Bike messenger, ultra-endurance champion, and komoot ambassador: Ten questions with Sofiane Sehili

Sofiane Sehili is a komoot ambassador, helping us spread the word about komoot and encouraging people to explore more. The ultra-distance rider joined our ambassador ranks earlier this year and it’s about time we introduce him!

Based in Paris, Sofiane can usually be found dashing down side streets and dodging traffic to deliver packages all over the city. He’s a bike messenger by trade, using his time on the bike to earn his bread and butter as well as train for some epic rides. His passion is for off-road ultra-distance routes – especially if there’s a competition involved. 

His first race was the 2016 Tour Divide, when he rode across the US from Banff, Canada to the Mexican border in 16 days. He’s subsequently ridden in the Italy Divide, the Inca Divide, and the inaugural PEdALED Atlas Mountain Race, and won each of them. And that’s not to mention the riding he’s done purely for fun, including a cumulative 9,942 miles (16,000 kilometers) through South East Asia and countless long bike trips around Europe. 

We’re super pleased to host Sofiane’s adventures on komoot, and absorb all the ultra-distance riding knowledge he shares via his profile. But first, it’s time for a few questions with the man himself…

Describe yourself in three words

Passionate adventure cyclist.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve eaten on a ride?

When I was in Sulawesi (Indonesia), I was riding in a small village when some kids invited me to play pool. They were drinking palm wine and eating meat and invited me to try some of their food. After I ate it, a boy revealed it to be dog meat.

What’s the weirdest wardrobe malfunction you’ve seen or experienced?

At the end of my trip from Paris to Taiwan, my bib shorts started falling apart and I ended up with a hole revealing part of my butt.

What motivates you to get outside and explore?

I would say it is a mix of wanting to see the world, being by myself, getting in touch with nature, and challenging myself.

Disc or rim brakes?

Disc brakes, all day, every day.

Tell us about your most epic ride yet.

One comes to mind. I don’t know if it’s the most epic but it left a lasting impression. I was in Tajikistan on the Pamir highway, and I rode from Murgab to Sary Tash, crossing the Kyrgyzstan border. I was alone, and it took me all day to cover the 250 kilometers between the two villages, climbing a 15,272-foot (4,655-meter) high pass known as Akbaital. The length of the ride, the brutal winds at the top of the pass, the rough roads, the long hours of riding in the cold night, but most of all the sheer beauty of the Pamir mountains made this ride one of the most epic and memorable of my life.

Looking forward, what future plans are you excited about?

I had several races on my calendar. The Malteni Bootleggers, a 155-mile (250-kilometer) CX race in the north of France, the second installment of the BikingMan series in Corsica and the Highland Trail 550, a 559-mile (900 kilometer) epic ultra in the stunning landscapes of Scotland. All of these races were canceled or postponed so I’m trying to put together a different calendar. Next up is the Hope 1000 in Switzerland. It is going on as planned and I have secured a spot on the start list. I’ve also had a chat with the organizer of the French Divide and he told me he’s doing everything in his power to make sure the race happens. If it’s on I’ll be there. I’ve also had my eye on the Three Peaks bike race for a long time. Hopefully it will happen and I’ll be there.

What is the most unusual item in your toolkit?

I never go on a trip without my Swiss army knife. It always comes in handy.

What has been the biggest cycling game-changer for you?

I have to say out of the most recent developments in the world of cycling, for me, the biggest revolution is bikepacking bags. Now you can pick whichever bike you want for your trip, without worrying if it has eyelets or whatever. You pick the bike you want (road, MTB, gravel), choose essential gear, put on bikepacking bags and you’re good to go.

Why do you recommend komoot?

I’ve tried several route planning apps and found that komoot is by far the best. It has very accurate information on the road surface and also manages to calculate very direct routes while avoiding busy roads.

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