Tristan Ridley: The Bikepacker Who Turned His Passion into a Business

From Traveling Solo to Coaching Aspiring Bikepackers

Tristan Ridley is not your average traveler. For the past eight years, he has been exploring the world on his bicycle, living off less than $10 a day. What started as a personal adventure has now turned into a thriving business, as Ridley offers coaching services to aspiring bikepackers. His journey has been filled with challenges, life-threatening incidents, and personal growth. Let’s delve into the remarkable story of Tristan Ridley and how he has transformed his passion into a successful career.

A Life-Threatening Incident in Papua New Guinea

Days into his first long-distance trip, Ridley encountered a life-threatening incident in Papua New Guinea. As he crossed a river and approached a group of men, he was warned by locals not to stop. Ignoring their advice, Ridley was confronted by the men, some armed with machetes. Quick thinking and a wave of his hand allowed him to escape unharmed. Undeterred, Ridley continued his journey, with the goal of cycling from Papua New Guinea back to the UK.

Living on $6 a Day

Ridley’s journey as a bikepacker began in 2015, and he has since traveled the lengths of Africa, Asia, Europe, and Oceania. In his early days, he relied on hostels, buses, and trains. Seeking more flexibility, he turned to hitchhiking and camping. Eventually, cycling became his preferred mode of transportation. With a tight budget, Ridley managed to live on just $6 a day during his first year on the road. He budgeted $5,048 for his year-long trip, proving that extensive travel can be achieved with minimal funds.

The Mental Toughness of Solo Travel

Throughout his travels, Ridley has mostly journeyed alone. This solo experience has made him mentally tough, as he has faced road accidents and visa troubles. Ridley believes that traveling solo has immense value for personal growth. It has taught him how to improvise, handle pressure, and interact with people. In terms of security, Ridley relies on his personal skills and judgment rather than relying on weapons. He finds that forming accurate judgments and trusting his instincts are his first line of defense.

Turning Passion into a Business

As Ridley spent more time on the road, he received numerous requests for advice from aspiring bikepackers. Feeling overwhelmed, he decided to start a coaching service to help others plan routes and purchase the right equipment. His YouTube channel, where he shares videos of his rides, gained popularity during the pandemic. Today, he has 19,000 subscribers and offers valuable insights on packing and gear advice. While Ridley did not disclose his annual earnings, he works primarily to cover his costs and support his lifestyle.

Tristan Ridley’s journey as a bikepacker is nothing short of extraordinary. From surviving life-threatening incidents to traveling on a shoestring budget, he has experienced the highs and lows of long-distance cycling. His transformation from a solo traveler to a successful coach showcases the power of turning one’s passion into a business. As Ridley continues his travels, he prioritizes personal growth, slower travel, and companionship on the road. His story serves as an inspiration for those seeking unconventional paths and the fulfillment that comes with pursuing one’s dreams.

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