Think of that amazing feeling as the fire crackles by your feet, with your 4×4 parked beside you, as you decompress from a day spent shredding the most unreal trails. For mountain bikers, this could well constitute the ultimate experience. But it can get even better as we dialled up the road trip antics a notch and invited our readers Anna and Amir from Zurich on the road trip of a lifetime.
Sometimes a dream can come true that you might not even have dreamed of. Say, what? Hear us out: who would have thought – pre-May 2021 – that we’d randomly give away a once-in-a-lifetime road trip for two of our readers and document their fabulous good luck in our magazine in an exclusive story? As if the trip alone wasn’t enough, we drafted in the assistance of Land Rover Germany, GHOST Bikes and Yakima to make this truly unforgettable as the winners cruised across Europe in the Defender (adorned with roof tent), waking each to morning to shred sublime trails on swanky new Full Party enduro bikes (theirs for keeps afterwards!). Could it get any better? Oh yes, but more on that later. Firstly, the most pressing question: how the hell do you win a prize like this?
Success is not something you can wait around for. You can sit a long time waiting for it to happen, but it really needs you to grab the opportunity when it’s there and have a bit of a luck on your side. Over 600 applications from all over the world landed in our mailbox when we launched this competition. It was more than we’d expected, and our minds were blown at the personalities that we met as we trawled through the entries. We’d ummed and aahed so much over what it would take to win this road trip, but it quickly dawned on us that nobody and everybody could be a justified winner. In order to win here, it needed more than logic or a sob-story.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past nine years at ENDURO, it’s that everything – from work to party, adventure to rest – is dependent on your crew, your squad, your colleagues, your fellow roadtrippers. Route and equipment count, but they’re just framework really; it takes some serious chemistry and the right mindset to come up trumps. So that’s what we were looking for amongst the applications and the right attitude was rampant! Half-arsed entries that wanted to fake-it-to-make-it stood out like a sore thumb. After all, a half-hearted application means a half-hearted result. And that, our friends, doesn’t cut it. What we were looking for was someone literally glowing, radiating an openness to new ideas and fortunately, knowing the diversity and greatness of our readers, there was no shortage of amazing applications with wickedly funny and cool photos. Thank you!
At times, your applications had us crying with laughter, shielding our eyes, zooming in to admire the entry in its full glory, and wishing we were out riding with all you rippers out there!
Eventually, we got busy scheduling Zoom calls with our shortlisted candidates to check out the potential chemistry between us and the candidate pair. But after all the screentime and getting-to-know-you calls, we hit a wall. Everyone on the shortlist was a worthy winner. Here’s where office dog Henry was ushered in to play the starring role: as the most enthusiastic four-legged pretzel eater of all, his job was to select the winner by sniffing them out at random. Now, we had no doubt that he had good taste but this was confirmed when Anna and Amir turned up in the flesh at our HQ in Leonberg.
Anna and Amir met while paragliding in South America. They both live and work in Zurich. A long-time ENDURO reader, Amir was super stoked to win the road trip – as was Anna, of course, who explained that it was everything Amir had ever dreamed of, without actually having ever dared to dream it.
The secret of a road trip
For anyone that’s used to going cookie cutter-holiday style with all-inclusive, pool access, sea views and travel insurance, it might not be that easy to imagine how different a road trip with its unpredictability might feel. Road trips can suffer at the hands of over-planners. They require agility and ease. Too many expectations will kill the vibe and result in disappointment. Knowing all this too well, we deliberately kept quiet and decided not to share any details of the road trip with Anna and Amir. All they had to do was hop in, set off, and be surprised.
Wer sich für alle Eventualitäten rüstet, trägt schwer und verliert jegliche Leichtigkeit.“
Leave space in your luggage for creativity
The A-Team were accompanied by us, Robin and Peter, on hand to steer and document the road trip. And while we knew roughly where the trip was headed, there were variables to play with, as well as totally unknown and unpredictable elements to juggle. The weather was a big one, especially with Germany’s disastrous flooding. In terms of destinations and what to pack, it was not easy. Sure, you have a list of essentials, but a road trip is so far from a rational undertaking. You’re supposed to follow your soul but who knows what your soul will suggest, and you’re supposed to have nice things around you that do nothing else but look nice, really, so instead of a lightweight aluminium kitchen set, it makes total sense to take your favourite cups and your grandma’s cooking pan. If there’s something missing? Well, you can’t prepare for every eventuality, but you can try to make the best out of every situation. And that involves leaving space for creativity in your luggage.
Plans never work out
A road trip forces you to let loose, letting go of rigid plans, worries, and that perpetual quest for security. It rewards you for accepting the unknown, allowing for detours, and saying hello to strangers. The weather is just one of many factors that shows how counterproductive it is to have a inflexible pre-planned schedule. If there’s torrential rain in the place you originally thought about driving to, then keep driving. Drive until you hit the sun. Then stay there. Why move on if everything is so great? On this road trip, you’re the boss.
Let the Shred never end!
