We caught up with pro shredder and film star Liam Moynihan to find out what makes this member of the Dudes of Hazzard tick.
Tell us who you are, what you do and why we should go for a bike ride with you…
I’m a Highlander who lives with my wife Edie and our little champ of a daughter Lilia in an amazing spot between a loch and forest near Fort William, in a little house I built myself with help from my Dad and a couple of friends. I spend loadssss of time out riding, in winter mostly around home but get to travel to some amazing spots the rest of the year.
Out for a pedal I can show you the best hidden trails in Fort William, talk some shite, maybe swim in an unpleasantly cold river and hopefully film some of it.
What has been your best memory or achievement from the last year?
It’s kind of a strange one because I know a lot of people don’t tend to enjoy it in the moment, but before the start of the Megavalanche stands out for me each year. Theres something nice about knowing that sketchyness is coming your way in the next few minutes regardless of whether you decide to be cautious or reckless. There’s 400 odd other boys on the start line, including good friends who you know are shitting their pants, a helicopter above and you’re on top of a frozen hard glacier with an insane view. Riding well and finishing with a good result is so satisfying at that race too.
You crash your bike and can only salvage one thing from it – what would it be and why?
Definitely myself if that counts haha! Not sure there’s much joy I’d get from one part without all the other bits to make a bike of it.
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If you could only ride one trail for the rest of your days – which is it?
If I can bolt bits of trails together to make one and position them on the mountain behind my house that could be a very interesting deal, but I’ll assume thats not allowed and say CIC into “top secret” near home because it’s local so would save me a big commute to ride and gives a bit of length and variety in one run!
Everyone wants to improve, right? What would you like to do better?
Amongst many things it would be nice to be better at, I’d be more than happy to take on a bit of Brendan Fairclough’s style/skills in the air if it was going! Or the send her on attitude of Richard Permin (skier).
Which component do you break and/or swap the most?
I’ve been getting much better at not breaking stuff, probably partly because the bikes and parts are getting much better. This year was probably wheel rims, no completely disastrous failures just quite a few dented and wonky beyond holding air and straightening was pointless so got to spend some time doing rim swaps. Got some sturdier seeming ones lined up for 2020 so hopefully I’ll be onto a winner there.
What is your tip to becoming a better mountain biker?
If you’ve got good time on your hands plus funds and a place to do them the easiest way is probably to take up some other forms of bike riding – dirt jumping, skatepark riding or bicycle trials are the easier and less brutally expensive options, but if you can do it then motorbike trials or motocross are really good. You can learn skills so quickly in a different environment that cross over perfectly and allow bigger improvements to be made without really noticing.
If you’re tight on time the easiest thing to improve is fitness. Some intervals on a turbo one evening a week will do the power of good on weekend MTB rides.
What one innovation has made mountain bikes better, and why?
Good trustworthy brakes. It’s the part I used to curse most on my first mountain bikes. I had some Hayes 9s on a Bighit which the plastic bleed plugs would fall out of the levers. I’d be recklessly steaming down a horrible rock garden faster than my skills allowed for anyway and then it was a roll of the dice whether my brakes were going to work. Every time the bleed cap fell out and squirted DOT fluid everywhere 15 year old Liam would have to spend hours faffing in a cold dark shed trying to bleed the damn things too which didn’t help. haha!
Who do you admire most in the mountain bike world?
I was a huge Sam Hill fan growing up like everyone my age, but most admiration is probably for all the people voluntarily running and organising MTB clubs. There’s such an amazing kids’ club in Fort William run by the West Highland Wheelers, loads of kids from about 4 right up to 16 year olds turn up and go out riding in different groups, it’s all run by parents and volunteers. The kids are becoming incredible on their bikes at a really young age but also they are getting fit and strong with it too, plus it’s getting them out, loving the forest and being on their bikes instead of inside playing on iPads. I know there are a good few clubs like this around Scotland and I’m sure elsewhere in the world.
What are you hoping to get up to in the next 12 months?
There’s a video series in the works that I’m so excited to get going on. Still some organising to be done on it but it’s coming together a treat, the first part should be out in the first couple of months of 2020. Aside from that I’m going to do a few extra Mega style races – Mountain of Hell and a few more Maxi Avalanches plus plenty of the normal enduro ones! I’m keen to make sure Lilia gets to see lots of cool new places and do fun activities along the way, she’s got some interest in her wee tricycle so it won’t be long until she’s flying around on a wee turbo electric balance bike. Haha!