Descent World – Scottish Mountain Biking | Film Production | Photos | Adventure Stories

The “Scottish Scene” Part 1

Scottish Scene is a self funded project taking a look at the downhill mountain bike scene around one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Shown across 5 episodes, each episode takes a look at some of the fastest riders in Scotland doing what they do best at their local trails. It also covers a selection of the SDA races from this past season, including the Scottish champs at Killin.

In Episode 1 we cover arguably the most difficult course in Scotland (or the world!) – Fort William. Here big names such as the Athertons and Ben Reid show us why this is one of the most demanding races of the series, but first we take a look at 19 year old Ronan Taylor riding his local trails in the capital of the Highlands – Inverness. Racing for Inverness bike shop Monsterbike, Ronan took the SDA Expert overall this season as well as racing overseas at some of the IXS rounds.

Scottish Scene Episode 1 (Ronan Taylor/Fort William SDA) from Stuz Leel on Vimeo.

Check out the interview below to find out about his local riding scene and how it all started for him –

Ronan Taylor flying of the huge huck at the end of the Glencoe track

Where do you live and what’s the riding scene like?

I stay on the Black Isle near Inverness in the North of Scotland. The riding scene is actually really good even with everyone living quite far away from one another. There seems to be downhill tracks popping up all over the shop, if you know who builds them. Even when some of the more well known trails have been mindlessly destroyed by the forestry in the past then they often get re-built again which is great as everyone tends to built the tracks pretty naturally anyway, very often just scraping in a track and rutting it up. As well as the downhill there are a few purpose built xc tracks not far away and some walkers trails that also work well for xc.

When did you first start riding and how did it all come about?

I was around 10 and basically got into it because the older brothers of some of my friends where really into biking. They where always building new jumps or tracks and basically peer pressured me and some others into doing new things that we weren’t comfortable with. This really helped us progress and get used to the mindset of committing to a section or jump. Then hearing about the races from the older guys made me really keen to try them out, I’m super glad I did.

Don't let the deep blue sky fool you this was the SDA at Ae Forest this year

Who do you ride with?

I’m lucky enough to have plenty of folk about. Dirt Jumping with local friends from the Black Isle, downhill and hardtail stuff with a lot of riders from Inverness, Forres and Elgin. A lot of people have their own tracks they build so it’s cool to know so many people from racing and riding and get to ride plenty of different spots.

What was your favourite race of 2011?

Anzere Swiss IXS, Really happy I was able to make it out there and get some UCI points as well as racing an awesome track. It had a mix of everything, most of it fast. Natural grass sections, steep loam, hard packed berms and it had a death sprint in the middle!

Where is your favourite place to ride in Scotland?

Downhill wise I would say the Mast near Inverness, Eagle tracks (Kem Avis, Myself and Greg Williamson have helped developed) and Fort William world cup track.

Sticking with the blue sky theme here at the fire road crossing at Ae Forest

Who are your favourite riders?

My favourite riders based on style alone would be: Chase Hawk, Justin Barcia, Sam Blenkinsop, Jimmy De Cotis and Tom Dugan

What is your favourite bike video/DVD?

Ok so it’s not mountain biking but I’d say seeing “TT3D” in the cinema was frickin awesome. It’s not often just watching a film gives you adrenaline and sweaty palms! Obviously Alex Rankin’s stuff is awesome, I enjoy videos that make me want to get out and do what ever I’ve just been watching.

Here’s 2 that got me psyched:

What makes you happy?

Feeling like you’re on the edge and pushing your self, fresh snow, drifts, going fast ,sleepyness after a days graft, new places, completing something or improving at something,

What makes you angry?

Not so much angry, more disbelief at people who spend all their money on things like brand new cars or designer clothes that they only need because they want to show off their perceived status in society. Surely that’s not that fun?

A guilty pleasure of yours is…

Riding my shit pitbike that always falls apart, looking to upgrade to something just as slow soon… Even guiltier, Barbie biking on small pink bikes, I hang my head in shame, good round the pumptrack though.

Ronan Taylor railing his Morewood through the berms to take another expert win at Innerleithen

What is your favourite food?

Pretty keen on my tinned sardines!

What does the future hold for Ronan Taylor?

Well for 2012 my plan is to race all the european world cups. It’s been a goal for ages to race world cups so I’m well looking forward to when I race my first one. From there I’ll be trying to progress with each world cup I do, learn and keep getting faster and move up the ranks.

Any thanks or shout outs?

Aye, I’d like to say cheers to Mark Maciver at Monsterbike for helping me get a bike and looking after my bikes and keeping em sweet, Simon at Chunked Components for some sweet customised stems for this season, Anyone who has given me a lift or helped me out at the races, Stuz Leel for an opportunity to have some fun and do some skids in front of the camera and lastly Mum and Dad as realistically without them I wouldn’t have been able to get to half the races I’ve done.

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