Bike-Packing Conférence | AXEL CARION | Riding Above and Beyond

French bike-explorer Axel Carion wheeled into town last Thursday night to discuss his feats of ultra-distance cycling across the globe. Taking the stage at Café du Cycliste in the Port of Nice, Axel’s stories of adventure also included advice on kit and equipment choices, plus the all-important bike preparation.

The long-distance specialist is the founder of the BikingMan ‘ultracycling’ race series, self-supported stage races across the world for extreme-distance addicts.

Carion is a long-distance cycling record holder, and with his lust for exploration burning brighter than ever, he explained how he wishes to share this passion with more riders globally.

He sees the emergence of gravel riding as the convergence of road and MTB, and how alongside bike-packing’s growth, opened-up infinite possibilities for bike exploration.

Alongside discussing the events he organises in far-flung places such as South America and Africa, and how he came to become this bike-packing evangelist, Carion discussed the importance of equipment.

He expanded on the essential requirements of light, compact and efficient kit, bivouacs and accessories, sleeping bags and of course dynamo systems to recharge batteries for GPS, trackers and other modern devices that make self-sufficient bike travel possible in the 21st century.

Some of his anecdotes of travelling solo during his 30-minute talk left a little to the imagination, hinting at some of the dangers you might encounter cycling solo in remote parts of the map. A full 60 minutes of questions followed, and even the non-cyclists in attendance were captivated by the possibilities of two wheels, some training, and a little will power.

They asked about the dangers and difficulties and how to eat and drink if technical hitches leave you stranded. Survival instincts kick in more than you’d expect, apparently. We can safely say the audience came away feeling inspired to explore more.

Axel Carion concludes with one of the many positive subjects linked to solo bike adventure – the meeting of many different and generous people along the journey.

Thank you to all who attended and to Axel’s time and knowledge. Bonne route!

Further Riding