Hugo and I just ran our FIRST guided mountain bike weekend in Exmoor and it totally rocked! We had a group of nine mountain bikers trialing 'The Exmoor Adventure', a two day two night adventure that included local mountain bike guiding, our own South African chef + all meals included, glamping in our mega bell tents, slacklining, wild swimming, twinkly stars and serene sunsets! Read on to hear all about it..
If you get really excited reading this article and are interested in a guided mountain bike trip for you as an individual or as a group of friends, you can get in contact with us on 07597719507 or email@example.com
Prep Day 1: Thursday – Building Trail Unknown Island & The Ridge Line of Doom
We spent Thursday afternoon showing Rich Wilford (owner of MTB Beds) why we love Exmoor and the scenic mountain bike tracks that flow dramatically along the sea edge.
Prep Day 2: Friday – Trail Unknown Island becomes an actual island & the first night of the trip!
We’d been warned this would be a wet day but we were so excited for our first customers to arrive in the evening that nothing could dampen our spirits. In the morning we did the biggest supermarket shop I've ever done (though I do recall the Shopland weekly shops were similar sized trolley mountains) and spent the afternoon making all of the final preparations to our awesome camp site – fairy lights, colourful rugs, bunting from Hugos mum, blankets, Alpkit beds, tea candle chandeliers, we had it all! Hugo and I were both so stoked showing each other all of the different unique and crazy cutlery sets we picked up from charity shops and car boot sales all over the country, rating them like they were top trumps.
The rain did not stop thundering down all day! Our wooden bridge with the cute little stream was now submerged under raging rapids and being smashed by giant logs!! There was a mix of concern and excitement to see whether this little bridge could hold the force of nature! Then the campsite owner came down and we egged him on to boldly park his mega pickup truck on the submerged bridge to anchor it down. The campsite was suddenly full of experts in fluid dynamics and civil engineering!
As if it was all an entertaining plan, the rain eased off at a perfect 5pm, the river starting flowing normally and our first customers began to show their happy faces. Brad, our merry South African chef for the weekend cooked up a BBQ bonanza and we all settled down around the fire and under the twinkling stars ready for the weekend of adventure ahead of us.
Saturday – The Exmoor Adventure Day 1
One by one, people woke up to a beautiful morning of golden sunshine and the smell of bacon and egg baps with fresh ground coffee in the air. Hugo, Brad and I had made sure we were first up and laid out the breakfast banquet with fresh croissants, muffins, fruit, cereals, tea, coffee and orange juice.
Tom, our local guide for the weekend turned up at 9am and everyone set off by a relaxed 9.30am for the mornings ride with Hugo, finishing down by the sea at Porlock Weir. We also provided tonnes of fruit and snacks for everyone to fill their ride bags. Brad and I stayed back to pack away breakfast, bring some order to the campsite, get lunch ready and fit in a peaceful hour of slacklining.
After a solid 3 hours of morning riding everyone came back happy to find lunch laid out with fresh baguettes, hams, cheeses, coleslaw, potato salad, fruits, crisps, tea and coffee. The group relaxed for an hour before heading out for the afternoon ride, this time joined by Brad and I while Hugo tidied up. Tom took us on a right adventure, flowing over the moors and down through hidden combes filled with majestic forests that one would never find without the knowledge of a local expert. The afternoons ride finished with a natural slide down into the river, perfect for refreshing the muscles and mind.
For Saturday's evening meal, Brad cooked up a storm with round after round of deeply flavoured sweetcorn, aubergine, courgette, peppers, chicken wings, burgers, sausages, garlic bread and even a couple of camembert wheels melted on the BBQ for dipping into. My mouth is watering as I type!
After dinner, Peter bundled us all into his family 4x4 and drove all nine of us off-road to the top of the Moors, complete with Zootropolis on the DVD screens, to watch the sunset over the sea with a few cold beers. We finished the evening off around a roaring fire and Trail Unknown gratefully received a lot of positive feedback for the day’s events.
Sunday – The Exmoor Adventure Day 2
Again we woke early and set breakfast out the same as the day before. Hugo and I stayed back to start packing everything down and met everyone else at midday, driving to the top of the hill in the van armed with all the lunches ready to meet the group out on the trail.
We finished the weekend off around 5pm on Sunday with plenty of time for everyone to get their bits together and get home. The trip was a huge success and Peter, the only chap on the trip who wasn’t already a friend of ours before the trip, said he’d had such a good time he’d like to book a Trail Unknown weekend for him and his friends to Wales in Spring 2018! A huge thank you to Brad our talented chef, to everyone who came and enjoyed the trip and to Dan, Ben and Tom at Exmoor Adventures for all helping us make our adventure a success!
If you are interested in a guided mountain bike trip for you as an individual or as a group of friends, you can get in contact on 07597719507 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The best riding spots always come from taking the path off the beaten track. This week we’ve been across the channel sampling some of the Alps best riding locations, most notably Pila! After leaving Morzine in a monsoon we headed over to Italy.
The promise of dusty trails and blue skys looked pretty bleak as it rained all the way up to the Italian border….but as we left that never ending tunnel we were met by a blue bird day.
The bike park itself felt like it hadn’t seen water all year. The berms were pasted in thick dust but were smooth as anything with not a braking bump in sight. Which meant you could feel like Joe Barns, exploding berms left right and centre.
Check this out if you haven’t seen it before - https://vimeo.com/187167664.
With our hunger for the bike park berms and booters satisfied, we thew on our half lids and headed to find some single track goodness. We took the main lift up and took a right. Unfortunately the lift heading to the top of Couis was shut... Fuelled by our cooked ham and mozzarella panninies we hiked a bike up the ski piest. Two painful hours later and we had made it to the top. Boy was it well worth the trek....The views were insane, Panorama baby! Mountain ranges towering above Aosta. At the top was the most insane ridge line that snaked its way across the ridge. Unfortunately to the left was a 2000ft sheer drop that neither myself nor the two Wills I was with fancied taking a trip down. Maybe another day with less tired legs we would have sent it but not today. I love leaving a location knowing there’s something to do next time. Gives you a reason to head back!
We found the start of the trail that snaked its way down to Aosta and it was awesome. The single track swooped through the valley, with plenty of natural kickers and rock drops to keep you entertained.
We dropped into the trees and the roller coaster began, the track was super-fast with tonnes of grip and not a straight line in sight….so good! Pila has tonnes of single track just waiting to be ridden and the bike park has so much variation.
If you haven’t ridden Pila then I highly recommend the trip over. Its only 2 hrs from Morzine and home to some amazing tracks. Valley Aosta is also home to superb Pizza.. go to Pizzeria Mille Miglia its super cheap and has mouth wateringly good pizza, I recommend getting 2 of the honey cheese..you won't be disappointed!
Hugo and Tom are trail hunting fanatics, travelling around the UK to find the best and most beautiful wild riding locations for their mountain bikes. We write about our findings and provide professionally guided mountain bike trips to our favourite spots. We're also big believers in outdoor education for children.