Peak Leaders Dirt


Dirt Logo BLACK-2

It’s freezing, it’s raining …. unfortunately it is just winter in the UK. Winter here often leaves us mountain bikers dreaming of hot summer days riding & non-stop chairlift run. I think most Mountain Bikers spend the majority of winter wishing it would hurry up and finish. 

But one thing about Winter is it gives us a lot of thinking time about where our summer adventures may take us, for some a week in the Alps or a trip to the South of France is enough to satisfy the adventure bug, but if you are looking for something more then why  not have a look at Peak Leaders? 

Peak leaders offers two different MTB courses. So if you are in gap year limbo or looking to escape from the 9-5 job for a while, or even looking for a complete change in career Peak Leader Dirt could be the perfect choice for you. The courses are based in the mountain bike mecca that is Whistler, they range from 3 weeks to 5 weeks.

Whistler is the perfect place for every mountain biker, your surrounded by loads of like minded people and the terrain on offer is awesome, the night life isn’t too bad either . If chose to do it with Peak Leaders you’ll either come out with a recognised international qualification or a potential job offer. Either way it sounds like a pretty good deal all round to me!   

Photo Provided By Peak Leaders

Cheryl McClorey from Aberdeen, Scotland is just back from her first season out in Whistler with Peak Leaders where she completed the 3 Week Bike Academy course, here is a snippet of Cheryl’s story and how the Mountain Biking changed her life. 

“At 27 years, I discovered mountain biking. At 28, I decided I wanted to change my career path as a consequence. At 29, I sauntered off to Whistler, the Mecca of mountain biking, to grab at my chance of turning my hobby into my day job.

I already had a career in Marketing and Social Media, for a fantastic independent Oil and Gas training company back in Aberdeen, but the mountain biking had me hooked and I wanted to at least test out my chances of transferring my current skills to the mountain bike industry.

A chum had recommended doing an instructors course, as he’d completed a snow season in Utah as a Snowboard Instructor a few years ago and that’s when everything sort of fell into place. I immediately looked up mountain bike instructor courses online and found Peak Leaders. After a little research, countless hours watching Whistler Mountain Bike Park YouTube clips and number crunching, I signed myself up.

6 months later, I arrived in Whistler”

“For me the Peak Leaders course offered a change of career and an opportunity to improve my riding whilst spending a season in the worlds best Bike Park. The course itself was so well set up, with amazing Whistler coaches from very different MTB backgrounds and an incredibly supportive course leader who helped with everything from accommodation to Whistler know-how.  As well as qualifying with the IDP Level 1 & 2 certifications, I also gained friendships for life and a tremendous season on the bike. By far the best thing I’ve done to date and I’ve already been to visit a fellow graduate riding his trails in Ireland proving the journey continues on well past the course. I will be back this season too and working as a guide!”

If you want anymore info about Cheryl, Check out her first blog here, plenty of info

Course Options

3 Week Bike Academy- £3000

Dates – 16th May – 7th June

Kick start the season off with our three week long Bike Park Academy and work as a Mountain Bike Guide in Whistler, Canada

Gain the Whistler Bike Park Instructor Development Programme (IDP) Levels 1&2, instructing certifications geared towards gravity fed riding with 30 hours of coaching per week, bike maintenance/suspension workshops, season lift pass, emergency first aid course, trail riding and much more.

The aim is to develop you into a mountain bike guide/coach. The best part is there are jobs available as “Bike Park Guides” in Whistler after the course finishes. Last year we had a 100% pass rate and everyone that wanted a job, got one!

5 Week Coaches Camp – £3950

Dates: 27 July 2016 – 31 August 2016

Spend five weeks immersed in our Coaches Camp; one of the most comprehensive Mountain Bike instructor courses, with the most respected and useful combination of qualifications.

