The Essence of Adventure Bike Riding, is not so much about the physical exercise, as it is a journey into the unknown. It’s the desire to explore, that is the driving force, an exploration of new environments, unknown roads, and tracks. An exploration that will also change your own mindset.
I grew up in a small town some 100 kilometers south of the arctic circle, in Swedish Lapland. During the summer-time and autumn, our family spent a lot of time exploring the endless small roads that cross through the vast forests in search of beautiful places, rivers to fish in, or to find the best spots for picking berries.
When we found a great location, we camped for a night or two. Fished for grayling and trout, and picked berries, such as lingonberries, blueberries, and the delicious cloudberries. Sometimes we even found brambles, probably the most exclusive of the berries that we can find here.
As a child, it was a wonderful time. Nature was a playground, but also something educative that taught me a lot about plants, wildlife, and outdoor skills. But there was something deeper that was going on inside me. My child experiences came to create deep respect inside me and have shaped my personality in a very tangible way.
I think about that sometimes when I’m out biking. I believe these experiences were those that made me start biking once. When I bought my first mountain bike in 1992, the exploration of single tracks and hidden dirt roads was an essential driving force for my rides. I used to bring a backpack with a camera, coffee, and sandwiches and get out for hours in the saddle. The physical exercise was just a bi-product of the exploration.
A lot has happened since then, but the appetite to explore our great nature is higher than ever, and nowadays, my vehicle of choice is most often the gravel bike.
Every ride is somehow also an inner journey. The nature around me affects my thoughts and creates calmness, but my senses also become more sensitive. You never know what is hiding behind the next turn, what nature can reveal to you. It’s the same feeling that I learn to love when I was a child and the sense that you every time you get out will experience and learn something new, something that will affect you in some way.
Simple things become important. To ride along an endless gravel road and then find a gorgeous spot to camp at a beautiful river. To take a break at a beautiful spot and watch the midnight sun almost touch the horizon. To see the spectacular snow-capped mountains of Sarek National Park in the distance.
A long day in the saddle also means that you have to push yourself. You have to think about what you eat and when you eat, to drink enough. Some moments you will feel strong, but when the elements of nature are against you, it will be tough. And in our arctic environment, you are more exposed than when biking in a more urban area. But this is also why arctic bike riding so strongly connects to the lust of exploration.
This is why we are happier to talk about adventure riding as a concept. It’s more than physical exercise, more than just a recreational ride. If it’s too prepared, you lose the most important part of the experience, namely the exploration.
With arcticbikelife.com, we want to tell our own stories, stories that are created with this philosophy as the fundament. The lust for exploration in one of the world’s most exciting environments.