No Wrong Season

To get your winter wheels in motion… This past February, Sven cycled from Bonn (Germany) to Vienna (Austria). Not the ideal season for bikepacking, but Sven decided it was better to ride in bad conditions than not ride at all…

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Words, film and photos by Sven Garbe

At the time of this trip, I was a university student. But since I was a child I had the dream to become a pilot. The chance to make the dream a reality finally came about and I had to get to Vienna in order to sign the contract for my training. So I quit my job, left university and made the proper transition… I rode there by bike. As I had one month of free time, I didn’t take the direct route, but some detours, in order to really use my days wisely. I actually planned to ride mostly gravel roads, but I underestimated the amount of snow and ice, so I had to switch to bike routes and paved roads in many places. It was still an adventure…

  • No Wrong Season, bikepacking Germany in winter
  • No Wrong Season, bikepacking Germany in winter

No Wrong Season, bikepacking Germany in winter

Keeping Warm

Mountain Equipment Compressor Hooded Jacket

An insulated jacket was absolutely necessary this particular trip. I wore it while camping and when exploring cities in between. In addition to being super warm and useful, it looks good while wearing it casually on off days as well.

Base Layers

My hooded Under Armor Cold Gear sweater and Buff helped me quickly adjust the temperature on/around my head and neck. The hood is thin enough to wear underneath the helmet. And the Buff was great while riding, as well as around my mouth and nose when sleeping outside. As a matter of fact, I wear that sweater every time I go bikepacking. Combined with another Under Armor Cold Gear longsleeve and T-shirt, I kept pretty warm.

Fox Racing Sidewinder Polar Gloves

They were sufficent most of the time, but when it got really cold, I had to wear additional thin gloves underneath.

On My Feet

On this ride I was wearing my everyday Shimano SPD Shoes but I installed wool insoles and wore merino socks. This helped a little, but during the coldest days I dismounted my bike every few kilometers and started pushing, just to get the blood circulating.

Sven Garbe

About Sven Garbe

You can see Sven’s previous film, Bikepacking Trans Germany, here. Or, for more you can follow Sven on Instagram @cyclingkrauts.

  • Just what I needed to watch coming in to winter over here in BC. Great video Sven!

  • Medium Rick


  • Chris Rock

    Fantastic vid Sven! Super inspirational and hope we can see more videos from you. A hardy thanks

  • What brand of dry bag did you use? And what other pieces of kit did you use for the trip? Other than the top tube bag and the frame bag of course!

  • jackseph

    Lovely video

  • Wil

    Such a good video, really well done! Bin off the pilot idea and do this full time!

  • Tom Anderson

    Agree! Good motivation to stay outdoors

  • Sven Achi

    Thanks! Too late, I’m already in Arizona, doing my first flying lessons. :D

  • Sven Achi

    Thanks, I appreciate it! Guess what, the next ist about to come in just a few days!

  • Sven Achi

    The dry bag was an old Ortlieb drybag I found in my parent’s basement, it worked flawlessy. You can check out the gear list for this video:
    It was almost the same, apart from the drybag instead of seatbag, additional clothing for the cold temperature and my sleeping bag was the Spark III instead of the Spark I, that I use in summer.

  • I didn’t realize that video was yours as well! I’ll check out the kit list! Thanks!

  • steve

    Love it, motivation for riding in Wisconsin now

  • Weckfors Discovery

    Thanks for a great video. Really inspiring. Today we got the first snow for this winter in the west of Sweden. Time to put on spike tires on my ECR.

  • Greg

    Great trip, awesome video, I love it!

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