'Live to Ride. Ride to Live.'
Tim Wiggins 

Welcome to Life In The Saddle—my personal story of adventure cycling, endurance bike racing, and insights into a two-wheeled world. From bikepacking expedition stories to cycling kit reviews and helpful advice. Life In The Saddle is a diverse and exciting journey.

Cycling is a sport with an incredible community behind it. This blog was founded on a passion to share my story and experiences with other bike riders and to engage in conversation with my fellow cycling enthusiasts. I hope it will supply inspiration, motivation, and education for cyclists from all backgrounds and disciplines.

Come join the ride...

Tim Wiggins Bikepacking

Tim Wiggins – A Bike Riding Biography

I have been riding bikes for as long as I have been walking; but my enthusiasm for the sport really stems back to 2004—when as a young teenager, I purchase my first proper mountain bike and began exploring the Isle of Wight trails with the local Vectis Off-Shore MTB Team.

My first foray into bicycle racing was through off-road mountain bike orienteering events around the south of England. I learnt a lot in these early years: from the basics of bicycle maintenance, to the importance of nutrition, comfort, bike fit, and adventure…

In 2008, I shifted my attention to coastal rowing for a while—living on an island has always given me a close connection to the sea. I was recruited into an enthusiastic Junior crew at Ryde Rowing Club, and we won the Junior National Coastal Champs after just a year of training. I relished the kick, the power, and the finish line glory that rowing provided. In 2009, our boat crew disbanded though—as we headed our separate ways to work and university. So, the time came to turn my attention once again to the two-wheeled world. I bought a carbon road bike in January 2010 with my internship bonus, and I have not looked back since...

I began my Economics degree at Warwick University in October 2010. At around the same time, I was asked to represent the Isle of Wight in the mountain bike events at the 2011 International Island Games. Never one to miss an opportunity, I built up a race bike, and juggled training with university Fresher's year. I achieved a respectable 13th place in the cross-country race against tough competition including Commonwealth Games athletes.

By late summer of 2011, I was fully immersed in the world of cycling. In September, I traded carbon for steel, and saddled-up on an old Peugeot road bike to undertake a 1400-mile tour through Spain and France. Bicycle touring proved a serious adventure—we rode unsupported on a route that included some of the most remote roads in the Alps and Pyrenees.

Natwest Island Games 2011 — Isle of Wight
Natwest Island Games 2011 – Isle of Wight

2012 was a huge year for British Cycling, and it was a year of profound change and accomplishment for me too. I made the transition from trails to tarmac for racing—signing for the Isle of Wight's Wightlink Road Race Team. I gained my second category race licence, with a fair few race wins; as well as achieving a good string of results in marathon mountain bike racing.

2013 brought another year of notable change. I completed my university finals and moved back to the Isle of Wight after five years away; starting a job in the marketing team for Wiggle Bike Shop – the world's largest online bike store.

As the 2014 season began, I signed for Team Wiggle—the start of an exciting mix of circuit and stage racing on the road. I also took on my first endurance cycling challenge—riding non-stop from Falmouth to London on the Trafalgar Way event—an epic 300-mile marathon.

Tim Wiggins Trafalgar Way 2014
The Trafalgar Way 2014 – Falmouth to London

2015 was my biggest year to date for racing. My targets were the mountain bike and road race events at the Jersey International Island Games. I came away with strong results in these events, as well respectable results on the domestic road racing scene. I also rode some superb foreign races like the Mallorca312Etape du Tour, and the week-long Giro Delle Dolomiti; as well as my self-planned Mallorca1127 Challenge. An action-packed year.

2016 signalled a significant shift in focus—I moved away from short course racing and turned my attention to endurance challenges. I also began to focus more on off-road adventures and races.

The season kicked-off with the H12 MTB Race in Denmark—12 hours of dust, roots, and laughs. Then to the Dolomites, for June's XBionic MTB Cup and the legendary HERO Dolomites—both these mountain bike races proved fantastically challenging, but I came away with podium finishes against fields of elite Italian racers.

On the road, 2016 included the RideLondon100 and Rapha West Country Prestige. Then my Big Ride came in September—the 'Coasts and Cols' tour—a 1900 kilometre bikepacking expedition through France and Spain, including the high roads of the Pyrenees.

Tim Wiggins Road Cycling – 2016
Tim Wiggins Road Cycling 2016

2017 was the year that 'Endurance' became my undeniable focus. The days of short-course racing over—replaced by stage races and long-distance adventures. My three highlights of the 2017 season included the TorTour Winter Cyclocross Stage Race, Everesting, and my longest bikepacking tour to date.

The season began early with the TorTour Cyclocross Stage Race in Switzerland. Mud, snow, sweat, and sub-zero temperatures. An incredible event, in which I placed 4th overall in an international field of professionals.

Come June, when the sun was meant to be shining, I took on the St. Boniface Down Everesting. Mount Everest stands at 8848 metres above sea level; to complete an 'Everesting' you need to achieve the height of Everest in elevation gain in one ride, on one climb. I completed the mammoth hill repeat challenge to raise funds for the Ellen MacArthur Children's Cancer Trust – a local cause that I am always keen to support. Despite the challenging riding conditions this was a very memorable day in the saddle.

2017 finished with the #7Countries7Passes Tour in September. Seven European countries, and the three high-mountain ranges of the Alps, Dolomites, and Pyrenees—creating a 3200-kilometre bikepacking tour. The #7Countries 7Passes was a mammoth and spectacular adventure, linking up friends and family across Europe.

Tim Wiggins Bikepacking 2017
Tim Wiggins #7Countries7Passes – Denmark 2017

2018 was one of the biggest years of change in my life to date, as well as one of the most adventurous. Every month offered a new challenge or trip—to locations across Europe.

Check out my '12 From 2018 – Life of Adventure – In Search of Up' blog post for a look at the highlights and events ridden during the year. As a quick run-down, the line-up included a 400-mile non-stop road ride, a 12-hour mountain bike race podium, a new record on the Falmouth to London Trafalgar Way route, and a ride back across Europe from Rome to the United Kingdom...

Tim Wiggins Bikepacking
The #RoadsFromRome Tour – Italy 2018

2019 was another year of spectacular contrasts. It began in Norway with a three-day bikepacking expedition through frozen fjords and mountains. Springtime saw me breaking records on home soil at the 7-Hills Killer Mountain Bike Race; before heading abroad later in the year to explore the mountains of Valencia, the Alpes Maritimes, and Mallorca.

I rounded off 2019 with the #CelticCrossTrail—an amazing and challenging 1875-kilometre bikepacking tour through Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.

View my '12 from 2019 – One Life. Many Roads...' post for a pictorial record of the exciting year.

Tim Wiggins Celtic CrossTrail
The #CelticCrossTrail 2019

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