Q1. Which MTB trail got you through lockdown?
Succeeding in a 75 kilometre loop which involved large amounts of the eastern gritstone edges has been a long time aspiration, and with not having the ability to go to the Alps and do up lifts, to be bothered to get fit enough to do it was an achievement.
Q2. How did MTBing become part of your life?
For a reason I will never understand I stood in a bicycle shop for the first time in 20 years and spent £500 on a hard tail approximately 18 years ago. Prior to that, rock climbing and bouldering had been my complete and utter devotion; to be fair I was finding it more and more difficult to keep at a certain grade, training just to keep still. Clearly it was time for something new and after the first ride, where I slashed my knee open at the bottom of Blacka, I knew this was the sport for me.
Q3. Where are you dreaming of riding in 2021?
Time to actually ride, I’m a frontline healthcare worker. The ability to use chair lifts and not just the classic areas of Morzine but further afield particularly Andorra.
Q4. Have you ridden more or less this year?
I’ve ridden a lot less, and I’ve worked a whole load more. Crucially my local riding buddies, who are not working in the frontline of the healthcare system, have been incredibly supportive and have always ensured that when I do have the time to ride it’s been great fun. It’s been such a pleasure just to simply get outside with friends and share the passion.
Q5. What would you like to see MTBing become in the next few years? How should it evolve?
There needs to be a rational change in the law regarding the classic footpath versus bridleways debate. One where sustainable footpaths become available to off road cyclists without trashing delicate soft footpaths. As a new user group to the outdoors relatively speaking, we need to be very careful not to paint ourselves as the anarchists of the community and instead regard the outdoors as precious. My greatest fear is if we do not get our own house in order mountain bikers will be consigned to trail centres, and the classic experiences of riding somewhere where you’re not quite sure where you are on a bridleway, in a direction that you not quite sure where it’s pointing, will be lost to both us and future generations of cyclists.