For the love of the bike!

“It’s more than just a bike, it’s the love of bike, it needs to be something that I can rely upon to take me deep into the mountains and always bring me and my group back home again”

A new bike

Anyone who spends a lot of time on a mountain bike knows exactly what it means for a bike to have personality.

There are days that your beloved steed and you can conquer any mountain, take on descents that would have most mere mortals picking their teeth out from between the dirt and what’s left of their helmet. Then there are the days when staying on your bike seems like a challenge enough.

And don’t pretend you haven’t named your bike, and that a full-blown conversation with your two wheeled friend is a frequent occurrence, the love of bike!

For a lot of us merchants of mud, the time we spend with our bikes involves adventure, near-death experiences and, of course, huge amounts of fun. It would be impossible not to develop a bond with our trusty rolling companions after all that we go through together.

As guides we ask a huge amount from our bikes, and, as guides in Scotland we demand even more! Our job often see us riding countless mountain kilometres in weather varying from horizontal rain to blistering sunshine during the summer months. Our bikes, and by extension ourselves, certainly see a lot, and take a battering from the elements.

The old bike

My trusty Yeti 575 has been no exception, together we have climbed mountains through snow, hail, rain and shine. We’ve ridden into sunsets and sunrises and had some of the best days I can remember, as well as encountering some close shaves. My bright yellow workhorse and I have taken all that has been thrown at us and, as a result, grown closer together.

But as the paint and chrome have faded, so too have my affections for my trusty 575 and so it has now come time for my bike to be put into retirement. I was surprisingly upset to say goodbye to my bright yellow 575, just like all of my bikes it had become an extension of myself.

The build

So with a a brand new frame and lots of shiny new components, I turned up at my local bike store BaseCamp Bikes to begin the build of my new two-wheeled machine. When it comes to bike shops, Basecamp are one of the finest and the only ones I trust when it comes to all things bike. Together, we spec’d out a racy looking build that matched the sleek new Yeti SB5c frame, currently tucked away in its box.

As anyone who has ridden with me knows, understatement is really not my style! The black carbon beast I had chosen to replace my beloved yellow machine looked the business, but finishing touches were required before I could truly call it my adventure buddy!

Lindsay and Ben talked me through my options and, knowing my riding style and the demands I place on my bike throughout the season, we sketched out the makings of a monster. The Yeti SB5 has become a firm favourite amongst us guides at H+I Adventures, as well as being a force to be reckoned with on the international racing scenes, so it was the perfect choice to replace my 575.

My new steed had to become something more than just a bike, it needed to be something that I could rely upon to take me deep into the mountains and always bring me and my groups back home again safely.

As the boxes of parts mounted up in the workshop the day for the build finally came. Once the components were finally added to the bike, the once lifeless frame took on a character of its own. Of course, it wouldn’t be a suitable companion without some eccentricities! I added some of my signatures, like big tyres, bright green cabling and purple grips to stand out from the other bikes in the rack.

So as the the last bolts were torqued and chain links oiled, it was time to take my new companion out for a test ride.

My 575 and the adventures we’ve shared will always be part of me, but I’m looking forward to getting to know my new trail companion and the many trails ahead – the bruises, the scraped paint and the constantly evolving journey that our bikes take us on.

Thanks to our guide Chris Gibbs for his thoughts on what makes the perfect mountain bike