by Gloria Cycling

Embracing the Challenge: My Journey Through the Pennine Rally

Recently, I participated in the Pennine Rally, a remarkable event o...
Embracing the Challenge: My Journey Through the Pennine Rally

Recently, I participated in the Pennine Rally, a remarkable event organized by Rapha. This grueling 512 km bike ride spans over three days, starting from Edinburgh and concluding at the Track Brewery in Manchester. It was a transformative experience, and I wanted to share the journey with you.

The rally kicked off in the historic city of Edinburgh. The first day was the longest, covering 225 km. The excitement and energy were palpable as we set off, with scenic routes that made the distance feel manageable. Riding through the diverse landscapes of Scotland, I felt a mix of exhilaration and awe. The lush greenery and rolling hills provided a beautiful backdrop, motivating me to push through the initial fatigue.


Day 2: The Middle Stretch (160 km)

On the second day, we tackled 160 km. By this time, the initial adrenaline had worn off, and it was all about maintaining a steady pace. The terrain was challenging, but the camaraderie among the riders kept spirits high. We shared stories, tips, and encouragement, making the journey feel like a collective adventure. The sense of community was one of the most rewarding aspects of the rally.


Day 3: The Final Push (127 km)

Despite being the shortest day, the final 127 km proved to be the most challenging. The cumulative fatigue from the previous days set in, and maintaining momentum was tough. My average speed dropped to 15 km/h, but the determination to reach the finish line kept me going. The route offered breathtaking views, a reminder of why I embarked on this journey. The arrival at Track Brewery in Manchester was a moment of triumph and relief, celebrated with fellow riders who had become friends over the past three days.


A Journey Beyond Distance

Participating in the Pennine Rally was my first self-supported experience and the longest ride I've completed to date. It was more than just a physical challenge; it was a journey of self-care, patience, and emotional growth. The rally taught me the importance of pacing myself, listening to my body, and appreciating the process. The most significant takeaway wasn't the speed or the distance but the emotional journey I went through during the ride.

My Gear: The FKTi Setup

I rode the FKTi, our titanium XC bike, equipped with a rigid carbon fork. I used a big Straightcut frame bag, which proved to be very efficient. While many participants felt comfortable with their gravel bikes, I was super glad I went with 29x2.25 Schwalbe Racing Ralph tires. These tires not only helped on non-gravel sections but also provided excellent control and stability going downhill. Additionally, my upright riding position, thanks to the tire setup, was key for long rides.

My handlebar and inner grips were from SQlabs, which added to the comfort. Another advantage of my titanium bike setup was the gear ratio. The route had many steep hills, so I was grateful for the 30T chainring and 10-52T cassette combination. While gravel bikes are great for fast, hardcore riders, for me, it was all about embracing the journey.


Looking Forward

As I reflect on this incredible journey, I'm already looking forward to the next challenge. The Pennine Rally has ignited a passion for self-supported rides and long-distance cycling. The lessons learned and the memories made are invaluable, and I can't wait to see where the next adventure takes me.

For more information about the Pennine Rally, check out the [official event page](


PD : Thanks to Caro Kappes who I shared this experience with and to make all the planning for this ride!