Back in April, we gave you the chance to enter a competition that we were running with the route planning app Komoot.
The premise was simple - all you had to do to be in with a chance of winning was log on to the app, recommend some of your local ‘Highlights’ to the Komoot community, and you could be in with a chance of winning an adventure to the Scottish Highlands.
After sifting through a whole pile of entries, Komoot managed to whittle it down to the final four lucky winners. They all stand out for their approach to cycling, with an undiscovered road or new coffee stop seen as part of the adventure rather than something to be looked at with suspicion.
We caught up with each of them to find out how they got into road cycling and what drives their desire to explore new paths each time they head out on the bike.
"I grew up on a farm in Cheshire and always had a MTB to go off on adventures with my friends, but it wasn’t until I moved to London for work that I bought a vintage steel Raleigh road bike for £100 off Gumtree to cycle to work and avoid the extortionate cost of a London travel card.
“One Sunday, my dad convinced me to cycle to Brighton with him, and after getting up Ditchling Beacon on the South Downs on my very heavy Raleigh bike with seriously limited gears, he told me it was time I upgraded and the obsession for cycling grew from there!”
Lexi now works as a contractor throughout Europe, and makes the most of her travels by taking her bike with her so can explore on two wheels.
"Despite having a degree in Geography, my navigational skills are somewhat lacking and I rely heavily on using Komoot to plan my cycling routes. As I’m predominantly on a road bike, it’s important to avoid busy roads, MTB paths and even more important to ensure there are good coffee & cake stops (for refuelling of course!) and that there is a worthwhile view at the top of that climb!
"Having a pre-planned route uploaded to my Garmin has allowed me to independently explore and discover the places I travel to like a local!"
Based just outside of Edinburgh, Neil got into cycling a few years ago when he decided to start commuting by bike.
Since then he’s partly left the tarmac behind and has joined the Albannach cycle club, racing ‘cross and embarking on some long days in the saddle.
Like all keen cyclists, the odd dramatic bit of weather and mechanical failing hasn’t held him back, and he’s always keen to get out and about on his bike whatever the conditions.
When Neil first started exploring Edinburgh by bike, he was using other peoples Highlights on Komoot as a way to get inspiration when plotting his routes; now his recommendations are inspiring others.
Bristol-based Elanor is a big fan of long days on the bike and isn’t shy of loading her bike up with her bikepacking rig and heading for the hills for the weekend.
Her latest exploit was the Mille Cymru 3 - an epic three-day, 1020km audax that took in most of Wales and more than 15,500m of climbing; not too shabby with a full load on board.
Elanor is a three-time 'Pioneer badge' holder on Komoot and her Highlights include advice on 24-hour snack stops, campsites and, most importantly, where you can get a great post-ride beer.
Barry took the tried and trusted route to road cycling, starting with BMXing in the 80s and MTBing in the 90s before upgrading to a ‘proper’ bike.
"I’ve always been an avid cyclist, and I now rack up 1,000s of miles a year on my road and gravel bikes.”
He recently co-founded a UK-based bike brand, VeloVelo, and hand builds all-road bikes, and it is this adventurous trait that got him into Komoot.
“I’ve been a big fan of the app since getting into bikepacking and organising multi-day adventures on two wheels, and it's now my companion for adventure on and off the bike."