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17 MIN READ TIME

CHARLIE THE BIKEMONGER THE HIGHLAND HEIST

You know what? Bikepacking can really change you. Around ten years ago I cycled with my two great friends Crashy Simon and Beardy Martin from the south coast of England to Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands, so we could race the Single Speed World Champs. Naturally we cycled up on single speeds, largely because we had no idea what we were doing and bravado gets you up hills quicker than thinking things through (maybe).

This adventure turned out to be a tipping point in my life. I had temporarily left my job, my family, children, home, pets… and replaced them with almost nothing. I had never been so happy with so little. We never had accommodation, or bookings; we had a tarp and the woods beside the road. Even the simple luxury of an iPod was used only once on a massive climb. I know it was massive because the climb lasted the duration of three songs and one of them was a Pink Floyd track. Maybe this is how climbs should now be measured. It would make the Tour de France commentary more interesting… “Will Froome win on Alpe d’Huez today? He has a 15-second lead on Sagan, but he’s run out of Erasure tracks, and Sagan has shifted from the steady cadence of Pink Floyd to the more sprinty Psychedelic Porn Crumpets for the final kilometres – the gap is closing…”

It was a revelation to travel with so little: sleeping kit, not even a change of clothes, a stove, one pan for all three of us to eat from, the ingredients for a risotto, and a bottle of whisky. If we needed something we would – one way or another – find it along our way.

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About Singletrack

Editorial: Finding Your Place Chipps is away in Moab, so Hannah has taken over. She thinks Moab is all very well, but there might be even happier places to be. UK Adventure: Snowdon All Ways Tom Fenton thinks that riding all the bridleways on Snowdon in one go is a good idea. Surprisingly he finds friends willing to join him. Will they ever join him again? Column: Jason Miles Jason asks us to mind our manners while we’re riding, or in the supermarket. International Adventure: Vancouver’s Treasure Islands Ryan Stuart takes a tour of the slow paced islands where quiet trails lie waiting. Classic Ride: Borders of the Borderlands Olly Townsend takes us on a classic moorland yomp in Northumberland’s quiet fringes. Interview: Tracy Moseley - Mother Hucker The queen of enduro isn’t slowing down as she adds motherhood to her titles. Bike Test: Ti Hard Our very own Bruce Willis lookalike, Andi Sykes, tests out three titanium hardtails from Kingdom, Nordest and Sonder. Editors’ Choice Our team pick out their product, place and bike highlights of 2018. International Adventure: Risking It For Polish Champagne Dorota Juranek goes on her rst bike packing trip, through the snowy urban decay of Poland. Charlie Says: Abus Alarm Lock Charlie the Bikemonger checks out the Abus Alarm Lock. Beyond The Review: In My Shoes Products don’t just get tested, we live with them. Hannah looks at the relationship between her shoes and her riding. Climbing Up In Trentino, Stepping Back In Time Pete Scullion and trials rider Ali Clarkson take their ill prepared bodies round 100km of history in the Italian mountains. Last Word: Highland Heist Charlie the Bikemonger reveals his criminal past.

Other Articles in this Issue


Singletrack
Chipps is away. He’s off on sabbatical to what he calls
Tom Fenton makes a horrible plan, some questionable choices, and wins.
Jason thinks we might be letting ourselves go when we get on a bike.
Two jet-setting friends discover they’ve overlooked gold on their doorstep.
More power, more range, more kickass.
Olly thinks we’re overlooking a great trail network, and the perfect remote brew spot.
Tracy Moseley has had the world as her playground, Pete Scullion finds out whether it’s all swings and roundabouts ahead now that she’s a mum and a rider.
firee titanium hardtails fit for an action hero.
Over the last year, our writers have tested a bucketful
Sprinkled with snow, the crumbling landmarks of Poland’s past provide the backdrop for an unlikely first bikepacking trip.
SPENDS TIME WITH AN ABUS LOCK.
It’s not a review… it’s a relationship. Products aren’t just for testing – they can find their way into our lives, our stories and our hearts. In the first of a new series, called Still Going, Hannah tells us about life in her shoes.
Pete and trials rider Ali Clarkson take the ‘easy’ option round the historic fortresses of Italy.
Charlie reveals his criminal past. Does ‘I was very tired’ count as a defence?