I love long distance riding. I covered a lot of ground on paved roads in Europe, South America, and Asia. This is my comfort zone and I love designing and building bikes for this type of trips.
In 2018 I was challenged to build a different type of bike, the perfect bike for adventure roads during that year’s edition of the Concours de Machine. An opportunity to build a bike that allows me to take the odd turn, go off the beaten path, even if it means I have to push or carry the bike. The bike I built won the competition, two days of grueling rides, technical controls and public voting. But it felt like it hasn’t been put to the real test, yet.
The Caucasus has always been a fascination. A mountain range higher than the Alps which separates the continent of Europe and Asia. Raw landscapes, remote settlements and natural beauty. I had to see it. The perfect terrain and the perfect challenge physically and from a builders point of view.
Experience in Georgia
I rode my bike for almost 1300 km throughout the Caucasus criss-crossing the country of Georgia, in large parts following the route published on bikepacking.com (thank you so much for the inspiration). It’s been an unforgettable experience.
The bike held up superbly on roads that were beautiful and brutal at the same time. I spent 18 days riding during the month of August. It was very hot and dry with temperatures usually in the high 30s. But even though the country is not densely populated, water from sources was available in abundance and there was no shortage of good food options. Outside the bigger cities even the stray dogs were laid-back and often became temporary companions.
I also used the trip to thoroughly test the final prototype of the cyclon.cc bike tent, a tent that uses the bike as the supporting structure, keeping both, rider and bike, safe and dry. The production version of the tent is currently in the making, including all the insights gained in the Caucasus.
Georgians themselves are incredibly proud of their country and deem it the most beautiful in the world. About half way through the trip I meet a Georgian lady who spoke English very well. She told me the following story:
When God distributed the lands of the world, the Georgians failed to show up. They were partying and drinking. They came to the party when all was done. They asked God if there was anything he could still do to. After all they were partying and drinking to praise Him. God was pleased because of that and offered them a piece of land he had reserved for himself, letting them know that one day he might come to settle down there. Therefore now, every Georgian treats travelers arriving in their country like he or she could potentially be God.
The story represents everything I have experiences there, laid-back mentality, generous hospitality, divine landscapes and certainly good wine.
Total trip: 1280 km
Climbing: 23500 m
Highest rid-able pass: Abano Pass 2826m
Highest pass of the trip (hike-a-bike): Atsunta Pass 3431m