Before we left we discussed incorporating sponsorship into the trip. This came up since I briefly worked for Rapha and Cyril has many contacts in the cycling industry through his work as an editor for racefietsblog.nl. It would have been easy to reach out and ask and many bike travellers do. We concluded we didn’t need sponsorship since we already had most of our gear together. We did our research and hunted online sales which saved about 30% on our expensive items such as tent and sleeping bags. A lot of our clothing we bought on the cheap with my employee discount at Rapha. Without sponsorship we would be free, without the obligation to deliver (online) content at regular intervals.
The biggest reason for me to reject sponsorships was that I didn’t want this trip to be yet another vehicle to push stuff. As it is most aspects of our lives have become commodified, and we are constantly and in ever smarter ways persuaded to spend, spend, spend, and buy things we don’t really need. Bike touring is one of the last refuges where it is actually possible to get away from the constant need to buy more things and just be happy with what little you’ve got. Although some social media feeds from bike travellers show that peer-to-peer advertising is creeping in, and it is not always clear if someone is being super positive about a product because they genuinely are or because they received some freebies.
Despite the above thoughts from before we started our journey some partnerships materialized during the last year. We’d like to highlight them here, with links to our review page. Although we got this gear for free we are honest in our reviews. But, just so that you know: these are our freebies.
A thought that surfaced since we returned home: We decided before we left that our trip wasn’t about raising money or awareness or promoting stuff. The trip was about us, the world and the people we would meet on the road. Back home we feel we could use our ‘platforms’ like the blog and the Instagram account to raise questions that come up in relation to how we see the world. We feel very strongly about the unequal distribution of wealth and the ever-growing disparity between the obscenely rich and the people who are economically poor. We will continue to share these views and make positive personal choices that respect the environment and the other wonderful people who we met on the road.
We were already huge fans of Brooks since we both love our Brooks saddles. Cyril talked to Brooks Nederland about how almost every bike tourer travels with Ortlieb bags. He was happy to take a set of Brooks panniers on the road in exchange for exposure on Instagram. Thank you Brooks Nederland! See the review of the panniers here.
We are equally huge fans of Nigor. After a few weeks of intense nerdy tent research we decided on a Nigor tent and enjoyed months of wild camping in our Oriole. Throughout our trip we shared photos of our tent on Instagram, which Nigor happily reposted. Then Nigor posted the Nigor Guam (our dream tent) in their Insta feed and we boldly approached them with the question if we could have one please. They said yes! Thank you Nigor! Review plus our reasoning behind swapping tents can be found here.
Through our Amsterdam cycling friend and bicycle marketing man Jon Woodroof of TwoToneAmsterdam we received a Wahoo Elemnt tracker, which tracks a lot more than just the kilometers cycled. Thank you Jon & Wahoo! Here’s the review.
Erik , the designer behind Portland Reflector approached us and asked if we would like to take a couple of his reflectors on the road to test. Since you can not be visible enough as a bike tourer, especially on rainy days and in tunnels, we were happy with his offer. Thank you Portland Reflector! Review is over here.