Words and photos by James Woodbridge (@james_on_sharps)
I’m James Woodbridge, and growing up in Bristol, UK, I generally was always either out climbing or riding a bike. I went to school by bike, and to the climbing centre, work, or into the city for a pint! Photography was another huge interest of mine and would always have a camera in hand when travelling to shoot the places I saw.
I started working in a bike shop at age 17, beginning on the shop floor in a sales role, but also spending time as a bike builder, mechanic, and then as management. I dabbled in a bit of racing for the shop, however, I generally enjoyed not having time pressure when out on the bike, instead using it to see parts of the country I wouldn’t get to otherwise.
I used to backpack and hike a lot, so combining cycling with a love for wild camping was a no-brainer. And with a bit of research I found bikepacking.
I now work in the film industry as a camera assistant. I’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot for work, and go to far-flung places and spend long periods of time there working. As a result I have a huge list of places I have beta and connections for, and need to return to with a bike one day!
I’ve just finished cycling across Europe and am currently doing the length of Japan. I have two months here before heading down to Australia for a bit and then on to New Zealand. This was meant to be my first trip riding with a companion, however he had to scratch in Germany due to a recurring knee injury from his fixie days (if you’re reading this, hope you get better soon Josh so we can shred bikes together!). He’s a great photographer and one of the best bike mechanics I know, so check out his Instagram @offensiveapple_.
With any luck I’ll be riding the Tour Aeteroa in January, but next year’s plans include the Tieres Del Fuego National Park in Chile/Argentina, and Nepal to ride the Annapurna Circuit.
The bike is a recent build, created for my trip across the Camino De Santiago in Spain last year, before being flown out to explore the South Island of New Zealand. I guess it’s a typically British setup, the frameset coming from Genesis Bikes. They make some very cool steel touring bikes, and the Longitude was a natural progression for them. The ability to fit a 27.5 x 3.0″ tyre means it really is a go anywhere bike!
Almost everything that has bearings comes from Hope Tech. Based in Barnoldswick, they do some cool and bombproof parts that I’ve fitted on every bike I own. Maintenance on their hubs is near zero, which is great as I’m a firm believer in doing as little looking after of my bike as possible and just riding the thing!
- Frame and Fork Genesis Longitude
- Rims Mavic EN62
- Hubs Hope Pro4 Evo
- Tires Maxxis Ikon
- Handlebar Race Face
- Crankset Shimano XT M8000 32T w/ Hope Tech BB
- Cassette Shimano XT M8000 11-46T
- Derailleur Shimano XT M8000 GS
- Brakes Shimano XT M8000
- Shifter Shimano XT M8000
- Saddle Fabric Scoop Shallow Titanium
- Seatpost Thompson Elite Inline
- Stem Hope Tech 90mm x 0°
- Front Bag Revelate Harness w/ Ortlieb 13L Drybag
- Rear Bag Ortlieb 22L Drybag on a Bontrager Rack
- Frame Bag Alpkit custom
- Top Tube Bag Specialized
- Accessory Bags Salsa Anything Bags (rear) and First Tactical Tactix Series Large Molle Pouch (front)
I recently ditched the seat pack in favour of a rack with an Ortlieb dry bag attached to the top. This thing has zero sway, one of the things that really annoyed me about various seat packs I’ve owned. The great thing about this setup is with a few extra voile straps, I can add extra dry bags and water bottles on the side to expand my food and water capacity. I have 4L of water bottles on the bike now, but this can easily be expanded to 10L should I want to go and do something like Mongolia’s plains or the Nullarbor in Australia.
For those interested, I shoot on the Fujifilm mirrorless cameras. When out on a trip, my setup consists of an X100 and an XT1 with a 35mm f1.4 and a 12mm f2.8. Bigger trips may also warrant my 85mm f1.8, but generally only when there’s someone else with me to photograph!
You can follow along with James’ travels on Instagram @james_on_sharps.
Send Us Your Bikepacking Rig
Use the form below to submit your bikepacking rig. We’ll choose one per week to feature in a Reader’s Rig Dispatch and on Instagram. To enter, email us your best photo of the bike (preferably at a 90° angle), your Instagram username (optional), and a short description of you and your rig. If your bike is selected, we’ll need a total of five photos and a little bit more info.
Please keep the conversation civil, constructive, and inclusive, or your comment will be removed.