Wise Words | Kerry Wilson.

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 this week come to you from none other than Kerry Wilson.

A relative newcomer to the World of mountain biking, Kerry Wilson brought her 11+ times British MX Championship winning chops to become back to back Scottish National Downhill Champion. If you haven’t seen her out on the trails, you may well recognise her from going through in the first round of the reboot of Gladiators.

How would your closest riding buddies describe you to someone who has never met you?

A lot of my riding buddies are from my Motocross days, so they would probably say that I was MX National Champ and was the Downhill Scottish Champ of 2021 and 2022. Usually seen wearing a pink helmet. And that’s just because if I didn’t, I look like a wee boy riding a bike. But now I think everyone would describe me to others as… “Kerry from Gladiators”. Which is pretty awesome to be honest.

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?

An ebike. It has changed my riding life. I am inspired to get out more. I used to try and take it easy before a weekend of riding bikes but now I can carry on as normal and still be up for a weekend of riding knowing I have the ebike. Most people already know this but I am all about the downhill, so an ebike allows me to fire it on Boost mode for the uphill and get more downhill riding time in.

Even spend time lapping sections until I get them right, I feel they really are a tool to help you perfect that line choice and improve your riding. Even when I’m not lapping downhill tracks, now I am exploring mountain ranges I never would have thought about pedaling, exploring new places on it and finding new lines. I think ebikes have got a lot of people back in the saddle.

What unusual habits do you have as a bike rider?

No matter how many times I’ve tried them, I don’t like and have no interest in riding clips. Even after so many people have said it will benefit my riding. I think it comes from my MX days with just having footpegs. I’m not sure if it’s unusual but I always start my ride off with a spotless helmet, I take pride in my helmet and clean it after every ride.

Photo by Man Down Media.

What piece of advice do you think every mountain bike rider should hear? And what piece should they ignore?

Something I was taught growing up is… If you fail at something or fall off, get right back on the bike and try it again ASAP. Otherwise it builds up and you grow a fear for it. It becomes a bigger fear than it needs to be. This has always stopped me getting “The fear”, which I know can hold back a lot of riders.

I use this one with friends a lot, never on something dangerous, they always feel they are ready to try the feature or line, but if it doesn’t happen first time, then dust yourself off, push back up and try it again. Me and my friends go with this and it allows us to session lines and get over fears and in the end, improve our riding. Plus nothing beats the feeling when you overcome a feature or clear that jump. Absolute best high.

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One to ignore… “It might be too difficult for you”. Unless this is from your MTB coach or friend who knows your riding skills really well. Ignore. Its coming from someone who finds something difficult. It doesn’t mean you will, you could find it a peace of cake.

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?

Finale Ligure, Italy, with Backcountry Finale. Full day of uplifts in the middle of summer at the Italian coast. What more could you ask for? Perfect conditions, riding blind all day, never the same trail twice. Great mixed group of riders. It’s the first time I felt my riding progressing whilst loving every single minute of just riding my bike. I’d change absolutely nothing, maybe that I done a week of these days instead of two days. The ride was prime, the guide was ace and the food, perfecto. Cannot recommend it enough.

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?

Honestly, waiting in queues on race days in the UK racing scene. Europe has it dialed. Chairlifts… I stopped racing in the last year as I was spending my entire days waiting in queues instead of riding at race weekends. It took its toll on motivation levels.

How do you motivate yourself when you’re struggling or lacking inspiration?

A bad habit, but with riding, I rely on my riding buddies to get me going. The ebike has been a massive motivation too. Knowing I can blast 8 runs in an hour or so instead of an entire day.

What single and specific thing about riding bicycles do you gain the most happiness from?

I absolutely love riding bike park, hitting big hitters, and perfectly formed berms. You just can’t beat it. It gives me options to push my speed, get the adrenaline rush by hitting some big hits or work on tech. It really provides everything. I spent 4 years living and playing in Morzine, which to me is mountain biking mecca of Europe, it provides the goods.

What single thing would you like to erase from cycling history from the last year?

I love riding my bike and having fun. I don’t really get involved in cycling politics. As for this one, I’ve been riding 6 years so relatively new-ish to the sport.

What single thing would you like to make happen in the cycling world in the next year?

For me, I’d like if more of the British Downhill Rounds were spread out across the UK a bit more. With only two rounds in Scotland this year, us Scots have to have the money to travel down to Wales every other weekend to partake, which will put off a lot of riders.

Who else should we ask these questions to?

Becci Skelton, she’s a badass.

You can keep tabs on Kerry’s adventures on her Instagram feed here.

You can catch all our previous Wise Words interviews with the likes of Sven Martin, Manon Carpenter, Ric McLaughlin and plenty more here.