It must have been 2013 when I rode my first trail. With an old Gazelle bike with no suspension, and skinny tires I rode out, and remembered being quite annoyed by everybody I ran into, telling me I was going in the wrong direction. I remember telling myself there are no directions in nature, just the one the sense of freedom dictates you to follow.
I also remember deciding I loved this feeling mountain biking gave me, and that I wanted to get really good at this whole MTB thing, and considering that 38 years old was maybe too late in life to achieve just that. I’ll never be as good as I would like to be, but in trying, have experienced so much mind blowing moments on the trails that I cannot image ever stopping. So to share my love of mountain biking I’ve listed five of my all time favorite moments on the trails.
1. Whistler, Canada – Downhill Ecstasy
By far the greatest MTB moment for me ever. It was in 2017, I had already done some riding in higher mountains of the Dolomites and the Pyrenees, but never in a bike park. But I did think I would be able to ride, and any apprehension I might have had disappeared as I walked through the village; the vibe, the bikes everywhere, putting on body armor, mountain he GT Fury Fitz downhill beast, the full face mask, feeling like a gladiator entering the arena as I took my first bike lift up the mountain. And then, bliss, pure smile-until-your-jaws-ache pleasure of flow trails, the biggest table tops I ever did, but also those technical sketchy trails. 4 hours of mountain biking ecstasy. The Mecca of Mountainbiking had delivered. Read the whole story here.
2. Girona, Spanje – Delicious Enduro riding
The year was 2018, I had already done many rides in the mountains at that time. Beautiful parts in the Pyrenees where I often found myself following vague routes and searching for trails. I figured that it might be better or at least easier with a guide. In exchange for a fun vlog, Delicious MTB’s Jake Jackman took me along on an afternoon of riding. I had the Canyon Torque on lone for my vacation, a thoroughbred enduro stallion. It was 35 degrees above zero, so climbing was not the easiest thing there was for me. But what goes up, must come down. “Life is not worth living without dust,” my guide joked. It was an afternoon of dust, of jokes and jokes, and beautiful fast technical enduro riding through a dry but surprisingly green landscape with amazing rock formations. Girona is an undiscovered gem. Located just outside of Barcelona it is a paradise for mountain bikers. Read the whole story here.
3. Lovön, Zweden – All-mountain bliss
One of my most recent rides, last summer, on my trusted Canyon Spectral that was stolen a day later. Completely gutted, but what a farewell ride that was. The island of Lovön is located just outside of Stockholm and is the the Drottningholm crown domain has quite the tourist attraction. However, I quickly pass it by, down the road and dive into the forest. as soon as I can. From that moment on, I am embraced by Swedish nature. Birch forests, pine trea’s and oak and beach, everything is green and luscious and delicious. The route is clear, the trail is easy to follow, roots and stones offer great challenges for riding skills and the suspension alike. On my ride I come across elk, roe deer, badgers and eagles. When the evening sets in, I ride the last part of the route through a darkening forest. Stop to look at a sunset over a Swedish lake. Life does not get much better than this, does it? Read the whole story here.
4. Bikepacking in Belgium
I am not a bike packer by nature, but what a beautiful trip we made from Maastricht in the Netherlands to Achouffe in Belgium. A ride with so much variety: rolling landscapes, the boggy High Fens, the super steep climbs in Houffalize where mud and sharp stones take turns thrashing our heavily packed bikes. Incredibly atmospheric forests, foggy and sometimes even gloomy, but with a unique beauty to it all. And perhaps more than anything, that sense of togetherness, being a team of four an traveling on your own power and merits through a challenging landscape with challenging weather. Read the whole story here.
5. Amerongen – XC home trail
Perhaps I found my day in Winterberg with “Four middle-aged men” or the mountain rides I did in Spain, France and Italy more of a thrill, but I still want to include m favorite backyard route in Amerongen in this list. Mostly because I go riding there as ften as possible, but also because I think it is a wonderful example of what a route can become if you try to get the most out of it. Real mountainbiking in a country where there are no real mountains is difficult at best. So we are grateful when these kind of efforts are made to create cool excting trails. There is continuous work being done by a group of enthusiastic and passionate volunteers; with the Harrie Slinger section a very un-Dutch flow section has been created that echoes the bikeparks that many Dutch moutainbikers yearn for. Traireview and route (in Dutch) here.
Five MTB memories that I cherish: five places and routes that an average MTB person should be able to drive well. Five different disciplines too, on which you have to choose your aluminum or carbon fiber. To help you, you can look in our gear guide, but also