Gain the Whistler Bike Park Instructor Development Programme (IDP) Levels 1&2, instructing certifications geared towards gravity fed riding and the CTC Trail Mountain Bike Leader Award, a highly respected and well-known qualification for guiding in the UK and the rest of Europe.

Work hard, play hard we say, as you will also enjoy Crankworx. This festival brings with it some of the best riders in the world and their sponsors…nuff said!

All this wrapped up in a dialled Whistler chalet, start your journey with Peak Leaders Dirt Coaches Camp.

I mean why wouldn’t you want to go here….


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Five Ten Freerider Contact Womens MTB Shoes Review

Five Ten Freerider Contact Womens MTB Shoes

2016-01-26 20.06.30

It is amazing to see that so many MTB brands are beginning to embrace women’s cycling and one of the brands that I have really noticed embracing the move is Five Ten. Five Ten announced in 2015 that they would be introducing a range of women specific shoes – they had previously only produced ranges for children and men. Prior to the introduction of the women’s range I had always just worn the men’s Five Tens and made them work for me, but I was never 100% satisfied with them and they often became too wide for my feet after they had packed out.

So what exactly is different between this new women’s range and previous ranges:

  • The shoes are now available in smaller sizes, and they are also narrower. This suits a lot of women’s feet a lot better as they are typically slimmer than most men’s feet.
  • The Sole of the shoe has changed, the recognizable dotty Five Ten Sole has been sanded away and in its place is now a smooth surface area.



Putting Them To The Test

The most crucial part of any flat pedal mountain bike shoe is the sole – the sole is the first point of contact between you and the bike. If you are riding with bad pedals or the wrong shoes your contact with the bike isn’t as strong.

I have been wearing these Five Tens for around a month now and as far as flat pedal MTB shoes go I think they are pretty awesome. I was skeptical about the flat sole as I thought that might give me a weaker contact with the bike but the stealth technology in the rubber is softer and tackier, and grips onto the pins of the pedals brilliantly, keeping my feet secured to the pedals really well, this was the case even when riding jumps or coming off drops.


The shoes are noticeably narrower than my previous Five Tens and at first I thought they were sized wrong as they felt really quite tight, but being a snowboarder as well I decided that they may just need to pack out a bit just like my snowboard boots do when I get a new pair. So I was patient and as if by magic after a few rides the shoes were an ideal fit, unlike my previous pair that were far too wide.


One feature that I would like to see built into these shoes is complete waterproofing, although they are still better than my old canvas ones they still don’t repel the water very well. But then again even fully waterproof shoes probably couldn’t keep out the Scottish winter rain. The Freerider Contact shoes also dry a lot faster than the canvas freeriders.

Also in the past I have really detested the length of Five Ten laces, often having to tie them in quadruple knots and still having to tuck the straggling ends of the laces into my shoes to avoid them becoming wrapped around the pedals. But this seems to have been rectified with these shoes as the laces are a lot shorter and only need double knotted with no tucking the ends into my shoes. I hope this is a feature that Five Ten intend to keep.



  • Lighter than previous Five Ten shoes
  • Better fitting for women’s feet
  • Shorter laces, so less chance of wrapping around the pedals
  • Dry a lot faster than other Five Ten shoes
  • Super grippy on the pedals, meaning good contact between you and the bike.
  • More confident when riding challenging terrain.


  • Can take a while to break in.
  • Despite their synthetic shell they aren’t waterproof

To Conclude


It’s hard to find fault with these shoes – I have always been a big fan of Five Tens and I am even more convinced with them now.  The stealth rubber sole grips well onto my pedals and I felt like I had great contact with the bike, which meant I had more control over the bike and made me more confident in my riding especially in the wintery wet and icy conditions.

