Meet the riders: Sofie De Clercq

A few years back, I gave up singlehanded sailing on a boat which, thinking back on today, was ridiculously small. The sailing adventure had started to swallow much more time, effort and money than I could afford and it was time to change something in my way of life.

By chance I discovered that cycling was perfect to fill in the void left by my giving up sailing. Every time I pedal in the rain or the dark, I am reminded of the exhilaration I used to feel at sea, clipped on in a tiny, open cockpit, brutally exposed to the elements.

I began to read Jesko’s messages while he was racing the Transatlantic Way. Completely captivated I started foĺlowing other races and also Jesko’s rides on Strava while he was preparing the first Taunus route. All those photos kept working their magic on me.

This will be my first bikepacking event and I’m thrilled to bits to have a starting spot on the Taunus. I’m giving it my all to prepare properly, but as a slightly overweight 54 year old, I’m not having too many illusions as to my cycling speed and daily distance. Since the severe lockdown in France has been relaxed, it’s been fantastic to find the freedom of riding again. 

I’m very lucky to live in the Vosges. Once in a while I grab my bike and climb to a nice spot in the forest to spend the night outside. It’s wonderful to make plans again and I think the summer will be great. 

I’m looking forward to meeting you all in Hofheim !

Meet the riders: Christian Biehl

Seit meinem ersten Gravel Abenteuer, dem Candy B.Graveller vor einigen Jahren bin ich infiziert von Abenteuern im Selbstversorgermodus. Habe seitdem unter anderem den Mainfrankengraveller und Hansegravel unter die Räder genommen. Obwohl ich quasi direkt an der Strecke wohne und bereits die Hälfte der Wege kenne reizt es mich mit Gleichgesinnten endlich die ganze Strecke am Stück zu erleben. Ich habe die letzten beiden Veranstaltungen aus der Ferne beobachtet und freue mich auf die perfekte Organisation. Ich fahre mit meinem Custom Made Steel Bike Fern Chuck und nehme einen Schlafsack zum Biwakieren. Ansonsten nur das Minimum.

Teased by Taunus

Since many people asked for a shortened version of our route, we decided to release Taunus Teaser, so everybody can get a taste of what riding Taunus Bikepacking is like in their own style and time frame. Over 500 people have downloaded the track so far. Bernd, who started early on a Friday morning in May to take on the route solo and self-supported, even took the time to document his personal journey. He knew what to expect, Bernd was inspired by the very first edition in 2018 and went on to finish Taunus Bikepacking No. 2 himself last summer. Not only did he manage to finish the challenging 333 kilometers in a total time of 40h 43m, he also shared his trip with images and words on Instagram, hopefully inspiring others to do the same.

Just use the tag #taunusteaser to share your own adventures on the track.

Bikes of Taunus Bikepacking Part 2

So we heard you like pictures of bikes. Here are more riders sharing their setups before the June 22 start.

#15 Jochen is also back for more this year, this time on a Surly ECR 29+ with 2×10 running on 2,2″ Maxxis Icon Tubeless tyres.
#43 Christian’s Cube Reaction not only looks fast, this bike broke the course record of the Bikepacking TransGermany race last summer. It comes with 2×10 Shimano XT, DT Swiss wheels, Infinity saddle and Profile Design TT bars.
#44 Knut likes to keep it simple: OCTANE One Gridd aluminium frame, Apex components, Sunrace 11-46 cassette, 40 teeth chainring, BB7 mechanical brakes, Gravel King SK 43mm tubeless, SQ Lab saddle.
#14 Local rider Franzi’s modified Salsa Fargo has seen the world, not least the mountains of Kyrgyztan on the inaugural Silk Road Mountain Race
#21 Phil’s Ghost Fire Road Rage is hard to miss and rolls on 29″ x 2.0 tyres
Local rider #54 Carsten’s Koga Beachracer ready to ride.
#37 Erik lives in Hofheim on the edge of the Taunus hills and is bringing his trusty Sequoia.
#2 Ken and his custom built Mason Bokeh already put in a mighty ride last year. 38 oval chainring, 11-46 XT Di2, DT Swiss wheels with SON dynamo and WTB Riddler 45c tyres
#7 Britta is back. Another bike that has already finished the first Taunus Bikepacking. Serious Grafix Elite on WTB Riddler 37mm tyres and 1×11 gears: 40/10-46
#20 Christian’s trusty Kona Jake the Snake, 46/34 – 11/40. He’ll be adding a bar bag and dynamo front wheel for lighting.
#22 Arne’s Bulls Copperhead 3RS, 2×11 gears: 38,28 /11-40, pictured at kilometer 181 of the Taunus Bikepacking track.
#32 Andreas counts on his Open U.P., 1×11 32/ 10-42, 650B WTB Venture 47
Swiss rider on a Swiss bike: #48 Christoph’s BMC Teamelite looks very capable of climbing!
#41 Dieter from will be riding on a Kona unit 2-9 with rigid carbon fork, modified with a 32T chainring, 11×50 cassette and Michelin Force XC Competition MTB 29×2.25 tires. He explains “For ergonomics I have a SQ-lab 611 Active saddle and mounted SQ-lab bull-bars on my 25° backsweeped On-One OG handlebar to give me multiple handpositions. My front bag is filled with a Cumulus down comforter, rainwear and other small stuff. In the pouch I have an EHBO-kit. All bags (exept the toptube bag) are made by Uraltour. The custommade framebag contains food, snacks,… and my bike repairkit. Below the downtube I have a mount to hold a 1,5 L water bottle. In the top tube bag I have snacks and a batterypack for my handlebar light. In my backpack I have another batterypack for my head light. I will also carry an empty 1L bladder in it, in case I need to supply more water. The seatbag contains a tarp, leightweight matress and clothes. I will use a Garmin GPSmap 62 for navigation and have my smartphone as a back-up. The weight of the entire kit and steel bike is 23kg (excl. water and food/snacks). Not the lightest but I’m a rookie and I like it the hard way :)”

Bikes of Taunus Bikepacking

It’s all about the bikes! Our riders are sharing some of their setups before the June 22 start.

#6 Fabian’s Kona Sutra Ltd. has eaten many miles, including last year’s Taunus Bikepacking course. He’s relying on 45mm tyres and a gear ratio of 36/10-42 to get him up the hills.
#34 Dominique’s Pilot Locum spotted on the Tuscany Trail, so it’s definitely used to climbing. He says “the bike is undergoing some changes which *should* be ready by thursday somewhere. Gone are the 27.5+ and the fork and the seat pen,  in comes the 29’er and some lighter rolling rubber and some Lauf and a fixed seat pen.”
#49 Bianca from the neighbouring Westerwald region rides a Fuji, is excited for the tour and “just a bit worried about the climbing and the baggage”.
#11 Daniel is back on a new bike after his finish last year. He optimized his set-up to prevent bad surprises. Bike facts:
– NS Bikes RAG+
– Hunt Adventure Sport Wheelset 650B + WTB Nano 2.1 (tube setup)
– 1×11 SRAM Rival / 42 chainring / SunRace 10/50 cassette
– Power2Max Powermeter
– TRP Spyre SLC brakes
– SQlab 612 Active Carbon saddle
– KCNC components

And some more from Instagram:

We got you covered

Whether it’s to protect from rain or scorching heat this time or simply as a souvenir, there’s an exclusive cycling cap in it for everyone starting. Designed by 2018 finisher Stephan van Raay of ViaVelo magazine and realized with the support of Follow My Challenge – you can’t buy these anywhere!

In a nod to the original inspiration, the caps will be customised with each riders start numbers for the second edition of Taunus Bikepacking. There’s only ten left..