Our 2020 Roadie bucket list
Ask yourself… is there something I’ve always wanted to do that, with a little bit of planning, I could achieve this year? We’ve all got a bucket list, things that we want to do before we die. Some will be possible, others probably not, but that’s what’s good about the list. These are amazing, once in a lifetime experiences that will make your hairs stand on end, get your heart racing and be in your memories to talk about for years to come.
Now is the time to start your planning. Pick one from your list, start talking to your family about it, plan a holiday around it, get training for it. The more it becomes part of your daily life, the more it becomes achievable and realistic. The Bikmo team did exactly that! We talked through our bucket lists and each decided on our own personal adventure. We chose ride locations, events and challenges that we honestly believe we can complete during 2020, and here are some of ours.
Challenges don’t come much more epic than the Transcontinental Race for your bucket list. 2500 miles of unsupported solo riding through Europe – mixing in some of cycling’s most iconic locations with amazing historic landmarks. The route you take is up to you, but you are guaranteed awesome scenery and brutal climbing, as you navigate your way between the control points.
Starting in Flanders, the Grandaddy of all cycling locations, you aim your bike southeast towards the first control point at Lichtenstein, Germany, where you’ll arrive approximately 400 miles later. Continuing southeasterly, next stop is Monte Grappa, Italy. The thought of endless freshly prepared pasta, will hopefully ease you through the 360 mile leg of stunning mountain passes and valleys. Suitably refuelled, and you’ll definitely need it, you head northwest for the High Tatras mountains, Slovakia…some 650 miles ahead. Not your typical cycling destination, however the landscape in this area of the world is breathtaking and is worth every pedal stroke it takes to get there. Southeast again, and 550 miles towards Transfagarasan, Romania. The winding mountain roads in this area are the stuff of cycling dreams. With just a 620 mile sprint to Meteora, Greece to finish, you will have enough stories and memories to keep the grandchildren entertained for years…now you’ve just got to get home!
When you think of cycling trips your first thought is likely the Alps, but don’t let that stop you from trying something new; there are so many more cycle-centric destinations in Europe and beyond. If you want a fresh and relatively unexplored cycling break, look to the Balkans. With breathtaking scenery around the region, your eyes won’t get tired of the incredible views; although, we can’t say the same about your legs which will be tackling some intense climbs.
If this sounds up your street, you better check out our very own Balkans Breakaway Exclusive Departure. We’ve created this unique tour with our partner, and vastly experienced tour operator, Spice Roads. The Balkans Breakaway will take you through some serious roadie territory, covering 291 miles and four countries in total.
If you want to join us on this epic adventure, or would like to find out more, check it out here. There are limited places so be sure to get signed up soon so you don’t miss out.
Brompton World Championship
Probably not on every roadie’s bucket list, this is a very unique event with a huge helping of fun, so maybe it should be. The Brompton bike has become a firm favourite within Bikmo HQ and, if you’ve not already ridden one, it’s well worth getting your hands on one to try. Trust us, it doesn’t ride like it looks!
As the title suggests, the Brompton World Championship is the flagship Brompton only race. We are now also a part of the event by offering our coffee trailer as well as getting involved in the racing itself. In 2019, we ran a Brompton Makeover competition too, where the lucky winner had their dream design painted on their Brompton bike. The event has been running for over 10 years, with qualifying heats held in 15 countries and a final in the UK. This is not your usual lycra-clad road event, riders must follow the strict dress code which reflects the heritage of the event. With a suit jacket, shirt and tie, usually complemented with shorts…think top half – eccentric office worker, bottom half – casual commuter. It’s a bit like the child’s puzzle where you can rotate parts of the body to match up the character, but you mix it up to create you own!
So, how do you win? Well, the event starts with a Le Mans style sprint to the folded bikes, before racing the remainder of the distance on a road circuit, aiming to be the first across the line. As you can imagine, it’s as much about your unfolding technique as it is about your legs. Whether you are victorious or not, it’s a festival-like atmosphere that you can’t help but absorb with a wide smile on your face.
LEJOG – Land’s End to John O’Groats
We’re very lucky to live in such a beautiful country, and what better way to see it than to ride from the bottom to the top in one go! At just under 900 miles, this is a monster challenge for your bucket list, but such a well respected one in the cycling community, that it’s probably the first one that a cyclist thinks of when the word ‘challenge’ is mentioned. Usually starting at the most southerly tip of the country and finishing at the most northerly, giving it the acronym LEJOG, by which it most commonly known, makes it almost sound gentle!
Most riders plan their route to complete around 100 miles each day for 9 days. With this in mind, try to imagine how Michael Broadwith felt as he turned his last pedal rev on 17 June 2018, having completed the distance in a record-breaking 43 hours, 25 minutes and 13 seconds! This is definitely one of those challenges that your non-cycling friends can relate to but, be prepared, if you take this on, you’ll be just as tired laughing at the comments “I wouldn’t even do that in a car” as you were doing the ride!
Battle on the Beach
Another event that probably isn’t on a classic roadie’s bucket list is Battle on the Beach, but hey… it’s good to try other disciplines away from the tarmac and Strava KOMs! Beach racing is hugely popular in the Netherlands, but over the past 6 years, Battle on the Beach has become a massive event closer to home in Pembrey, Wales. The 2020 race will be the 7th edition of the event, which now attracts over 700 participants.
The event is open to all types of bicycles, whether it’s an MTB, Cross or even a beach specific rig! The race features a mixture of terrain between the beach itself and single track sections through the nearby trees. As well as the main race, riders can also ‘Battle in the Dark’ on the eve of the event by competing in a 10km time trial (one lap of the course) held in the darkness.
It’s certainly different to your typical day at the beach… but this year some of the team will be getting gnarly and having a go at the event!
Ride a cobbled classic
The cobbled roads of Paris Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders make for such exciting racing, that they’re finding their way more and more into Grand Tour stages. Is it because of their beauty, their locations or because they’re spectator friendly?…no, it’s because they’re brutal and just one section of them can wreak havoc on the race. Rather than just jumping on the Eurostar and trying to navigate your own way around the route, to get the most from the experience, it’s probably best to enter one of the organised sportives which take place the day before the main event and, that way, you get to watch the pros too.
Whichever one you put on your bucket list, both sportives have their own characteristics. Paris Roubaix’s 172km flat route features 28 sections of pavé, with each one given a star rating to indicate difficulty, and is the exact route that the pros ride, finishing in the famous Roubaix Velodrome. The Tour of Flanders is a whole different beast, with its route being 230km, and including many cobbled climbs, with the Koppenberg maxing out at 25%. Both are guaranteed to test both you and your equipment to the extreme. Your wheels, legs, bars, hands, arms and bum will all take a beating…so hold onto your teeth, you’ll need them for when you can’t stop smiling at the end!
Cover for your travels, you and your kit
Since 2019, Bikmo also offers adventure sports travel insurance, to cover all possible aspects of your adventures. For all of our biking enthusiasts who are looking to cover their whole trip, including emergency medical and repatriation expenses, trip cancellation, baggage damage and so much more!
With 3 levels of travel cover to choose from, and some optional extras, your single trip or an annual multi-trip policy will give you the peace of mind to enjoy your adventure.
Whether travelling alone or with the family, in the UK, Europe or Worldwide, you can choose the level of activity cover you need to meet your holiday travel insurance requirements.