12 From 2019 – A Year in Review – One Life. Many Roads.

This year has been a constant and unrelenting state of 'flow' — jumping between work projects and personal adventures; meeting amazing new people and exploring spectacular places. I started 2019 with very few aims or objectives on the bike; but finished it with more memorable moments than I can count. This blog post is a look back at the last twelve months — 12 photos to commemorate another momentous year in the saddle.

Year End Statistics

Numbers are not everything, but they tell a story. Below are my figures for 2019, as well as the split of bike types ridden. 

My personal record broken this year was for elevation gained – 452,269 metres. The equivalent of climbing to the top of Mount Everest from sea level 51 times. Dedication to my #insearchofup motto.

25,540 kilometres (15,870 miles)

1095 hours 40 minutes

Elevation Gain
452,269 metres (1,483,822 feet)

2019 Bike Distances
18,441 km – Gravel/CX Bikes (3T Exploro / Kona P. Jake)
1665 km – Road Bikes (Neil Pryde Bura SL & others)
2223 km – Touring Bikes (Kona Rove Ti)
2226 km – Mountain Bikes (Kona Hei Hei, Pivot Les 29er & others)
985 km – Single Speed Bikes (Peugeot & Quella)
0 km – Indoor Trainer

Photo Archive

A memory captured from each month of the year.

January – The Norwegian Exploration – We decided 'deep winter' does not have to mean hibernation. On some of the shortest and coldest days of the year, we dressed up like ninjas, put spikes on our tyres, and caught the overnight ferry from Copenhagen to Oslo; to take on three days of bikepacking between remote alpine hotels. Deserted forest tracks and frozen lakes, along with amazing sunrises over crystal clear fjords. This was an incredible winter adventure.

February – Bornholm Mountain Biking – The Baltic Sea in the middle of winter might not seem like the most attractive destination; but the small island of Bornholm proved to be a great escape. One of the highlights was riding through the mossy green forest, as the sun set through the trees. We also completed a lap of the island on road bikes; looking out on the turbulent Baltic Sea swells. I have always loved island hopping, and this was a special new territory to explore.

March – 7 Hills Killer – Back home on the Isle of Wight, the Seven Hills Mountain Bike Race was my first event of the year. To make it more of a challenge, I completed the route on my 3T Exploro gravel bike — making for a bumpy but blisteringly fast ride. My previous record on this fixed course route was 02:11:14 (2 hours 11 minutes); this year I rode a 01:45:02 — a new course record that shook bike and body to pieces, but certainly showed the capabilities of a gravel bike. Read the full Race Report here.

April – Spring Rides IOW – In between work trips, this springtime was all about getting out on the local trails and lanes; making the most of unusually dry conditions, and simply enjoying seeing the back of the cold dark months. A new bike also arrived on the scene... the Kona Hei Hei. This is a bike that I am excited to plan a lot more adventures on; it is amazingly fast – both up and downhill, and offers the most comfortable ride I have experienced on an off-road bike.

May – Valencia's Hidden Mountains – I had never been to Southern Spain before, but a work trip this spring took me to the Mediterranean metropolis of Valencia. Exploring the mountains just inland of Spain's third biggest city, we discovered a paradise landscape for road cycling. The Natural Parks that are just some 20 kilometres from the city walls offer deserted single-track road climbs; paired with never-ending sweeping descents. A fantastic place to ride.

June – Home Trails – In early summer I took some time off the bike and went sailing with my family. I had work trips to Provence (ride guiding), Copenhagen (meetings), and Germany (a leisure bike photoshoot); but in between those I made the most of the warm summer mornings to get out on the trails of the Isle of Wight. It was great to blast through the dust that seemed all too long coming after a wet few months.

July – Kayak RTI – This is the Joker month. Except in many ways it was the most challenging. In a break from 'Life In The Saddle' I took on an epic all-day kayaking marathon — paddling around the perimeter of the Isle of Wight non-stop, to help raise funds for the Ellen MacArthur Children's Cancer Trust. The day was an enormous success, and raised over £1200 for the cause. My arms and backside felt the effects of 12 hours in the paddling position. Read the full story here on theexpeditionjournals.com.

August – Celtic CrossTrail – This year's 'big ride' was the #CelticCrossTrail. The idea for the tour evolved from a desire to see unexplored areas of the British Isles; the Scottish Highlands and North West Coast, Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way, and the great Welsh mountain parks. The 1875 kilometre self-supported tour certainly took me on a rollercoaster ride through these Celtic countries — with tough weather conditions, but truly spectacular scenery. Read the full story of the Celtic CrossTrail here.

September – Autumn Rides IOW – Sometimes the best adventures are right underneath your nose; or quite literally outside your backdoor. This autumn I enjoyed showing some great friends the trails and roads of the Isle of Wight. It is always a special feeling watching a smile spread across a riding partner's face as you crest the summit of the hill and a stunning vista of the coastline opens in front of you. Local micro-adventures have been a great theme of 2019.

October – Nice Côte d'Azur – I have always wanted to ride more in the Alpes Maritimes. I pedalled through the region on the #7Countries7Passes tour, and loved the mix of high alpine landscapes with distant sea views. This autumn I had the chance to go back for a photoshoot, and ride some of the iconic climbs such as the Col de la Bonette (the highest paved road pass in Europe). I do love riding in France — it still feels to me like the home of cycling.

November – Mallorca – By this time in the year, I am clinging onto sunshine moments. I visited Mallorca a lot in 2018, but this was my first and only trip of the 2019 season. The Mediterranean island really does offer a beautiful landscape to explore on a bike, and on this trip I was once again riding with great friends from GripGrab. The weather conditions were mixed, but it is always a fantastic fun with the Danish team.

December – Black Forest and Isle of Wight Rides – After the warm(ish) climes of Mallorca it was a shock to the system to head to the German Black Forest to ride the #BlackForestMicroAdventure — three days of snowy exploring on the gravel paths through the forest. Returning from that trip, we were into the shortest days of the year at home on the Isle of Wight; mornings and evenings riding familiar roads and trails, in stormy and dark conditions; but often with the company of great friends old and new.

Bike of the Year

Kona Rove Titanium – This bike continues to be one of my favourite rides. It is bespoke, bombproof, bad-ass, yet blissful to ride. In 2019 I completed over 15,000 kilometres on Kona bicycles and it is tough to pick my favourite between the Kona Rove and the Kona Private Jake; the Rove edges it this year though, because on the #CelticCrossTrail it was a reliable and constant companion through some pretty tough riding. In 2020, my biggest ride to date will also be on a Kona... look out for #RidingTheDivide.

It has been a fun year. I hope you have enjoyed following the stories on Life In The Saddle, and the imagery captured from the journey on Instagram (@tim_wiggins1).

Thanks for reading.

Photos credits to: James Cripps, Martin Paldan, Paul Foulonneau, (and Tim Wiggins)


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