Trail Unknown is run by Tom Shopland and Hugo van Dorssen, who have gone on mad bike adventures together all over the world in New Zealand, the Himalayas, Asia, Africa and everywhere in between. Trail Unknown is our means to share our love for adventure in the UK.
Trail Unknown's mission is to get more people out enjoying the beautiful wild areas of the UK and inspire an improved level of physical and mental well-being by sharing our passion for mountain biking, nature and adventure. We do this by providing mountain bike adventure trips and outdoor education programmes for schools.
our passion as a solution
We’ve seen firsthand how mountain biking and the outdoors can benefit local communities and the happiness it brings into people’s lives. Let us refer you to that moment when you get down to the bottom of a beautiful, flowy trail, your eyes wide and your giant smile plastered with mud and flies. You feel an indescribable feeling of mystical wizardry excitement flowing in every direction, you know you're stoked and you're looking for the nearest person to high five or to recall a moment of madness with all the necessary tyre on dirt sound effects and wild hand gestures. And after a good days ride, there's that easy warm feeling of deep joy, glowing inside as you sit around a crackling camp fire surrounded by like-minded others and serene nature. When life itself is in a beautiful hazy flow of smiles and good memories of when you bounced off a root and nearly clipped that tree but at the last minute just let the bike hang sideways like it was all on purpose. These are the feelings that we are packaging and selling. Because everyone needs more of it, especially in England, as is sadly reflected in the research on the deteriorating state of mental and physical health in the UK.
Tom has creativity running through his veins, get him hooked on an idea and he will turn it into the ultimate adventure and bring along anyone else keen for the ride. Tom received a 1st Class BSc from Exeter University in Computer Science and Business Management. The studies obviously weren't enough for young Tom as he was also keenly involved in his mountain biking, longboarding, rugby league, the entrepreneur society and co-founded Zooqie.com, an online marketplace for independent clothing brands. After graduating, Tom took a flight over to Australia where he wrote a successful $1million grant funding application for a simulated design tool called CADwalk and following this took time to travel across Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific islands, through Asia and up to his last point of call in the Himalayas where his ultimate mountain bike adventure ended up in creating a website for a local Nepalese bike guide, inspiring the spark for Trail Unknown. Tom also works part time for Mocean, organising outdoor trips for corporate clients like Airbus, Hewlett Packard and Deloitte.
Hugo has a passion for adventure and is always looking for new places to explore, diving head first into new cultures, beautiful scenery and new trails. Get his entrepreneurial spark going and Hugo will turn any new idea into reality. Hugo received a 2:1 BSc degree from Exeter University in Physical Geography. At University, Hugo spent his time playing rugby league, riding his bike and working on trail projects with the local forestry commission. Hugo loves a fast pace and challenging industry, after finishing University he went on to work for an online bike shop where he learnt key mechanic skills and made a number of key connections with the mountain bike industry. After this he travelled over to New Zealand where he worked in Forestry logistics and successfully helped improved the inefficiency issues within the local haulage industry. Here he learned all about the co-existence between a successful mountain bike community and a profitable yet sustainable forestry industry. After a short stint contracting in Ireland Hugo decided to head home to the UK to start up a business!