Our LITELOK crew are pretty interesting, and of course, many of them ride, whether it's daily cycling, mountain biking, or motorcycling! We'd like to introduce them to you. Starting our Staff EDR series with Lauren, Freelance Writer, working with the Marketing team.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I'm Lauren! I've been playing a small part in LITELOK since August 2022. Although I'm freelance, I feel very much a part of the team. I am a freelance writer, although that's not strictly true anymore, I do a mix of things!
At LITELOK you'll find me making sure the social channels are up to date and there's content going up on the blog. I work with the (rather amazing) marketing team and hopefully make their jobs a little bit easier.
How and when did you get into riding?
I got into riding around 2012. Believe it or not, I actually hated cycling before then. I had a bit of a bizarre start to riding and actually got into downhill mountain biking first. Like a lot of women, I got into riding because of my partner. He was the bike nut and I gradually got into it. Since then most of our life revolves around bikes.
I now enjoy different types of riding and consider myself a lot less 'extreme' nowadays. My favourite kinds of rides involve food.
What are the best and worst things about riding?
The best things for me vary, but generally just being outdoors is the thing that makes me happiest. I love the people I've met because of bikes and the friends I've made. I've also been lucky to travel to some incredible places to ride.
I think the worst thing for me would be the clean up after a muddy ride. I absolutely hate dealing with muddy, sopping-wet kit. I don't mind riding in the wet, it's just the aftermath. I might get flack for saying this too, but I think given that the UK doesn't have the best infrastructure, the way people treat cyclists on the road is awful. It's like you're not even a person. I try to avoid the roads now.
Tell us about your most memorable ride to date?
Ooh, that's a tough one. Purely for how mad it is in so many ways, it was a time I went over to ride in France and Italy. I was with a group of riders, and we were out seemingly in the middle of nowhere. I remember the smells vividly because it was incredible. There were herbs growing alongside the trail and I could smell them all as we were traversing along the trail. Then, out of nowhere, there was a tiny hut and our guide ushered us there. We stopped for lunch and it was almost unreal in a way. It was an experience that stands out, but that trip overall is something I don't think I'll ever forget.
During that trip, I also visited the last place in Italy where the last witch trials took place (allegedly). It's called Triora (aka the village of witches). We walked on hot coals and burned a giant flame effigy in the square they used to put the accused on trial. It was actually a really emotional experience.
Despite its haunting past, it's incredibly beautiful.
What’s the best piece of riding advice you’ve ever been given?
I wish I had something really wise to share here, but I don't. I've had a lot of advice over the years. I think in summary, the best thing I've ever been told is just to enjoy it. We all ride for different reasons and sometimes it's not particularly fun. Take nothing for granted, enjoy those pedal strokes, you'll miss them when you can't get on the bike (for whatever reason).
What do you bring with you on every ride?
A bit of a boring one but my phone generally comes with me. I can often be found taking photos along the way. I also like to track my rides to compare one year to the next. It's also a good way of seeing where you've been. I tend to have a snack or two in my bag too.
It depends on the ride! If I'm going for a day in a bike park I won't have much (apart from the phone) but if we're heading off into the hills I'll make sure I'm more prepared. If I'm popping into town or stopping for a while the X1 has become the go-to. It's easy to pop in a bag and I don't feel so spooked about leaving my bike if it's locked with that.
How do you keep your bikes secure at home and on the go? Share your best tips to help others keep their bikes safe.
I've had the displeasure of having bikes stolen on a few occasions. My partner and I err on the side of caution nowadays. You could say we're a bit paranoid but we take bike security really seriously.
We have several locks for our bikes. We've tried to make them as difficult as possible to steal (if anyone were to try). Where they are stored we have a camera, alarms on doors, several locks and a ground anchor. We also lock the bikes if we have them in the van.
As for tips? I'd say go OTT, it's worth being a little paranoid, especially if you have bikes worth a bit of money (even if they look like they are). Use two locks where possible, and check if your bikes are covered if you have insurance (terms and conditions are worth a read).
When someone asks what kit you recommend, you say?
That's a hard one too. A lot of it is personal preference. I do have a few kit favourites for sure, but it depends on the kind of riding you do. I recommend some decent lights for your bike and a good helmet as a minimum. I also think having good gloves is important. I love the 100% Brisker gloves, especially when it gets a bit colder, but I ride in them throughout the year.
There's so much temptation out there! There's also a lot of very expensive stuff. Sometimes it's worth paying more for, sometimes it isn't. That doesn't exactly help, but I think it's easy to get drawn in by certain things.
What’s on your riding bucket list?
Ah, I can't possibly choose. I should probably make a list I think. As I said I've been lucky to ride in a few place so I don't think there's anywhere that really stands out. I'd love to do more natural riding and exploring. There's so much around the UK I've not ridden yet either.
I'd generally like to do more adventure riding. The new Cycling UK Traws Eryri route through Wales is definitely on the list!