When I worked in the food industry (so many years ago) product sampling was a perk of the job. Being invited to sample the cakes and chocolates was often a warm cosy affair, and very bad for weight control.
When the Scottish Mountain Biking Conference is staged in the Highlands in November one can’t help but have a certain trepidation about the conditions for a “ride out” to sample the nearby tracks, especially when hearing about the group of mountain bike journalists who arrived back exhausted after dark the previous day.
Snow on the tops, almost zero degrees? I mean officially I am here to talk about growing the cycling industry, economic benefits and innovation, but it would be rude not to test the product.
As it was, I had the bonus of two gentle rides round the small Loch an Eilein, each of about an hour, a great opportunity to blow away the cobwebs from travelling and conference halls, even when tired.
The first was Wednesday’s wet and windy morning spin where we enjoyed some clear spells and great views across the Loch to the hills behind and the ruined hunting lodge on the island in the lake.
And on Thursday evening we got to do the whole thing again as a group night ride, actually the first time I have done a proper MTB ride with high quality bike and helmet lamps.
Ok, it wasn’t the trickiest of trails, but even the less experienced riders in the group seemed to love bouncing around the rocks and tree roots in the dark, I certainly did.
The whole essence of the conference was how much mountain biking currently means to Scotland, and how much more it can be developed as a world call destination with riding for all tastes and abilities, blended with Scottish hospitality, food and drink.
I can’t disagree with any of those conclusions! (And product testing is still a perk of the job)