Parallels Plans: 2023
Every Summer, we challenge our community to take part in our global cycling event, Parallels, and ride the longest straight line possible. Hundreds of riders have taken part over the years, covering huge distances and plotting routes across the map. We explore what some of the most creative plans we have seen for Parallels 2023, so read on to find inspiration for your own Parallels route.
Kristof Allegaert was a pioneer of the ultra-distance racing scene and made his name at The Transcontinental Race in 2013, finishing his 3,200km route in a record-breaking time of 7 days, 13 hours and 45 minutes. A long time friend and ambassador of Apidura, Kristof’s riding style and approach to racing has inspired both our products and the Parallels event itself. For Parallels 2023, Kristof has chosen to ride from his home in Flanders, Belgium, to the city of Le Mans in France.
The city and race of Le Mans have always inspired me: 24 hours of pure madness, focus and living on the edge. People who are doing what they love to do and going all the way, exactly the same as what we do on our bikes. This ride has been on my personal wish-list for years, even though on my last attempt things didn’t go the way I wanted. This time, it’s time to enjoy it.
The route can seem pretty empty and endless with a lot of mental killers, but it can be so beautiful as well if you open your eyes.
Earlier this year I met up with Mariano and Paulina from Chile, who are the organisers of Across Andes, to ride my local Shimanamikaido. We really enjoyed riding, talking and exploring Japan.
For this year’s Parallels, my “Across Shikoku” route is a kind of tribute to Across Andes where I will cross the mountains in Shikoku to the Pacific Ocean from Shimanami. My dream is to meet Mariano and Paulina in Chile one day, but for now I will enjoy my own route.
Saskia Martin is Apidura’s lead product developer as well as an experienced bikepacker who’s keen on spontaneity. Having recently completed Seven Serpents with only four weeks to prepare after a last minute place became available, Saskia’s thirst for gravel and last-minute adventures have inspired her plans for Parallels this year.
After some general chit-chat in the office about this year’s Parallels, I booked an 8pm train for the Friday night to Lyme Regis, where I will start The Old Chalk Way and see how far I can get in 24 hours.
I’m excited: Seven Serpents gave me a new sense of riding at night, starting daily at around 2am. My ride at Traka 360 this year also taught me that I am very good at going non-stop. I may not be fast, but I like the consistency of it.
The Old Chalky tackles some of the UK’s finest Gravel, including the South Downs, King Alfred way, The Ridgeway and Icknield Way. What is not to love! I will be travelling light as I don’t plan on stopping, taking my tried-and-tested set up from Traka. And a camera, of course.
Meaghan Hackinen is the World 24 Hour Time Trial Champion and for this year’s Parallels, Meaghan will use her 24 hours to start an ITT attempt on The Log Driver’s Waltz in the Ottawa Valley in Canada. Although this route is a loop rather than an A-to-B, Meaghan highlights the variety of ways Parallels can be ridden. While the straight line distance might not be the longest, her overall distance might be one of the longest we see this year.
I’m completing the Log Driver’s Waltz as an Individual Time Trial (ITT) since I’m only visiting this region and won’t be here for the grand depart happening later this summer. This is my first ITT, and while the preparation is nearly the same as for other bikepacking events, I anticipate the experience of being the lone dot on the Tracker will be quite different! As always, I’m motivated by a curiosity to explore a landscape, and a desire to test my limits. I’ve already spent some time leisurely touring in the area; I view the ITT as a chance to dig in and go hard. While it will be more difficult to tap into my competitive side without any rivals on the course, it helps that the men’s Fastest Known Time (FKT) holder, Cory Ostertag, is a friend from BC and that I recently met the women’s FKT holder, Marie-Pierre Savard – so at least I can visualize my competition!