Kieran is yet another ex-guest who has been sucked into our World following a couple of holidays with us over the past few years – he is British but seems able to flounce around the World at his convenience, changing hemispheres to pursue the best riding weather! Travelling back to Europe for the summer from Australia (where he did his MTB guiding qualifications) he’s somehow managing to escape the antipodean winter…
Kieran is a great rider, and a top bloke – and he speaks great Spanish too – so he’s perfect for working with us in Andorra! He’s ridden Andorra with us as a guest and loved the place – but he missed out on some of our newly launched trails on his last trip – so we will be showing him the ropes in readiness for your arrival. He’s lucky – he’s got a whole stash of new experiences coming his way.
Bikes and Riding: loves technical, natural riding – so if you are at Vallnord with him he’s bound to drag you off behind a bush “to show you something secret”! Kieran is a lover of Commencal (that’s lucky isn’t it?!) and had a Meta HT before we ever got our grubby riding mitts on him! He’s going to be joining the ever growing number of us on a Meta AM V4 this season – you’ll know which one is his – it looks like a gate because he’s a lanky fella… Bizzarely, like Martin, Kieran also has a Production Privee Shan 917 steel hardtail in classic Porsche racing colours too – they are the “other” Andorran bike brand, and make things of beauty…
Martin’s first ever job as a teenager was working in a bike shop on a part-time basis in Devon, where he grew up and learned to ride on the southern edge of Dartmoor in Buckfastleigh. He started riding in 1987, and now (just) into his 40s is riding more than ever, and is still totally obsessive!
Martin raced extensively in the early 90s (he even won once!), became involved in course design and was a regular contributor to the legendary South Western MTB magazine Blazing Saddles. Martin also led and assisted holidays and rides for the CTC around the UK….the rides tended to have an unusually high percentage of singletrack for what, at the time, was a cycle touring-based club!
After leaving college Martin managed several bike shops in Devon and Wiltshire, where he originally gained his mechanical qualifications. Moving on from retail, Martin worked for several years in the Recruitment industry, where high standards ultimately led to him managing city-centre businesses with high profile companies, such as Manpower. A move into Event Management for the British Heart Foundation saw Martin responsible for organising, promoting and ensuring safety at a series of large scale, high profile charity sports events across the South West of England.
Finally, in 2007, Martin had the opportunity to move to the mountains of rural Spain, where he became Manager of a well-known mountain biking holiday company. Martin ran the day-to-day operations and marketing, but was heavily involved in guiding and trail finding. Despite long-term opportunities with this great company, and loving the country, he returned to the UK in order to be closer to family and friends – but also to pursue his dream of creating his own international MTB holiday business.
Qualifications: Martin has held full MBLA guiding qualifications (TCL and MBL certificates) for 10 years. He is a member of British Cycling, Scottish Cycling, and is a Cytec qualified cycle mechanic, and is a certified DT Swiss Wheel Builder. Martin also holds ITC Outdoor First Aid qualifications in Emergency Outdoor First Aid and also holds certification in risk assessment.
Bikes and Riding: Currently Martin rides a 2019 Commencal Meta AM29 from our sponsors at, er, Commencal! His Meta AM is “the funnest bike ever” and is ,unusually for him – completely stock spec! He also has 2 retro bikes – his first ever MTB, a 1988 Saracen Tufftrax, and an immaculalte, fully restored 1990 Kona Explosif with hand-splattered paint!
Martin loves technical trails, but never professes to be the world’s greatest climber. In fact in his early days of riding he used to go miles out of his way to avoid the steepest hills, from which he seems to have gained a fabulous knack of planning routes that get you to the top of the mountain with the minimum amount of pain!
Stu, and long-time girlfriend Jo come as a team – they are rarely seperated – so we are not going to do so on this page either! Jo and Stu bumped into Martin in a bar in Chamonix in 2006 – and we’ve been firm friends ever since. So, once they decided to start leaving their office jobs behind (a gradual progress of holidays, then sabbaticals, then finally quitting properly!) and spend more time on their bikes they started guiding for us for a few weeks every year amongst their bike-based globetrotting!
You will rarely meet a nicer couple of guys- and they are true mountain people, who are hugely experienced not only with bikes, but also as climbers…they have ridden, climbed and trekked all over the World. Stu loves maps big-time, and is usually found poring over an OS sheet somewhere with a pint of ale! He’s an ace navigator, and really understands mountains. The funniest thing is when people ask Jo is she comes out on more difficult rides – she just loves being underestimated as a biker! She’s one of the most determinedly skilful riders you’ll every meet – and will repeatedly ride the toughest tech until she feels she has conquered it…
Both guys hold British Cycling MTB Leader qualifications and Emergency Outdoor First Aid certificates, plus a whole host of experience in big mountains across the planet.
Bikes and Riding: Stu has succombed to 650b, and will again be riding a Commencal Meta v4 World Cup this season! One hell of a bike fettler. there’s not much Stu can’t tweak, fix and adjust! Jo is less interested in fettling (she has the bike fairy to do that) but just loves to ride – normally accompanied by her killer laugh! Jo’s steed since late 2015 has been a shiny new Commencal Meta AM V4 – just like Martin’s….just waaaay smaller for her dinky little leggingtons…aww, bless…
George is an experienced guide and host who has worked in Morzine and Bulgaria. Our youngest member of the team, he’s just finished his Maths degree at Exeter Uni – cue many jibes along student-based lines! George has that racing-whippet look to him (probably because he spends a troubling amount of time in lycra smashing out road miles) and will probably embarrass the whole team with his fitness and youthful exhuberance!
George loves coaching and helping people – he’s not only an MTB coach, but he can teach you to box too! Just don’t make him angry…
Yet another of our team of British Cycling MTB Leaders, he possesses Emergency Outdoor First Aid certification too.
Bikes and Riding: George has spent a few years toughing it out on a Santa Cruz hardtail whilst working in Morzne – so he must be hard as nails – but joining StS gives him access to bikes from our sponsors Commencal, so he is yet another member of the team riding the amazing Meta AM v4! We might have to weigh it down a bit, or adjust his brakes so that they drag so we can keep up with him!
"..around midnight Cedric Gracia helped lead our jelly-legged heroes to an ultimate destination...."
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