My passion for two wheels began back in the ’80s when the BMX craze hit Ireland and the UK. We had an awesome local track built by a farmer whose son was super into the scene. We raced events, hung out, flicked through the latest magazines and drooled over the latest bikes. When the scene suddenly disappeared, I traded my BMX for a mountain bike. However, I wasn’t that seriously into the mountain bike scene- to be honest, I didn’t even know one existed.
By this stage, I had gotten into motorbikes. I was never really any good on them, but there were a couple of fields out the back of my house that we would rip around making our own trails and normally falling off and breaking stuff. I was lucky enough to have had a number of motorbikes throughout my teenage years. There was a bit of a local crew that rode bikes of all types and we always ended up trading them among each other- we never really seemed to spend any money purchasing our next two wheeled project. I even swapped a rigid mountain bike (a Bickerton Mean Green) for a Suzuki 125cc chopper type motorbike at one time. I think I got the better deal! By the end of my teenage years, I found surfing and that changed everything. I sold my bikes and, after saving my money from my weekend job, I bought a surfboard and wetsuit. The two wheeled passion had been forgotten, but it would return with a vengeance in later years.
Fast forward 20 years. After going to university, surfing around the world, working in the surf industry and owning a surf store, I was a little burnt out. The mountain bike thing came around again after having a conversation with my good mate and surfboard shaper Conn Osborne about having issues with knee pain. Conn advised me to get out on a bike and join him on the trails. Before this stage, I didn’t even realise Conn was into mountain biking, but, as it turns out, he had been riding bikes for over 25 years and was super keen on the sport. I dusted off an old rigid MTB I had (and still have) and hit the trails.
It only took me a couple of hours to realise what I’ had been missing- I was totally hooked and the passion was back. I wanted to be out on the trails all the time and I decided I needed to upgrade my bike. As it turns out, mountain biking was also the perfect partner to my surfing. When the waves were flat, I could always hit the trails (although, there’s nothing better than a surfing/ MTB trip!).
In September 2017, I upped my involvement in the MTB community and decided to start a mountain bike podcast. By this stage, I knew I would be moving to Malta for a couple of years, and I wanted to keep my connection with the local Irish scene, and, hopefully, chat with some inspiring people in the industry. I also wanted to highlight the wealth of talent and enthusiasm for the sport of mountain biking in Ireland, and I thought a podcast would be a great way to do it, as there was nothing like this. From this, the MTB TRIBE PODCAST was born. Almost four years later, and with over 200 episodes, it has gone from strength to strength, with guests from all over the world and local Irish legends like Glyn O'Brien and Kelan Grant.
So how does Allta fit into all of this? Well, the idea of starting my own mountain bike based business had been playing around in my mind for many years after getting out of the surf industry. I have suffered from Raynaud’s for years and it has always been a real issue when I’m out biking, especially during the colder months. Raynaud’s is when your body believes that you are going into a state of hyperthermia, because of cold temperatures or the wind chill effect, and it effectively pulls all the blood away from your extremities, helping to keep your core warm and you alive. This isn’t a real problem when you are actually out on the trails and your blood is pumping, but it becomes a real issue when you are getting changed in and out of your riding gear in a cold car park or waiting around for your friends to arrive.
Thankfully, most people don’t suffer from Raynaud’s, but we all know how uncomfortable it can be to get changed in the driving rain or cold winter conditions. It can even put you off going for a ride because changing and keeping warm in a wet car park can be a really unpleasant experience. I decided it didn’t have to be this way, so (with a lot of help) I decided to start Allta.
Allta was created to help you get out on the trails no matter what the weather conditions. We decided our first product would be a changing robe as we believe this represents what Allta is ultimately about...helping you get out on your bike more often with less hassle and more warmth. With our changing robe, you can get changed in comfort while staying warm and dry, or you can even throw it on over your mucky gear and drive straight from the trails to your house.
Our product range won't stop at robes. We have many other exciting products designed to help you prepare for your ride, helping you get to and from the trails dryer, cleaner and happier (or your car at least), come rain or shine.
I hope you enjoy our products and that they make a positive change in your overall riding experience. Hopefully, they will help encourage you to forget about the weather and concentrate more on your riding.
Stay safe out there!
Ready For The Elements.