#ProjectMorocco – Marrakesh to London by bike!

For those of you who may not know me, my name is Lawrence Carpenter. I’m a Ribble Ambassador and an ex-professional bike racer. These days, I spend all of my time documenting my cycling adventures for my YouTube Channel. My mate Harry Mac is a fellow Londoner and adventurer. Together we sat down at a cafe one spring morning and came up with something pretty epic – #ProjectMorocco.

Our idea was to embark on an epic bike packing adventure over a number of weeks. It would involve carrying everything that we needed to be totally self-sufficient. This would include camping equipment, something I had never done before. Harry, on the other hand, was an experienced veteran, having ridden home from Spain a few years back. However, despite having been on many bike-packing adventures myself, I had never actually camped.

#ProjectMorocco: Harry leads the way towards the daunting climb of North Africa’s highest peak -Toubkal.

The initial plan for #ProjectMorocco was to start in Spain, the most southerly point, and ride home – to London. I knew all along that I wouldn’t have the time to do the full journey. However, Harry had every intention of doing exactly that, no matter how long it took (or how much it cost). Unfortunately, the current regulations for entering France are rather complicated. It was therefore decided to avoid the complications that entry to France posed.

So we thought, instead of starting in Spain, why not head even further south. To say, Africa? Marrakesh seemed like the perfect location to start from. It offered cheap flights from the UK and a convenient ferry connection back to Spain across the Straits of Gibraltar. From where we could continue our journey north.

Having scoped out the route in advance, I knew I needed something that offered more versatility than my Endurance SL R road bike. So I decided to try out another bike, and the awesome people at Ribble very kindly set me up with their Gravel SL.

The Adventure Explorer

The carbon option in their gravel range, the Gravel SL is equipped with a veritable cornucopia of luggage mounts. It was the perfect vehicle for attaching all of the gear that I’d need to carry on my self-sustained bikepacking adventure.

Upon arriving in Morocco, our plans had to be changed once more. We realised that due to Covid restrictions the ferry from Tangier to Spain was currently out of operation. As a result, the only way out of the country was by air. We planned a massive 1,200km loop that took in the Atlas Mountains, before dropping down into the Sahara Desert. It was then decided that heading North towards the city of Fez and looping back via the coastal town of Casablanca would be our best bet. We would then fly across to Spain to continue our journey onwards. Little did we know the carnage that would then ensue!

#ProjectMorocco: A fully loaded Gravel SL soaring above Morocco’s Toubkal National Park.

I documented each of the 10 legs of our journey on my YouTube channel. Please do feel free to come along and join us to experience our highs and many lows! Maybe it’s something you’re keen to explore, give it a go! Or perhaps you are simply interested in finding out more about this epic adventure.

Check out the full selection of videos on Lawrence’s YouTube channels!

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Looking to take your rides off-road? CX and gravel bikes offer many of the same features so why should you choose one over the other? Check out our blog for the full lowdown of the key differences.

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