In Conversation With Tori Fahey OF ApidUra

Spokesmen Cycling Podcast

We don’t use Facebook or Google, we support the bikepacking community”: Tori Fahey, Apidura

Tuesday 10th March 2020

SPONSORS: Jenson USA, Sport Suds

HOST: Carlton Reid

GUEST: Tori Fahey, Apidura bikepacking bags


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Carlton Reid 0:13
Welcome to Episode 240 of the Spokesmen cycling podcast. This show was published on Tuesday 10th of March 2020.

David Bernstein 0:24
The Spokesmen cycling roundtable podcast is brought to you by Jenson USA, where you’ll always find a great selection of products at amazing prices with unparalleled customer service. For more information, just go to Jenson Hey everybody, it’s David from the Fredcast cycling podcast at I’m one of the hosts and producers of the Spokesmen cycling roundtable podcast. For show notes, links and all sorts of other information please visit our website at

Carlton Reid 1:04
And now, here are the spokesmen. Hi there I’m Carlton Reid and on today’s show I’ve got some audio I recorded a little while ago with Tory Fahey, one of the co-founders of bikepacking bag maker Apidura. Want to know what Apidura means? You’ll find out soon but first here’s a shout out to our show supporters, Jenson USA and Sport Suds. Check out the commercial break for my co-host David and his run down of why Jenson USA is the bees knees, and hang around for a giveaway and discount code for the specialist athletic gear detergent, Sport Suds. I’ve done a show with the founder of Restrap bikepacking bags and my son has waxed lyrical about his use of Arkel bikepacking bags but on today’s show I talk with Tori of Apidura.

She and her partner founded the company after competing in the Tour Divide and identifying a need for race specific bike packing equipment. Folks like my mate psychologist Ian Walker, who ride across Europe fast and need robust, but lightweight bags. As you’ll hear, Apidura also has a strong moral compass. Here’s my chat with Tori. You are Canadian. I’m guessing here from your educational background.

Tori Fahey 2:31
That’s right. Yeah, born and raised in in Calgary, Canada. But I’ve lived in London for the last six years.

Carlton Reid 2:39
So we’ll get on to why you’re in London. But first of all, I’d like to ask about the company name. So

Apidura, I can kind of get the dura from durable and the api is from bees because of your logo.

So Latin for bees, a breeze, all that kind of stuff. So why bees

Tori Fahey 3:01
Well, good work to to break it down. That’s exactly right. Why bees?

The real story? Well, the real story is that when I first got into club racing, I had some issues of anxiety and would dress like a bee to overcome that. So the the B has a special place in my heart because it brings back some memories of my really cycling career. And but it’s also a very nice symbol for cyclists because they are light, they travel fast and far. They have a social aspect to them, but they they can also be very independent and interdependent at the same time. So for me it was there’s a very natural connection between bees and cycling. And yeah, there are bees. In the same way as the scientists endurance cyclists travel long distances and last a long time. We build gear to hopefully

Do the same.

Carlton Reid 4:02
Okay, so you talk there about your early racing career. So what was that early racing career and when.

Tori Fahey 4:09
And so

I want to be, I don’t want to make it sound like I was hardcore racer. But

when I first got into cycling, which was really as an adult as a first as a commuter, and as a it was really a utility thing at the start, but that grew into club racing, cyclocross and mountain biking, predominantly. And I guess this was about 20 years ago, that I really got into it, and then got more into touring and travelling by bike in the last 10 to 15 years.

Carlton Reid 4:48
So that was in Canada. So you you you became a cyclist in Canada? Yeah, that’s right. There’s a really vibrant community. In Canada, I suppose. All around the world. There are vibrant

Tori Fahey 5:00
Communities of cyclists. But I feel like Calgary is particularly unique because perhaps because of the harsh climate,

people find ways to enjoy bikes and come together despite the harsh conditions.

Carlton Reid 5:16
Now looking at your LinkedIn profile,

and this is where I found out that you’re obviously Canadian because of your your university background while I was guessing anyway.

And looking at you’ve got a finance background and you’re very, very eminent finance background. So tell me a bit about


Tori Fahey 5:37
Sure, I guess. I was always fairly good with numbers in science and through university. This eventually

guided me fairly practically into the world of economics and finance. Calgary is really an oil and gas town. So there’s a bit of a limited range

have different career options you look at when you come out of university and that was something that fit well with my interest and skill set. I spent about 10 years working in Calgary after leaving University

and enjoyed that. It was a really interesting time to be working in the sector. And but I also had other interests that bubbled up and kind of took over. So it’s, it’s an important part of my life, but it was also something that only represented a subset of my interests.

