Fat pigeons Nol & Loek had the pleasure of a bikepacking adventure with friends. #ENJOYTHEDISTANCE to the fullest. Get carried away by their report or inspired by the film they made of the adventure.

Fat pigeons Nol & Loek had the pleasure of a bikepacking adventure with friends. #ENJOYTHEDISTANCE to the fullest. Get carried away by their report or inspired by the film they made of the adventure.

Would you like to know more about bikepacking, gravel riding or how to prepare for your first bikepacking trip? The guys from FatPigeon would love to help you get started. So, feel free to get in touch via Rogelli or directly via Instagram chat: FatPigeon.cc

Would you like to know more about bikepacking, gravel riding or how to prepare for your first bikepacking trip? The guys from FatPigeon would love to help you get started. So, feel free to get in touch via Rogelli or directly via Instagram chat: FatPigeon.cc

A new beginning

A new beginning

It's late April when the phone rings. It's Jason from Rogelli. Jason tells us that he would like to show how beautiful bikepacking is, and we are the lucky ones to arrange it. Immediately the ideas for a cool adventure run across our lips. We could go 'island hopping', cross the Veluwe, go to Limburg for a weekend, or if the rules allow it, a trip abroad. Jason is clear, it can be a bit rough. Bikepacking is not for the faint-hearted, so go all out.

That's how we like it at FatPigeon. We immediately grab a white sheet and write above it 'FatPigeon & friends; bikepacking in the border area'.

It's late April when the phone rings. It's Jason from Rogelli. Jason tells us that he would like to show how beautiful bikepacking is, and we are the lucky ones to arrange it. Immediately the ideas for a cool adventure run across our lips. We could go 'island hopping', cross the Veluwe, go to Limburg for a weekend, or if the rules allow it, a trip abroad. Jason is clear, it can be a bit rough. Bikepacking is not for the faint-hearted, so go all out.

That's how we like it at FatPigeon. We immediately grab a white sheet and write above it 'FatPigeon & friends; bikepacking in the border area'.

FatPigeon_voor_Rogelli-20
FatPigeon_voor_Rogelli-20

Feel like bikepacking? Anytime!

Feel like bikepacking? Anytime!

By day Mark is a calculator and Bastien part-time zoo worker, part-time creative. Yet both say a resounding "yes!" to the invitation to join a two-day bikepacking adventure. Mark immediately throws in a few tips on riding as light as possible and Bastien knows a few "amazing straight gravel highways". Drop the word bikepacking and many cyclists go into full adventure mode. Fun to try on a birthday.

By day Mark is a calculator and Bastien part-time zoo worker, part-time creative. Yet both say a resounding "yes!" to the invitation to join a two-day bikepacking adventure. Mark immediately throws in a few tips on riding as light as possible and Bastien knows a few "amazing straight gravel highways". Drop the word bikepacking and many cyclists go into full adventure mode. Fun to try on a birthday.

Good preparation is half the battle

Good preparation is half the battle

Needless to say, it’s always a good idea to go bikepacking. However, to get from a good idea to a good plan requires some preparation. Here we will elaborate on how you can prepare for your first bikepacking adventure. But roughly speaking, our preparation this time looks as follows:

Needless to say, it’s always a good idea to go bikepacking. However, to get from a good idea to a good plan requires some preparation. In this Rogelli x FatPigeon guide we will elaborate on how you can prepare for your first bikepacking adventure. But roughly speaking, our preparation this time looks as follows:

We choose a form of bikepacking
We consider where, when, with whom and under what conditions we’ll ride. We choose the border area between Belgium and Germany, when the rules allow us to do so. We ask Mark and Bastien along, a seasoned bike packer and a local legend. Let's go minimal! With a bit of luck, we'll stay dry and a mat, sleeping bag and cooking gear will be enough.

  • Light insulating sleeping mat
  • Sleeping bag with a comfort temperature to 0 degrees (max -10)
  • Emergency thermal blanket (you never know...)

Bikepacking bags
And to take all that stuff with us, we pack it compact and smart. By smart, we mean that we’ll not need the sleeping bag and mat during the day, so they go in the back. Food, cameras, etc. will often be needed, so they go in the bikepacking bags within reach.

