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Now, starting on Sunday, I’ll be leading a group of 8 riders who’ll be joining me from all over the world to ride more than 800km over the mountains of Armenia in just 14 days.As we do so, we’ll collectively aim to raise ,000 USD for charity – specifically, for the Transcaucasian Trail Association.
As a starting point, while we’ll be attempting to stick as closely as we can to the route of the proposed hiking trail, we’ll be diverting onto more bike-friendly routes where necessary (much credit to Logan at for scouting many of these re-routes and incorporating them into the site’s own trans-Armenia route).
If all goes well, what we’ll end up with is a bikepacking variant of the Transcaucasian Trail route across Armenia – a route we can then refine, develop, expand into Georgia and Azerbaijan, and publish as the ‘official’ mountain-biking counterpart to the long-distance Transcaucasian Trail hiking route.
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I have had to become very strategic about my role in all of this.
Someone with a bigger ego, for whom personal glory was the driving force and all else mosly rhetoric, might choose to sit indefinitely at the top of the hierarchy to ensure that their name was stamped all over everything that was done. Yes – protecting the fact that I will have been responsible for creating a country’s first long-distance trail important for my future professional credibility.I’m not sure why it took so long to simply invite a few people to come and ride the trail with me and tell the story of how it worked out! Many readers have asked – and continue to ask – if the Transcaucasian Trail will be suitable for biking. But the truth is that while I’ve talked about building a bike-friendly route many times with the Transcaucasian Trail team, the work being done on the trail continues to focus on the hikers.I’m aware that bikers and hikers sharing trail space doesn’t always make for a harmonious co-existence.Apologies that I couldn’t make it shorter – but I wanted to explain exactly why I’ve chosen to make fundraising a core part of this ride, and why I’m reaching out to you, my readers and followers, for donations to help us reach our goal. There is no reward or perk, aside from the feeling that you’ve contributed to something good (and, in the very near future, having the ability to bikepack what’s turning into one of the most spectacular long-distance trails on Earth).The Transcaucasian Trail is a labour of love, being created in good faith, for altruistic reasons, and in a part of the world almost certainly less fortunate than yours which stands to benefit broadly and for a very long time from what your donation will help achieve. And yes – the cause could not be dearer to my heart.This is a major step for me; something entirely new in almost every way.For years I’d been wondering how to reconcile the community with this new project that had always advertised itself as a trail for hikers.It’s largely because of the last four years of work on the Transcaucasian Trail in Armenia that the route we’re riding has been made possible.As with so many things, this project began accidentally, starting with a yes/no Facebook poll and quickly snowballing into a full-blown expedition.And that, I believe, will be a big win for everyone, including the hikers – and not just because they won’t have riders careering towards them on narrow downhill trails.Because the fundraising target attached to this ride – ,000 USD – has been designed to meet a very specific goal.