Dear <<First Name>>

It was very tough when I heard the news of Mike Hall's tragic death during the Indian Pacific Wheel Race on a Friday morning. We only met a few times, but Mike was one of the most humble people I have ever met, and the news came as a shock. I wasn't sure what to do, but I grabbed my bike and rode 80km on trails I had never been on before. This was the best way to cope with the news, sourcing new trails for a bikepacking route in the Ale Water Valley, where I spent a week kindly hosted by Teyl from Whitmuir Farm. 

Mike has inspired thousands around the globe, and I was lucky enough to speak to him a few times after returning from my epic bikepacking adventure around the globe. Going out and developing a new route was the best way for me to ensure that Mike's spirit lives on. The Reiver Raid, a new 175km loop starting and finishing at Tweedbank, is the result. And as Mike was thinking about joining us on the Capital Trail ride this year, this will be dedicated to him. 

Talking about inspiration, I would highly encourage you to come around to the next two events for Adventurous Edinburgh, organised by Bikepacking Scotland in association with Craigdon Mountain Sports. I was lucky enough to hear Luke Robertson's lecture at the Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival, and I am even more excited to listen to him and Hazel speaking to Dan Bailey about their next adventure, embarking on a world-first expedition to be the first people to travel the length of Alaska by human power alone. And shortly afterwards I will be on stage again, talking to Naomi Freireich, Ed and Marion Shoote about long days in the saddle.

It is with great sadness that we heard of the passing of Mike Hall while racing the Indian Pacific Wheel Race. Mike was an extraordinary man who changed lives and redefined the sport. On a personal level he was the greatest inspiration for Markus when he cycled the world singlespeed. Markus and Mike met a few times, here's a tribute to Mike on Markus' blog. Our thoughts are with his mum, his partner Anna and everyone who has lucky enough to call Mike a friend, he will be missed. If you would like to help fund the costs for Mike's family, you can donate here.
After a great start we are looking forward to two more events with adventurous Edinburgh people to inspire you to go on your next adventure, hosted at Craigdon Mountain Sports on Biggar Road, close to the Pentland Hills.

On the 27 April host Dan Bailey, editor of and author, will speak to adventurers Luke and Hazel Robertson, who will embark on a world-first expedition in May to travel the entire length of Alaska using their own power. Luke and Hazel will cover the over 2000 miles in 80 days by running, cycling and kayaking, starting in the Pacific Ocean, then traveling trough temperate rain forest, passing glaciers and mountains, through boreal forest high above the Arctic Circle and into tundra desert, and eventually along the the open Arctic Ocean. Currently they are both running the famous Marathon des Sables, and will be able to tell you more about that as well.

In 2016, with an artificial pacemaker and less than two years after undergoing brain surgery, Luke became the youngest Brit, the first Scot and one of less than 20 people in history to ski 730 miles solo and unsupported to the South Pole. Hazel is an endurance athlete and adventurer and has led an expedition in Canada, climbed Kilimanjaro unsupported via the treacherous Western Breach and loves anything that takes her outdoors, including back-country skiing, mountain biking and long distance multi-day ultra marathons. In 2016 she ran a 140 mile Ice Ultra on snowshoes in Arctic Sweden and the very first 250 mile Cape Wrath Ultra through the beautiful west coast of Scotland.

Tickets for £8/£10 are available online at We would encourage you to book online and therefore charge no extra fees, it helps us to estimate how many people will attend on the evening.

And the next event will be on 11 May, featuring Naomi Freireich, Ed and Marion Shoote, interviewed by Markus Stitz. We will tell you more in the next newsletter, if you can't wait, click here.

Introducing a brand new bikepacking route - The Reiver Raid in the Scottish Borders

Experience the Ale Water Valley on a mountain/gravel bike with bikepacking bags, experience The Reiver Raid. Follow in the footsteps of the infamous Border Reivers, raiders along the Anglo-Scottish border in the late 13th century to the beginning of the 17th century.

This is a loop created by Bikepacking Scotland founder and Capital Trail designer Markus Stitz, starting and finishing at Tweedbank Station, less than an hour on the train from Edinburgh. It will take you through the magnificent Ale Water Valley on a mixture of farm tracks, Landrover tracks, singletrack, quiet roads and lanes.

This is a 2-day loop designed for intermediate to experienced cyclists with good bikepacking experience. For those with less experience please factor in more time, or consider shortcuts. We would not recommend riding this loop in wet conditions, as some of the trails are pretty muddy.

To find out more and download the GPX for free, please visit Enjoy!

Ale Water Valley Teaser
Here is an exclusive preview to a short film we are working on at the moment, filmed on The Reiver Raid, the new bikepacking route in the Ale Water Valley. We will keep you posted about the final movie, but this will give you a great idea what to expect! Like it? Then please subscribe to our YouTube channel while you are there.
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