike: Giant Fathom 1 29er Hardtail (small!), SRAM Eagle NX - 1x12 drive train, Giant AM29 Wheels shod with tubeless Michelin Force AM2 tyres, Giant Crest 34SL Forks and Sonder Confucius Bars and Burgtec Pedals.

Key items of kit: Giant H2Pro Saddle and Bar Bags - bombproof and because of small frame size Alpkit bespoke Spitfire frame bag and Fuel Pod on top tube. March = tent not bivi, Alpkit Aeronaut, Mountain Warehouse L/W Down sleeping bag with secret weapon - Down Trousers! Illumination by Exposure Race and navigation via Garmin 830. If all else fails my lucky Mani Stone from Nepal will keep me safe 😊

Oliver Glen

Name: Oliver Glen

Age: 20

Cap number: 46

Location: Durham, UK

Bike: Fairlight Secan 2.5 with some conti race king tyres on 27.5 inch rims.

Key items of kit: The bags are a mix of brands with an Alpkit frame bag, Apidura saddle and top type bag and an Attacus bar bag for extra snacks. I’m carrying an Outdoor Research helium bivi and a Rab down sleeping. For electronics I’ve got a Gloworm light out front and a Wahoo Elemnt Bolt for navigation. The rest of the space is filled with various layers and plenty of bars and sweets to keep me going.

Lynne Davies

Name: Lynne Davies

Age: 50

Cap number: 109

Location: Peebles, Scotland

Bike: Pipedream Cycles Sirius steel hardtail with a DT Swiss F232 fork.  29er Hunt Trailwide wheelset with Vittoria Barzo 2.25 front and Mezcal 2.1 rear tyres and Vittoria air insert. Shimano SLX 11 speed (11-46/32) 165mm cranks. SQ Labs handlebar, Spirgrips inner bars ends, Ergon GA3 grips. Time MX6 pedals. Bags: I’ll be using a Tailfin aeropack and Poca Bags custom frame bag and Poca top tube bag. Miss Grape ilcoso front bag mount and dry bag.

Key items of kit: Key items of kit: Thermarest Neoair XTherm mat, Thermarest Corus 20 sleeping quilt and alpkit bivvy. Merino layers, 7Mesh waterproof jacket, Rab PrimaLoft jacket. Wahoo Elemnt Roam bike computer, Exposure toro front light. Anker powerbank. Garmin Inreach Mini.

Camille Rahier

Name: Camille Rahier

Age: 26

Cap number: 99

Location: Sheffield, UK

Bike: Cannondale Topstone, GRX, 45mm Mezcal tyres.

Key items of kit: Food pouch, helmet lights, and waterproof socks

Brad Wilding

Name: Brad Wilding

Age: 39

Location: Bristol, UK

Bike: Sonder Broken Road. SRAM GX spec, running 2.25 Vittoria Mezcals tyres.

Key items of kit: Alpkit bags.