Neethling & Meyer in Iran - Chasing Trail Ep. 19

Mar 16, 2018
by SCOTT Sports  

In recent times Iran has remained a largely cryptic country. A trip to Tehran and its backcountry has confronted Andrew Neethling and Holger Meyer with reality: together with the locals the well-travelled pros explored the pearl of Persia’s singletracks - and experienced not just the country’s top-notch trail network, but also the warmth of its inhabitants. Their perception of Iran was turned completely upside down.

Photo Martin Bissig
Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig
Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig
Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig
Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig
Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig
Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig
Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig
Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig

Photo Martin Bissig

For the full story, click here.

Photos/Video: Martin Bissig
Text: Holger Meyer


MENTIONS: @SCOTT-Sports


Regions in Article
Tehran


120 Comments

  • 114 1
 CrankBros wheels on a adventure trip...I too like to live dangerously
  • 6 0
 lololololol
  • 16 4
 And Whipperman has won this comment section. Thank you all for coming and good luck next round.
  • 75 5
 Sorry but Iran out of ideas for funny comments.
  • 20 2
 You've Scott to try harder!
  • 9 2
 @willaasss: Either Wales nice article!
  • 1 6
flag qreative-bicycle (Mar 16, 2018 at 2:56) (Below Threshold)
 Stay tuned
  • 35 3
 Ayatollah once, Ayatollah twice, now I've got Tehran you OFF OF MY LAWN!!!
  • 10 27
flag WAKIdesigns (Mar 16, 2018 at 4:52) (Below Threshold)
 I wish the off season was over, makes me want to fly to Havana and blow some cubans
  • 2 0
 Tehran't many options for amusing comments to be fair.
  • 52 4
 When a lot of the "western" world is crying for war against Iran, it's nice to see @SCOTT-Sports promoting peace and friendship for a change, through the simple fact of riding bycicles Smile

And also, awesome videos, pics and places to ride!
  • 19 0
 Thanks for that! Indeed, it was one of the best experiences I had so far. Great people, great country, great riding! We had so much fun shooting this and it was only possible thanks to the Iranian mountain biking community.
  • 3 2
 Well. Im not sure about Iran. Right now its Russia we are taking on!!
  • 4 0
 Well then @SCOTT-Sports, you heard the man, there's the destination for your next trip and video: Russia Smile
Trailforks shows they have quite a few over there: www.trailforks.com/region/russia/?lat=43.788313&lon=44.197997&z=6&m=trailforks
And i bet the Caucasus is even more awesome than Iran www.boredpanda.com/20-stunning-images-from-our-bike-adventure-in-the-georgian-caucasus
  • 13 0
 No kidding. I swear the entity of Government is the bane of all of us who love peace and can actually get along with with each other without war. This American does not want war with Iran unless we are severely provoked into doing so! The fact that we *can* wage war does not mean we *should* wage war.