Carlton Reid 6:35
But clearly, it’s gonna benefit you massively running a business. I think there are definitely some insights that I get out of that.

Tori Fahey 6:43
Within the finance world in Calgary, I was working for a startup. And that was working with other startups. So I think that

gave me a bit of insight in terms of what I might want to do.

What I might not want to do in starting another business. It’s a very, I was working in a very different sector. So

there were a lot of new things to learn in my current

position. But I think it’s, it was probably a window into an exciting world of learning and trying new things and gaining the confidence to be able to learn as I go and find a path that wasn’t necessarily taken before really is starting a business is about that the finance side of it.

It certainly helps. It’s not easy to build a business in this in this sport. We’re in the outdoor industry. So having a good sense for numbers and making sure that you don’t fall into a big trap.

Probably helps you.

Carlton Reid 7:55
So, I’m looking again at your LinkedIn profile here and the current partner

As thing where it says here on your profile a bit was a start up and then it became Canada’s second largest energy sector private equity funds. So energy sector because of Calgary, which you said is is oil and gas place. So you’re a specialist in the finance in your kind of your geographical area. That’s where it came from.

Tori Fahey 8:22
Yep, that’s right. Well, it’s a it’s a strange one because we were really looking at businesses before they started. So it was really around people and understanding ideas and the chemistry to make a business. It’s I think, from an outside perspective, it’s easy to look at energy sector and think of big oil companies, but that’s not what we were working with. We were working with, typically engineers and geologists and understanding the ideas they had to take a business forward and I think, honestly, that’s the the biggest thing

Took away from that experience it was less about finance and it was more about

creating a team and understanding the the different skill sets and ideas that need to come together to make something work.

Carlton Reid 9:16
And where did cycling fit into that if at all was was that a time when you discovered cycling and you used it as part of the business like that the the cliche the cycling is the new golf kind of thing or the world’s completely separate. Cycling

Tori Fahey 9:32
For me it was a way to counterbalance a very intense lifestyle professional lifestyle. I was working a lot and travelling a bit and I needed something to

unwind and to regain some balance physically and mentally. So really cycling at the at the start was commuting and then getting back in shape and bringing some joy and balance back.

into my life. And so it was a separate thing, but really an essential part of being a whole person.

Carlton Reid 10:09
Okay, and then you, you, you, you left that, and then you you then started doing an MBA and then you got into doing

other other educational stuff. So what was the thinking there?

Tori Fahey 10:23
And yeah, it’s not a particularly straight line, but actually, so I left Canada in 2009 to pursue an MBA that partly came about with out of a desire to travel the world by bike.

But my thought in before approaching that was that it would be good to learn a second language. Before travelling the world, all the way I was born and raised in Canada, I was raised in Western Canada, which meant French wasn’t a particular priority. So I hadn’t retained as much as I should have had an idea to move to France.

And learn the language. And in the process of thinking about how I would do that, I came across an MBA school based in France. And it also had a campus in Singapore. And it just seemed like a great opportunity where I could continue to learn and be in a setting where I could meet other people.

And I could work on my language skills as well before setting off on a grand adventure

Carlton Reid 11:30
which is 2011 I can see the countries you’ve been to many of the countries I’ve also cycled in. So that that that’s pretty cool. So Jan 2011 on the LinkedIn profile it says

Tori Fahey 11:43
and then talk me through those trips because that they’re not all in one go. I’m presuming they There are over a number of years. Yep. So and some life circumstances presented an opportunity to pursue something that had interested me for a while which was to cycle the length


I was completely fascinated by the idea of doing a 12,000 kilometre ride. And it was the right moment in my life to do it. So I spent the first five months of the year writing from Alexandria, Egypt to Cape points, Africa. It was amazing and loved it. And I just wanted to keep going. By the end of something like that it’s really difficult to reintegrate into

an urban setting and to sleep in a bed. So at that moment, the tour divide was right around the corner. And I decided it was a really good moment I was in great shape and had a desire to keep going. So I got ready for the tour divide which is actually where

the the story of Apidura restarts, but the tour divide was, it’s a an off road race from Banff, Canada to the border of Mexico 4200 kilometres along the Continental Divide.

