Home sweet home.
I grew up in a beautiful, quaint, typical English village, deep in the hills of Shropshire, the gateway to the mountains of North Wales. I’ve always appreciated where I was brought up, but the appreciation bumped up a fair few notches over the last 7 years, as I started running and mountain biking, I truly saw every aspect this tiny village, full of heart and soul had to offer.
My passion for biking started like an explosion. Thanks to encouragement from my brother, my life changed dramatically. For years I was trapped in an abusive relationship, constantly walking on eggshells fearing for my life. Mountain biking gave me the strength I’d lacked for years. With each new day, each pedal stroke, every crash, fall, bruise, came with another smile; until I finally saw myself stepping out of my own shadows. Before I knew it, I was strong enough to break through the barrier I’d been trapped behind for years, and it’s been full speed ahead ever since.
There was a lot of lost time to make up for, life’s goal had one purpose, be happy, love and be loved. The mountains, family and friends came first; I’d been riding a downhill mountain bike for one week, and felt it was time to enter my first race… I instantly became hooked. Within a year I ranked number one in the UK in the 18-30’s UCI downhill category, and moved into the elite category. My life was unrecognisable from my previous self, I was me again. That’s when I took off to New Zealand, skipping a British winter to have a Southern Hemisphere summer, full of mountains, bikes, sun and fun.
I found my home away from home, riding the bike park every day, slotting in to the Queenstown biking community. New Zealand was incredible, I’d drastically improved on the bike after just a few weeks, and there was no doubt about who I was, or what I was about. During my last 2 months in NZ I happened to meet a nice Canadian boy called Mike… The rest is history.
Mike and I continued seeing each other, carrying on with the peaks and valleys of a long distance relationship for 4 years; it was a combination of the most romantic love story and a god damn emotional rollercoaster. At times we would spend up to 5 months with the Ocean between us, until I made the move to live in Canada. I moved there in October 2016 and had not only the first winter for years but the longest winter ever. We lived in Revelstoke, the gateway to the Rocky Mountains, and when the snow was good, the place was insane, powder and tree skiing for days; I was a beginner skier but picked it up fairly quickly and loved how similar it felt to biking.
Then spring hit town… After growing up in the country hill side of Britain, whenever I think of Spring; I think of lambs, bluebells, bright yellow fields, lighter days, sunshine with the smell of flowers and freshly cut grass. However, Revelstoke had another idea for spring; the only thing blossoming was all the dog poop that hadn’t been picked up over winter, the snow was starting to melt, good ski days were over, still too much snow for biking, lots of rain, and lots of poop. My job was seasonal and finished in April, so I got a ticket back to the UK for a couple of months.
I know us Brits are renowned for complaining about the weather, but I’ve never been more appreciative of the blossoming weather the UK offers. I feel lucky to be torn between two beautiful countries, Canada has extreme seasons, awesome skiing and looks magical over Christmas, and in Britain we have mild seasons, which never stop you getting out on your bike.
As soon as I arrived home it was exactly what I imagined, early wakeup call from the singing birds, sun was up till 9pm, biking trails were in prime conditions, coated with beautiful bluebells, baby lambs everywhere, every other field was full of bright yellow flowers. I was happy to be home, so decided to capture the beauty of everything I love about a proper British Spring. With my new DiamondBack Haanjo Carbon Cyclocross Bike, which allowed me to travel on and off road capturing as many aspects of spring as possible.
So here it is, a short and sweet edit showing my favourite parts of a British spring.