Ride on, may the regular people like you and me get along and enjoy life without our governments wars!
  • 1 0
 @boxxerace: Well said!
  • 1 0
 @boxxerace: @boxxerace: your comment reminds me of the story of the Christmas Truce during World War I. The story goes British and German troops in the trenches stopped fighting on Christmas Eve and began singing Christmas songs and exchanging greetings. This went on for a few hours in multiple locations... until the higher ups put an end to it and the war raged on.
  • 44 0
 This just in...they are going to rename Iran to Irode.
  • 25 2
 Right on. There are great people (and A-holes) all around the world no matter the culture. Many governments and/theocrats would have you think otherwise. Kudos to Needles & Meyer for exposing some if the good people of Iran. Rubber side folks. #gorideyourbike
  • 27 1
 Thanks! When I told people I'm going to Iran for the shoot, everyone was like "isn't that dangerous", "are you crazy" etc. Once I was there, I met the most warm-hearted and hospitable people ever. They've got a great bike community and helped us in every possible way. The country is full of culture and one of the safest places I've ever travelled. Don't always believe what the mass media shows you. Make your own verdict about a place. Travel there, it will be a great experience!
  • 3 0
 @martinbissig: Welcome and cheers mate!
  • 8 1
 @martinbissig: My wife was there last year and she told me exactly the same. It's incredible how the media can manipulate the world and brainwash everybody.
  • 4 1
 @migkab: My son's buddy is half Jewish and half Iranian. They (including the Jewish parent) travel to Iran all the time. They have a blast there. I've known a few other Iranians and they've all been wonderful. I'd love to visit. Not that my wallet or available vacation time agree, but you know.
  • 4 7
 @pinhead907: I'm pretty sure Jewish refers to a religious ideology and Iranian refers to nationality. Is he also half Israeli half Muslim?
  • 3 1
 @Small-Tales-Epic-Trails: I'm pretty sure that that's a petty, nit-picking post. BUUUUT this is the internet after all, and thus probably neither the pettiest nor nitpickiest thing written even within the last 2 minutes. "Jewish American"... Does that satisfy you? Geez.
  • 3 0
 @Small-Tales-Epic-Trails: ethnicity, nationhood and religion.
  • 1 0
 @martinbissig: Here here!
  • 1 0
 @pinhead907: Small minds, offended easily apparently.
  • 1 0
 @Small-Tales-Epic-Trails: jews are the only group globally recognized as a religion AND nationality. Your both right and wrong at the same time
  • 3 3
 @HurricaneCycles: haha what a load of bollocks. For so many reasons. I just find ignorance exceptionally funny and worrying at the same time.
  • 2 3
 @pinhead907: now I'm even more confused. You just said half Iranian. Where's that disappeared to? Do you mean he's an Iranian American whose religious belief is Judaism? You say not-picking, but you've completely cut out the part which relates to this story.
  • 2 1
 @Small-Tales-Epic-Trails: +1. People from Israel are Israelis. Ignorant people call them 'jews'. Conveniently disregarding the fact that there are people of different religious denominations that reside within the country.
  • 1 0
 @Small-Tales-Epic-Trails: It is nit picking and petty. Read it again. My son's friend has one parent that is a Jewish American. The second parent is an Iranian born person who lives in America, and is of unknown religious affiliation, but likely Muslim. Clear enough?
  • 12 0
 Cool trip and echoes my personal experience from having had the opportunity to visit Iran. In general the citizens of Iran are extremely misunderstood based on my observations. As a whole Iran is young, well educated and desires to be connected. The art, food and hospitality are worth a trip in themselves but to ride a bike in such a place all the better. Very neat to see companies supporting a trip of this nature.
  • 11 0
 travellers always say people in Iran are very very friendly!
  • 12 7
 pretty nice.... but (and please dont shoot me down in flames) i honestly can not get excited for big open featureless terrain riding. for me its always in the trees, thats what i know and what i relate to. i see so many locations perfect for the drone footage, but it just doesnt float my boat. i imagine if i had lots of vast open vistas to ride i would get it, and maybe the dude that rides vast open vistas all the time doesn't get excited by footage of closed in forest trails. i dunno. will pontificate this while i build my warranty frame back up today!!
  • 2 5
 prej·u·dice
ˈ/prejədəs/
  • 3 0
 @cbro7092: ...... lol..... nicely done!!!
  • 13 0
 Strange considering alot of the scottish highlands is barren open and featureless
  • 1 1
 @doe222: .......um yeap, but we have a lot of trees too, handy places for when the weather is frightful which at the moment seems to be every day. now dont get me wrong i wouldnt say no to a trip to iran or wherever to ride vast open fast trails. and am pretty sure i would have a blast riding this stuff and come away with a huge grin. but much like watching pump tracks and slopestyle stuff, i just dont connect with it . anyway, consider me shot down in flames. each to their own
  • 1 0
 @Zuman: we all have prejudice built in to us one way or another about something or another. its what you do or dont do with that prejudice thats more important. I'll be honest there was a part of me that forced my response on the type of trails they were riding to hopefully create debate on that topic and not the inevitable "is iran a good country or not" debate that has started already in the comments section below. :-(
  • 6 0
 How dare you have a preference!
  • 5 0
 If the whole world could get along with each other, we would have more places to ride.
  • 7 2
 I liked it, huge mountains and great landscapes, very genuine.
  • 2 1
 huge mountains you say huh >_>
  • 4 0
 @colincolin: Damawand you see in the background of some shots is 5610m above sea level. I think it's fair to call it huge Smile
  • 1 0
 @martinbissig: Ich dachte da an etwas anderes Wink
  • 2 1
 This is awesome! Good for you guys for doing this to show the ignorant red necks that wanna keep their heads up their ass that politics are different than the people. You guys should've tried some the northern parts of the country. I've been there and it's rad!
youtu.be/IGna6kMlP44
  • 8 3
 I wouldn't ride a Scott there, Nukeproof rather
  • 1 0
 How did you find the local riders? I went to Iran a few years ago for a friends wedding and loved it. We also took a trip around the country and I remember seeing the mountains and imagining all the trails. How big is the mtb scene there?
  • 15 13
 Am I overthinking things by feeling uncomfortable around these ‘wealthy white men go exploring’ films? Are there any local riders? Who built those berms?
  • 9 14
flag smithcreek (Mar 16, 2018 at 4:18) (Below Threshold)
 As long as they don't roost a berm in the face of some local carrying precious water they had to hike 10 miles to get it's all good.
  • 32 3
 @smithcreek: umm Iran is not such a backward country as you yanks like to make it out to be.
  • 31 3
 More likely to get shot in the U.S than Iran. Just saying. Now where's my Camel......pack?
  • 10 1
 @doe222: Actually, you might have missed it becaue it was subtle, or because you lack humor, so I'll explain. My comment was a joke about simonusetoskate feeling "uncomfortable" (whatever that means these days). With his "wealthy white men" comment HE is the one insinuating that Iran is a backwards ass country, not me. I then take his insinuation and run with it, going to the image of some poor old woman with a jug of water on her head, getting blasted by some "wealthy white man's" roost. Get it? Funny! Actually, many parts of Iran were pretty damn modern in many ways including socially. They've lost ground since the '70's, not a great time to be anything but a religious straight male there, but not my country so....
  • 5 1
 @simonusedtoskate: They have a national womens MTB team. Surprise!
  • 3 10
flag smithcreek (Mar 16, 2018 at 7:15) (Below Threshold)
 @Boardlife69: But, less likely to get executed by the state for your sexual preferences. Maybe if the population had guns their government would be a little less interested in who was doinking who? So, you gotta pick your poison I guess.
  • 3 2
 @smithcreek: That has nothing to do with anything. They are ruled by a theocratic dictatorship. Which has everything to do with it.
  • 6 0
 @doe222: Acutally, most of us Yanks are fully aware the country is educated and has lots to offer. It's the batter theocratic government we have issue with. Just like we have issues with our own government 90% of the time. Politicians suck for the most part. No matter the political 'side of the fence' they claim to represent.
  • 15 0
 There are a lot of local riders as you can see in one of the images. But we couldn't take them with us on the whole trip. Whereever we went, we were supported and most welcomed by mountain bike riders who share the same passion as we do.

