Romantic, harmonious, or chaotic? How cycling makes you a better team.

Couples, including us, don't always share the same interests and goals in all situations. Supposedly, however, this is precisely how tensions and stress can be reduced. I wonder if that's really the case.

It's easy to see - both of us love to spend our time together outdoors on the bike. It just makes us happy to be able to share this passion.

In our experience, it's nice to know that when free time comes up, like most weekends, we don't have to leave our partner at home.

By the way, this also makes the question of what we're gonna do the following weekend superfluous.

Whether our tours are romantic every time? Probably not. Nor are they always harmonious, because on some days there's always something to complain about, which can be challenging. That goes for both of us. But most of the time we have a lot of fun together. We laugh a lot, motivate each other with funny things and nonsense, listen to each other when they need a break, something to eat, or something else and love to discover the surroundings together. Especially on longer routes, we can motivate each other - or when it's time to get up early. It's not that we love getting up in the dark.

Whether we individually would have come up with the idea to spend whole days or more on the bike? We can not know what if, but we can assume that we would not necessarily have come alone. Björn was always relatively urban with his fixies, and riding a road bike as a sport was never his thing. And for me, the bike was always a means of transportation. But I also didn't have a good bike before I met Björn. So we both benefit from it because our joint tours, experiences, and plans for cycling bring us closer together.

The advantages of cycling with your partner? We know each other so well and know exactly where the other's challenges lie. We know each other's fitness levels, consider this when planning, and motivate each other when one is more, and the other is less keen. We spend the time planning together and, in the end, riding together. Simply put: share quality time together, away from everyday life and many other people.

The key to a relaxed bike ride with your partner is thoughtfulness. What feels like a challenge the first time is soon replaced by safety. You know how your partner behaves on the bike (at least most of the time). You get to know each other away from all the distractions of our modern world. You can also learn how to manage crises together. May that be only a mechanical problem, a flat tire, or feeling good old hangry during a tour, this can also be transferred to everyday life. After all, most problems can be solved.

You're in love with cycling, but your partner isn't? Share your passion. Enthusiasm for something can be contagious.

We have 8 tips for you that can help you spark the enthusiasm for cycling in them. Very importantly, remember what lit the fire in you.

// TIP #1

Suitable bike

Make sure your partner has a suitable bike - the right size is essential, for example. And what good is it if you're on a super-light road bike and your partner rides a heavy Dutch bike? Neither of you will have any fun that way.

// TIP #2

Plan together

Plan your tour together and REALISTICALLY. It does not have to be 100 km. Start small and feel your way.

// TIP #3

Taking Breaks

Taking breaks. Take enough of them, take care of each other, and remember to bring something to eat and enough to drink. Or make sure you get something on the way.

// TIP #4

Rewards

Rewards are a must! Either reward yourself with a delicious meal after your ride together or schedule breaks for it. Who can say no to a piece of cake or a scoop of ice cream?

// TIP #5

Anticipation

Ask your partner what they like, if there are certain places they would like to visit, or particular preferences. Plan this for the tour. It will increase not only the anticipation but also the motivation.

// TIP #6

Exit Strategy

Nothing worse than being stuck in "nowhere" on your first tour together and not getting away when there are problems (mechanical or physical). If possible, plan so that there is always a way out nearby.

// TIP #7

Suitable season

Go in the summer, when the weather is good, and not in the cold and rain. Conditions should be as pleasant as possible.

// TIP #8

No pressure

Be patient, listen, observe and share your enthusiasm. Do not put pressure on your partner!

Enjoy riding together, and let us know if it worked out for you. Also, tell us about your tips, which we may be able to add here.


What did we bring on our first bikepacking trip?

In our previous blog post, we told you about our first bike packing adventure. In the lead-up to it, we extensively thought about what we would take with us and how we would be able to stow everything on our bikes.

With a few weeks distance to the trip, we want to draw a conclusion. What was useful and what was unnecessary. What would we do again so and what different, all this in this article.

THE BAG ISSUE

How many bags do we need? What size do they need to be? Being on the road for the first time or planning to be on the road, you start asking yourself many questions.

Important: they need to be waterproof because late German summers also mean challenges in terms of weather. You cannot rely so much on the sunshine all the time.

Also, as spacious as possible, but not too big. Finally, we want to reduce ourselves to the bare essentials and not take anything with us that is unnecessary.

THE WATER ISSUE

Staying hydrated while cycling is not always so easy but should not be underestimated.

Since carrying the bags, we opted for two bottles by Fidlock, each with 590 ml. Because of the magnetic system, they got the advantage of being usable even when there is little space. Without space-consuming bottle cages, they make a fantastic addition to our setup. Plus, the lid keeps the mouthpiece free of dirt in all weather conditions.

THE SET-UP

Which bags did Jana use?

My bike offers many attachment points on both the frame and fork; this allowed me to use a large frame bag and attach my water bottles to the fork, even though I only ride a 52 frame.

- Apidura Expedition Full Frame Pack (6l)
- Apidura Expedition Saddle Pack (17l)
- Apidura Expedition Top Tube Pack (1l)
- Apidura Backcountry Food Pouch (1.2l)

What's in my bag?

Taking more with you than you need is a relatively simple problem and one that everyone is familiar with. But there are some things you don't want to do without. The most important thing, of course, is the snacks. When it comes to hygiene items, I opt for miniature versions and bottled products.

