By Ambassador Tim Wiggins

The global pandemic changed a lot in everyone’s lives: distance was placed between family and friends; travel plans were postponed or cancelled; work was restructure or re-located. Yet, I found many bitter-sweet benefits that could be taken from the last 18 months; opportunities and prompts to change and adapt—to still make life a ‘Long Sweet Ride’.

In a bid to satisfy our urge to explore, our desire to escape, and to make the most of some late summer freedom and sunshine; myself and some of my UK-based colleagues from the Danish cycle clothing brand GripGrab headed out on a long, sweet September bikepacking adventure… straight out from our backdoor.

We were not heading far, and we were not going fast; but the two-day micro-adventure down to the Jurassic Coast of the United Kingdom was a chance to ride, relax, catch-up, and to discover a new landscape just a few miles from home…

We caught the ferry from the Isle of Wight on a calm and quiet September morning. Our route then took us northwards through the heathland and wooded paths of the New Forest, past grazing ponies, and bubbling brooks. 

Turning south, we rode back down to the coast at Bournemouth—one of the UK’s busiest seaside resorts. The traverse of the seafront was a slalom ride amongst sunburnt backs and melting ice creams; but it was not long before we reached our escape route—the Sandbanks ferry—our key to the Purbeck’s Jurassic Wilderness.

Rolling off the ferry, we were soon up onto the white cliffs of Studland Bay and began the undulating ride westward. The afternoon was full of quaint stone villages, grassy paths through fields of sheep grazing on the clifftops, and that magical feeling of discovering a new place by pedal power.

As the sun set, we stood on the top of the cliffs looking west. All we could see ahead of us was mile upon mile of rolling green hills and endless gravel tracks. We rolled down our last descent of the day, grabbed fish and chips from the local pub, and set up camp in a secluded spot.

The next morning, after buns at the local bakery, we began heading back east. Pedals turned, pictures were snapped, and coffees were sipped in the late summer sunshine. We were only a few miles from home, but it felt like we were in Southern Europe.

By the time we rolled to a stop back at our starting point, it seemed like a week had passed, not just 30 hours. 

By embracing the ability to explore, even this close to home, we had satisfied an urge and need to find freedom and happiness on a Long Sweet Ride.