Wise Words is our interview series talking to some of mountain biking’s most switched on people.
We’ll ask our short list of questions to a heap of influential, inspiring and outspoken people that we feel are driving the direction of mountain biking today. Some will make you think, some will make you laugh, some will be plain dumb, some will inspire you to better yourself and your riding. We hope!
Wise Words comes to you today via the medium of Mr. Jim Gaffney.
You might have heard of Jim Gaffney, but we’re sure you’ll have passed through his doors without even noticing. Jim is co-founder of One Planet Adventure Llandegla, a privately owned freehold trail centre in North Wales that attracts over 200,000 riders a year.
How would your closest riding buddies describe you to someone who has never met you?
I’ve always been a bit of an antisocial rider. For me mountain biking has always taken the form of training, rather than a social thing. I tend to get pretty frustrated on group rides, too much stopping and faffing for my liking. I would guess those that I do ride with would probably describe me as having a pretty ‘old skool’ riding style, but hopefully would also say I’m a pretty sound guy too.
What thing or things have you bought in the last year that had the biggest effect on your life as a mountain biker / cyclist / person that works in the bike industry?
My Nukeproof Reactor has totally reignited my love for trail riding this year. I’d gone off the boil for quite a while, but getting the Reactor has really opened my eyes to the joy of just getting out and blasting trails again, and I’m loving every minute of it.
What unusual habits do you have as a bike rider?
I’m not sure how unusual it is, but I’m definitely not that bothered about bike setup. I pretty much build a new bike and never adjust anything after the first couple of rides. I’m not a rider that is constantly adjusting tyre pressure or compression damping. I’d rather just get on and ride.
What piece of advice do you think every mountain bike rider should hear? And what piece should they ignore?
Never turn down the opportunity to go for a ride. You will never regret it.
I think its way too easy to get caught up in the media hype surrounding the mountain bike industry. At the end of the day, do what you love in the way that you love doing it, it doesn’t matter whether the media say its cool or not, so long as you’re enjoying it.
If you could go back and re-ride one day from your life so far, where/what/when/who would it be? Would you change anything?
I did the Trans-Rockies stage race a few years back with my business partner. For me, that was just the perfect event. The riding was amazing, I was fit and felt strong, there was a great atmosphere and camaraderie between competitors, it was just an all round great experience.
What have you wasted the most time on in your life as a rider or bike industry career that you wished you’d given up years ago?
I’m a pretty shy person, and waste a lot of time worrying about what other people think. It annoys the hell out of me, and I often wish I was the kind of person who didn’t give a shit.
How do you motivate yourself when you’re struggling or lacking inspiration?
I definitely go through peaks and troughs, I tend to be all or nothing when it comes to riding. I do find I need an event on the horizon that scares me a little. If I’m not focused on an event, I can quickly find that life takes over and I leave no time for getting out on the bike
What single and specific thing about riding bicycles do you gain the most happiness from?
Just being in the moment, cycling gives you the ability to switch off from the day to day. It never ceases to amaze me what a positive difference going for a quick blast on the bike can make. I can leave the house feeling like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders and by the time I’ve reached the bottom of the first descent, they are all forgotten and life is good again, it never fails. I just love that.
What single thing would you like to erase from cycling history from the last year?
The obvious answer I guess is Covid. Hopefully we are coming out the other side now, and its cool to see how buzzing people are to get back riding the trails again for sure.
What single thing would you like to make happen in the cycling world in the next year?
It would be awesome if we could see the massive increase in participation during the pandemic continue into the future. I think one of the few positives to come from the whole situation is the increased appreciation of our countryside and there is a lot of positive stuff that could be done in regards to access and facilities if that positivity could be harnessed in some way.
Who else should we ask these questions to?
Al Bond and Cheri Mills are 2 instructors we work with who are all round awesome humans too.
You can catch all our previous Wise Words interviews with the likes of Sven Martin, Manon Carpenter, Ric McLaughlin and plenty more here.