I’ve been lucky enough to ride my bicycle in more places than I ever dreamed of seeing. When I get asked where my favourite location is I always struggle to not mention certain places. The current hot seat spot is a small Portuguese island off the coast of Morocco. A surprise answer to some, but not to those who have been: Madeira.
Madeira is unlike anywhere I’ve been. A steep volcanic mountain sitting alone in the ocean. It has its own microclimate and subsequently diverse landscape. One moment you might be riding high alpine trails above the clouds and the next you’re in gum trees with red dust in the air. On the same day you could be ankle deep in mud riding through a rainforest. It really is a crazy spot to behold.
As soon as the UK lockdown ended I could think of nowhere better to celebrate my travel draught! When I asked my team mate Iven he explained he had never been. This further added fuel to the fire.
"It had to happen!"
My first trip had been nearly ten years ago after being told by my good friend Jacob Gibbins about an island that ‘YOU HAVE TO VISIT’. Who better to bring along than the man himself?! Jacob knows the island super well and with the all encompassing Freeride Madeira guiding us we had ourselves a trip booked which couldn’t fail.
Olly on Madeira
"The bike I chose for Madeira was the Sam."
The trails in Madeira can be long and rough so I wanted to test the Sam on some of the tougher trails that the island had to offer:
Part of what made the week so fun was seeing it through Ivens eyes. Me and Jacob had visited before and knew what to expect. Experiencing the island with someone who hadn’t previously been really highlighted how amazing the place was itself. Watching the edit Jacob put together makes me want to book a trip straight away! Maybe I’ll get it done after the next lockdown...