No one is fonder of his freedom than long-distance adventure cyclist Manivelle, aka Matthieu Lifschitz. He’s just completed the Two Volcanoes Sprint, an unsupported bike race in Italy, and has no fewer than three Transcontinental Races under his belt, as well as numerous randonneurs. But like the rest of the world, he’s going to be spending a lot of time at home this winter.
In his downtime between queuing up routes on komoot for when lockdown lifts again, he answered some questions about why he loves adventure, his plans for the upcoming year, and his most epic bikepacking adventure to date. (Spoiler: it was a moody ride in southern Georgia. The pictures and routes are saved in his komoot Collection so you can reminisce along with him here.)
Describe yourself in three words
Enthusiastic, stubborn, curious.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve eaten on a ride?
In the Czech Republic during Transcontinental no. 6 I ate a soft sandwich made with cold meat on bread moistened with yet more cold meat that looked like brains. I didn’t dare finish it!
What’s the weirdest wardrobe malfunction you’ve seen or experienced?
In the beginning, I confused water-repellent and waterproof. I very quickly discovered the difference and haven’t been fooled since.
Disc or rim brakes?
Tell us about your most epic ride yet.
I went to Georgia to do a report for 200 Magazine with Alain Puiseux, the editor-in-chief. We were advised by a local friend to design our route from Tbilisi to Batumi via the small roads in the south. It’s a mountainous region and in October the snow had already covered the summits and sometimes even the roads. It was all very different there – the language and its alphabet, the attitude of the locals (warm but not overbearing), these tiny roads and high lakes between mountains sculpted by the wind, the remnants of the old Russian influences on the country… It was a complete change of scenery, linguistically as much as topographically. These factors and the photogenic weather made this epic crossing so memorable.
Looking forward, what future plans are you excited about?
This winter will be devoted to local adventures so I can better document them. I photographed my region a few years ago but it’s time to take the time again and go out with my camera to document the beauty of my incredible playground in the South. Whether it is on all-road terrain or hiking trails, I have my heart set on updating my archives.
Despite the health situation, 2020 has been a new step for me in self-supported bike racing – my favorite discipline, a deep passion. I’ve succeeded in affirming my progress in three major events (the Devil’s Route, Born to Ride, and the Two Volcano Sprint), unlocking a new physical level within me. I look forward to testing myself and putting my new strength into practice and trying to do even better in 2021. I’m aiming for three or four races:
– Race through Poland
– Three Peaks bike race
– Trans Pyrenean Race No.2 (Lost Dot)
– Two Volcano Sprint 2021
All this will be punctuated as every season by reporting for 200 Magazine as well as expeditions for Café du Cycliste with whom I’ve been working for several years.
What is the most unusual item in your toolkit?
A small piece of woven carbon “fabric” that a Swiss mechanic gave me during the TCRNo7. I don’t really know yet what it will be used for but it is the kind of small thing that I’m sure will be an essential help one day, although I must admit that it’s become more of a good-luck charm than anything else.
What motivates you to get outside and explore?
What has been the biggest cycling game-changer for you?
The explosion of bikepacking. Finally, a whole community has moved away from the classic professional racing environment to take on a ride that’s sometimes leisurely, sometimes sporty, but always has an adventurous angle.
Why do you recommend komoot?
For its ease of use and the route suggestions of small roads that allow you to rediscover a region. And also for its interface that provides a practical, visual database for all users.
In the current climate, with limitations on getting outside, how do you use komoot to feed your desire for adventure? /p>
By planning! Staying optimistic is essential. If you’re forced to stay at home, it’s the perfect time to refine your current route ideas, virtually explore new routes, and get ready for new adventures.