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It’s rare that a good idea is found at the bottom of a bottle…


It all started with a message from my sister back in September last year. “I’ve got you the coolest Christmas present ever.

You’re going to love it.” Really? I was genuinely intrigued. I mean, this was off the back of me giving her a smoke machine for her last birthday but I managed to keep that one to myself and didn’t need to forewarn her of its awesomeness (initially sceptical, she now loves it). What on earth could be so good that she felt the need to tell me about it that far in advance? Now, if it was a bike, I could understand the excitement, but let’s be realistic here – that’s never going to happen. Of course, I’ve been given bikes before for Christmas, but that was a long time ago, and they were from my parents. Not my sister.

Eventually, Christmas Day rolls around, and in the chaos of our large family gathering, I’ve completely forgotten all about the Present To End All Presents™, until she excitedly hands me a neatly wrapped tube. It’s definitely not a bike then.

I hurriedly tear the package open and inside is a single, folded A4 piece of paper. An event ticket.

To a whisky tasting in Bristol.

Erm… thanks, I mumble, and try my best to look as excited as my sister obviously is, but more importantly, I try not to disappoint the assembled throng of small children who sit staring at me, wondering why Uncle James isn’t bouncing up and down with glee.

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About Singletrack

Editorial: Chipps is in an upbeat mood and thinks that things have never been better. UK Adventure: Land of the Midnight Sun: Pete Scullion heads to the northern tip of Scotland in search of midnight sunlight and spectacular trails. Column: Don't Call It A Heatwave, Just Call It Summer: Fearing the weather will turn, Chipps is worn out from riding day after day after… International Adventure: Uncharted British Columbia: e organisers of the BC Bike Race lay on this increasingly spicy taster menu of Canada’s finest trails. Classic Ride: North York Moors: Where better place to start a ride than Fryup? Olly Townsend takes us on a tour of technical trails that he can’t quite believe are legal. Bike Test: Beyonduro: To infinity and beyond… well, maybe just 170mm. Dean Hersey tests out three huge travel bikes from Nukeproof, Santa Cruz and Whyte that are not just for riding downhill. Trail Hunter: Quantock Hills: James Vincent revisits old friends on new trails in the Quantocks and remembers how much fun it is to ride without having to carry your bike. International Adventure: Trans Angeles: Hans Rey, Missy Giove, and Timmy C. from Rage Against e Machine go on an all-star ride across Los Angeles, from the mountains to the ocean. UK Adventure: Tyke Packing: Barney defeats the lightweight, solitary, point of bikepacking by taking his young children with him. We’ll let you decide if this is a how-to guide, or a list of reasons not to. UK Adventure: Back to the Future Sanny goes on a trip down memory lane, and his body reminds him why modern bikes are a good thing. Last Word: The Same Sort of Different. Hannah thinks that the world can be a more interesting place if you ride a bike. We Just Work Here: Who we are, what we do and who we would trust to build us a bike from scratch.