More reasons to mountain bike in Oaxaca, Mexico

The New York Times recently published a fantastic story on the city of Oaxaca; the city and state in which mountain biking in Oaxaca, Mexicowe’re based during our Mexican mountain bike tour.  Oaxaca is truly the culinary jewel in Mexico’s crown, and during our Mexican mountain bike adventure we enjoy food in every kind of cafe and shack, to a very up-market restaurant that successfully brings traditional Oaxacan cooking into the 21st century, with its modern twist on age-old recipes.

We will be heading to Oaxaca in late October and early November for two more tours to sample more fabulous food, mountain biking and of course the colourful ‘Day of the Dead’ (Dia de los muertes) celebrations. This spectacular festival takes place on  2nd November on the second last day of our mountain biking tour in Mexico, and Oaxaca is known as the one of the best places in Mexico to celebrate the Day of the Dead.

To find out more information and experience this culinary mountain bike tour in Mexico for yourself visit our website www.mountainbikeworldwide.com/bike-tours/mexico

The Guardian features our worldwide mountain bike tours

Street riding Nepal styleEach week the Guardian website produces a round up of what’s hot, and what’s not in the travel world, and in their new year’s edition…

H&I Adventures and our new worldwide tours have made the ‘what’s hot’ section!

The picture used in the feature is of our local guide riding deep in the heart of the Mustang region of Nepal in the deepest valley in the world, the Kali Gandaki Valley.

If you have ever dreamed of riding in Nepal, or Mexico, or the Sierra Nevada in Spain

Join us this year!

Meet your mountain bike guide Kevin Henderson

Our mountain bike guides in Scotland are all passionate about mountain biking in this beautiful country. And none more so than Kevin Henderson, who is not only a great guide, but also a genuinely nice person with lots of interesting stories to tell, over a ‘wee dram’ in the evening!

Name: Kevin Henderson
Home town: Abernyte, Perthshire, Scotland
Bikes: Yeti SB66; Kona Big Unit 29er singlespeed
Favourite trails: for chasing down friends, definitely Torridon, Drumguish and Laggan Wolftrax in the Cairngorms National Park
Most known for: composing poetry while riding alone, which often ends ‘wheels up’!

“My first mountain bike was a red one. I got that first bike in the summer of 2004 when I lived on the Carse of Gowrie in Perthshire, and I rode it between the farmers fields, through all the mud I could find. I soon discovered the mountains of Highland Perthshire and big days out exploring in the Cairngorms. Enduro race events followed, and somewhere on this short timeline I began running mountain biking, visual art and literacy clubs for primary school children in association with an Active Schools group.

“Today I still live in Perthshire, but up on a hill now. I ride nearly every day. And while the bike has changed (it’s white, a bit lighter) and I’m a bit better at staying on it (mostly!) my love of riding in Scotland, and in the Highlands in particular, has only got deeper with time.”

Meet our mountain bike guides

We thought it was about time that we introduced you to the team behind our company, so first we shall introduce our mountain bike guide in Scotland, Alex.

Take it away Alex:

Aka ‘ Cheshire cat’

I’m probably not the only one who disputes the claim that mountain biking started in the hills of California, but the real truth is that it began in the early ‘80s in the woods behind my house, a stripped down red shopping bike with the fattest tyres I could fit through the frame.  There began my life long love affair with bikes.  Through my 20s I  went touring for three years – the Middle East, the length and breadth of Africa, the Himalayas; a free agent with my tent and my mountain bike.

I was well in my 30s by the time I discovered the joys of competitive Cross Country racing and succumbed to lycra.  Now it’s my burning passion, and recent results have been getting better – British Veterans Champion in 2009 and 4th in the World Masters Champs.

I ride a lot, and am lucky enough to live in the heart of the rugged West Coast.  From my back door I can ride straight onto the trails, I’m less than an hour from the Cuillins and from Torridon, both with superb natural trails, and a classic Coast-to-Coast starts from right here.  This is my playground, and I am very happy to show you the toys.