It’s 80% off road and has the vertical equivalent of ever seeing six times. So very different experience and something that’s started to bring what had previously been two worlds together and then those two worlds being and my recreational cycling world and my travel and bike touring world.

Suddenly I could enjoy the the regular cycling experience, but also travel places and see new people in places by bike in a very comfortable and joyful way.

I continue to go back to school, I pursued another degree in Public Policy, which was also something that interested me.

And, and following that my other cycling experiences include crossing Europe

in a self supported way, I’ve been through Central Asia, from Pakistan, western China and carry sound and then

So the Caucasus and Iran did a actually our honeymoon was in the caucuses in Iran which was fantastic.

So it’s I guess I’m an all or none person. So I like to go on tour for a while and then come back and try some other things and then go out again and reset.

Carlton Reid 14:22
You mentioned getting married there. I’d like to talk about that in a second because that sounds pretty cute. But go backwards First of all, because I want to see the progression on lightweight bike packing gear. So that Africa trip what what bags were you using for that trip? That was that that was a lightweight, you’re going pretty fast on that trip, the Africa trip.

Tori Fahey 14:42
Actually, Africa was a supported trip. And I think that’s one of the reasons why the tour divide fascinated me so much.

Because when I was travelling with others in Africa, and bags were not a consideration that has its luxuries, but it also has

some drawbacks, and I think there’s a certain sense of achievement that you have to understand that you have. You’re you’re fully responsible for going from A to B, but also having the flexibility to choose your pace and choose your direction.

Carlton Reid 15:18
Right. So Africa, you basically had a vehicle with you taking your bags, you weren’t really thinking about bags there at all.

Tori Fahey 15:28
No, it’s a very different experience in that way. Not thinking, not thinking about bags, not thinking about navigation. I’m just thinking about writing hard. So it was a race. So so when you do the tour divide, what bags are you taking then? This is now self support. And

so I at that moment, basically, going into the tour divide. I had done a fair bit of bike touring prior to that.

in Patagonia and Western Europe, northern Canada, I had done enough bike touring to know that a conventional setup was not going to work for me. And I needed a different bike, something that was better suited for offroad I needed something lighter, so I could travel farther and faster each day. On some parts of the divide. There are some very long sections between services. So it’s either you’re going to carry a huge amount of stuff, or you need to be able to travel fast, so that you can get to your next service point.

appropriately and I chose the faster and farther wrote

I was lucky enough to have a friend base in Calgary, who’d gotten me into backpacking effectively, who helped connect me with some use gear. I also cobbled together a few things myself. So it was a bit of a patchwork of

used and partly assembled gear. But it was a sufficient leap from my prior experience with rockin panniers, that it was clear to me that there was this was a revelation and

the direction the future direction for any travel that I would do by bike. And it was what sparked an idea after that, that maybe you could bring in more modern production technologies and materials to to bring the quality of reckless bags up to the same level that we expect from our bikes. If you think about how much time you spend.

Looking at the details on your bike, what stem what spokes to use, you should spend at least that amount of time on the rest of the details on your bike including your bags, and that you should go beyond what you can do on your home sewing machine.

Carlton Reid 18:00
And think about what other materials and production technologies could make that even better and take the experience even further. Because when I when I post photographs, and I’m a historian, so when I post photographs of 1880s cyclists, they’re not using rack and pannier bags, they’re using bike packing bags, in effect rolled up rolling on their handlebars. So this new people think of this as a very modern thing, but bike packing is, in effect older than if we’re going to call it cycle touring the rack and pannier thing. So, you know, the rolling upstart and strapping it to your bike is very, very old.

Tori Fahey 18:40
Yeah, it’s not a new idea. By any means. I think what is different? I guess there are a few things at work.

I reckon panniers

probably for the last 40 years. Once that came out and worked for people. The industry got a bit sleepy and people

just settled into that being how you carried stuff on a bike. And they forgot that you could do it in a more basic and simple way, a more basic, simple and flexible way.

And unfortunately, it also led to, I think, an idea that you needed a special bike for touring, which is really unfortunate. I think touring can work for a lot of people with a bike that they have, and might be even more like more enjoyable experience than going out and buying a different bike.

