HIPLOK RIDER: Frances Grier – Bikepacking and Adventuring

When our friends at Beeline posted about Frances Grier and her plan to ride from London to the Gobi desert, we thought we should get in touch and see how she’s planning to keep her bike secure along the 15,000 or so km on the way. Turns out we were just in time!

Who is Frances Grier?

Frances could be described as a number of things. By qualification; a classicist, physicist, fencer, musician or financier. In her own words – “a strategist, list maker and a planning enthusiast.” However looking at her past exploits and her future plans, Frances is an adventurer.

“I have cycled Ireland coast to coast in two days; built snow caves in gale force winds in the Scottish Highlands; spent five days slowly losing my sanity playing endless games of solitaire halfway up a mountain, captive in a cabin while deadly storms raged around…camped in -15°C at 5000m with only yaks and eagles for company; sailed Scotland’s west coast in the most authentically  Scottish weathers; summited Europe’s highest peak, Mount Elbrus, from the north; climbed to 6200m in the Himalayas…and cycled 100 mile days in the “great” British weather more often than I care to remember.”

Keeping your bike secure

It was a good thing we got in touch with Frances,  the lock she planned to take was “a rather pathetic combination cable lock” that she found abandoned in her work car park. At 800g and a questionable security level, we had some doubts whether it would survive the trip. “I ran out of energy trying to find the perfect lock for my trip…the perpetual dilema of weight vs functionality.” 

The brief Frances gave us was a lock to keep her bike (Penelope) safe whilst she was sightseeing or on shopping trips, all other times the bike would be in secure parking or indoors. We thought the LITE would be perfect. Only 200g more than the ‘Abandoned Car Park Lock’ she was going to take, the LITE would offer significantly more security. For a bit of added practicality we sent our SUPERBRIGHT version to help keep her seen on her travels.

Frances and penelope

Penelope is more than just a mode of transport. After 15,000km together Frances & Penelope are going to become very close companions. Handbuilt by Spa Cycles, this steel tourer has everything you could want for such a journey. Why Penelope? Frances has multiple reasons behind the name choice. 

“My local hero and good friend Simone, a Czech-Canadian ultrarunner, endurance athlete and pun-enthusiast, suggested Penny, referencing the early Victorian bicycles.” 

Frances also traces the name to Homer’s Odyssey, where Queen Penelope rules Ithaca in her husband’s absence;

” … the cunning mind of his wife and her patience and solitude (all traits I hope I can develop in the coming year), and her unsung efficacy as an ancient ruler in a male dominated world, I think Queen Penelope is a befitting namesake for my bicycle. Also, it looks excellent in the original Greek – Πηνελωπη

Find frances

After setting off on Tuesday 30th Febuary, nine days later Frances is currently in Frankfurt, after covering 4 countries and 600 or so kliometers and there’s not sign of stopping yet (aside from sightseeing!)

Catch up with her journey here – Find Frances

And we’ll check back in with her soon!




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