These Five Ten Freeride Contact shoes are now available to buy. #brandofthebrave

Retail: £90

Weight: 665g

Sizes: 2.5 UK – 8.5 UK

We tested the shoes with Reserve Escape Pedals


Ambitions ft Emily Batty

Ambitions ft Emily Batty 1-4

She definitely doesn’t need any introduction – but here goes anyway, Emily Batty: Canadian, XC Racer, Commonwealth Silver Medalist & Current Pan American Games Champion:

Batty is probably one of the most well known female XC riders on the scene and now thanks to Liam Murphy Films we can see Batty behind the scenes.

Episode 1 – The Beginnings of Being a Professional

Episode 2 – Unwinding After the Race Season

Episode 3 – Connecting with the Community

Episode 4 – Staying in Shape & Acquiring New Skills





Bikes. Dirt. Downhill. Bike Night at The Fort William Mountain Festival 2016

Bikes. Dirt. Downhill.  Bike Night at The Fort William Mountain Festival 2016

Press Release

Fort William Mountain Festival

The “Mountain Festival”, also known as the Fort William Mountain Festival, has over the years hosted some of the bike industry’s biggest names at their bike nights; and BOOM! … they have done it again in  2016.  ‘ I Want To Ride My Bicycle’ on Saturday 20 February at the Nevis Centre, Fort William includes talks from Aneela ‘the bothy queen’ McKenna, Crawford Carrick Anderson, Chris Ball and Julia Hobson.

Keen to explore the idea that mountain biking is much more than racing World Cups or riding dirt jumps, with this year’s event organisers wanted to celebrate the great outdoors, highlight the wonderful environment in which we live and the fantastic opportunities for travel across the globe on your mountain bike.

Nikki Stafford from the Fort William Mountain Festival organising committee said: “The brief for the 2016 bike night is much more about celebrating the lifestyle and the sheer pleasure of Mountain Biking. Living and working in the Outdoor Capital of the UK and a super keen mountain biker myself, I am very much looking forward to the bike night and hope to be inspired for my next adventure.”

Aneela “the bothy queen” McKenna will be host for the evening. Aneela is an avid mountain biker, partner of Go Where Scotland, and Juliana Brand Ambassador. Aneela is always keen for a new adventure and she makes things happen. Husband Andy McKenna from Go Where Scotland recently said “I was about to head to my bed the other night and next thing I knew we were heading up Minch Moor with our bivvy bags and a bottle of single malt for a night under the stars. How the hell did that happen?” Aneela knows how to have a good time and will extract the best from the speakers. We are sure that her long acquaintance with them all will unearth some great laugh

Photo From Jiliana Bikes

Crawford Carrick Anderson is no stranger to the Outdoor Capital of the UK. Crawford an ex British Team Skier has skied at Nevis Range.  He helped in the early design off the world renowned mountain bike downhill course and then went on to compete as a downhill racer, making it into the World top 10 in the rankings. Crawford’s talents extend to the world of motor sport where he also successfully participated in motorbike Enduro and Trials , regularly taking part in the Scottish Six Days. These days Crawford is riding MTB Enduro and Cyclocross and spending time with his family, who are getting pretty quick as well. We look forward to hearing what keeps Crawford’s drive and enthusiasm going and what his goals are for the future.

For those who follow Chris Ball on Social Media they will already recognise him as a global adventurer. Chris is part of the team behind the Enduro World Series (EWS) and the man who started Dirt School.  Chris has also worked for the UCI, was a downhill racer and is passionate about mountain biking. Chris loves getting out on his bike and having fun with friends. hH also enjoys a variety of other outdoor activities including climbing and skiing and, most recently, a bit of sailing.

Julia Hobson lives the dream. Julia is a mountain bike guide in Scotland and abroad. Like Aneela  she is also a Julianna Brand Ambassador as well as being the queen of Instagram.  She never sits still and has some amazing stories to share. As a racer Julia has competed some of the big races; she has cycled John o Groats to Lands End off road, and is a well ‘kent’ face in the Outdoor Capital and her friends cannot wait to hear about her most adventures.


The Thistly Cross After Party will be held in the Alexandra Hotel immediately after the conclusion of the Bike Night.