"Wealthy wite men"... What exactly do YOU know about Iran to make a statement like that? Most of the people we met are as wealthy as we are and are living a great life. Make your own image, travel there!
  • 2 0
 @m1dg3t: Uh, pretty sure that was my point.
  • 2 1
 @martinbissig: It helps when you have a banking system that pays you 20% interest in your savings account. What do we(western world) get? WOW!! A whole 0.5% average but you pay 2% fees and even more in taxes* Now, the real question is, Were you able to open a savings account there?
*country may vary.
  • 5 2
 @m1dg3t: I think smithcreek's point is that a theocratic dictatorship is a lot harder to maintain when the citizens are armed. People can down vote smithcreek all they want, but it doesn't change the fact that gay people(and women) are treated pretty horribly in Iran.
  • 3 1
 @martinbissig: I used to go there about once a month with work from about 2008 to 2012. I know you have certain priorities and that films have to be so dam short in these internet times but personally I think it woulda been good to cut a few locals into it.
  • 1 0
 @Session603 @smithcreek: You honestly believe civilians with small arms would make any difference? They already have access to firearms, how's that been working out for them? The governments control the militaries, and as long as that's true we're all facked.
  • 2 0
 @m1dg3t: See Vietnam, the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, and the American invasion of Afghanistan for some examples of armed civilians giving the biggest militaries in the world a whole hell of a lot of problems.
  • 1 0
 @Session603: LoL. Civilians with National support. Look at the whole picture, not just what suits you.

The Vietnamese had help from communist nations/allies. The Afghanis had support from the US to combat the Russians. Same with the recent invasion of Afghanistan, they are being supported by Pakistan & Saudi Arabia - to name a couple. Do you see the theme here?

You actually think Billy Bobs militia can do anything against a modern military, without outside support from national parties? This isn't 1776 any more where we're armed with muskets and field cannons. It isn't 1800's either where we all have revolvers and lever actions, etc...
  • 1 0
 @m1dg3t: Stating the obvious is not an argument, and in this case it only further erodes any point you're attempting to make. The outside support you're referring to consisted of largely what my friend? Weapons perhaps? You see the theme here?

