"THE FACT THAT SUSTAINABILITY SEEMS ALMOST A NON-ISSUE FOR MOST CYCLISTS BEWILDERS ME, AS THE FREEDOM WE EXPERIENCE AS CYCLISTS IS SO CLOSELY INTERTWINED WITH THE ENVIRONMENT WE RIDE IN. IF WE LOVE WHERE WE RIDE, WHY NOT ACT ACCORDINGLY?" LIAN VAN LEEUWEN, FOUNDER OF SHIFT CYCLING CULTURE, friend of the racing collective
The Racing Collective is a not-for-profit road and gravel bikepacking club for self-supported racers.
Inspired by races like the Transcontinental and The Tour Divide, we set out to construct a series of UK trials that carried this spirit of self-sufficiency, but which could be completed in a weekend.
Our objective is to apply the ultracyclist mindset (self-supported, self-actualised, self-motivated) to go beyond 'Leave No Trace' (#beyondLNT) to leave the world in a better state than we found it. This means not just following the 'Leave No Trace' principles when riding/wild camping, but extending these principles over time to permeate every aspect of our lives. As a club we endeavour to take the path less travelled, to reject business-as-usual, and to drive forward change by showing there is a demand for sustainable solutions. Doing this alone is lonely and futile; doing it together is difficult but empowering - it was on this bedrock that the club was founded.
The founding members of the collective met on the #ClimateKilometre ride from London to Paris for the UN climate talks in December 2015 (COP21). The formation of the collective was Inspired by Erlend Knudsen and Daniel Price of Pole to Paris, two climate scientists who ran and cycled to COP21 in Paris from the North and South Poles respectively... they made us realise the future is in our own hands... if we want it enough.
Our values are best summed up by Yvon Chouinard (founder of 'Patagonia' in his book 'let my people go surfing' 2016... "The basic tenants of our philosophy are a deep appreciation for the environment and a strong motivation to help solve the environmental crisis; a passionate love for the natural world; a healthy skepticism toward authority, a love for difficult, human-powered sports that require practice and mastery, a disdain for motorised sports, a bias for whacko, often self-deprecating humour; a respect and taste for real adventure (defined best as a journey from which you may not come back alive - and certainly not as the same person), and a belief that less is more (in design and in consumption)."
To rewild ourselves through self-sufficiency
A hundred thousand years ago, our Stone Age ancestors were as "wild" as the animals they tracked and hunted for food and clothing. Life was intense, often desperate, but undeniably human.
21st-century woman and men are fully domesticated. We eat processed and packaged meals, sleep in climate-controlled houses, and the closest most of us come to an authentic wilderness experience is watching a survival reality show on TV.
The Racing Collective is an attempt to rewild ourselves; a chance to get away from 'organised-fun' and instead ride routes that make us feel alive, free, and wild.
To help prepare TCR hopefuls for the challenges that lie ahead
Don't expect to finish the TCR if you've just 'put the miles in' at a collection of audaxes.
Most people fail because they aren't proficient at route planning, navigation, and night riding.
The Trans trials are designed to allow you to practise these skills with distances ramped up over the months to create milestones in your TCR training plan. Please note we are not affiliated with the TCR.
The XDURO trials are designed more because we love gravel, bikepacking, wilderness, and adventure, but there's no doubt they contribute to your bikehandling skillset.
To create the UK's first crowdfunded National Park
As ultracyclists we believe in setting objectives that seem unattainable at first - indeed, if failure is not a significant risk, then our ambition isn't high enough.
With that in mind, our long-term aim is to establish the UK's first crowdfunded National Park. We will buy a 10,000 acre UK shooting estate and rewild it through the restoration of natural forests and wildlife for our adventurous ancestors to enjoy in the same vain as Awaroa beach (NZ) and The Great Smoky Mountains (USA).
Our first step is to establish a rewilding fund - a pot of money TRC members and other adventure-seeking organisations pay into, which will be used to produce a series of short-films and written articles to support a series of crowdfunding initiatives.