A group of over 20 women are set to undertake a daunting 700km bikepacking challenge that is thought to be a first for women cyclists. The challenge, which is only open to women, will see the cyclists tackling the winding and arduous route from Torino in northern Italy to Nice in southern France, passing through the Queyras and Mercantour national parks and the Ligurian, Cottian and Maritime Alps on the way.
The group of women from seven different countries sets off on September 24 in the first bikepacking challenge exclusively for women in Europe. The challenge is self-supporting, meaning the riders can ride solo or as a group, and can eat and sleep wherever they choose. The challenge is sponsored by route planning app komoot, and it was conceived of by world-renowned endurance cyclist Lael Wilcox. Wilcox won the Trans Am Bike Race which crosses the US from west to east in 2016 and is a champion for promoting women’s adventure cycling.
“I’ve been told that it’s impossible for women to ride long distances, to climb mountains, to ride through the remote countryside. Yet I’ve done all of these things and so have many women that are joining on this week-long adventure. I’m very motivated to show that women are extremely capable in the world of ultra-distance cycling and this event is a way for us to connect with each other and to share our stories and our passion for adventure cycling,” said Wilcox.
Like backpacking on two wheels, bikepackers ride with bags that fit neatly around the frame of the bike, giving cyclists the freedom to ride long distances with a load but in the easiest way possible. Gaby Thompson, Global Community Manager komoot said the company has noticed a remarkable increase in tracked bikepacking tours among its community of users – many of these from female cyclists.
“We want adventure cycling to be accessible to everyone, to transcend genders and nationalities. The experience of riding the Torino-Nice Routhe in a group of women will be history in the making that in and of itself!” said Thompson.
Women's komoot Torino-Nice Rally Route
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Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.