We choose a form of bikepacking
We consider where, when, with whom and under what conditions we’ll ride. We choose the border area between Belgium and Germany, when the rules allow us to do so. We ask Mark and Bastien along, a seasoned bike packer and a local legend. Let's go minimal! With a bit of luck, we'll stay dry and a mat, sleeping bag and cooking gear will be enough.

  • Light insulating sleeping mat
  • Sleeping bag with a comfort temperature to 0 degrees (max -10)
  • Emergency thermal blanket (you never know...)

Bikepacking bags
And to take all that stuff with us, we pack it compact and smart. By smart, we mean that we’ll not need the sleeping bag and mat during the day, so they go in the back. Food, cameras, etc. will often be needed, so they go in the bikepacking bags within reach.

On the road again!

On the road again!

All in all, it’s Tuesday morning when we set sail for the High Fens in Belgium. The High Fens are part of the High Fens-Eifel Nature Park. The High Fens are located on a plateau, mostly in the Ardennes and for a smaller part in the Eifel. The area is characterized by steep climbs, rugged descents, beautiful open plains, rivers and lots of campsites (also called "bivouacs"). Big advantage: this genius area is only one-hour drive from Maastricht, two hours from Brabant and three hours from Amsterdam.

With three bikes on the back of our car, we drive south, and we’re not the only ones. Various cars with bicycle carriers pass by left and right. On arrival, the desire to travel is surging. Unloading, putting on clothes, taking the bicycles off the car, putting the bags on; it hasn't happened much faster. We can go again! Insert:

"The thought of long strips of facade makes my blood run faster" – Bastien


FatPigeon_voor_Rogelli-11_1500x1000

All in all, it’s Tuesday morning when we set sail for the High Fens in Belgium. The High Fens are part of the High Fens-Eifel Nature Park. The High Fens are located on a plateau, mostly in the Ardennes and for a smaller part in the Eifel. The area is characterized by steep climbs, rugged descents, beautiful open plains, rivers and lots of campsites (also called "bivouacs"). Big advantage: this genius area is only one-hour drive from Maastricht, two hours from Brabant and three hours from Amsterdam.

FatPigeon_voor_Rogelli-11

With three bikes on the back of our car, we drive south, and we’re not the only ones. Various cars with bicycle carriers pass by left and right. On arrival, the desire to travel is surging. Unloading, putting on clothes, taking the bicycles off the car, putting the bags on; it hasn't happened much faster. We can go again! Insert:

"The thought of long strips of facade makes my blood run faster" – Bastien

Fierce start

Fierce start

Immediately after departure, we’re reminded why it is so wonderful to cycle here. The short, fierce climbs instantly remind your legs and lungs that you need to be here with your attention. There’s no room for task lists or other thoughts, but there is room for 500 altitude meters in the first 10 kilometers. Blessed!

After grabbing the first 500 altimeters, we’re already at the level where we’ll be above and below for the rest of the day. The altitude profile shows few spikes, yet the view of the next path is continuously higher or lower than your own position. We like the slope because one moment you are hurtling down and shortly afterwards you have to get going again. The fact that you know that after every turn there is action, or a surprise keeps it exciting.

Immediately after departure, we’re reminded why it is so wonderful to cycle here. The short, fierce climbs instantly remind your legs and lungs that you need to be here with your attention. There’s no room for task lists or other thoughts, but there is room for 500 altitude meters in the first 10 kilometers. Blessed!

After grabbing the first 500 altimeters, we’re already at the level where we’ll be above and below for the rest of the day. The altitude profile shows few spikes, yet the view of the next path is continuously higher or lower than your own position. We like the slope because one moment you are hurtling down and shortly afterwards you have to get going again. The fact that you know that after every turn there is action, or a surprise keeps it exciting.

