Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Behind Big Mountain Adventures.

The way we rolled back in '77.
Growing up in my family, riding bikes was a part of life. My earliest memories of pedalling were on the back of a tandem with custom cranks for my short legs; my dad at the helm and my younger brother in a baby seat hanging off the back. My parents ran their first cycling trip in 1972 in England and Wales and photos from those days show plastic hockey helmets and afros, cut-off jeans and white cotton socks pulled up high. Next year, their company, Cycleventures Bicycle Tours will celebrate 40 years of running European bike trips, they were pioneers. Itching to explore, I moved west to Whistler as soon as i could and I hit the mountains on fire. The community of passionate riders inspired me like an artist's first trip to Paris. I could not believe the energy; scores of people were building epic signature trails, creating innovative films, capturing groundbreaking photos and pushing the limits of all things mountain biking. In the summer of 1998 my roomate Paddy Kaye and I hatched up the idea of a new mountain bike event. We called it Joyride and the world's first bikercross, and later slopestyle, was held. We invited the best to Whistler for this first time - Lopes, Chausson, Peat, Gracia who came and never looked back. A few years later our event morphed into Kokannee Crankworx which took off. They even brought the name back this year as Red Bull Joyride with Paddy as the course designer who is now a bike park builder with Joyride Bike Parks which is super cool.

Enamored by the Alps.
Like a teenagers first love, i turned my sights to the Swiss Alps in 2003. I was instantly blown away by the potential; the country was a giant lift-accessed bike park with endless singletrack peppered with cosy mountain huts linked by trains and roads. I could not believe my eyes, almost no one was riding, or if they were, they were rocking fluro tights on fully rigid bikes climbing and descending dirt roads. The trend in Whistler at the time was jeans, heavy freeride bikes and big airs from the local school roof to flat. I labored my big bike in the Alps that summer and returned home with lofty dreams - Big Mountain Adventures was born. My vision was to re-invent guided mountain biking and meld the latest technology with worldclass riding in a seemlessly orchastrated dream-trip; ripping singletrack, a sprinkle of culture, an intimate knowledge of each region and riding style, great cuisine and wine and the very best guides possible. Riders like Joe Schwartz and Wade Simmons joined in to make the experience unreal. Nearly a decade later and Big Mountain offers epic cross-country, all-mountain and DH trips in 14 countries. The adventure continues...

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