The First 10 years of adventure…
Taking some time to reflect on 10 years of mountain bike adventures and marking the occasion with a pretty thing….
Celebrating 10 years of mountain bike adventures
10 years ago this July, we (me, Catherine Shearer and my husband Euan Wilson) ‘opened the doors’ to H+I Adventures, with our first keen mountain bikers joining us on tours of the Scottish Highlands. Looking back on those early days, we realise how ‘wet behind the ears’ we were, with no idea how things would change over the next decade, where we would go, and the effort this would require.
Our decision to expand outside our Highland home was prompted, not just by our love of travel, but also by customers who had ridden with us in Scotland, had an amazing time, and asked us, “Well, where next?”
The world is a varied and wondrous place, and our travels took us to far-flung destinations and unbelievable singletrack, from Canada to Ecuador, Nepal, and so many locations in between. The exceptional guides we met and the riding we found in each of these beautiful countries cemented our ideas and inspired us to share each experience with other like-minded adventurers.
Now, with adventures in 12 destinations around the world, it goes without saying that an international business of our scale cannot be run by just two people. In 2015 my brother (Donald) joined the team and we now have a growing base of 5 staff in our Highland HQ. Alongside our original core of 5 long-serving and much-loved Scottish guides, we also have a team of more than 20 professional, local mountain bike guides spread across the globe, from the rugged and untamed Yukon in the north, to the diverse landscapes of New Zealand in the south.
When politely prompted (cajoled!) to reflect on reaching this exciting milestone, Euan said, “It’s hard to believe that 10 years of mountain bike adventures have gone by already! We’ve worked extremely hard to get to where we are today – probably much harder than we expected to when we started out – but Catherine and I are really proud to have grown the business from very humble beginnings to a truly global adventure organisation with clients and partners in every continent of the world (except Antarctica!), and many more to come.”
“we’ve worked extremely hard to get where we are today – probably much harder than we expected to…”
Above: Views of Scotland, Nepal and our latest adventure to Croatia. Ever changing landscapes but amazing singletrack is always a constant.
Marking the milestone
10 years have flown by, and whilst we’re always looking forward, we still wanted to mark the occasion of our 10th anniversary in some way. After much deliberation we finally arrived at the idea of taking a space in our office and using it to create an artwork; a small memento of where we’ve been.
As soon as we’d made this decision we knew that the right man for the commission was San Diego-based artist Skye Walker.
Skye was the perfect choice because, not only is he a talented and much in-demand artist but, having shared in our Scottish adventures in the past he is also a member of the H+I Adventures Clan who inherently knows what an H+I experience involves.
The process we go through to design and craft each of our mountain bike adventures is a bit of an art form. We wanted Skye to create a piece of art that would reflect everything that we represent as an organisation and international family of adventurers.
“not only is he a talented artist… but he is also a member of the H+I Adventures Clan”
Snapshots of Skye’s process alongside the detail of the finished article.
THE FINISHED PIECE…
The mural that Skye has crafted encapsulates the art in our adventures. It captures the diversity, vibrancy and intricacy of our trips and as you spend time studying the piece little gems of hidden detail begin to emerge. Each represents a discrete detail of a trip or recognises a member of the H+I family, spread across the world.
The way that the mural develops, the more time you spend on it, also reflects how we approach our business. We never rest on our laurels and we’re always trying to improve the service and experiences we offer our International Clan of Adventurers.
As a physical marker of this anniversary, we simply couldn’t be happier with what Skye has designed for us and I know I speak for the entire H+I global team when I say that we’re looking forward with great excitement to the next 10 years of mountain bike adventures!