21 Questions: Rowan Sorrell

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Rowan Sorrell, Welsh Downhill Champion and an elite level mountain bike racer. He’s currently working at Back On Track, a company he set up in 2004, where he’s designing mountain bike trails and BMX rides.

He’s been riding all around the world through racing and researching his book ‘Mountain Biking Europe’.


Full name?

Rowan Sorrell.



What’s your proper job title?

I’m not sure, I guess its lead designer/MD at Back on Track.

What’s the best part of your job?

The outdoors when it’s fine weather.

..and the worst?

The other 360 days of the year.

Where did you first start riding bikes off road – your home turf?

Yes, in Wentwood Forest outside Newport and then Lodge woods, a small local wood behind my house. Both fun little spots.

Which bike that you’ve ever owned is closest to your heart?

A bit predictable this but I’d have to go with my Orange Five as it’s done a lot of work in various guises since 2005. Wow that’s eight years!

In a perfect world, how would every ride end?

With a drift, skid or jump, that way I’m still having fun and then a cold beer in the sunshine around the BBQ with good friends (note: this cliché is shattered as most rides actually end with a pile of muddy clothes, grinding, skipping gears and wet and cold feet!).

Left foot or right foot forward on descents?

Left foot for me.

What’s your most epic day out on a bike?

That’s tough as I do like to be as epic as humanly possible. Epic riding, epic poses and epic landscapes – ahem… Hard to choose, but for all the wrong reasons I’d say the Saas Fee Glacier race, whilst I’ve had bigger back country days in remote beautiful places. It’s hard to beat the thrill of 84mph!

It's him again
It’s him again

Worst cycling injury so far?

Pride on many occasions, followed by clean break of tibia and fibula.

If you could go riding with anyone, who would it be?

David Attenborough. I guess I’d need to give him a hand up the hills but then he could narrate my ride as only he can.

Which cycling destination would you still like to get to?

BC Interior.

You’re riding the best trail ever – what music would be the soundtrack?

Toots and Maytals.

Tubeless or tubes?

Tubeless is the future, however I run tubes (and 26″ wheels).

Who’s your favourite photographer (bike or not bike)?

I’d have to say Andy Lloyd or he may get upset – no, genuinely his breadth of work is second to none and can create some stunning images.

What was the last thing you fitted to your bike?

A pair of Fox float 34 forks to replace 32s – was concerned it would add too much weight but the stability on the descents is stunning.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever been offered as trail food?

Nuts – I’m allergic to them.

Man-made trails or natural?

Trick question?? Man-made natural trails are my favourite by a long way, it’s all we ride around here.

What does 2014 hold in store for you?

Lots of hard work and hopefully a riding/work place I can call my own.

And finally, give us something that people don’t know about you.

I guess I’m a reluctant workaholic, I’m highly driven to develop my business but all the while I’m just craving to ride my bike, something I get less and less time to do. So when I’m on the trail now, I appreciate it more than ever.

Comments (1)

    So this was from last year?

    “Orange Five as it’s done a lot of work in various guises since 2005. Wow that’s eight years!”

    “What does 2013 hold in store for you?”

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