No Limits, Just The Open Road
Nature lover. Gravel Cyclist.
Breaking out of the box
Some people have a natural affinity for one particular sport. They follow a singular path to hone their skills and excel in their field. Other people take a more eclectic approach. Gravel cyclist Paul Ogier, it’s fair to say, has tried (and excelled at!) many sports. From the snow-capped peaks of his early alpine skiing years to literally 60 meters below the surface of the sea as a free diver. Paul is not a man that ever walks away from a physical challenge.
Swimming was one of the first sports that Paul was in serious training for, but he soon realized that the confines of an indoor setting were not for him. It felt for him as though he was trapped inside a series of squares. The box shape of the pool and the towel and the measured distances made him realize that outdoors is where he belongs.
For all, his many sporting achievements, he describes himself first and foremost as a nature lover. Getting on his bike is his way to go exploring the dirt roads and simply the fastest way to go from the city into the wild. Knowing when to stop is as important to Paul as to how fast or how far you can go. Taking the time to really appreciate the landscape that you are passing through is a huge part of the reason that he loves gravel cycling. Being able to stop and marvel at the unexpected wildlife that crosses his path or to just notice the clear flow of the water in a river rather than just riding over the bridge are those moments that he says linger in the memory forever.
It’s about collecting memories, often just with my eyes rather than with a camera, being there and present.”
Paul is French but lives and works in Oslo, commuting across the city each day on his bike, throwing it over his shoulder if there is a set of steps that gets in the way. Cycling, he believes, has to become the major form of transport for all cities. He encourages everyone to change their commute to a two-wheeled one if they can, and who can argue against something that improves the health of humans and the planet?
For me, if I was a mayor of a city, I would build big parking around the airport and just close every road into the city to cars. I would create this commuting moment, really optimizing cycling for fun, and for the environment.”
Gravel cycling is not just about the physical challenge, for Paul it’s also about being with his crew out on the road, it’s about those moments when you all head out together, bikes primed, helmets on, neckwear in place, ready to adjust to the whatever challenges the road ahead and the weather bring. He loves what he calls the ‘social competition´ of riding with his friends, where the rhythm moves naturally between joking together or companionable silence.
Paul’s gravel cycling crew have a motto that they live by ‘RIDE EVERYWHERE’ that they apply every day, but it’s much more than a motto. Cycling for Paul is about crossing boundaries, about going deep on a journey of discovery. His dream bike trip would be to go from one side of a country to another or, even better, an entire continent, using his bike to encounter fresh cultures and perspectives.
There are almost no rules in gravel cycling. There is no traffic light. There is no stop. You can go, everywhere. No limits, just the open road. And yeah. It's really freedom.”
A nature lover who loves to challenge himself but knows when to stop and take in the joy and wonder of the surrounding landscape, journeys that other people might find grueling are playtime for Paul. It’s that unique combination of fearless, competitive focus and pure ‘joie de vivre´ that makes Paul a true original.