Why it’s great to take your mountainbike and go out and explore, by Euan Wilson (interview)

Why it’s great to take your mountainbike and go out and explore, by Euan Wilson (interview)

Mountainbike enthusiast and founder of H+I Adventures, Euan Wilson shares his story about a long life passion: mountain biking and travelling 

Finally, the climb was quite challenging and heavy but you’ve made it. You’re standing alongside your favourite travel mountainbike while smiling to your buddies who arrive as well. The view of the mountains and forest is awesome and you’re feeling great because you know what’s coming. That long descent on an epic trail down the mountains, hills and through the woods. Planning a journey to this country to discover new trails was all worth it.. Let’s hit the pedals!

Do you like mountain biking? Going away from home to ride your bike on your favorite hill, piece of mountain, forest or bike park. Leave everything behind for a while and enjoy being outside in the outdoors. What about dreaming of planning a nice trip, preparing your bike and go on an adventure to find that ultimate trail. Or maybe you’re already an experienced traveler full of great stories.

A great example of someone who sure knows what mountainbike travelling is all about is Euan Wilson. A true adventurer from Scotland who has travelled to some amazing places. From the Mustang region of the Himalayas, to the mountains of New Zealand and the Highlands of his home country, Euan has taken his bike to some amazing spots around the world.

It even goes further than just travelling or riding bike. As the founder and chief guide of
H+I Adventurers, a travelling agent for worldwide mountainbike tours, Euan has found a great way to make a living out of his passion.

How great that Euan wants to share his inspiring story with us!

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Mountain biking allows me to escape from daily life, ride with my friends with the sun shining on my back, laughing and connecting with nature whilst staying fit and exploring remote corners of Scotland and the world.

Who is Euan Wilson? Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
I am owner and chief guide at H+I Adventures, worldwide mountain bike travel specialists who now operate in 13 (soon to be 15) countries around the globe. Our tours have been hand crafted entirely by myself and the H+I team based here in the Highlands of Scotland, with the help of course of our dedicated local guiding teams operating on the ground in each exotic dream location.

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You are a great mountain bike enthusiast. Why and what does it mean for you?
Since I was able to walk I have had bikes, a new bike was bought for me each year by my parents, not because we were rich, but because I used it all day every day, which meant it was in desperate need of renewal as each birthday came around. Mountain biking allows me to escape from daily life, ride with my friends with the sun shining on my back, laughing and connecting with nature whilst staying fit and exploring remote corners of Scotland and the world.

H+I Adventures Norway Trip, August/September 2016

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Once you set off on your descent of this trail of fast flowing and at times technical trail will continue dropping down the Kaligandaki valley for the next two and half days, this is what mountain bikes were made for!

What’s your favourite mountain bike trail?
Wow, that is a big question that is, well, hard to answer! But here goes. Over the past fifteen years I have been fortunate enough to ride my bike in every corner of the globe, but the trail that sticks in my mind, and has been a joy to return too on three occasions, is in Nepal. Located high in the Mustang region of the Himalayas, it starts at a height of 4200m surrounded by 8000m snowcapped peaks that tower high above the trail. Once you set off on your descent of this trail of fast flowing and at times technical trail will continue dropping down the Kaligandaki valley for the next two and half days, this is what mountain bikes were made for!

New Zealand Fam Trip, March 2015

On what kind of bike(s) to you like to ride? What do you ride at this moment?
My happy place is riding singletrack, scouting new places, countries and cultures around the world, in search for the holy trail. That elusive trail that will send you stratospheric into trail heaven. When packing for a trip, either domestic or international, I always take a full suspension mountain bike, and at the moment I am firmly in love with my Yeti SB5, FOX 36 Forks, ENVE carbon wheels, Shimano XTR drivetrain and a special Flaer Revo Terra oiler system.

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What is H&I Adventures and why did you started with this venture?
H+I Adventures is the world’s premium guided mountain bike tour operator, providing physical challenges and cultural adventures.

Everything has been considered, researched and tested by us. The route, the trails, the accommodation, the food, the flow of the day, the flow of the week; all thought through to make sure each day is unforgettable. Epic scenery, rich cultural experiences, wonderful food, great company. We take great care and pride in working with local guides and experts to hone experiences you’ll savor and that create lifelong memories.

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What are the destinations of your tours?
Currently we are operating in 13 countries that include the wilds of northern Canada, to the culturally rich Ecuador, and the epic visually stunning Chile in the Americas, to the rugged trails of Scotland all the way to the other side of the globe, and New Zealand. But the one that stands out in my mind to this date is our Nepal adventure that takes us deep into the Mustang region of the Himalayas of Nepal.

If people like to go on a mountain bike tour with you guys, what can they expect?
Riders will encounter an extremely professional company that is not afraid to push the boundaries of what can be achieved on a guided mountain bike tour, not to mention pushing personal boundaries just far enough, that our tours have been and will continue to be ‘actual’ life changing experiences.

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Adventure is what you make it, and you will feel all the richer for taking the time to explore and experiencing the world you live in.

You have just launched a great new tour in Croatia. Can you tell us why people should go on this trip?Croatia was one of the most surprising and beautiful places I have ever ridden my bike, from the lush green forests that carpet the interior, hill top medieval villages with prime singletrack dropping off from the town walls; to the turquoise sea and barren dramatic coast and islands of Rab and Krk. We developed this adventure tour to be an intermediate tour that would be perfect for groups of mixed riders and couples alike, who are wanting explore Croatia but wanted to stay away from the crowds further south.

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You’re coming from Inverness.
What do you recommend when visiting your hometown?
We are based in Inverness in the far north of Scotland, and what can I say about Inverness, well, Loch Ness and our famous resident, the Loch Ness Monster. Aside from the monster, Inverness is perfectly situated for you to explore world famous locations like the Island of Skye, the Cairngorms National park which is the UK’s largest and the Speyside area which has Scotland’s highest concentration of Whisky distilleries.

What would be your ultimate adventure?
I dont think I can narrow this down to one specific adventure, I am on a constant ‘ultimate adventure’ in a life where I am trying to ride my mountain bike in as many countries around the world, visiting and experiencing as much as possible with my short time of this earth, you are a long time dead.

Do you have any advice for other bikers and adventurers?
Get out and explore, it doesn’t need to be an exotic big expensive trip to the other side of the world, go and explore that hill across from where you live, stop the car on the way back from work and go out and ride a new forest or valley. Adventure is what you make it, and you will feel all the richer for taking the time to explore and experiencing the world you live in. And then when you have got the bug and want to reach out to exotic international destinations, call us, and we will take care of your adventure needs.

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What’s next for Euan Wilson?
Currently sitting in the airport on the way to Norway to quality check our first customer tour aboard the HMS Gåssten deep in the fjords of Norway. Then we have two new top secret destinations launching over the next six months, but you will need to watch this space to find out more….

H+I Adventures Norway Trip, August/September 2016

Just visit their website, if you like to know more about the mountainbike tours of H+I Adventures.

(Photography via: Tim Winterburn, Ross Bell and Joey Schusler)

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