Yeah, so the the industry got a bit sleepy. And now I think it’s much more interesting because

there are bringing modern production techniques and modern materials to some old ideas about how to carry has made a big difference. Also, some development in terms of

bicycles and the type of more versatile bikes that you can get adventure bikes and gravel bikes with

Better clearance, capable of slightly wider tires. And the whole adventure and gravel movement has also made the idea of reckless carry more interesting and appealing for a broader range of people. Indeed, so the idea for Apogee Eric came during the tour divide when you were you were cobbling together all of these, you know, these bags and you thought, well, we could do it this way. Is that is that where it came on? on that, that that tour divide? Yep. And even then the idea was not about, oh, let’s make a business to do this. The idea was about trying to get better gear than I had, take it a step further, be able to ride with some friends. But inevitably, you you start to go down a road and you learn a few things and you get more ideas and you learn a few more things. And it was really a two and a half year process of exploring different ideas.

Writing, testing different ideas. And

until in 2014, we opened our doors.

Carlton Reid 21:08
So who’s we?

Tori Fahey 21:11
So the business is owned and operated by me and my husband.

Carlton Reid 21:16
What’s your husband called?

Tori Fahey 21:19
My husband’s name is Pierre.

Carlton Reid 21:21
Tell me about your honeymoon then. And so you were touring together? Yeah.

Tori Fahey 21:25
For our honeymoon, we went to Iran. We took a bought a one way flight to Baku in Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan road westward toward Georgia. And I’ve Kasia and then so through Georgia and spent another two months in Iran

slightly unconventional idea of a honeymoon but it worked really well for us and it was also a good moment. This was in 2015. So

it was a good moment to tell him do some really close up product testing.

Carlton Reid 22:00
product testing on your honeymoon, okay. Now, so that was that was while the company has already been going. So the you got married. And the company’s been going for a year at this point, effectively a year and a half.

Tori Fahey 22:15
I mean there was a when you say going, that means

open for business. Really there were a couple of years of work that went into it before opening. By 2015, though we had our first full time employee, so we were very lucky to that our first full time employee was exceptionally competent and helpful. So he basically kept things going while we went from one internet point to another and checked in with the business while we were out.

Carlton Reid 22:50
So tell us about the growth. But tell us about the progression of the business since since foundation through your honeymoon and and today

Tori Fahey 23:00
Sure, it’s interesting that one of the first words that you said there was growth, because it’s a word that gets used a lot when talking about how a business develops or how a brand develops. And I think we do things a little bit differently, largely because of how this came about in the first place that it wasn’t about

making a business or making a job for ourselves. It was about a need to that we had as as writers, and so the progression of the business effectively at the start was just my husband and I.

working within the resources we had bring in some outside resources from time to time to help us unlock

a few doors or to to understand new spaces better. We hired our first full time employee in 2015 and have slowly been

built the team and transition from a company that basically transitioned from making stuff to a company that makes stuff, which is a

big transformation. For a small team like ours, we’re a team of 15. Now,

a third of that is strictly focus on product. And we have a full sample room, we do rapid prototyping, and how we

we’re constantly working on new ideas and testing different ways that we can do the things that we do better. Another third is around service and community. And then the rest of us just make it fill in the rest of the gaps, which are a lot.

We’ve, the team has grown by necessity and also by interest. The more things we do, the more things we discover,

the more resources we need, but I think we’re finally at a spot where

We’re capable to pursue just about any idea that we have, in a way that is exciting. And we feel we have the knowledge to do it. How we’ve held the rest of the business has developed like the the product range. Other things that we do as a business, like our community involvement, the content that we create, these have all how we thought about this is less about growing the business, or developing the business and more about what is our role? Why are we here? What can we add to the community?

We think about what we do something beyond physical product. When we think about what we do as a that we’re members of the community effectively, where do we want as writers beyond physical product, it takes much more than a physical product to make something accessible or fun. You need a whole infrastructure and ecosystem to make that work and that means creating knowledge.

creating and sharing knowledge, storytelling and inspiration, and creating the environment around the physical products that we develop

to really help each of us get more out of the experience.

That’s a very long path around to your question, but is that what you were looking for?

Carlton Reid 26:22
Oh, well, that’s totally up to you. You’ve got to tell me exactly how you you’re doing it from your point of view. So

advertising, are you how are you getting out to people? How are you telling people that Apidura exists?

Tori Fahey 26:36
Um, that’s a good question. Again, this is something that we have

a slightly unconventional approach to. We don’t do conventional advertising.

Because this isn’t about building an empire. This isn’t about

having to grow a certain amount each year or be a certain size.

