To quote the Junior Wilderness Explorers‘ motto, “Adventure is out there!”, and few know that more than Chris Winter. The man’s passion for exploring and biking led to his founding of Big Mountain Bike Adventures, a site that strives to get fellow bikers travelling all around the world for that larger-than-life experience. You can only ride Whistler’s A-Line or Blue Mountain’s Squeeker so many times before that “itchy feet” feeling creeps up on you. (Itchy pedals? Wheels? You get the idea.)
ML: Your presentation goes beyond merely biking. What are some hints as to what you have discovered are the reasons we go exploring?
We live in an era where everything around us has been developed to make our lives easier. Planes easily take us around the world, computers in our pockets can answer any question under the sun and then some, any food is available anytime of the year at our local grocery store; and the list goes on. Everything in our lives is predictable, available and in control. Comforts are nice and all, but humans still crave the unexpected and experiences that take us out of our very comfortable zones. This extreme comfort level that we have is recent in the relative existence of mankind; it wasn’t long ago that our ancestors lived great adventures to simply find food, or moved their families to a better place to live. Really, we are wired to explore.
ML: What was it like growing up with your parents and their interest in cycling? Do you think your shared passion is an innate, genetic link or was it exposure to the bikes at a young age?
Riding bikes was a part of our family’s lives like going to work is for most people. Cycling wasn’t a sport for us but really something that we just did to be together and get fresh air. It’s always been a lifestyle. I grew up with Michelin maps of remote parts of France strewn across the kitchen table and my mother and father discussing wine regions and mountain passes at dinner. It was pretty cool. I do remember hearing faxes coming in at all hours of the night too which was somewhat annoying.
As they say, many of us will follow our parent’s paths if we like it or not. This was the case for me. I love bikes, I love travel, I love adventure, I love creating amazing trips and I love people. There’s no doubt that I’m a product of growing up in a cycling family.
ML: Is there anywhere in the world you have yet to go that you’ve had on your hit list for a while?
I have a mountain bike trip that I’m working on from Lake Geneva to Monaco across the Alps that I’m planning for 2016. It’s a bit of a monster in terms of effort required but I’d like to do it in as little time as possible with a small group of like-minded riders. 12-days perhaps? I’ve enjoyed a few mountain bike safari trips to Botswana and South Africa over the years and would not pass up another opportunity to visit parts of Africa. If the Middle East ever settles down I’d love to visit Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan – cradles of our civilization.
ML: Where has been your favourite location to “adventure”?
Adventure is so relative. It’s right outside your door if you know where to look. I love walking with my wife and children from our house in Whistler and into the forest. We have a great hour hiking loop and we’ll stop and smell cedar trees, watch a squirrel or listen to a stream. For our kids this is a great adventure and I love sharing the new experiences with them. On the bigger scale I really enjoyed Nepal which was a nice balance of being out of my comfort zone in terms of sights and sounds but not too ‘out there’ like India.
Tickets to MULTIPLICITY on April 12th are still available, and you can get them by clicking here.