Chrissa is from Greece, and has been living and working in Munich, where I first met her. She rides a small first generation turquoise Prospector and has taken it on adventures all over the world. We are excited to share her story and some photos from her trips as our first Featured Rider. Photo credit: Ryan Wilson @rmdub
Somewhere while crossing the Andes on my Genesis with the most classic of bike touring setups I started thinking I was maybe on the wrong bike. One can totally tour on any bike and I have crossed paths with many people who have DIYed, but the more I tour the more I believe that the best places are not the easiest to be reached and you can only get the pain-pleasure ratio right on the right bike / setup. Pushing on snail-pace through the Bolivian altiplano and then the Atacama desert loaded with 15L of water and 10 days’ worth of food (thanks Ryan, Eileen and Andy) was a somehow enlightening experience. By the moment I had reached the end of the road in Ushuaia, Argentina I had already set my eyes on the Prospector.
Fast-forward a couple of months I was back to a charmingly German routine when I spotted Daniel’s post about coming over to Eurobike. We had e-mailed a couple of times trying to figure out if a small Prospector was the right size of the whole 160 cm of me and so I seized my luck. Before I knew it I had my Prospector hand-delivered by the creator himself! And so a year after having returned back from South America on my 35 mm tires I found myself on 3’’-tires on some proper mountains again, this time in Kyrgyzstan.
No derailleur, no problems! The biggest attraction of the Prospector to me is that it is built around the Rohloff drivetrain. I was suffering multiple derailleur-induced strokes every time my Genesis would fall down (blown by the wind, chewed on by some cow, bit by a dog, crashed by the excited local kid - or the skill-less me) and some more when I would have to get a transport with the bike squeezed between potatoes or thrown on a rooftop. I was tired of having to adjust my derailleur in the middle of nowhere, occasionally having to continue single-speed amidst the Argentinian heat and almost having to keep it cleaner than I was, especially when the terrain would get muddy. The Rohloff was a game-changer! I spent 8 months touring central Asia and Nepal and didn't have a single problem. Plus the granny-looking grip-shifting is a bonus I hadn't thought of before: such a relief for the fingers in low temperatures.
Back to me on the first days of bikepacking in Kyrgyzstan: I was tubeless for the first time ever, riding over rocks I couldn't believe, and going downhill loaded AF without things rattling and falling apart. Even though I had toured the Andes for over 14 months I still remember the excitement of the first days in Kyrgyzstan. It felt like I was discovering bike touring all over again. Bikepacking for me is the ultimate experience of freedom and the sharpest my senses have ever been. Now I can and have indeed gone further, my provisions loaded solid on the bike, with less worries about things going wrong. Only thunderstorms above tree line and the lack of toilet paper (really only above tree line too) are still a nightmare.