Photography by Sven Martin / Videography by Sam Needham
Trails can’t be measured on a universal scale. There doesn’t exist a comparison of flow to stoke that equates to a universal metric—no ‘trail spectator’ out of 100, no simple charts or graphs. Rather, the experience of the trail, as related to euphoria, is a continuous collection of multitudes extending in all dimensions. There are too many variables to include in the equation, and a limit to the math. It takes a special cultivated knowledge of proximal landscapes to understand and create the right experience. And to maximize this experience it's not just about finding amazing trails, but the process of linking landscapes through a vast network of natural terrain. Ash Smith sums it up best:
"Yes, you're looking for awesome trails, but you're also looking — on a bigger scale — for corridors of flow, through this network of nodes and edges. Through this network which we’ve been blessed with from the agricultural past and trading past. It’s all there; we just need to find the best ways through it.”
Photography by Sam Needham / Words by David Jaquin
Scotland can range from beautiful and serene to chilling and insufferable in the span of an afternoon. Mother Nature, your dealer of atmospheric conditions, keeps her cards close until you turn the corner in Scotland. Seemingly a new card is dealt by the mile.
Organizing any trip can quickly fall foul of circumstance, bikes, cameras, people and flasks need to all be in the right place at the right time. Everything has to click together, with myself and photographer Sam Needham hailing from the north in England, Bryan Watt trucking over from Andorra, and Lyle Barton flying in from the US there was ample opportunity for cock ups.
WE ARE NOT LUCKY
Photography by Sven Martin and John Watson
New Zealand is remote and mostly undeveloped and offers endless varieties of trails, from high Alpine passes with rocky descents to rooty jungle walking tracks. It's a place where the time spent riding is most accurately measured in the amount of sandwiches in your pack. Many routes will typically include at least one night staying in a trail hut along the way or camping out under the stars.
Like most places, the locals know best. Unlike anywhere else, the local guides at HouseMartin are Sven and Anka Martin. Typically found at mountain bike and other cycling industry events all summer long, the pair retreats to the southern hemisphere for a second dose of summer.
Photography by Sven Martin and Duncan Philpott
The word terroir roughly translates as, "a sense of place," and refers to a distinct set of characteristics that makes a place different from all others. The Trans-Provence is hosted in the South of France by Ash Smith and a small army of regulars supporting no more than 80 riders on this annual six-day race. The topography of Alpes-Maritimes range is known for its height and severity, but the region is tempered by it’s proximity to the sea. The race starts in the rural Sasse Valley and winds through almost 300 Km of terrain to finish in Menton, a resort town on the edge of the Mediterranean. The trails, like the architecture, range from modern to ancient.
ACRE / Mission Workshop team rider Ty Hathaway walked away as the top American finisher in the 2014 race.
GUIDE TO GETTING LOST
Photos by Adrian Marcoux / Words by Ross Measures
Every trip should be full of not-knowing and a little bit of guess work. Take this as a friendly reminder to take off and get out.
Our plan was simple: We wanted to experience a mountain bike trip that was all about getting out there, getting lost and getting it done. We’d all become accustomed to familiar trails and perfectly maintained bike parks. And usually, even when we ride new trails, we have locals along, keeping us from losing our way and often showing us the best lines.
The goal here, though, was to find old-school adventure on rugged terrain in a completely unfamiliar location.
RIDING THE LAKE DISTRICT
Photos and Words by Andy Waterman
The English Lake district has always been a magnet for adventurers and artists. From William Worsdworth's poetry that was largely inspired by Lakeland's wild terrain, to George Mallory, who in the course of scaling the area's 3000ft peaks, found the confidence to tackle Everest in 1924. For mountain bikers, the region poses a wealth of challenges—from wild, high mountain passes to marginally more tame lakeside single track—and in recent years, two well regarded trail centers.
Read on to see photos taken by Andy during their ride over the pass of Nan Bield and on Helvellyn.
Photography by Dan Barham
The number of switchbacks were beyond counting. Another summer storm had blown in and pushed us off the trail and down into the valley for safety. Although we could ride through the weather on most days, this time we had to head for cover.
Shooting film had become our "new normal" by the end of the second week. Covering thirty to fifty kilometers of trail per day, there were endless moments that could be captured, however, only having a finite amount of film made each shot more of a decision to be weighed rather than a whim to be indulged.