That entire third paragraph is a strawman argument, and completely irelevant. I never said anything about "Billy bobs militia", field cannons, or muskets. Try to stay on topic.

Again, and for the last time, all I said was that a dictatorship is harder to maintain when the citizens are armed. That's an obvious truth. Your condescending internet persona and political stereotypes don't change that. LoL.
  • 3 1
 I can't say Iran is on the bucket list. Are women allowed to ride bikes there? If they are, do they have to wear a headscarf under or over the helmet?
  • 5 0
 Yes... I am Iranian mountain biker. And I have race in world cups and international races....
  • 1 0
 Dang, how you go over 'dere. Ride around not afraid of a lock up for desecrating some pile of religious shit or sump'm? I didn't even think wearing shorts was legal. What an ignorantard I am huh? :/
  • 6 4
 Iran rules!!! what a place!
  • 6 1
 As long as you're not gay, or a woman that has the audacity to dress as she sees fit.
  • 5 5
 @Session603: No doubt, all the countries have is own shit, it´s more or less like USA with afroamericans
  • 3 0
 @Eduar: That might be a reasonable comparison if we hadn't passed The Civil Rights Act of 1964. There is racism in every country on earth, the US most certainly included, but it's illegal to be gay in Iran. It is not illegal to be a member of any minority group here. Your argument doesn't work.
  • 7 6
 So what are "preconceived perceptions of Iran"? Nuclear bombs, desert, war and ISIS??
  • 9 0
 A few years ago friend of mine spent some time in Iran. He said the people there went out of their way like nowhere else on earth (and he's been everywhere) to make him feel welcome. They were just so happy to see a Westerner and wanted him to know that Iranians are nothing like their government.
  • 14 4
 well, having nuclear bombs these days seems to be the only way to not be invaded by oil scavengers
  • 6 2
 @Benito-Camelas: Yeah look at everyone invading Venezuela, Niger and Norway....
  • 3 0
 @bishopsmike: wait for it......
  • 1 1
 --
  • 3 0
 Dunno, but the ones I know are very smart, intellectual people!
  • 1 1
 Excellent place to go biking, sample craft beers and meet some lovely ladies!
  • 1 0
 Some beautiful pictures down there. Meanwhile I stuck in mud back in South Wales. Oh
  • 3 1
 Amazing, that's a bucket list trip for me
  • 6 8
 I'm sure Iran is cool and all but there is no way I'm ever going to go there. You don't want to be that guy on the news that gets jailed for some bs reason. It doesn't happen to most people but considering all of the rad countries to choose from why risk it.
  • 14 1
 Obviously, if you don't have plans to travel there, you will never experience that it's quite the opposite of what you think it is. It's very safe, people are extremely nice, helpful and welcoming. Don't mistaken Iran with North Korea, just because the (American) media tells you so. Make your own verdict before blindly repeating what you get fed by the media.
  • 4 0
 @martinbissig: I think rpinney206 has a legitimate point. Being a US citizen could make him a target of government or military officials. Being a US citizen will absolutely draw greater attention. Regardless of his own beliefs, our governments have an adversarial relationship and he could get caught up in that conflict. This isn't necessarily a reflection of his views of the average citizen of Iran but a political reality that you aren't subject to. BTW the people of North Korea are probably very nice and welcoming, as long as they aren't too terrified to speak to foreigners.
  • 2 1
 @martinbissig: I'm not blindly repeating anything, but it has happened. Like I said It would probably be fine, but you never know...
  • 2 0
 @humanpowered: That's the nail on the head right there. As a U.S. citizen, you are more likely to get used as a pawn in the larger geopolitical conflict when traveling to nations like Iran, that have-as stated-an adversarial relationship with us.
  • 1 0
 i see prince of persia was based on true story and architecture!
  • 1 0
 That's it! Now I know where to go for my next biking trip! Yeeeooow
  • 1 0
 Holger, you are killing it!! nice pics!!
  • 1 0
 IRAN... now something they could say IRODE~ lol
  • 2 2
 Tell us about the opium....
  • 1 1
 Nice country - cool trip
  • 1 1
 That beauty trip .
  • 1 1
 Admiral General Aladin.
  • 1 1
 Geiles Ding Holger!
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