Essentials


Muc Off C3* Ceramic Lube Wet // Cash cards & cash (Ögon Smart Case Original) // Lighting (Light & Motion Vis Pro 100 Trail & Vis 180 Pro) // disinfectant // tissues // 2x bicycle tube

Clothing


Electronics


iPhone charging cable // XLayer Powerbank Micro 5.000 // Wahoo ELMNT Roam charging cable // Charging cable for the lights // Apple Watch charging cable (forgotten!) // Wahoo heart rate monitor

Food / Snacks


Throat Candy // Clif Bloks Energy Chews Mountain Berry // Various Protein and Energy Bars // Salted Nuts // Vegan Chili Mayonnaise // Isostar Powertabs Cranberry

Hygiene


Antibacterial Chamois Cream - Pour Femmes // Shower gel // Hydrophil toothbrush // Shampoo & dry shampoo // Toothpaste tabs for 2 // FFP 2 masks // Hairbrush // SPF 50 sunscreen // Handkerchiefs // Deo // Face cream

Emergency kit


Anti-tick and mosquito spray // Tick forceps // Wound disinfection // Painkillers // Hygiene wipes or baby wipes

THE SET-UP

Which bags did Björn use?

My Grail is not the ideal bike for bike packing, as there are only a few attachment points and the handlebars are not really suitable for bags. For this tour, the possibilities were sufficient, but if we still had to take a sleeping setup, it would be difficult. Whether I can somehow attach a handlebar bag, I will have to try.

Apidura Expedition Frame Pack (3l)
Apidura Expedition Saddle Pack (17l)
Apidura Backcountry Downtube Pack (1.8l)

What's in my bag?

Taking more with you than you need is a relatively simple problem and one that everyone is familiar with. But there are some things you don't want to do without. The most important thing, of course, is the snacks. When it comes to hygiene items, I opt for miniature versions and bottled products.

Essentials


throat candy // bike lock // credit cards // ID // smartphone

Clothing


Wind vest // 1 long jersey // 2 short jerseys // Rain gloves // Baselayer // Leg warmers // Arm warmers // Cap // Loop // 2 Bibs // T-shirt // longsleeve // jeans // 3 boxers // 3 pair socks // Helmet + Sunglasses // Windbreaker // cycling shoes // Flip flops

Tool


Tire Lever // Tubes // Air Pump // Multitool

Electronics


Camera // Lens // Memory cards // Camera batteries // Solar power bank // iPhone charging cable // Wahoo Elemnt Roam charging cable // charging cable for lights // Wahoo heart rate monitor // Front and rear light (Light & Motion as well) Vis Pro 100 Trail and Vis 180 Pro)

Hygiene


Chamois cream // FFP-2 masks // Muc-Off Amino Recovery Balm // Allergy tablets // Pain ointment // Face cream // Deo // Toothbrush

CONCLUSION

After these (eternally long) lists, what would we change next time?

In general, we probably had a bit too much clothing with us. Given that we also had washing facilities available, less would have been enough. Some parts were also unnecessary because of the weather, but that is often not reliably evaluated in advance. So it's better to have too much with you.

Jana feels she didn't really need her top tube bag. It is handy, but everything she kept in it, she could have probably also stowed in her jersey.

Speaking of bags, I definitely got a food pouch on my list for next time. I will have to try it with Janas pouch, whether I can attach it well to my handlebars, but these pouches come in very handy. It would be possible to have more food close at hand, transport an additional drink, or have some technology in the quick access.

We would also add band-aids and a warming blanket to our first aid kit, just in case.

You've probably noticed a bunch of charging cables on our lists, so we want to find out if there are any small, portable ways to replace them with multi-adapters to charge multiple devices at one outlet without having to take a bulky multi-outlet with you. So far, we have unfortunately not found anything.

Another essential purchase on the shopping list for us (especially since we want to be out and about camping and stuff) is a Leatherman (or a similar multi-tool). We have already started to inform us, and it is exciting how nerdy this topic is and what these tools are capable of and offer.

When we talked about this resume yesterday, we agreed that the very most important thing was one thing, the Chamois cream. We wouldn't really have expected that since we never really use any otherwise, but from about the middle of day 2, it was a perfect companion after all.

We hope this information serves as an inspiration or helps you plan your first bikepacking trip. Do you have any questions about any of these topics? Do you have any further tips, or do you think that something important is missing? We are looking forward to your comment!


Festive 500 - how do we prepare for it?

For 11 years, Rapha's Festive 500 has been part of the holiday season for many cyclists. Riding 500 km in eight days while braving the elements on a bike? Or: sitting in front of the TV in the comfort of a warm room like many others and stuffing our bellies? Sounds like an easy decision, right?

We have decided to tackle the Festive 500 this year instead of spending time at home with our families. The right thing for us to do this year is to keep to ourselves and not put ourselves or others at risk of catching the virus.

This is the first time for us to participate in the Festive 500 Challenge, and with the cold, dark, and rainy winter days ahead, it can be challenging to find the motivation to get outside and ride. The fact that the two of us are tackling the challenge together, rather than one person having to go out alone, is a massive advantage for us.

We have spent the last few days preparing and thinking, because as the saying goes, "If you don't plan, you plan to fail."