HIGH­LAND FLING

Mountain Biking UK - - OUT FRONT -

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?

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