First and most importantly how are you and your loved ones doing?
I’m doing great. We’re all doing what we can to carry on as normally as possible, and I make sure I stay in touch with family and friends whenever possible. It’s been a bit of a different pace of life, but we’re all doing good at the moment.
Do you see what is going on in other countries, a good or bad thing compared to what is happening in the UK?
We’re trying not to make any comparisons with other countries at the moment because the situation from country to country is so different. Our aim is to simply carry on as normal. We know people are still getting out there and riding their bikes, and with cafes and such being closed at the moment, there’s more of an emphasis on self sufficiency.
When you look at the photos from the Rough Stuff Archive and the bikes they use do you think the commercialisation of gravel and bike-packing has taken anything away for simple exploration?
Not at all. It’s opened up a market that has clearly been there for a long time and giving that kind of riding more exposure. A lot of people are getting into a new style of riding and exploring new trails and places they’d have never thought to take a bike beforehand. Those places have always been there, but now with the growing popularity of gravel riding, gravel bikes, route planning apps and GPS computers, it’s easier than it’s ever been to find these places and have fun doing it.
Restrap has come a long way over the years, what and where do you see it going in the future?
We’ve been steadily growing over the last few years, and with the rise of bikepacking and gravel riding we’re seeing a shift in the industry towards that style of riding. We’re hoping for more growth within the business, so we’re able to do more things in-house and experiment with more ideas and maybe even get out on our bikes!
With more events like the TCR appearing do you think racing has taken anything away from the simplicity of it all?
You could say the same about the Tour de France a hundred years ago. There are people who will find racing the main motivation for riding their bike. Likewise someone might be switched off racing and prefer to tour at their own pace. I like touring and hanging out with my friends as my kind of riding. Everyone’s different.
Events like the TCR don’t take from the simplicity of riding – if anything they highlight it because Endurance Races are such a simple format.
How many cups of tea or coffee do you drink a day?
It has to be at least 5 or 6. Tea is one of the main things that keeps our workshop running most days!
Have you been able to get out and ride much?
I try to get out at least once or twice a week, but I do cycle to work most days. The weather has been too good not to ride recently! I’ve been running a lot as well as cycling to make the most of the weather, because it’s easier to get a good workout in without going too far from home.
Tell us a little about your bike and current setup?
I ride a Brother Kepler disc, which I’ve had for about 4 years now. In that time I’ve had it resprayed, changed parts over the years and have ridden it across Japan, around Scotland, from through France and Spain and down the US west coast. I’ve been using a front rack on and off, aswell. It’s a super solid setup.
What are you currently working on?
We’re currently in the final stages of production for a collaboration with CHPT3, as part of our Limited Run series. Every so often we release a Limited run of bags with new prints and designs. This time we’re working with CHPT3 and we’re pretty excited about it. The bags look great!
Do you think with the amount of events being cancelled the gravel/bike-packing scene is going to change?
I think things will pick up from where they left off. The gravel/bike-packing scene hasn’t gone anywhere – the only difference at the moment is the lack of people getting together to ride. Once things start getting back to normal, I think people will want to get together and events will be up and running again.
What is the one positive thing you have been able to take from the current lock down?
That cycling as a hobby really is one of the best hobbies out there. If anything the lockdown has made a lot of people dust off their bikes and get outside and enjoy riding as part of their daily exercise. It’s likely one of the reasons we’re seeing the cycling industry standing strong. It’s one of the few things you can do that you can get a good amount of fun and exercise while being out solo.
What are you looking forward to doing first when life returns to normal after lock down?
Bikepacking with friends, without a doubt. We’re all talking about where we want to go, and what we want to do for our first weekend away. The idea of bikepacking with a hammock has come up – none of us have done it before so it could be a good laugh to try something new.
Have you learnt any new skills or started any new hobbies/activities?
I’ve gotten into making music recently. I’ve started messing around with synth and playing a bit of bass guitar and it’s been pretty fun. I’ve also gotten into running and managed to squeeze out a half-marathon. I always like staying busy and active so I’m always looking for new and different things to do but definitely looking forward to getting back out on the bike more!