Parallels 2022: Your Rides

Your rides have been submitted and the Global Riders’ Map has been updated so you can see how your ride compares to others this year and previous years. Here, we take a deeper dive into the map to see what you got up to over the summer solstice weekend.

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One of the roads in the Brecon Beacons that Meaghan rode as part of her three loops

Meaghan, a Canadian currently dog sitting in the UK, used Parallels as an excuse to explore an unfamiliar location. She covered 508km in three loops of 170km so she could check in on Lili the dog, climbing 10,035 meters in a ride time of 22 hours and 15 minutes.

‘Because I’ve only been dog sitting in Hereford, England, for a couple of weeks I didn’t have much to go on for route planning. I knew I wanted to create an elevation-seeking loop that passed the house so I could check in on Lili, but I didn’t get a chance to pre-ride many of the roads.’

She was pleasantly surprised by the low traffic and by the third loop had managed to memorise enough of the route markers to navigate without looking at her head unit. This proved useful towards the end of the ride when she had to turn off her backlight to conserve batteries. ‘It also meant that I could mentally relax and shift my focus on that final lap to putting in the physical work instead of looking down at my head unit.’

Meaghan's bike in the Brecon Beacons

Meaghan only stopped for about 1 hour and 30 minutes during the ride, which she spent playing catch in the garden with Lili. ‘Lili was so full of unbridled enthusiasm that the time we spent together between laps actually energized me for the next loop.’

For Meaghan, the Parallels experience was a chance to challenge herself and discover new areas. She told us, ‘To maximize the sense of adventure, I began my ride at midnight on Saturday and reached the highlight of my loop – a climb over Gospel Pass in the Black Mountains (the highest road in Wales) – just before first light.’

Experiencing the route over three loops made the journey uniquely special, ‘A sheep road lit by a solitary bike light in the wee hours of the morning or night feels like a very different place than in the heat of the day, with the sun on your back and endless views of emerald-green farms stretching out on the horizon. By riding around the clock, I had a chance to experience – and appreciate – the full transition of activities and light between night and day and night again.’

Tami rode her Parallels in Chile, where the Solstice marks the beginning of winter. Whereas riders in the northern hemisphere could look forward to long days and light evenings, Tami would experience up to 15 hours of darkness and temperatures close to zero. Despite the conditions, Tami managed to cycle 360.17km, climbing 1647 meters in a total of 15 hours and 53 minutes of riding time, with 18 hours and 45 minutes elapsed.

Tami rests during her Parallels ride

Tami told us, ‘It was my first time riding this route, so everything was new for me out there. We are in the first days of winter, so I was worried about the cold. I started riding late at night with really low temperatures, reaching 1 C degrees ( 34 F degrees) at its minimum.’  Tami left the capital Santiago at 600 meters above sea level and headed south towards the coastal town of Constitución. The elevation profile looks like it was a rolling downhill to the sea, but we know this wasn’t the case with at least 4 large climbs at 60km, 200km and 330km. Having seen the race images from our supported race, Across Andes, we know that landscapes are incredible, and Tami agreed, ‘South of Chile is a beautiful place to ride, you can see vineyards, mountains, lakes and ocean, so there’s always something to admire.’ 

Parallels provided a chance for Tami to ride in new places and test herself physically and mentally. ‘It’s a great opportunity to know how far I can go in terms of not only distance but physical and mental resistance.’

Taneika, who rides for the Velocio/Exploro Race Team, took the opportunity to complete her longest ever ride. Taneika rode 322.9km along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath, gaining 1,108 meters in a ride time of 15 hours 33 mins. Her total elapsed time was 22 hours and 55 mins.

The C&O Canal is a trail that roughly follows the Potomac River from Washington DC to Cumberland, Maryland. The towpath was converted into a gravel track that is popular with cyclists and hikers alike. The casual rider often covers the trail in three to four days, but Tanekia told us, ‘Prior to this challenge, my longest ride was 127 miles. With two detours along the route, the second at mile 165, traversing 300+ feet of elevation in less than a mile and descending a significantly narrower and steeper path to finish the detour at 11 pm’.