Saturday 20 February also sees the return of the very popular  No Fuss Runduro Event which will see runners enjoy the mountain bike Enduro format on the trails around Fort William and Glen Nevis.

Chris Ball recently issued a challenge to the other bike night speakers: “We should all do this.  I will speak first and give them all a chance to get their breath back!  Could Crawford get the loan of a head torch just in case.”


To find out more about the Fort William Mountain Festival 2016 and to book tickets go to:

Facebook –

Twitter –  /  #FWMF2016

The Fort William Mountain Festival is presented by Jöttnar, technical clothing for mountaineering, winter climbing and all-mountain skiing  –


The Fort William Mountain Festival wish to thank the following sponsors and supporters – Jöttnar, Three Wise Monkey’s Climbing, Rare Breed Productions, The Alexandra Hotel, Thistly Cross Cider, The Outdoor Capital of the UK, Ellis Brigham, Rio Tinto Alcan, Foundation Scotland, Corpach Boat Building Co. Ltd, The Nevis Landscape Partnership, The Heritage Lottery Fund, Hotscot, Cotswold Outdoor, Nevis Range Mountain Resort, John Muir Trust, Printsmith, Lamont Design, Allround Signs, Abacus Mountain Guides, The Granite House, No Fuss Events, Bill Scott Architects.

Casey Brown & Katy Winton Sign for Trek Factory Racing

Casey Brown and Katy Winton, who both raced for Bergamont team in 2015 have announced that they will be moving to Trek Factory Racing for 2016.


Trek Factory Racing is proud to announce the addition of two immense talents in the mountain bike world, Katy Winton and Casey Brown. Both will join the Enduro contingent of Trek Factory Racing, with Katy Winton taking on the full Enduro World Series circuit and Casey running a multi-disciplinary schedule of Enduro and Gravity events.

Trek Factory Racing - Enduro


Trek Factory Racing - Enduro

Katy Winton joins Trek Factory Racing as the 2015 Scottish Enduro champion and the 10th overall finisher from the 2015 EWS season. Relatively new to the Enduro scene, Katy began her mountain biking career in cross country, switching over to Enduro in 2013. Katy will focus her efforts on the Enduro World Series, where she will undoubtedly be a talent to watch.

“It’s an absolute dream come true to be a part of Trek Factory Racing! To race alongside the World Champ and the other awesome riders on the team on amazing bikes is the ultimate set up! I can’t wait to get racing!” – Katy Winton


Trek Factory Racing - Enduro and Gravity


Trek Factory Racing - Enduro and Gravity

Casey Brown comes to Trek Factory Racing as the former Queen of Crankworx, bringing with her a huge breadth of experience in numerous disciplines of mountain biking. In addition to her full schedule of filming, Casey will race several Enduro World Series events, take part in Gravity competitions, and pursue the coveted Queen of Crankworx title.

“I’m stoked to become part of the Trek family, and am excited for the opportunities this professional team will bring!” – Casey Brown

Trek Factory Racing is a global professional cycling team that competes at the highest level with the utmost passion and respect to the sport. Woven around unique, rich personalities that create perfect unity, the team is open, engaging, and welcomes all to come experience the grit and glory of professional cycling.

Micayla Gatto Signs With Diamondback

Micayla Gatto Signs With Diamondback

Ex World Cup rider Micayla Gatto has signed with Diamondback bikes! This year her main focus will be adventure. She left world cup racing at the end of 2014 season and I doesn’t look like she is set to return to the scene anytime soon. With such an infectious positive attitude Micayla is the perfect ambassador for womens mountain biking.



How To Get Into Mountain Biking

Getting Into Mountain Biking

I have a few friends who keep saying to me they love the idea of Mountain Biking and would love to try it but either they can’t afford the expense or they think it looks to scary. So here’s a quick how to guide to show you it doesn’t have to cost a fortune and it is really more fun than scary.