Vital statistics:

Name: Alex Glasgow
Home town: Plockton, west coast of Scotland
Bike: Yeti ASR5C
Riding since: early 1980s
Mtb triumphs: British veteran XC champion, and 4th in world 2009
Favourite trails: other than my own backyard; Torridon
Most known for: constantly grinning like a Cheshire cat

Cairngorm mountain bike holiday

Driving down the A9 (main trunk road to the Highlands) on a day like this is not too bad at all. The skies are clMountain biking through the Cairngormsear and the sun is warm.  All along the side of the road and in the hills there are people out walking, cycling and enjoying the Highland summer.  I am on my way to Edinburgh airport to pick up a group of mountain bikers who are joining us for a week of XC mountain biking around the Cairngorms in the heart of the Highlands.

The group I am waiting for is arriving from the south of France and clearly they’re surprised to arrive in Scotland to blue skies and sunshine, as they arrange an impromptu photo call outside the airport terminal.

Soon, we are heading north to the Cairngorms, stopping first at Laggan Wolftrax to build the bikes, grab some lunch and stretch our legs around the fantastic trails, graded from green to double diamond black.  After a few hours of fun, we make tracks to our large holiday home in the heart of the Cairngorms were we spend the week socialising and enjoying amazing trails.  We get settled in and lay claim to our bedrooms before meeting up again in the lounge to have a beer and chat over the week ahead. Dinner tonight is a BBQ consisting of locally-sourced beef to go along with our nice French wine!

Mountain biking in the Cairngorms, ScotlandAfter our first breakfast together we set about fettling with bikes and getting kit prepared for a big day in the Cairngorm hills.  Thanks to the fabulous location of the house, we ride straight from the door most of the week, only needing to pack the car on a couple of occasions.  Most of today is spent diving in and out of the woods, and nipping down hidden snaking singletrack with the guys all shouting directions to each other and saying, ‘We would never have found these trails on our own.’  On returning to the house the BBQ is fired up and the wine is open before their helmets are even off; here we go again!

You would think after two late nights and a full day on the bike I would be waiting around in the morning, but no, they are outside waiting for me!? We set off for the higher tops around the Aviemore area today. We spend the morning working our way up one of the more challenging climbs that summits at an awesome vista where we have lunch before setting about a mouth-watering descent that drops us into the valley and a nice flowing singletrack that takes us back to our base in time for…yes you have guessed it: BBQ and wine!

We decide, the next day, to travel further afield to ride at Golspie, with its long climb and the longest man-made descent in the UK.  We make an early start so that we can get a couple of runs in before lunchtime, and the guys can get a round of golf in during the afternoon.  For our evening meal we stop in at Inverness to have an Italian meal on the banks of the River Ness, before making our way back to Aviemore for the night.

Day 5 is an epic! We decide to leave Aviemore early in the morning with the aim of riding to Braemar which is situatedMountain biking in the Cairngorms, Scotland on the opposite side of the Cairngorm massif, so no mean feat.  With bags packed with enough food to feed an army and, as I later find out, a bottle of red wine for our grand lunch on a Cairngorm hillside, we set off for the day’s adventure.  Apart from sweet singletrack, an awesome descent and a gourmet hillside lunch, there’s nothing out of the ordinary to mention, except don’t leave your bag unattended at any time or you may end up carrying a rock or two to your next destination!

After yesterday’s epic the guys fancy a rest day and a round of golf, so we go for a distillery tour at Dalwhinnie, then drop them at the Aviemore golf course for a round and some food.

On their last day I am determined to get them out on the bike for a couple of hours at Badaguish, and after the first half an hour of moans and groans they settle into their rhythm and enjoy what the local trails have to offer: rocks, roots and challenging climbs – we love it!

So all that’s left to do is pack the bikes and leave the guys to do some present shopping for their family back home.  In the morning the van on the way down to Edinburgh airport is very quiet with a lot of recovering legs and satisfied smiles.

