It is strange that a global pandemic that has forced people to stay apart can make you realise just how special it is to ride with others. Those early morning meetups, those Sunday café rides, those evenings shared with others sat around a campfire; the last year has taught me the value of shared experiences, and it has in this way fuelled a new beginning…
Most of my past adventures, races, big rides, and even local loops have been solo affairs. Not so much out of a conscious choice, but rather out of necessity—often because I could not find another soul that was crazy enough to want to partner up for a trans-continental bikepacking tour or a twelve-hour mountain bike race.
2020 gave me a new perspective. A realisation that riding with others makes riding itself even more enjoyable. It made me reconsider many of my objectives and hopes for the coming years.
I had intended to ride the Tour Divide in June 2020—one of the longest solo bikepacking races in the world. Now, I am planning to ride the length of New Zealand instead; with a buddy; taking the time to stop and absorb the amazing environment and finish the ride with family on North Island.
I had intended to ‘train’ more in the last year. Instead, I have made the conscious decision to slow down and ride with others; bringing groups of friends over the Isle of Wight to show them my local playground and the amazing opportunities to ride that I have here right on my doorstep.
I had intended to race. Instead, I am organising a weekend of social gravel rides, great food, camping in yurts, and sharing great stories—check out @wightprestige on Instagram!
2021 was a new beginning for me in many ways—a realisation that a ride shared is a better ride.
Let’s ride together! Connect with me on Instagram on @tim_wiggins1