If you’re a TikTok-er or active on other social media, you may well have seen videos of Sigrid, a delightful feline passenger being ridden around on her owner’s bikes. Sigrid, a deaf Norwegian Forest cat, and her owner, Travis Nelson, have been taking the internet by storm over the last few years since Nelson decided to take her for a ride during Covid. Why is this relevant to ebiketips, you might ask. Well, they’ve recently been given a Volt Alpine electric mountain bike to trial, so we checked in on them to see how they were getting on.
The Volt Alpine is a rear hub motor powered hardtail. With a torque sensor and 504Wh battery, it's pretty good value - good enough, in fact, to have landed a place on our guide to the best electric bikes under £3,000.
Travis and Sigrid have been recording their adventures off-road for their TikTok account, and it’s a far cry from what they've done on their usual bike – a fixed gear track bike built for street riding.
Nelson said: “Volt Bikes were kind enough to let us borrow one of their Alpine electric mountain bikes so we could get out on some trails and do some different kinds of riding that we couldn't normally do. I'm sure you can imagine the huge difference between an ultra stiff track bike and an electric mountain bike. We had a great time with it.”
Hissing our way through Liverpool and Edinburgh. 😺🐕🐩🐶— Travis and Sigrid (@sigirides) September 14, 2023
.#gatos #michis #kissa #pishi #pusa #kot #kit #chat #kedi #katze #gatto #katt #貓 #ネコ #고양이 #kucing #kotek #cats #cat #catlife #pets #catoftheday #sigrid #london #bike #bikelife #fixedgear #trackbikes #hiss pic.twitter.com/0i3XxxKUSp
Not only is the bike itself vastly different, but the riding experience is too. Riding through busy streets and urban sprawl requires a very different set of skills to riding off-road. Not to mention, keeping Sigrid comfortable when the terrain gets a bit bumpy.
“This is the first bike I've ridden that has multiple gears in quite a long time," said Nelson. "That alone is quite a change - but then you throw the e-bike assistance on top of that and it becomes such a relaxing, fun experience.
“There's definitely a big difference in the kind of power you need to put down when you're riding in the city compared to trail riding, and the extra assist was a huge help on the short steep hills we encountered. And I think Sigrid really enjoyed the suspension.”
Sigrid travels in a unique setup, in a specially designed pet basket which attaches to the bars of Travis’s bike. She even occasionally wears goggles specifically designed for pets - ones which we have on good authority also work with dogs.
“The basket is a Doggy Shopper by Klickfix Rixen & Kaul," said Nelson. "They were the first sponsor we ever had and sent us their top-of-the-line basket to replace my cheap Amazon one. Over the past couple years I've customized it quite a bit to suit our particular needs.”
While riding his bike with Sigrid is a far cry from his work as a software engineer, Travis has been a cyclist in some form for his entire life.
“I've been cycling all my life... I grew up watching movies like Rad (1986) and tore around town on my own GT BMX bike. I've done a little mountain biking, plenty of road cycling, and I used to do a 20-mile commute to work. The last 18 years or so I've ridden almost exclusively fixed gear.”
Of course, riding around with a cat is bound to get attention – particularly one as fluffy and nonplussed about her environment as Sigrid. But Travis has been using their profile for good, and works on a number of campaigns from increasing diversity in cycling to charities working to end hunger.
“The very first campaign we worked on was for the UCI's World Bicycle Day celebration, to help show how diverse cycling can be. More recently, we visited the Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children and introduced the kids to Sigrid, and we're now working on a series of videos with Smiley Movement to promote various charities.