Tanekia rides through the town centre at night during her Parallels ride

Although the unexpected detours were challenging, Taneika kept to the plan to cover the trail within 24 hours and never thought of quitting. Towards the end of the ride, an earlier snack choice saved the day, ‘with less than 25 miles to the finish line and my energy stores running on low, my match was reignited by a sour apple blow pop that I bought along my route by chance.’ Sometimes those surprising snack choices can make all the difference.

When asked what the parallels experience meant to her, Taneika told us, ‘This experience showed me that in spite of insurmountable odds, and there were many, when I focus on a goals and trust myself, I can accomplish anything.’

Job is no stranger to Parallels, having created the longest line in the 2020 edition of the challenge with his ride. Adopting a similar approach, Job cycled 657.9km in 20 hours and 47 minutes, with an elapsed time of 23 hours and 37 minutes.

Although he is an experienced ultra-distance cyclist, having finished third at TCRNo7, there were still moments that came as a challenge. In particular, the last 150 km in the North-eastern part of Germany were surprisingly hilly; ‘The final 150 km were by far the hardest. Not necessarily because of the fatigue, although of course it played a big role, but mostly because of all the rolling hills. It was constantly up and down, no km felt flat.

Job's bike leans against a railing as he rides through the night on Parallels

Having avoided night riding during the TCR, Job managed to see some of the benefits during his Parallels ride; ‘I saw so much more wildlife, including a mother and baby deer, which always feels like a gift from mother nature and is something that doesn’t often happen during daytime.’

Job believes there is a beauty in taking part in Parallels. ‘The willingness to do this is so pure and the motivation so intrinsic. People really do it because they want to do it and in the way they want to do it. It shows the creativity of people and the willingness to push their boundaries. It shows people choose to let their curiosity win over their fear of failing. Every ride has its story, everyone does it in his/her own way. There is no good or bad, no right or wrong, no winning or losing. The effort of someone doing 160km deserves just as much respect as the effort of someone doing 600km, because they both pushed themselves.’ Job explained this on the train back home to an elderly lady with an e-bike. She looked amazed and with a sparkle in her eye replied, ‘what a great idea, next year I’ll organize something like this.

Taro set out to ride 24 islands in 24 hours and ended up riding 207km in 9 hours 22 minutes, with an elapsed time of 14 hours and 43 minutes.

His ride was an exploration of the changing flora and fauna of Japan as he rode from island to island. “Gelogical shapes, plants, sea colours, even slight differences in the scent of the sea breeze. Every island had its own culture and history and I found myself wanting to come back to revisit the islands and interview the people who live on them”. Rediscovering the ‘splendour of my local area’ was a serious motivator for Taro and Parallels provided the excuse to map out a long ride he had been dreaming about for some time.

Taro looks out over the sea, standing in front of his bike

Exploring the islands was also an opportunity to explore history. “I read old books about history at the local library and was inspired by tales of pirates during the Samurai era. It was very interesting to ride and follow the traces of their history while at the same time sharing my ride and experience with riders around the world in real-time through SNS and Ride with GPS. Live logging made me feel like I wasn’t riding solo and allowed me to share the experience”. Taro is keen that others that were inspired by his adventure explore his route for themselves in future.

Scotti’s contribution to Parallels came a little late, but for a good reason. As she explains, “on June 21st, I took on a personal self-supported challenge for the Do It for Hewitt and Parallels event combined. Do It for Hewitt was a fundraiser and awareness campaign benefitting my best friend’s 10-year-old boy with brain cancer. I was able to log the longest ride I’ve ever done in 24 hours — 406 miles through a lot of personal struggle and pain. The bike helps me connect to human struggle in a very real way, and throughout the entire ride, I felt a deep sense of peace knowing this was my expression of love and hope for Hewitt.”

Scotti’s ride perfectly embodies the spirit of Parallels and with such a good cause and such an impressive distance covered, we couldn’t help but share it. While Scotti is no stranger to long rides, we know how deep she dug for this extremely personal cause, despite tough conditions. She tells us she overheated around mile 300 when the heat index was 105 and had to load up a Packable Backpack with ice from a vending machine to help cool her back down.

Scotti wasn’t the only one out riding for Hewitt and told us “our community collectively rode over 25,000 miles for Hewitt and raised $40,000 for the Sluyter family! I was so thrilled to be able to use cycling to benefit this precious group of people.”

Scotti riding her ultra set up