by Andi Sykes
March 7, 2017
WildBike is now in its 7th year of organising and running mountain biking weekends and longer holidays all over the UK and further afield. We search out the sweetest singletrack in the most spectacular scenery in The Lakes, The Peaks, The Dales, Torridon, Exmoor, Dartmoor, the Quantocks …. WildBike riding is all about rocks and summits and flow and wildness. And cake.
Who are WildBike?
We are a small and friendly team – just me and my wife Cathryn and four professional guides during the season. We always run with two guides and small groups so we can be flexible to the needs of our riders.
How do you learn the best routes?
Not wishing to play the “well I started riding just between the invention of the pedal and the pneumatic tyre” game, but … I bought my first mountain bike with my first pay cheque in 1989 and started searching out the best places to ride that rigid beast. It was before GPS and google earthy gizmos so you just had to have a good nose for a trail. And I’m still a map addict. All hail the Ordnance Survey! Best maps in the world (glassy eyed expression). So for example I first rode in Torridon, still one of our favourite haunts, in 1991 on a rigid steel Muddy Fox Courier! I found over the years that with mates I was always the guy doing the guiding, so when the opportunity arose to leave my sensible grown-up job, I did! And WildBike was born!
And who are your customers?
Blimey that’s a tricky one! Very typically folk who have a great bike, ride it a lot at trail centres and have ambitions to get out into wilder singletrack. Or riders who want to explore a new riding area. Or groups who want a great MTB get-together without the tricky task of nominating a head chef or head guide (who as we know will be viciously ridiculed when he/she makes a slight navigational error). Or singles and pairs who want to put a bit more social into their riding. Many of our customers come back year after year, some come on 2 or 3 trips in a year and many form new riding groups through meeting on a WildBike weekend.
How’s it looking for 2017?
Proper busy and full-on thanks. Some of our trips are full already, like our early season Peak District weekends and some are very nearly full (just a few places left for Torridon in May). All others are filling up and are open and ready to book. I think biking staycations are the thing to do this year – may be Brexit effects, may be just because more folk are beginning to realise how awesome wild UK riding is. There are few countries in the world where the biggest hills are the right height and shape to get on top of in a day’s ride!
How does it work?
Simple! Descriptions of all our trips are on our website. Have a look at what suits then book via the website. Job done! But yes, we also like talking through options as well, so anyone should feel free to give us a call before booking too.
What’s unique about WildBike?
Can I mention 3 things?
With as little driving as possible! We are as careful about selecting our lodgings as our trails. So whether we are in our luxury lochside lodge in Torridon or our ‘glamping’ (hate that word) set-up on Exmoor, they are slap bang in the middle of the action so we hardly ever have to pick up the car keys until we go home.
We think Camping and Mountain Biking go together like Mums and Mothers Pride (other sliced loaves are available). Think 6 metre diammeter carpeted, be-cushioned, canvas bell-tent with woodburning stove, masses of sheltered eating space on comfy chairs and the support of our purpose built motorhome/race van. Our customers love it and very often actually go “wow”.
It’s the spice of biking.
We run day rides from a central location, ‘safaris’ within an area, point to points, we sleep in tents, bunkhouses and actual houses, for weekends, long weekends and weeks.
And take the Lake District as an example of our variety on offer. Everybody loves the Lakes, but….everybody loves a different Lakes! Lakes virgins might like our All Mountain package – so that’s south Lakes – rocky, challenging, lots of singletrack chutes and small nadger but all pedal-able and not too many long climbs. If you’re up for a serious challenge we have High Mountains and High Passes – does what it says on the tin like. And if you want to blow your socks off we’re running an Epic Lakes Enduro Lap – pretty much everything high and wild and technical that the Lakes can throw in a 5 day supported point to point clockwise loop.
Describe your ideal trail.
How long have you got? It would be high, well drained, with spectacular views, some steep nadgery technical sections and a lot of flow, and would go on until my grin was perma-fixed and my body couldn’t take any more. It would probably look a lot like the 7 km for …… to Achnashellach station, between Glen Torridon and Glen Carron, to be honest!
You mentioned you go further afield…. like where?
We do the chalet in Morzine thang…yawn….BUT WAIT….we do a different Morzine! Above the jumps and trees and rutted berms and out onto the high mountain singletrack.
And we like to add one ‘out of season’ special once a year. In 2017 it’s Utah and Arizona Baby! We’ve teamed up with some local guides there to run an early season special when it’s still a bit dank and dark in the UK. It’s an RV road trip with bikes and barbecues and some of the best March riding on the planet.
Anything special our readers should know about?
Your readers should know that the riding in South West England ain’t all about moorland slogs and cream teas! Very far from it. Dartmoor, The Quantocks and particularly Exmoor, offer cracking riding as good anywhere else in the UK and a lot closer to where a lot of people live! Dartmoor can be a serious techy challenge and Exmoor is number 1 for steep, loamy, flowing singletrack. Seriously. In fact, WildBike say “complete trail satisfaction or your money back”. There. Now come and role your loving wheels down the M5.
What’s on the cards?
Loads! We’re likely to resurrect some point to points in 2018. A 3 day Devon coast to coast over the high points of Dartmoor and Exmoor; a proper challenging Coast to Coast through The Lakes, The Dales and The N Yorkshire Moors; and…. a Highlands and Hebrides supported Safari – up through Skye and Harris and Lewis and back through Fisherfield, Torridon and Applecross.
And have you noticed Wales is missing from our itinerary? Really must do something about that.
Do you have a deal going for Singletrack Premier Subscribers?
Oh yes, 5% off the price of any of our holidays. Just let us know when you have booked and we will adjust your balance accordingly
As the leader/organiser of a group….
10% off your price when you bring a full-paying friend
20% when you bring 2 friends
30% when you bring 3 friends
You get the rest. So, a free trip for you if you bring 10 friends! Just email your intentions up-front. Offer only applies to one person per trip!
Do you have a special prize for Singletrack Subscribers.
Yes, we are giving one lucky subscriber the chance to win a place on one of our long weekend trips.
If you would like to enter for a chance to win, then head right on over to our Premier Prize post and answer the super simple question!