FatPigeon_voor_Rogelli-181500x1000
FatPigeon_voor_Rogelli-02
FatPigeon_voor_Rogelli-18
FatPigeon_voor_Rogelli-02

A ride full of surprises

A ride full of surprises

What makes bikepacking in general and graveling in particular cool is that no two rides are the same. Of course, you can say the same about road rides, but here we literally go off the beaten path. And those who go off the beaten path are almost guaranteed to be in for a surprise. Just as with the Perlenbachtalsperre…

What makes bikepacking in general and graveling in particular cool is that no two rides are the same. Of course, you can say the same about road rides, but here we literally go off the beaten path. And those who go off the beaten path are almost guaranteed to be in for a surprise. Just as with the Perlenbachtalsperre…

FatPigeon_artikel_voor_Rogelli-1

Just below Monschau is a large reservoir, the Perlenbachtalsperre. The lake and the main road are familiar, but when we follow a narrow path through some bushes, we suddenly ride on a greasy gravel strip that follows the high side of the reservoir. We follow the path uphill. On our left we see a clattering mountain stream, on our right in the depths of the reservoir. Yet another ‘wow moment’ of the day rolls around when we see on the right, out of nowhere, two wooden lounge chairs. The chairs are on a couple of rocks, right on the cliff and full in the sun, they scream 'Break!' Without a doubt, we turn around. In the sun, on a cliff, on two random chairs we make coffee with our set. What a spot. This kind of surprise, that for us is real bikepacking.

"A river crossing or just getting off for a swim, that is life" - Loek


FatPigeon_artikel_voor_Rogelli-1

Just below Monschau is a large reservoir, the Perlenbachtalsperre. The lake and the main road are familiar, but when we follow a narrow path through some bushes, we suddenly ride on a greasy gravel strip that follows the high side of the reservoir. We follow the path uphill. On our left we see a clattering mountain stream, on our right in the depths of the reservoir. Yet another ‘wow moment’ of the day rolls around when we see on the right, out of nowhere, two wooden lounge chairs. The chairs are on a couple of rocks, right on the cliff and full in the sun, they scream 'Break!' Without a doubt, we turn around. In the sun, on a cliff, on two random chairs we make coffee with our set. What a spot. This kind of surprise, that for us is real bikepacking.

"A river crossing or just getting off for a swim, that is life" - Loek


Fun and picking up friend

Fun and picking up friend

Hydrated, motivated and slightly cheered by a strong cup of coffee, we blast through a number of German villages. Kaltherberg, Kuchelscheid, names like that. The legs keep going smoothly and not without reason. In the preparation for this adventure we already knew 'those High Fens are going to be genius again'.

Within the first kilometer after the signpost 'Hautes Fagnes' a wild boar crosses in front of us. The animal looks around restlessly, crosses back over the road and walks parallel to us for tens of meters. Reason; there's a whole group of young boars walking on the other side of the road. Watch out!

Hydrated, motivated and slightly cheered by a strong cup of coffee, we blast through a number of German villages. Kaltherberg, Kuchelscheid, names like that. The legs keep going smoothly and not without reason. In the preparation for this adventure we already knew 'those High Fens are going to be genius again'.

Within the first kilometer after the signpost 'Hautes Fagnes' a wild boar crosses in front of us. The animal looks around restlessly, crosses back over the road and walks parallel to us for tens of meters. Reason; there's a whole group of young boars walking on the other side of the road. Watch out!

FatPigeon_voor_Rogelli-09_1500x1000
FatPigeon_voor_Rogelli-04_1500x1000
FatPigeon_voor_Rogelli-09
FatPigeon_voor_Rogelli-04

Those who have been there know the place, but at the crossroads near La Beole the desire reaches a peak. After this, turn left for the last time and ride over the most popular strip in this area. The strip we are talking about has three undulating level changes and both uphill and downhill it’s a kick. While the sun is low on the horizon, the strip and the adjacent heath land turn orange-gold. With great speed, we whiz downhill. This is gravel, this is enjoyment!

The fact that cycling fraternizes is an absolute pleasure. In the middle of the Haute Fagnes, we meet local legend and future cyclist, photographer Bastiaan. Bastiaan knew we would be in the neighborhood and hurried from work in our direction. What was supposed to be a middle point meeting, turned into a 35 km time trial for him. He managed to join us before nightfall and under his lead we continued our trip past the highest point in Belgium, Signal de Botrange.

From the highest point of Belgium, it's logically a lot of descending. As night falls, we zigzag over the last stretches of the day and in the meantime, we gobble down an appetizer. Free proteins, we thought.

Those who have been there know the place, but at the crossroads near La Beole the desire reaches a peak. After this, turn left for the last time and ride over the most popular strip in this area. The strip we are talking about has three undulating level changes and both uphill and downhill it’s a kick. While the sun is low on the horizon, the strip and the adjacent heath land turn orange-gold. With great speed, we whiz downhill. This is gravel, this is enjoyment!

