Omar Di Felice is a factual dreamer. He or she dreams of taking incredible bicycle trips, but when he wakes up those trips he turns them into reality. A reality that sometimes goes far beyond the imagination of the possible municipality, as in the case of his Arctic World Tour , 4200 km across the three border lines of the Arctic world. Miss Grape bags as traveling companions , a journey that we wanted to have him tell us about it himself.
Imagine you want to travel across the world. And imagine concentrating on that portion of the world which, to be focused, requires you to observe "from above" by fixing your gaze on that point, the North Pole and letting the sphere spin in your hands while you see it flow.
From East to West.
From Russia to America.
Thus was born the idea of the Arctic World Tour, 4200 km across the three border lines of the Arctic world: the well-known Arctic Circle and then the line of the July +10°C isotherms and the line of the Arctic trees, this the latter are closely linked to climate change.
The departure, from the eastern end of the Earth, that Kamchatka known more for its fame in the board game "Risiko" than for cycling adventures in winter (so much so that it has never been crossed in this way before this experience) and the arrival in the far west, in Alaska along the Dalton Highway , where the most dangerous winter road in the world crosses the Polar Circle line.
In the middle is Lapland, a region that crosses Russia, Finland, Sweden and Norway, the Svalbard Islands, a jewel that contains all the peculiarities and critical issues of the Arctic in a small surface area, Greenland, an extreme and extremely remote land, and 'Iceland between ice (melting) and fire.
An adventure undertaken alone, with that method which in ultracycling is defined as "unsupported" such that one must be able to independently provide for every need: from finding food and water, to places to sleep. Whether they were small guesthouses or guest houses in the villages crossed, but in the most isolated sections the only shelter was the tent or the spartan "cabins".
All in a "bikepacking" setup, the new frontier of traveling by bicycle and which is giving millions of enthusiasts all over the world the opportunity to set off without upsetting the setup of their bicycle but by adding plastic bags to the frame itself. quantity and type necessary to contain everything necessary.
And, in my case, the "necessity" was of a different nature and of large volume: for this reason it required the use of two bicycles (a gravel bike used during the first part and a fat bike, recovered in Svalbard for the second part) on which I had to make the most of the space possible.
Alongside the classic saddle bag, with a volume of 20 litres, I have added a custom Miss Grape bag for the frame and a Tendril 10.7 handlebar , as well as small tactical bags ( buds and top tube ) to contain everything from heavy clothing, to the material to survive the arctic nights up to the small essential accessories in case of punctures.
This long crossing, through scenarios made even more unique by the winter season (which for many can be an obstacle but which, for me, contains the true essence of exploration by bicycle) also represented the second chapter of the “Bike to 1.5°” project C” born in collaboration with the Italian Climate Network association and whose aim is to combine the sporting and exploratory side of the challenges I choose to face with the no less important side of scientific dissemination on the issues of the climate crisis.
A crisis that is more visible than ever right up there, where the melting of the ice and the consequent change of the territory is generating devastating impacts with consequences in our latitudes that we can no longer pretend to notice.
And precisely with a view to educating towards greater awareness, in my role as an athlete, first and foremost, I cannot help but adapt my choices in terms of sustainability, seeking that change of direction that every good citizen should pursue through daily gestures and actions. aimed at reducing our footprint.
In my case this passes through the choice of partners who, in turn, adapt to the increasingly pressing and urgent needs in terms of sustainability: in this case, relying on Miss Grape bags means having access to easily repairable products. The transition to traditional stitching, abandoning the heat-sealed technique, means being able to intervene in the event of breakage without having to completely or partially replace the bag.
A fundamental detail with a view to the search for an increasingly circular economy as well as, in my case, also for the practicality of expeditions where it would be almost impossible to find new material.
Furthermore, Miss Grape is registered in the European REACH register , for the control and monitoring of chemical substances, with rigid checks on all suppliers in order not to use harmful or prohibited substances. A look to the future towards those changes that all companies will be required to adapt to.
Another fundamental point is the reduction of trips from production factories to warehouses thanks to the optimization of orders and storage in order to reduce CO2 emissions caused by transport: the logistics sector is, in fact, one of the most impactful in terms of emissions and pollution. Significantly reducing transport translates into concrete help for the environmental cause.