Tea, scones, little cottages with straw roofs and those adorable red telephone boxes in case you forget your i-phone pin... What else is Britain best known for? Ah yes, producing about half of the top 20 currently on the downhill World Cup circuit. Southern England is where the great, Brendan Fairclough is proud to call home and while it may not be too reminiscent of Champery or Crabapple Hits, his back yard makes a pretty good spot for good times on two wheels, with best buds.
Introducing the painful 9 to 5 of a top downhiller outside of the races. Pure soul-sucking agony, we think you'll agree...
Here we are on the set of 3 Minute Gaps, no less. Brendan still lives on 'the island' in harmony with his chickens, nestled deep in the Guildford countryside.
Home life with Mum and Dad Fairclough. By all accounts Brendawg has it so good, he does genuinely believe his clothes wash themselves...
Inside the man cave... Life on two wheels isn't lived for long without some serious time making sure the wheels keep on rolling. And you know, just generally tinkering with awesome oily stuff.
Brendan gives some local fella a piece of his mind for not letting him back her in. Bren and Andrew had to make a double quick stop at the local bike store for a fresh pair of Nobby Nic's before they were 'shreddy'.
They're getting there! Watching top downhillers trying to put on a set of tires themselves is a little bit like watching chimpanzees open a chocolate bar for the first time. 'Mechanic! Mechanic!'... Where's a mechanic when you need one outside of the races?
| People ask a lot why I come to Brendan between races; I enjoy the culture, the scene... If you get burned out on racing and all the training it's nice to just go out in the woods and have a ride. I've met all his friends over the years, they've become my friends and we go out and have a really good time... Smash some turns, ride in a train, just laughing the whole way down - Andrew Neethling- Giant Factory Racing |
It can take a while to find your way out of the numbered streets into the Surrey Hills, but soon the roads become a narrow labyrinth through the undergrowth and one begins to smell the proximity of high-class trails drawing near.
Any district council in the UK will tell you the problems they have with people taking their trousers off in their forestry car parks.
Ever tried riding alone? While it certainly beats... errr... drinking alone, it's not half as good as when you're sharing the ride with a solid crew of chums. How else can you know if your drifts are lame or your whips are bow-legged etc etc? Riding with friends is just priceless really, but well worth the money for Brendog.
The guys set sail under Leith Hill Tower, the highest point in Southern England. From these giddy heights (we're talking as much as tens of hundreds of feet here) you find a healthy plethora of rad woodland trails to escort you back towards the unpleasant din of civilization at the bottom.
Chocks away and 'flow' is the word as Brendog leads the charge into the woods. He knows the trails like the back of his han... Troy Lee gloves.
If a man on a bicycle roosts in the forest, but there's no one there to hear it, does it make a sound? No need for Brendog to contemplate such deep hypotheticals with Jono Jones and Andrew Neethling to join in destroying the local ruts.
Bon appetite... Brendog taste-tests the high quality loams. The verdict? Delicieux.
| I've been pretty fortunate and lucky to travel to a lot of countries in the World, but I'm still pretty happy to live where I do. There's great riding and great friends all around me... I'm just lucky I live here and I think I'll be settling down here for while yet - Brendan Fairclough - Gstaad-Scott team |
Any responsible pet owner knows the importance of hydration for their trail-running 'dawg'.
Brendan trying to convince everyone he's just a normal guy by suggesting they wait for the bus. It's a Sunday, there isn't one coming, but finally it looks like he's made a bond... We'll leave them to it.
And so the sun sets on another fine day on Her Majesty's shores, and it was time well spent with a solid posse of 'fully legitimate' mates in a forest full of glorious loam. What can we say? That's living and that's what friends are for!www.schwalbe.com/nobbynic
Overseas viewers may be surprised just how much good riding there is in the South-East of England (let alone the rest of the UK), perhaps this helps explain the large numbers of World class riders this small island has produced over the year
We may not have mountains, but we have a big scene of riders and trails everywhere, it very accessible, the Surrey Hills are less than 45 minutes from centre of London
Even though the riding is more "proper downhill", I have really fond memories of Surrey and riding there; great times riding on holmbury hill, the quarry, "Barry knows best" (if that's the right name) that goes down to Peaslake...
Even though the riding itself isn't as good as it is here, there are a lot more people riding over there compared to here, and the atmosphere is better ! There isn't really any "riding culture" here and the LBS are all run by a***holes...
Great article !
This would've made more sense if Brendan was actually wearing gloves and not riding au' naturale.