High fives, party laps, and some serious air time acrobatics – our bikes set the tone for the road trip with their name: Full Party! From Alpine singletrack to bike park burliness and signature Enduro World Series trails, it was Full Party all the way from even before we hit the trail heads.
Bravery is a muscle, freedom is a concept
It’s another matter if you’re sat behind bars, but for most of us, freedom is something we’ve got to actively accept into our lives and grab it, hang onto it, wring it out. Oftentimes, we’re hesitant and prefer to put things off until tomorrow, or a later date but there’s something about being on a road trip that encourages you to step out of your own shadow and do things you wouldn’t have done before. Could we…? What would happen if…? No one is immune to doubt but here’s where it can’t hold you back.
Bravery is a muscle we can train, whether you’re reluctant to chat up an interesting prospect at the bar or jump into a mountain lake. Before you’ve even got into water, you’re usually already shivering, so just do it! Do it for the dopamine hit, or the sense of liberation, or the satisfaction that you’ve just pushed your limits.
The best moment of the road trip?
There’s almost no arguing about the fact that every road trip looks good on Instagram. You’ve got scenery, sun flare in your photos, and your bike or surfboard strategically positioned to get all the best angles… the list goes on. But there’s so much inside your road trip that can’t be regurgitated as content. The conversations you have that can’t be repeated, the atmosphere that can’t be distilled or a situation that won’t look good on a camera. Those moments go undocumented. And so do the times when you forget to look at your watch for hours, when your mind is not just elsewhere, it’s only in the present. If you’ve been there, you’ll know what we are talking about! And if not, well, we hope you get your chance soon.
Success requires a little bit of luck
When we say success requires a little bit of luck, we aren’t only referring to what it takes to win a road trip like this, but basically every road trip. Travel is there to enrich us, which means accepting new things – new places, people, encounters. We’re surrounded by chances; we just have to grab them and let them add a new quality to our lives. Who knows, maybe a dream will come true for you that you hadn’t even realized you’d been dreaming of.
Take Amir and Anna, our readers who sent us a couple of photos and a short application for this road trip, as an example. They got a bit lucky, sure, but they saw a chance and they grabbed it, taking home a once-in-a-lifetime road trip and some new friends. THANK YOU, Amir and Anna. You were amazing winners – and we’ve also won by getting to meet you. Our thanks also go out to Land Rover, GHOST and Yakima – none of this would have been possible without your support. Dream big. Life is an adventure. Live it, outside whenever possible!
Keep dreaming! The pack list, our equipment, and your chance
With the right people and a healthy mix of pre-planning and going with the flow, your road trip will be unforgettable. Having the perfectly dialled-in set-up (like ours) naturally makes things easier, but what counts more is your mindset. Here’s a breakdown of our essential kit and top tips for your next road trip:
8 gear automatic transmission, 20” rims und air suspension sounds amazing, but do you know what really rocks? There’s a fridge in the centre console which won’t just keep your butter cool ;)
Longing for the sky? Enjoy the view from the roof tent. Dass die Rückspiegel beheizbar sind, vergisst man hier schnell. Easy to forget you’ve got heated wing mirrors here.
The German brand’s newly launched baller bike doesn’t just have masses of travel, but also knows precisely how to rip it on the trails. Full Party, oh yes! Brake only when necessary with the powerful Formula Cura 4-piston brakes. The Formula MOD coil shock brings 160 mm of fun to it. The EightPins seat post has an adjustment barrel that can be adjusted by hand, meaning you are ready for everything. With 170 mm of travel, the Formula Selva S fork should mean there’s little chance of going overboard at the party.
Slept in a roof tent before? Nope? Then it’s definitely time. Ready in a matter of minutes, your sleeping bag and pillow are just waiting for you to bed down and enjoy the shelter from the wind outside.
Packlist – What to take on a road trip?
- Good mood
- A sense of adventure
- Biogradable toiletries
- Pre-downloaded park4night app so that you can sleep with peace of mind. (‘Let’s be having you. C’mon now, this isn’t a campsite’ isn’t what you want to wake up to every monring).
- Camping kitchen utensils
- Mocca pot
- Headwear (all year round)
- Supply of post-ride beer and snacks
- Didn’t we mention the idea of being spontaneous…?
What did we learn on this road trip?
Every trip – no, wait, every ride – has the potential to change us. You take the experiences with you, grow from them, get new perspectives. With just you and the contents of your vehicle (not too much baggage, not too many expectations) it’s the ultimate opportunity to meet new people and do new things.
We want to make more dreams come true!
Our lives are connected and enriched by experiences like this. We cannot get enough of them. As part of our Steady scheme, we’re going to keep dreaming big – both for us and for you. Here at ENDURO and our publishing house 41 Publishing, we’re a self-made company—entrepreneurs in the best sense. We love tackling new things, especially with you by our side. We’re looking forward to dreaming big with an amazing future full of inspiration, experiences, and dreams that we’ll make come true for our readers!
So stay tuned; we won’t rest until we’ve made at least some of your dreams come to life that you’d perhaps never dreamed possible before.
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Words: Robin Schmitt Photos: Peter Walker, Robin Schmitt