Think of bike riding in the Scottish Highlands and it’s invariably the Fort William area that gets all the hype. But over on the east coast, quietly going about their business of building trails and blasting berms, there’s a buzzing scene of talented riders local to the city of Inverness.
Possibly the Black Isle’s most dedicated spade swinger is Ronan Taylor who, after racing downhill to World Cup level, hung up his SPDs and donned his wellies to “focus on a few years of full-bore digging!”, as he describes it. And Ronan reckons he lives in the ideal spot for doing that. “There’s tons of good hills about, not too many people and yet a strong scene of folks willing to help build and maintain the trails. The dig days are usually mint craic too!” he laughs.
The stylish and flat-out Scot says there’s never any shortage of people to ride with either, and the scene is spurred on by a good mix of event organisers, local charities and top riders like Greg Williamson and Kenta Gallagher. When Ronan’s not getting his hands dirty – or earning money through his coaching business, Raylor’s Trail Tuition – he mixes it up on anything two-wheeled, from trail riding to pump tracks, motocross and even a bit of road on his trusty ’80s steed. ‘I’m just mad keen on bikes,” he says.
Sounds like we need to pack up the MBUK van, head north and check out Ronan’s handiwork. Roadtrip anyone?