I think I have the best job in the world! OK, I’m probably being slightly biased, but I certainly think I’d give most people a run for their money. I’m an MTB guide working freelance for several companies in the UK and abroad. This means I get to ride my bike a LOT with the added benefit of being paid to do so.
It’s physically challenging, intellectually stimulating and it allows me to spend my days out in the mountains in the fresh air. Below are my top 10 reasons for loving what I do.
I get to meet and ride with people from all over the world, every week. Each guest is different, not only in their riding background but in their personalities and aspirations too, however, everyone brings something different to the group each week, enabling you to constantly learn from others.
I spend days and weeks with people in intense, wild mountain environments and I love being able to help facilitate experiences that they will remember for a lifetime. That creates some pretty special friendships and bonds with people that you don’t usually get from other jobs.
Whilst there are many jobs that involve travelling to different places, I doubt that many can beat guiding for the opportunity to work in some of the world’s most beautiful and truly wild locations.
Whether it’s taking guests away from the beaten tourist path over high mountain passes and down ancient trails or winding through dense forests, remote and peaceful villages in deep valleys. Every day is a different experience.
There’s a constantly changing but always amazing view that makes you smile and feel very lucky to be alive. How many people get to take a look out from their “office window” and see a sight like this?
When your commute is an incredible drive along windy roads hugging the sides of crazy gorges or pedalling through idyllic French villages with their jumble of stone built houses, beautifully carved wooden shutters and proudly cared for gardens, where would you rather be?
It’s not good for our mental wellbeing being stuck inside for too long, and there’s certainly something you don’t need to worry about as a guide. I think because, as humans, we’ve evolved from outdoor life, we still have a huge primal urge to be back there.
Working in awe-inspiring outdoor spaces, feeling the force of the elements on your skin and seeing the power of nature all around you is a great way to make you feel truly alive. It also gives you a huge sense of gratitude for the life you have.
It’s not always good weather and vitamin-D soaked sunshine, and when it’s bad weather you have to still be cheerful and full of motivation for the group. Thankfully I love being out in “interesting conditions” too!
When you’re riding all day, carrying bikes over mountain passes and slogging up big hills to earn those fantastic descents, you’re always hungry for good, homemade foods, including cake! The good thing is that during a busy summer season when you’re doing this day in day out, you can pretty much eat what you like as you’ll have burnt off the calories during the day.
Working as a guide is a really positive environment to work in. Everyone is already there to have a good time away from the often mundane and monotonous routine of their daily lives, so you just need to facilitate that and encourage it!
You’re always surrounded by fit, healthy and happy people that feed your enthusiasm and enjoyment of the job. One of the biggest rewards is seeing people’s faces at the bottom of some of the most amazing trails they’ve ever ridden.
The true and lasting reward of guiding is in creating and sharing life-altering and affirming experiences that people can’t find in other places.
There’s no such thing as a “regular day” with guiding, you just deal with whatever the individual day throws at you. Despite this, or because of it, I never find myself clock watching like I used to in my previous job. The day takes as long as it takes and sometimes you might be busy from 7am until 11pm, but time flies when you’re having fun.
I can genuinely say that I am happy and loving every minute of the day when I’m at work. I still have to pinch myself that I’ve managed to make this happen!
Seeing the sunrise from a viewpoint that money couldn’t buy, or watching it set whilst sharing a beer with guests who you’ve just shared one of the best days of their lives. That’s priceless. As is whooping down endless flowing singletrack through alpine meadows covered in a carpet of brightly coloured flowers.
For sure there are challenges and long, tiring tough days, occasional awkward situations or guests and moments where you crave a bit of solitude. However, these aren’t like the stresses you would find in other jobs.
There is less rushing around, and there are never any days where you literally don’t want to be there. It’s hard to think of a single “bad day”, just occasional ones which are not quite as enjoyable as others!
Rather than sitting at a desk immobile, staring at a screen for hours on end, I’m active, healthy, keeping fit and feeling good every day. It’s a bonus of the job that you are physically active and moving your body throughout the day.
There are many other things too, but I actually think the best thing about riding a bike for a living…..is exactly that. I get to ride my bike every day!!
People warned me when I started guiding that I’d lose my love of riding once I was doing it for a job. That definitely has not been the case. Actually, when I’m not guiding you’ll most often find me….riding my bike!
I can’t imagine doing any other job right now…I wouldn’t change it for anything. I may not always be a guide, but for now, this is my life and I love it!