Dead Ends & Cake (Video)

Dead Ends & Cake is a self-supported and self-navigated bikepacking event in eastern Switzerland with fresh cake at each checkpoint. Previously only available on Vimeo On Demand, the organizers just released their 40-minute recap video online, and it’s free to watch. Check it out here…

The inaugural Dead Ends & Cake event brought out an even field of men and women and took riders on a 500-kilometer self-supported loop around eastern Switzerland. The hitch? There were five mandatory checkpoints at the far end of dead-end roads, where fresh cake was served. Filmmaker Jan Mühlethaler (@herr_roja) was chasing the riders day and night in a van, on a bike, on foot, and even in the air. Previously only available to watch through Vimeo On Demand, the organizers just uploaded the 40-minute video to YouTube, and you can watch it below (English subtitles are available). After that, scroll down for a quick reflection from the event organizer, Dominik Bokstaller.

Words by Dominik Bokstaller (@denk_an_den_kuchen), photos by Jonas Traber

There are so many bikepacking movies out there. We did not want to make just another one. We decided that we wanted to focus on the good and motivating side of bikepacking and ultra-cycling. Yes, there was horrible weather. Yes, climbing 9,000 metres is very hard. And yes, riding through the night can be tough. All of this is part of riding your bike, especially when you ride it for 500 kilometres in the Alps. But we wanted to focus on the bright side of these adventures. The smiles, the views, the highs, the laughs with the other riders and volunteers! We want to motivate people to give it a try. Pack your bike and explore your backyard, go for your first night ride, stop for cake, and enjoy the ride. You’ll go way further than you think is possible!

  • dead ends and cake
  • dead ends and cake
  • dead ends and cake
  • dead ends and cake
  • dead ends and cake

The two main protagonists could not be any different and show perfectly what Dead Ends & Cake is about. The first is Emma Pooley, a former world champion, Olympic medalist, and just recently member of the British Cycling Hall of Fame. She has won it all and did not start to win this one. She wanted to make the best out of it and tried to avoid all dead-end roads by hiking over snowy mountain passes and climbing very steep hiking trails.

Simon, the second rider we followed, is a keen cyclist but has never done anything like this before. He faced a lot of the same questions and fears that all of us do when trying something new. Am I able to do this? How do I react if things go wrong? Why am I doing this?

dead ends and cake
  • dead ends and cake
  • dead ends and cake
  • dead ends and cake

I think this movie shows what bikepacking and ultrac-ycling events are all about. It’s a challenge and there is a clock running, but in the end, it’s all about the experience and the adventure. It’s about people learning that they are capable of so much more than they initially thought! For more than half of the participants at Dead Ends & Cake, this was their longest ride ever! All it takes is some cake up in the mountains.

This year’s event is scheduled for June 23rd. Learn more about that here.

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