¡Hola! My name is Lars and I like bikes, music and food!
It was not easy making the decision to go travelling long term. We talked about it a year ago. Jenny was always up for it, but she needed something to really get me excited to take the plunge. So how did Jenny
trick convince me to quit my job, sell all my belongings and jet off to Mexico with my rusty high school Spanglish? She went for my kryptonite… B-I-K-E-S!
I’ve been a bike nut for many years. It started with my first mountain bike in 1991. It was a Trek Antelope I got for my 11th birthday. My Dad and I started exploring the trail networks in the foothills of North Cascades, just beyond our back garden. We lived on the edge of a Washington State tree farm connected by various logging roads and horse trails. Within a few years I had upgraded from my rigid Trek Antelope to a GT Karakoram with a Manitou suspension fork. I was doing some sport XC racing in the Cascades with Dad and my buddy Todd and together we were becoming regulars at the annual Methow Valley Mountain Bike Festival. Soon approaching the 26th year for Fall of 2013, I am still wearing my socks from the 11th festival in 1996! Eeeeee-www, not as white as they once were!
Immigrating to the UK
In August 2002, I moved from Bellingham, WA to Guildford, UK to study at the University of Surrey on the Tonmeister Music & Sound Recording course. This was a big life change and commitment which did not include much cycling. As part of the course, I completed a work experience at Focusrite Audio Engineering. After finishing my degree, I was fortunate enough to receive a work permit enabling me to stay in the UK, work at Focusrite full time and eventually obtain my British Passport in January 2013!
I spent seven great years working at Focusrite, starting as a test engineer and soon moving into project manager position. I found some of my best friends at Focusrite and gained a vast amount of new experience with product design, development and manufacturing for the music recording, production and performance industry. However, over the years I became a little bit complacent, a little bit jaded and I began drinking far too much alcohol!
Time for Change
Sometimes change is good. In fact, I believe change can sometimes be the only thing that will allow you appreciate what you already have and where you want to go from there. In June 2012, I decided to leave Focusrite along with one other colleague to join an exciting new music tech startup called ROLI as the Head of Operations. It began as a liberating and exciting experience. However, after a few months, I began to notice the same itchy feelings that had encouraged me to leave Focusrite and my booze brain was starting to take over. I realised that neither Focusrite nor ROLI were the problem. I simply needed a break from 9-5 in order to consider my own personal life goals and battle my own demons and vice. What could be better than an extended cycling sabattical?
So, yes… Jenny knew that she could lure me with the promise of bike touring. It’s the next logical step for an XC mountain biker turned to road sportives who is tempted to run away from the city!
A New Project to Manage
Once I’d committed to the idea, I made it my mission to research the gear and build our bikes from scratch. I was still working in project management mode but it was my own personal project. I had a new motivation!
We spent a few months in London spending money on bike parts and camping gear whilst selling most of our belongings to balance it out. After countless hours of research and indecision, we had procured all our equipment and supplies and packed all our final belongings into storage.
Finally, time for lift off. One, two, three, go…