1.Don’t Spend a Fortune

Contrary to belief you don’t need to sell a kidney to raise the money to get into mountain biking. Just follow a few simple steps, don’t buy a brand new bike straight away. Buy a decent 2nd had hardtail/AM bike and use that for a few months. The same goes for riding gear buy second hand and you could save a fortune. Use site like to find a descent 2nd hand bike/gear.


2. Go Riding With Some Pals.

Go out riding with some friends it is heaps more fun and  it will give you more confidence than solo riding.  If you don’t have any friends that ride then find your local MTB forum it is a great way to find people near you to go riding with.


2. Keep it Calm on the First Day.

Don’t push it to hard on your first day. If you do it will most likely result in you crashing and it will most definitely put you off. The person that came up with the saying “it’s as easy as riding a bike” saying clearly wasn’t referring to mountain biking…


3. Know Your Limits

Don’t give into peer pressure, you know your limits better than anyone else does so don’t let them tell you what you should be riding, don’t let someone convince you to tackle steep black graded runs on your first few weeks of riding. Fortunately for us girls aren’t half as bad a boys at applying the peer pressure (sometimes).


5. Use the Right Protection

And finally… Wear protection this is a must. Always make sure you wear a helmet.. and any other armour that you feel you should be wearing knee & elbow pads etc.

Helmets Are a Must!
Helmets Are a Must!

But above all else have fun!

Bruni, Vergier & Iles Form Specialized Gravity

Bruni, Vergier & Iles have announced that they will be forming the new Specialized Gravity Team.


Specialized will partner with Pure Agency in 2016 to form a new Specialized Gravity Team, supporting the 2015 World Champion Loic Bruni, Junior 2014 Junior World Champion Loris Vergier and first year junior Finn Iles on the UCI World Cup circuit. The team will all be racing aboard Specialized bikes and select equipment pieces next season.

Troy Brosnan will remain and star on the Specialized Racing Factory team, a separate set up, but with the same ambition.


Loic Bruni had this to say about the change, “I’m really excited about changing rigs for many reasons, and it gives me coherence in the way I see my career. The team and I have worked hard during the past few years to reach a high level. We have all ambition and we are all able to deliver really professional work while still having fun. I was really seduced by joining such a big family. The brand already has a great history, and I’m excited about being part of it—it’s always been a dream. Reaching this step is a big satisfaction for me and the team, it is what we need and we know Specialized is the right partner for new things. I’m looking forward to ride well with my Rainbow Jersey and the Demo, of course, I’ll try to do great stuff with it. We are already working on the bike and tires to be ready for the season 2016 that is promised to be a blast.”

“I’ve been with the team since I started on the World Cup circuit, and I always thought that it was almost perfect, with good friends, good atmosphere, and good sponsors. And now, a dream came reality, riding with the biggest brand in the world with still the same crew is an amazing opportunity that I’m really proud of. Really excited for the future!” – Loris Vergier


“2015 was in many ways our best season yet,” said Benno Williet, Team Manager for Specialized’s Factory MTB programs. “The overall structure of the team finally came together and the results the guys achieved on the race course really backed that up. At the end of the season, we bid farewell to Aaron Gwin after an awesome season, but at the same time, we look forward to the future and are excited to be supporting more riders than ever before. Between Troy on our Factory Team, and then also Loic, Loris, and Finn, four of the very best riders in the world will board a Demo at the highest level of completion. It is a youthful, super talented roster throughout, so it is safe to say the future is bright!”



