29th August 2020 / Comments (0)

The (Socially) Distance(d) 2020: bikepacking bingo goes global!

The Socially Distanced bikepacking gravel event

Here at ADVNTR.cc we’ve enjoyed a few years of riding at The Distance, a semi-supported bikepacking event previously hosted in Galloway, the Peak District and the in the Lakes. Of course with group gatherings out the window for 2020, we got chatting with Focal Events, who also organise the Dirty Reiver and Frontier 300, and the title sponsor, Bombtrack Bicycle Co, to come up with a new way to ride together, yet apart.

The Distance Camp out

The Distance has traditionally been an ace social bikepacking weekender in the UK

With a name like The Distance, there was only one way to go; The (Socially) Distance(d) was born! All we needed was a challenge that riders from all over the world could get involved with, no matter what the terrain, pace or route. 

With a little imagination, we created a bikepacking bingo card of things you might expect to see or seek out on a gravel ride, from water crossings, majestic birds of prey and singletrack to trailside art, post ride drinks and flannel shirts! Much like a scavenger hunt, the rides were based on finding these bingo squares rather than judged on speed or distance. 

The Socially Distanced bikepacking gravel event

Could you get a full house of our bikepacking bingo?

In order to qualify for the star prize, a 2021 Bombtrack Hook EXT frameset, riders had to get a ‘full house’ and post their rides on our route partner komoot’s platform, as well as share evidence from each bingo square on Instagram using #thesociallydistanced. Search the hashtag and you’ll be bombarded with riders hike-a-biking in flannel shirts next to wild graffiti!

Entrants to The (Socially) Distance(d) also had the chance to win spot prizes from our event partners WTB, Squirt Cycling, Stolen Goat, Ritchey Components, Teravail, Ortlieb, and Outdoor Provisions, chosen for creativity, humour and style. 

The Socially Distanced bikepacking gravel event

We weren’t short of brilliant entries, like this trailside art from @veloadventurescardiff.cc in South Wales

Although we weren’t able to enjoy G&Ts around the campfire in normal The Distance fashion, this virtual format meant that we could now involve riders from all over the world.


Check out the entries on komoot here.

[ngg src=”galleries” ids=”4″ display=”basic_imagebrowser” display_view=”default”]The (Socially) Distance(d) was completed by over 100 riders from 14 different countries, from as far as New Zealand, Australia, Japan, the Philippines and Canada to many European entries including Germany, Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy. 

Combined, these riders clocked up 5,878 km of dirt trails and roads over 374 hours of riding. Not to mention many majestic birds of prey!

We rounded off the day with a ‘campfire afterparty’ virtual call hosted by komoot with stories from Natt Williams on his recent Iceland Divide bikepacking trip and tales from Bombtrack Ambassador Matty Waudby.

What you said about The (Socially) Distance(d)

‘Brilliant concept… Riding bikes is still great and scrolling through IG to see other people’s rides makes me feel part of something’

‘It was great fun to be out for a completely different purpose, no time limit, no hurry, no pushing hard… just the pleasure of like minded company and the joy of riding our bikes and stopping to grab a few pics along the way’ – Nic

The Socially Distanced bikepacking gravel event

Although we weren’t able to celebrate the ride together after, we still made sure post-ride drinks featured on the bingo card! Photo: @sly.lawrence

‘One of those local rides where you go into full appreciation mode, “how beautiful is it around it?” Bustling promenade and pebble beaches, gravel paths and country lanes all to oneself, white cliffs and endless green hills, this is a bit of an ode to the South Downs and I was excited to show some of my secret (and not so secret) favourite route choices to Andy for the fully remote (socially) Distance(d) event.’ – Magdalena

The Socially Distanced bikepacking gravel event

@waterfall.o found some slippy singletrack (tick)

‘Such an awesome concept! I’ve heard so much amazing feedback people loved the accessibility and creativity of the bingo card.’ – Eleanor Jaskowska, UK Community Manager at komoot

The Socially Distanced bikepacking gravel event

Coffee outside was interpreted in many different ways; at a cafe, before the ride at home, or like @richtearides, brewing up on the trail. 10/10!

While we all miss group rides and events like The Distance, it’s been fantastic seeing riders from all over the world getting involved, with some hilarious pictures too. Some genius interpretations of the bingo squares too, majestic birds of prey in street names, stone carvings and even chickens!

This is a new format we’re really excited about. Maybe round 2 soon..?

Last modified: 28th August 2020

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