So for us how to reach people, we would rather build the community and support community organisers like TCR or transatlantic way or the adventure syndicate.

We’d rather put what resources we do have into community building like that, rather than giving it to Facebook or Google and trying to push impulse buying. So advertising money out of said originally would have been well, you know, print advertising, but you’re just saying you don’t even do Facebook or Google, you’re driving traffic that way you’re driving traffic by,

in effect being out there in the rider community. Yes, because I think we try to take our our business decisions in the same way that we would want

other businesses to do as consumers. So my view on advertising is that the world is extremely noisy.

I don’t want to be another brand filling that space, whether it’s on the internet oriented magazine, I see enough advertisements, and I don’t care for it as a consumer. But I do care about when I’m thinking about buying something, I do care about what my neighbour says, or someone I trust, word of mouth is essential for us. So which means that we have to have a very good product to back it up. But ultimately, that’s going to help us sell to the people who are going to use our product. And it’s going to make sure that people are making purchasing decisions for the right reason, not because they saw an advertisement or read something, they are buying it because they know what they’re getting into. And this is something that is going to improve their experience for us because we’re not growth driven, or allowing those sorts of quantitative targets to guide our decisions.

We were

not pursuing an impulse purchase, we have no interest to

convince someone to buy our product only to have it sit and collect dust on a shelf. There’s enough crap in the world. We are about building quality gear to help people do the things that they love. And there are enough people out there who share our values and our mindset

that we we can make it work. So we are content with that and not looking to to take all of the pie for the sake of it or to

Carlton Reid 29:37
to try to push product on people who don’t need it. And then you use ambassadors so so people who are using your product anyway, but doing it

at the extreme level and the fastest level so people who are pretty good at riding bikes, it will it true. The what’s interesting about our ambassador group is one

Tori Fahey 30:00
It’s not most of them came in as customers first. And we have seen in them

qualities that fit well with what we are trying to promote. Part of that is

performance oriented. Of course, it’s nice to see the boundaries of human achievement. But it’s not only about that i don’t i don’t racing is not for everyone. I don’t think that that’s the only thing that matters. We also support writers who are

community building, and writers who are exploring other frontiers, such as,

maybe it’s new spaces or new,

new places to ride new ways to bring other people into the sport. The adventure syndicate is a good example of this. That’s although Jenny and Lee who run the organisation are very high calibre athletes.

They are really community building and bringing young women into the sport and opening their eyes to the possibilities and the empowerment that you get from riding a bike.

Carlton Reid 31:10
So, of course, people can go to and can see your stuff. But just describe your range. So let’s have the oral treatment of you selling your range what what are your elevator pitch if you’re if you’re in Dragon’s Den or whatever, trying to raise investment if indeed you ever were because you don’t need to, because that growth thing.

Tori Fahey 31:33
Just telling me about the product, I’m sure so you’re correct that I don’t really have an elevator pitch because we have not raised external capital.

And it’s not something that I we spent a lot of time doing to, to sell the business in this way or so, what we do in this way, and our product range is exceptionally focused. When we think about introducing a new product it needs

To meet a number of criteria, not just being an exceptional product, it needs to add value in some way

to the bike packing or carry community. We’ve got three ranges, three core ranges by country, which is effectively our original lineup, but it has evolved over the last four years.

It’s targeted predominantly at off road cycling

and, and more recreational riding.

The expedition series which is a welded product, we were actually the first brand to introduce a fully welded, fully waterproof bike packing system.

We showed it first in euro bike in 2015, but released it in early 2016. That’s basically for anyone doing long distances, all weather, any conditions, sort of writing and people who need extra capacity, who might be crossing the continent or

Going for any sort of extended trip. And we have a racing series, which is targeted at faster rides audax as well, but people who are travelling in a compact way where every ground matters and don’t need the additional capacity, but just one, they still need to carry something but in a very light and streamlined way. We do have a few other products including we did a collaboration with Rafa back in 2016. Those are sold out now. But we’ve done a few

other products outside of those core ranges, but those are our main products.

Carlton Reid 33:38
Does it pique your interest or annoy you when people are mixing and matching between brands? Or do you think that’s absolutely what people should be doing so they should have an aperture this and they should have another brand for this or what’s your thinking there?

