Tweedlove 2017: In at the Deep End

By Talyn Williams

Being an adventure maniac and lover of everything the outdoors has to offer, you can imagine my excitement when I got the call asking me to join the Alpkit family as the new Marketing and Events Co-ordinator. Little did I know that I was in for a whirlwind of a week.

I’ve always had a craving for adventure and exploration: as a young one I would stealthily crawl through neighbours’ gardens to see how far I could get without being spotted (it turns out pretty far!).

But as I grew older I knew that I wanted more than just crawling through back gardens, so I began to explore UK national parks in my tent and plan trips to far-flung corners of the world. After my first trip around the far east I never looked back: only looking forwards to where I was headed next.

I got through my Marketing degree by climbing, planning, and saving funds, and when I had finished I wasted no time in packing my bags. For me, there’s nothing like having everything I need packed down into one bag that you can take anywhere. After 3 years, various jobs, and countless countries, I figured it was time to get a “proper job” as my parents would call it… Alpkit to the rescue!

Monday morning came around, bringing with it day one of being part of team Alpkit. Everyone was super welcoming and I was eager to get going and learn as much as I could, so it wasn’t long before I had signed up to join marketing man Dan and bike guru Liam on the trip up to Peebles, where we’d be showcasing our Sonder bikes at the Tweedlove on the Green festival; no better way to learn than to jump in at the deep end.

Preparation task one: wash the seventeen(!) demo bikes we would be taking with us: not as easy as it sounds… Catastrophe struck when the hose I had ‘secured’ to the tap popped off, causing a small yet sizeable flood throughout the warehouse, luckily Liam was there to save me with a mop and bucket: catastrophe narrowly averted.

After packing, unpacking, and re-packing the Alpkit van several times to get all our gear in, we were on our way to Peebles for a weekend of mountain bike madness, and what a weekend it was! Undeterred by the ever-changing weather (from howling winds and pouring rain one moment, to blue skies and scorching sun the next), the lovely people of Peebles and the biking community turned up with smiling faces and plenty of adventurous stories of bike packing and bivying. The Enjoyro and International Enduro competitions welcomed some of the world’s greatest riders, and I’d heard nothing but great things about the trails around the town. Needless to say I was keen to give it a go.

This was my first time taking on some real mountain bike trails. My idea had been take an easy route and ride with someone who knows what they’re doing. Sounds sensible right? Dan and Liam seemed to agree, but after riding uphill for what seemed like an eternity to the the top of the infamous Glentress, it was clear they had other ideas. I hung on for dear life as I hurtled down the red and black graded routes on the back of one our Transmitter Carbons, dodging tree trunks, rocks, and ditches, and fearing yet another catastrophe. It was one hell of an introduction to mountain biking, but it was an introduction that got me hooked.

Tweedlove was absolutely amazing; the organisers and staff were heroes - rescuing us when the van refused to start (twice), and the awesome atmosphere was contagious, with crowds cheering every rider across the finish line. Plus the local brews and food tents meant no one went hungry or thirsty. It was so great that on the journey home we’d already begun to plan our trip for next year. Whether you want to ride some seriously gnarly trails or take a family ride around the stunning hills of Glentress, Tweedlove is the ideal destination. I can’t wait to come and meet you all next year with the Alpkit team.

Although it was a crazy first week, I can’t wait to see what else is in store. With loads of other events on the way, working at Alpkit lets me continue to go nice places and do good things, with the added bonus of being around some truly awesome people. So check out our events page and join me in the Alpkit teepee for a cuppa!

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