Explore is our new six-part series looking at the world of bikepacking, endurance and ultra-endurance riding.
Join Lionel Birnie, Hannah Troop and Tom Whalley as they speak to people who have ridden round the world, raced across continents, tackled the grand tours, set new records, or undertaken challenges that have pushed them to their limits.
Episode 1 | The Transcontinental Race
Part 1: We learn about the Transcontinental Race, which takes riders north to south across Europe. Richard Abraham, who had to scratch after 2,000 kilometres, explains just what it takes to tackle the race before we hear from two-time winner James Hayden.
Part 2 (from 54:56): We look at the group of women who ride the full Tour de France route a day ahead of the men’s race under the banner Donnons des Elles au Vélo. Tetiana Kalachova, who has ridden the event for a few years, and Mathieu Istil, who helps organise the logistics, explain why they do it. Meanwhile, Juliet Elliott, who joined the ride for a day, found that there’s nothing easy about a 175-kilometre so-called ‘recovery day’.
Episode 2 | Australia
Part 1: Meet Rupert Guinness, who rode the 2017 Indian Pacific Wheel Race that ended in tragedy when Mike Hall was killed. In our interview Rupert talks poignantly about why he decided to stop and go home but also why he had to be on the start line next time round. Following in the wheel tracks of the pioneering Overlanders who crossed Australia by bike and did so much to document what was in the outback and help map the country, Rupert’s ride was also a journey of self discovery…
Part 2 (from 48:40): Oli Broom gave up his job in the City of London in 2009 and decided he wanted to ride to Australia to watch The Ashes cricket series. The thing was, he gave himself 14 months to get there. The self-styled Slow Cyclist rode around 100 kilometres a day for 412 days and made it in time for the first ball. It was an adventure that also led him to a new career.
Episode 3 | End-To-End
Part 1: Michael Broadwith broke the 17-year-old Land’s End to John O’Groats record earlier this year. We talk to him about the preparation and the pain, about how he planned and executed the ride and how his wife Helen kept him going when he was on the verge of quitting. We also hear from Gethin Butler, the man whose record Broadwith broke, and who was out on the roadside in the middle of the night to cheer him on.
Part 2: (from 1:06:24): World Tour professional, Commonwealth Games champion and La Course winner Chloe Hosking talks about riding a Gran Fondo in Italy. Aren’t these events just races by another name?
Episode 4 | Lionel’s Low Route with Ned Boulting
Part 1: Join Lionel and Tour de France television commentator and author Ned Boulting for a ride across England’s flattest counties that is not only the antidote to the Haute Route but proof that there’s a luxury end to the bikepacking spectrum. Clip in for the inaugural (and possibly last) Cambridge-Southwold-Cambridge Classic.
Part 2: (from 1:01:00) Professional riders Conor Dunne and Larry Warbasse went bikepacking on their No Go Tour when their team folded on the eve of the Tour of Britain. What did they learn about themselves and their friendship?
Part 3: (from 1:09:00) Meet the remarkable Ishbel Holmes, who set off to ride round the world with very little money or endurance cycling experience. This story has to be heard to be believed.
Episode 5 | The TransAtlantic Way
We focus on the TransAtlantic Way in Ireland, which takes riders from Dublin to Derry and then along the Wild Atlantic Way to the south of the country. We hear from Laura Scott, who also talks about her experience of crashing very early in the TransAm and continue for 2,500km until she had to scratch, and from Simon Gill, who both rode the Irish event in 2018.
Episode 6 | Remembering Mike Hall + Riding Around the World
Part 1: We meet Anna Haslock, race director of the Transcontinental Race and partner of the late Mike Hall, who was an inspiration to so many in the bikepacking world.
Part 2: (from 52:00) We hear from Jenny Graham and Mark Beaumont, who are the current round-the-world record holders. Jenny is the fastest woman round the world, riding unsupported, in 124 days. Mark had a support crew to set the outright record of just under 79 days.
Episode 7 | Riding and racing
Our bonus seventh episode looks at the way professional racing is beginning to embrace the worlds of bikepacking and endurance riding. We hear from Simon Mottram, the founder of Rapha, about how he sees things evolving. We speak to World Tour pros Lachlan Morton, Thomas De Gendt, Tim Wellens and Laurens Ten Dam about the types of riding they do away from racing and we get an update on Hannah and Tom’s Festive 500 attempts. Explore will return later in the year.