Tori Fahey 33:52
You know, I should probably be bothered by it. But what I think it’s just good if people get out

When people mix and match is actually a learning opportunity for us because we can see where we may not be meeting their needs precisely. And it gives us a reason to think about whether there’s room for improvement on the products that we make, or whether we can think differently about a new product to better suits the needs of the market. So, at the end of the day, whether whether someone’s using our gear or someone else’s gear or a mix of the two, it I think the best thing is that they’re just getting out and riding and enjoying the bike in this way.

Carlton Reid 34:38
I’m going to break in here for a wee bit of a commercial break, first with my co host, David, and then I’ve got an offer for those of you with an American or Canadian mailing address.

David Bernstein 34:50
Hey, Carlton, thanks so much. And it’s it’s always my pleasure to talk about our advertiser. This is a longtime loyal advertiser, you all know who I’m talking about. It’s

Jenson, USA at I’ve been telling you for years now years that Jenson is the place where you can get a great selection of every kind of product that you need for your cycling lifestyle at amazing prices and what really sets them apart. Because of course, there’s lots of online retailers out there. But what really sets them apart is their unbelievable support. When you call and you’ve got a question about something, you’ll end up talking to one of their gear advisors and these are cyclists. I’ve been there I’ve seen it. These are folks who who ride their bikes to and from work. These are folks who ride at lunch who go out on group rides after work because they just enjoy cycling so much. And and so you know that when you call, you’ll be talking to somebody who has knowledge of the products that you’re calling about. If you’re looking for a new bike, whether it’s a mountain bike, a road bike, a gravel bike, a fat bike, what are you looking for? Go ahead and check them out. Jenson USA

They are the place where you will find everything you need for your cycling lifestyle. It’s spokesmen. We thank them so much for their support and we thank you for supporting Jenson, USA. All right, Carlton, let’s get back to the show.

Carlton Reid 36:16
Thanks, David. And here’s that offer I was talking about. One lucky listener will get sent a 500 gramme zipper pouch of Sport Suds detergent, and one Sport Suds washing machine cleaner. All those who enter the competition will also get a 25% of voucher for spending on which delivers to the US and Canada only, so you’ll need an address in one of those fine countries. To enter go to the show notes for this episode of the spokesmen podcast it show number 240 and fill in the form. Sport Suds, for those of you who don’t know, is a specialist detergent for athletic gear.

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be your chance of grabbing some Sport Suds or definitely getting a 25% voucher, go to the hyphen. let’s get back to the show and Tori Fahey of Apidura.

Tori Fahey 38:08
We assemble in China. We do all our of our design, prototyping and testing

out of London and then with ambassadors worldwide, and we sourced materials globally. Basically, our approach on the manufacturing side was that quality was essential there, there was no question that quality had to be there. This was something you relied on in the wilderness. It was something that needed to meet the same standard as you had with the rest of your cycling equipment. And in the two and a half years that we spent

working on our initial designs and thinking about production, we realised that there were really four things to focus on to meet the quality standards that we needed. The The first was materials, you can’t have a good product if you don’t put good materials in there.

Another was machines and technology, making sure you had the right equipment and environments to to produce to a high standard with the high quality materials you have people in process having very skilled people and the right processes in place to, to make sure that there were checks and

the right system in place to ensure quality and then design. So we chose where could we add the most value, and it was definitely on the design side, we could bring in insights as a user and inform the design that way. And then work with very, very carefully selected partners to fill in the rest and to support and to build around the design effectively. So on the material side, we sourced around the world as I said, because it’s very

It’s almost impossible to find everything that you need in a single place if you are truly committed to having the highest quality

a through the full supply chain assembly. For us, we wanted to be able to bring in different production technologies and leverage some of the work that has been done over the last decades in other sports, in men in mountaineering in luggage. And that meant going to a an assembly centre, where there were there was access to different equipment and the we had the ability to

move around as new technologies become available, and also the ability to integrate different types of technology. And also, people experience matters. For us, China was a good choice because there’s a very deep

labour pool of very experienced and skilled

machinists, both in stitching, welding,

and other technologies. And there’s also the process in place. So we spent a lot of time there. And but we also communicate with them regularly when we are not there in person.

Carlton Reid 41:17
And China’s also somewhere you can cycle.

Tori Fahey 41:20
It is. I haven’t done cycling in western China or in eastern China yet, but I have cycled in western China. And I was watching your son’s videos

on his on his ride back from

the Giant factory. So he’ll have some good stories to tell from that experience is changing fast, that’s for sure.