BOOK NOW!

H and I Adventures, Peaty, Danny, and Hans Rey on TV

Mountain bike legends to kick off new Sky Sports cycling series

You’ve read the story, you’ve seen the pictures and the preview video…. now watch the full account of our trip through Torridon and Skye with three mountain bike legends; Steve Peat, Danny MacAskill and Hans Rey.

Sky Sports is launching a new series called Cycle Sports World and the Scotland trip is featuring in the first two episodes.

You’ll get to see exclusive interviews with the three legends as they join us on our week-long Torridon and Skye mountain bike holiday to see why everyone’s raving about mountain biking on Scotland’s rugged west coast.  Follow them as they ride the best trails that we could throw at them, drink local whisky and sit around the camp fire sharing stories in this two part mountain biking extravaganza.

The first instalment will be aired at 19.00hrs on 22nd February on Sky Sports 3

The second instalment will air at 19.00hrs on 1st March on Sky Sports 4.

If you want to follow in their tyre tracks, have a look at our 2011 Torridon and Skye dates and book the best mountain bike holiday of the year!

Original press release here.

Liquid gold and mountain biking in Scotland!

Selection of fantastic malt whiskySince our whisky mountain biking holiday was launched late last year we have had some fantastic reviews from the press and lots of exciting correspondences with companies in the whisky industry.  One of the most interesting companies we have come across is the Master of Malt, and to top it all of a very interesting package landed on my desk the other day with a selection of sample bottles! For my ‘Ahem’ approval 😉

 

Master of Malt is a UK-based independent bottler and whisky retailer with an incredible range of fine whiskies from Scotland, Japan, America, India and even England! The company has been in operation since 1985, and over the years they’ve learnt a thing or two about what makes a great single malt.

Their own is range is quite something, and it includes a selection of single cask whiskies (completely unique, unadulterated whiskies from a single barrel) and single malts from all over Scotland.

We’ve been lucky enough to sample a little assortment from the Master of Malt, and here are our findings…

We’re kicking things off with a “single cask” 12 year old single malt whisky from the Isle of Arran. There’s only one distillery on Arran, and we’ve heard only good things. Now, this whisky has been bottled straight from the barrel, no dilution here, so it’s at a whopping 54.7%!  The aromas are rich and fragrant. More like a fine brandy than a whisky – very distinctive indeed. The taste is overwhelming with malt and fruit notes. It’s sweet and rich and very long in the finish. Master of Malt Arran 12 Year Old £44.95

Back to the mainland for this next whisky, a beautifully dark single malt from a secret distillery in Speyside. Even without the auspicious “30 year old” on the label, you can tell this is a very old whisky just by looking at the liquid in the bottle; it’s so syrupy and treacle like! This is the 2nd edition of Master of Malt Speyside 30 year old £99.95, and, oh my, it’s a beautiful whisky. Aromas of sherry and spices, it tastes like Christmas! This is a really rich, smooth whisky. It’s astonishing. You don’t get to taste a fine spirit like this every day!

The final whisky is another single cask whisky. This time it’s from the Highlands of Scotland (not too far from our base) from a distillery called Tomatin. This 19 year old single cask Scotch from Master of Malt is actually the favourite whisky of comedian Stephen Fry, who says it’s “like ethereal Dundee cake”. And Fry is not the only fan of this delightful single malt; even Jim Murray (renowned whisky critic and writer) has extolled its virtues, rating it with a remarkable 96 out of 100 points in his Whisky Bible – only 1.5 points below the top rated whisky ever! In his tasting notes he describes this stunning dram as “quite simply astounding”. Master of Malt Tomatin 19 Year Old £69.95

All in all it’s a fantastic batch from Master of Malt. You can browse through thousands of whiskies on their site www.masterofmalt.com and even read about new and upcoming releases as well as their own brand of industry-leading knowledge on their well-rated blog www.masterofmalt.com/blog.

So, enjoy tasting some fantastic whisky after a good mountain bike ride! We did!