“This, my second year in the team (Pure Agency), is going to be exciting. I am super happy to be continuing on with such a good group of guys. Last year was an awesome experience, to see how well the team worked together blew my mind. With this upcoming year being my first year of racing junior, I am honored to have such an amazing brand behind my back. I think this is an amazing opportunity, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds. Heading to California in January to link up with everyone is something I’m really looking forward to!” – Finn Iles

“I was really proud to work with our partners, and in the eight years, we created something really special, but when we had first contact with Specialized, we felt that it was time to move. The opportunity was unique, because we had the chance to keep the same working process with same staff and riders. They understood that a good result is not just a good athlete or the best bike, but also a great atmosphere, where everybody in the team is able to make his own contribution to perform. To be honest, we also had another good financial offer, a higher one, but it was definitely a different way of work, and it was not the first choice of the key guys in the team. When the boys tested the bike, it confirmed everything. We have the feeling, too, that R&D is really strong and all details are well thought on the bike. One last detail, but maybe the most important detail in our decision: Loic and I received a personal message from M. Sinyard, and I don’t know a lot of bosses who are involved like this in Sports Marketing. It showed us how the company is passionate about DH and racing. We really appreciated this.” – Laurent Delorme – Pure Agency Manager

2015 Look Back

Happy New Year

What an awesome year 2015 was and we can’t wait to see what 2016 brings.

We have loads of exciting things in the pipeline for 2016 and can’t wait to see it all materialise.

A big thank you again to everyone that has helped and supported MTB Girls Ride in the last 6 months. It is unreal how much it has grown in such a short time!

Keep and eye out for all the exciting news of 2016 coming soon! In the mean time take a look a few of 2015’s highlights!

A Glimpse of 2015:



BES Have cleared up the confusion! Full face helmets are recommended but NOT compulsory!


Martyn Ashton Set Out to Raise £7000… And Ended Up With So Much More!

Not that anyone needs proof that the MTB community is awesome, but if you ever did here it is!

MTB hero Martyn Ashton’s world changed completely when he was left paraplegic back in 2013. Yet despite this Martyn lives his life in a way that all of us should try to. He continues to be positive and motivated despite the obstacles that have been put in his way. So when Martyn posted on Facebook that he was going to sell his Road Bike that featured in Road Bike Party episode 2 (video below) for some expensive rehab equipment, it was no surprise that everyone turned round told him to leave his bike where it was and  set up a Go fund me campaign.

The page has only been set up for 2 days now and already the £7,000 starter target has been smashed, at the time of writing this the current amount raised was over £40,000.

So there it is people! The proof you needed that the MTB Community is AWESOME!


O’Neal Rockstacker Short

O’Neal Rockstacker Shorts Review


In the last few years it has been amazing to see so many girls specific mountain biking ranges popping up all over the place. However that doesn’t mean that we aren’t partial to the odd unisex or guys clothing piece here and there.

I have spent the last few weeks test out O’Neal Rockstacker shorts!


These shorts are the perfect winter shorts for me. They are described as a snug fit and on a guy I guess they would be, however on me they were fairly baggy yet not to much that I was completely swamped by them. They have enough room and movement in them to allow you to wear tights under them during the winter months ( trust me in Scotland this is a massive selling point). The over the knee fit gives me greater confidence when riding, my knee pads also fit pretty well under the shorts.

They have an adjustable waist band that allows you to adjust the sizing so that the shorts are as comfy as possible when riding! The stretch material allows for easy movement around the bike when riding.

The light weight material and the air vent system integrated into the seams to control cooling when riding makes these shorts perfect for summer days too!


Overall I was really impressed with these O’Neal shorts and would definitely recommend them as a good alternative to those girls that aren’t big fans of the female specific design & we have heard on the grapevine that a girls specific range from O’Neal is in the pipeline! Definitely worth keeping an eye out for if they are of a similar standard to the Rockstacker Shorts.

The shorts retail for around for around £70 and come in a three different colours (pictured above).

It might be too late to add these shorts to your Christmas list but I would definitely recommend treating yourself to a pair in the New Year!





Glencoe Mountain Resort Upgrades

Glencoe Mountain Resort Upgrades

Upgrades at Glencoe Mountain Resort could mean better uplifts for bikers in the Summer! Now winter hurry up and finish so we can make use of this!

Check out the Press Release Here!