ABOUT

The Alps Divide Project

We are Katie and Lee, avid bikepackers, mountain professionals and passionate about travel. We are incredibly fortunate to have explored some of the most stunning, wild and remote corners of the planet. However, we are always blown away by the jaw-dropping beauty of the Alps when we return home. The spectacular landscapes, picturesque villages, speciality food, remarkable history and abundant wildlife, can rival that of anywhere else on Earth.

 

For both work and pleasure, we have travelled the western Alps extensively, yet it was only during the lockdown of spring 2020 that we realised we couldn’t find quite what we were looking for. We had ridden the Route de Grande Alps, a paved route from Lake Geneva to the Med, taking in the highest road passes of the French Alps. We had hiked the GR5, a long-distance hiking trail also from Lake Geneva to the Med. But we were looking for something in-between. We wanted to stay off the busy road cols, but have a journey that is considerably more ‘rideable’ than the GR5 would be, and so the route creation began.

 

After 3 years of exploring many of the gravel roads, quiet paved lanes and small sections of single-track that connect the dots, we finally had a route we loved and we wanted to make it as accessible to as many bikepackers as possible. At this point, we planned to create a website for you, the riders, to be able to access the route files.

 

However, before long our passion project grew and we created the Cycling Association Alps Divide; a Non-Profit Sports Association, which aims to build a community of cyclists passionate about bikepacking, and develop bikepacking and gravel cycling in the Alps through events for its members and mentoring newcomers to the community.

 

The Alps Divide Bikepacking route is, and always will be, first and foremost a cycle route for you to tour and bikepack at your leisure. We provide free route files and logistics guide, for those who want to take their time and soak it all in as a TOUR. There are also several variants of the route available, to pick and choose the route that suits you best.

 

But our passion for a good suffer-fest on the bike, being tested physically and mentally to complete challenging routes ahead of the cutoffs, alongside other strong-willed (slightly crazy) ultra-cyclists, will see us organising the Alps Divide ULTRA for the years of 2024, 2025 & 2026.

 

We also understand that ULTRA’s aren’t for everyone, so for 2025 and 2026 we also plan to organise a RALLY. No spot trackers, no deadlines, just a bunch of like-minded people on bikes enjoying the breathtaking scenery, each other’s company, and the sheer joy of pedalling.

The Team

Profile image of Katie-Jane L'Herpiniere

Katie-Jane L'Herpiniere

I’m a British adventure girl living in the French Alps. I have been an avid bikepacker since 2015, when I entered the Transcontinental Bike Race and got bitten by the unsupported ultra bug. I have since gone on to finish the Silk Road Mountain Race 2018, Atlas Mountain Race 2022, Italy Divide 2022, Hellenic Mountain Race 2023 and many other bikepacking events.

 

In addition to bikepacking, I have completed over 30,000km of unsupported human-powered expeditions, including several world firsts, in some of the most remote regions on Earth. From the Sahara Desert to the Arctic Ocean, the Himalayas to the Andes and many places in between.

 

Besides my own expeditions, I have also provided routing, logistical support and project management for other people’s journeys over the years; ranging from world first crossings of Antarctica, record-breaking ocean rows, to route creation for an 18,500km charity cycle.

 

I am also a qualified International Mountain Leader, working predominantly as a multi-day mountain trekking guide in the Alps, on routes such as the Haute Route and the Tour du Mont Blanc.

Katie-Jane

Profile image of Lee Townend

Lee Townend

I have been based in the French Alps for over 20 years working full-time as a professional off-piste ski instructor. Guiding clients not only in the Alps but mountain ranges across the world.

 

When the snow disappears, the bike comes out. Our home is surrounded by the infamous big cols of the Tour de France, which led me to start out as a roady. However, in the past 6 years, I have found a great love for exploring the path less travelled, even if that means carrying and pushing my bike up unrideable terrain in order to explore new pastures and the freedom of quiet remote places!

 

I have successfully completed the Transatlantic Way 2019,  Silk Road Mountain Race 2018, Atlas Mountain Race 2022, Hellenic Mountain Race 2023 and several other events. Of course, many more are on my wish list.

Lee

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