Carlton Reid 41:42
Yeah, we’re kind of glad he’s out of China now to tell the truth because of what’s happening in Hong Kong and stuff. And he’s now to Kazakhstan and he’s heading towards the Pamir highway. Is that have you done that one before?

Tori Fahey 41:56
I haven’t done the time years when I was in the general

region, a road the Karakoram Highway up through northern Pakistan, and into western China. So, but panniers is definitely on the list of things to do. Looks unbelievable.

Carlton Reid 42:13
It does seem to be one of those highways that an awful lot of touring cyclists head full. It’s like on the bucket list, isn’t it? Yes, I think it’s exceptionally challenging, but the sort of place that really

Tori Fahey 42:29
lets you think about what it’s about, it’s not the sort of place that you can put your head down and go for speed. It’s a place for reflection and understanding all of like, why you’re there. And what there is in the experience beyond the on the bike,

I hope Joshua’s rack holds up on the road out there.

Carlton Reid 42:55
I am slightly worried because when I toured, I did do old school. So I did have

racks and bags were This is in the 1980s. And he’s going absolutely the the bike packing route. He’s going incredibly light.

Way to light, I think, especially for where he’s going now, where you almost need to, to carry spares almost everything on the bike because it has potential breakages. So we are worried now that he is doing that particular route. But there’s just an awful lot of information on the web now. So you can actually you can almost do a google zoom through of the route.

So that you know, when I was doing my my cycle touring there was done it that you were you were literally going out there and not doing it for the first time. But there wasn’t much information out there for cycle tours back then. Whereas now, people have been doing this and there’s all the photographs and the videos and you can access a lot of so you can you can experience a lot of this before you actually get out there on your bike. Yes, I think it’s

like enormously

Tori Fahey 44:00
easier now than it was even 10 years ago, but certainly 20, 30 years ago, when you didn’t have as much information and like really up to date and to the day, and also to see cyclists, other cyclists out there, I think there are more actual resources along the road. At the same time, I think

there’s also another thing that makes it easier a bit easier now is a mindset and a realisation that you don’t actually you may not be able to find a, a fancy bike shop in rural Kazakhstan, but you will find people who are happy to help and and if you’re open to it, and, and willing to connect with people, and you’re also open to thinking about how your own bike works, and what can work. There’s a lot of ways you can get by a good example of this is even from earlier on in your son’s trip when his North Face bag fell apart.

Actually you can make it work.

You just need to be a bit inventive and wrap a few things around. And it’s not, it’s perhaps not the setup that you would set out with. But there’s always a way and being willing to to think creatively and being open to what’s in front of you. They you can always find a way.

Carlton Reid 45:26
What’s also cute from a parent’s point of view is being able to talk to him so when I did two years away, and my parents would have got a postcard if they were lucky, and they might have got like twice a year a phone call. Now we feel incredibly

out of it if we don’t hear from our son and actually physically see him on a on a Skype type call or FaceTime call like every two to three days. So he is somewhere incredibly exotic, yet at the same time when he gets a Wi Fi connection.

We can talk to him. So again, that is sad is so different from when I was touring and how interconnected The world is and how small the world is, even though he’s, you know, three months away of hard pedalling. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I wonder what gets lost in the experience as well though, if you never quite feel lost or far from home, I, as a parent, I can certainly relate to

Tori Fahey 46:27
how it might feel to not hear from your child for a period of time. And but I think there’s also some kind of beautiful experience from really disconnecting and it’s if you can’t do that in the Gobi Desert, then there are very few places where you can do that now.

Carlton Reid 46:48
Mm hmm. Well, we also feel part of his trip a lot more. I think that’s when he comes back. It won’t be a case of Oh, tell us about that time you went to that temple. I will look at this photograph.

Like, oh, we saw the video. So we were kind of almost semi living it. So that’s, that’s a good experience for us that he’s able to share that stuff, for sure.

Tori Fahey 47:10
And it is nice, especially on something like this that can be transformational or really have a profound impact on your life, to be able to share that experience. Even if you are going alone, to later be able to share those experiences and have someone understand at least at a at a high level, what you’ve been through is really nice. It’s even better if you can write together but this is the next best thing.

Carlton Reid 47:38
Well, that’s where he got his bike packing genes from in that we’ve done quite a few trips together from from a very, very early age. So I’m very proud of what he’s doing because it’s a little bit of his mini me, because you know, that’s what I did his age. And I think that is so cool and a very, very sad way. I think

That my, my 21 year old son is doing something that I was doing at his age on a bike and I feel very proud that I’ve kind of made somebody who is out there doing the same things that I love.