The fact that cycling fraternizes is an absolute pleasure. In the middle of the Haute Fagnes, we meet local legend and future cyclist, photographer Bastiaan. Bastiaan knew we would be in the neighborhood and hurried from work in our direction. What was supposed to be a middle point meeting, turned into a 35 km time trial for him. He managed to join us before nightfall and under his lead we continued our trip past the highest point in Belgium, Signal de Botrange.

From the highest point of Belgium, it's logically a lot of descending. As night falls, we zigzag over the last stretches of the day and in the meantime, we gobble down an appetizer. Free proteins, we thought.

Bivoouac and sausage on the BBQ

Bivoouac and sausage on the BBQ

During the planning 'the bivouac at Soor' seemed a suitable place for our overnight stay, and once there, it turned out to be a correct assumption. A large roof in case it rains, several fireplaces, enough space for tents or mats and a river right next to the bivouac. Satisfied, we take our bikepacking bags off our bikes and knock out our gear. Because of the pleasant temperature, we choose to sleep in the open air. The mat is laid out, the sleeping bag is placed on the mat and that's it. Mark, as an experience expert, chooses to put up his tent, because a sniffing pig does not leave you unmoved.

Meanwhile, Bastiaan has gathered some wood and is busy getting the fire going. Loek takes his cooking set and Nol his dry packed meals, we think we have it all sorted out. But then Bastiaan comes with a nice surprise ... from his bikepacking bag he pulls not one, not two, but 10 fresh sausages from the butcher! Like hungry people, we stare at the sausages while Bastiaan stokes up the fire some more and puts the sausages on top. Barbecuing and sleeping in the open air, we have been looking forward to that for a long time.

During the planning 'the bivouac at Soor' seemed a suitable place for our overnight stay, and once there, it turned out to be a correct assumption. A large roof in case it rains, several fireplaces, enough space for tents or mats and a river right next to the bivouac. Satisfied, we take our bikepacking bags off our bikes and knock out our gear. Because of the pleasant temperature, we choose to sleep in the open air. The mat is laid out, the sleeping bag is placed on the mat and that's it. Mark, as an experience expert, chooses to put up his tent, because a sniffing pig does not leave you unmoved.

Meanwhile, Bastiaan has gathered some wood and is busy getting the fire going. Loek takes his cooking set and Nol his dry packed meals, we think we have it all sorted out. But then Bastiaan comes with a nice surprise ... from his bikepacking bag he pulls not one, not two, but 10 fresh sausages from the butcher! Like hungry people, we stare at the sausages while Bastiaan stokes up the fire some more and puts the sausages on top. Barbecuing and sleeping in the open air, we have been looking forward to that for a long time.

FatPigeon_artikel_voor_Rogelli-5_1500x1000_1
FatPigeon_artikel_voor_Rogelli-4_1500x1000
FatPigeon_artikel_voor_Rogelli-5_1
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It’s already a bit later when we sit around the fire and exchange experiences and stories. Bastiaan is looking forward to becoming a cycling photographer and talks about his approach to capturing the Ronde van het Hageland. Mark comes up with an impressive anecdote about one of his many multi-day rides with extremely minimalist packs. He would have liked it to be a bit rougher, for example by riding through the night. That would be something magical. We look at each other and start laughing heartily. We'd rather enjoy an adventure full of fun and vistas. It’s 00:00 now and time to go to sleep because at 04:30 it’ll be light again and whistling birds will wake us.

It’s already a bit later when we sit around the fire and exchange experiences and stories. Bastiaan is looking forward to becoming a cycling photographer and talks about his approach to capturing the Ronde van het Hageland. Mark comes up with an impressive anecdote about one of his many multi-day rides with extremely minimalist packs. He would have liked it to be a bit rougher, for example by riding through the night. That would be something magical. We look at each other and start laughing heartily. We'd rather enjoy an adventure full of fun and vistas. It’s 00:00 now and time to go to sleep because at 04:30 it’ll be light again and whistling birds will wake us.

Get inspired

Can't get enough of the bikepack adventure of Nol and Loek? Are you curious and would you like to plan your own adventure? Register here and become a bikepacking expert together with Rogelli.