Tori Fahey 48:15
That’s awesome. That’s awesome.

Carlton Reid 48:17
But it’s sad at the same time.

So tell me about your your next trips. What have you got planned? So forget about the journey of your company, what have you got journeys, for you personally. But on a bike,

Tori Fahey 48:32
I’m at a slightly different point in my life today than I was in 2015 when we spent a few months in Iran. Following that we had two children. So I have a one and a half year old and a three year old.

Which means we are emerging from this slightly closer to home, and mindsets and starting to think about adventures with family which have as you as you know from your own experience, you have to consider things in a very different

way, you’re not just thinking about yourself.

Unknown Speaker 49:03
We’ve actually been doing a bit of work with Apidura on this and thinking about fat and travelling with family, and what are the different considerations to be able to share experiences

when you have to consider others in the experience,

we are still working on

adventures outside of the UK, but for the moment,

it’s really things that are close to home. And we’re just starting to get back on the bike with the little ones.

Carlton Reid 49:31
So the kind of the Josie Do you kind of approach or be just take them with you? And you have a trailer on the back? You’ve got a burly trailer or whatever. And they just come with you and you can go, you can still do incredibly exotic trips.

Tori Fahey 49:46
Absolutely, absolutely. I think you need to think about exotic in a different way, at different ages. But it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything.

Again, like we’re incredibly fortunate. There are

A huge range of bikes and other equipment that make this very accessible. And, and information frankly, which also helps bridge the gap between something that might be a dream and feel reserved for others or another time and make it will be accessible and executable, regardless of your circumstances.

Carlton Reid 50:22
But without revealing too much that potentially is some Apidura kid stuff coming along or family of cycling with family stuff.

Tori Fahey 50:32
In the physical and digital sense, yes.

Carlton Reid 50:35
Okay. Talk about the company where that’s going and even though I said let’s not talk about that, let’s talk about that. So where where is the company going?

Is it a company? Are you are you like a limited company? What How is it set up or your

Tori Fahey 50:49
Yeah, absolutely where we’re registered limited company

as you as you do in the UK, and with a real team. As I mentioned, we’ve got a team of 15

And we’re all thinking about the future and where we’re going.

As I mentioned previously, we have a slightly different mindset in terms of how we think about our goals and the future, it tends to be a bit more qualitative. So, where some companies may think about revenue growth, or, or growth in general, for us, growth is a consequence of doing something well,

and it can afford you opportunities that you may not have when you’re smaller, but in and of itself is not a goal. We look at where we’re going in very qualitative ways. We’re looking for where can we apply

our knowledge and expertise in ways that help people experience the world on a bike and what what meet what needs are not being met by


Tori Fahey 52:00
producers in the industry and what can we do to to improve the state of play, for bike packing or for for anyone

who loves riding a bike and needs to carry something effectively.

It that all sounds a bit vague, but I also need to

protect some of the ideas that we have in the pipeline.

What I can tell you is that

we, we are undertaking a lot of product development across the spectrum of cycling from that country and thinking about moving our country forward to

to audax and people who are out on the road and other types of riders in metropolitan areas who may have carry needs that are not being well met by

as well met by our current products as it could be.

Carlton Reid 52:59

commuter line, potentially

Tori Fahey 53:01

Carlton Reid 53:06
But that would that would absolutely be natural to have that kind of stuff.

Tori Fahey 53:10
That’s I think it’s insane when you when you can stand on the any street corner in any metropolitan area and watch cyclists go by with a rack and panniers, one, like a panier on one side, stuffed full or flapping open and sticking out into the road or a heavy backpack. There’s completely a better way. And so I think there’s a huge amount of room for improvement in this area. And it’s it’s something we know well as cyclists and producers of carry equipment.

Carlton Reid 53:47
Thanks to Tori Fahey of Apidura here. Thanks also to Jenson USA and Sport Suds for supporting the spokesmen podcast. And thanks to you for listening to Episode 240

the show notes, go to for the 239 previous episodes, and to fit in the Sport Suds form

and make sure to subscribe to the show on your favourite podcast catcher for all future episodes. The next show will be an extremely long one, featuring interviews with Palestinian bicycle advocates and a cyclist who rode his bike through Israel and the West Bank to research a stonking great new book. That show will be added in a week or so. Meanwhile, get out there and ride.

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