“If you look at the tree, you hit the tree”: e-MTBing Guiding Masterclass With H+I’s Chris Gibbs

5th September 2021

The Spokesmen Cycling Podcast

EPISODE 281: “If you look at the tree, you hit the tree”: eMTBing Guiding Masterclass With H+I’s Chris Gibbs


HOST: Carlton Reid

GUESTS: Chris Gibbs and Jude Reid

TOPICS: Carlton’s wife Jude rides to work on an electric bike but hasn’t ridden off road for more than 20 years. Cue this three-day eMTB press trip in Cairngorms courtesy of Shimano. H+I‘s head guide Chris Gibbs reintroduces Jude to genuine mountain biking while talking about the passing scenery and Shimano’s EP8 leg-boosting e-bike platform.


Carlton Reid 0:14
Welcome to Episode 281 of the Spokesmen cycling podcast. This show is engineered on Sunday 5th of September 2021.

David Bernstein 0:25
The Spokesmen Cycling Roundtable Podcast is brought to you by Jenson USA, Jenson USA where you will find a great selection of products at unbeatable prices with unparalleled customer service. Check them out at Jensonusa.com/thespokesmen. Hey everybody, it’s David from the Fredcast. And of course, I’m one of the hosts and producers of the Spokesmen cycling roundtable podcast … since 2006! For shownotes links and other information check out our website at www.the-spokesmen.com. And now here’s my fellow host and producer Carlton Reid and the Spokesmen.

Carlton Reid 1:10
Bike fitter and author Phil Cavell recommended paddle boarding as a complementary activity for cyclists a couple of episodes ago. On Friday we took him up on that suggestion, booking a two-hour private tour with a guide. The “we” was me, Carlton Reid, and my hospital doctor wife, Jude. The paddle boarding was great but the guiding left a lot to be desired. There were no safety briefings beforehand or during, precious little instruction, and almost no communication while we were out on the water. To all intents and purposes we were left to our own devices and, if on the beach I hadn’t asked a few key questions, we would have been ignorant of some key techniques. As beginners, we were expecting more. Or maybe we were just spoiled, because we had just come back from a glorious three day mountain biking trip in the Cairngorms; glorious partly because of the Scottish Highlands scenery but also because of some expert hand-holding and gentle encouragement from Chris Gibbs, head guide of Inverness-headquartered international mountain bike holidays company H+I. Chris Gibbs was originally a soundtrack writer and composer — some years ago he went to Japan in search of adventure but instead fell in love with the outdoors becoming a mountain bike guide. For H+I he has led mountain bike tours all over the world during the last decade, He is most at home — literally — in Scotland. Thanks to Shimano, we were lucky enough to have Chris to ourselves, and he made guiding look effortless — as well as being super warm and friendly he was clearly on top of his game; he has several mountain guiding and first aid qualifications and is a bike fettling tutor for Velotech. During lockdown he topped up his technical knowledge, diving deep into Shimano’s dense tech sheets including genning up on the EP8 electric bike platform. Normally a Yeti acoustic bike rider, he joined us on EP8-equipped Merida 160 electric mountain bikes. Our 2 and a half day trip started at Inverness railway station with Chris meeting us with a van …

Chris Gibbs 3:44
Hey, how’s it going? Good to see you again. Hi, I’m Chris. Nice to meet you. Let me grab your luggage, the vans parked just round the coner.

Carlton Reid 3:56
It’s great that we’re getting you to ourselves.

Chris Gibbs 3:59
Well, you say that now? We’ve got a pretty reasonable forecast for the next few days.

Carlton Reid 4:05
And where are we riding? Are we getting picked from the hotel and then going out?

Chris Gibbs 4:09
So we’re basically our own little unit this week. So today, we’ll get up to the office, have something to eat for you guys. And we’ll sort of do an introduction to the bikes, get everything set up and basically faff around for getting everything sorted. And then this afternoon, we’ll go for a little local ride. We’ve got some good trails just out the back of the office and some little secret spots and things that we can just have a play and get used to them. Then tomorrow, I’m going to pick you up and we’ll go down to the Cairngorms and we’ll head down to the Cairngorms there for sort of a day of two halves lots of kind of playing around with the motor and trails that lend themselves to that and then we’ll and then we’ll head out for a bit of a wilder adventure.

Carlton Reid 4:52
And how wild and gnarly is that for somebody who might not be completely 100% — I’m being diplomatic here …

Chris Gibbs 5:04
It can be, it can be as wild and gnarly as you’d like it to be. And it can be as chilled out as you’d like it to be, you know, it’s just us. So we can tailor it to you guys. And if you want to push the envelope, we can certainly find spots. And if you say, ‘Chris, I’d really like to do this really nice sedate ride, and then have a really good coffee,’ we can also do that as well. And we can factor in skills in as well, if you like. That’s totally fine.

Chris Gibbs 5:32
You know what there I actually one of the things I like about ebikes actually, that sort of, I guess the moment that it clicked for me, was I started down powering everything. And there’d be climbs that I would physically never make on a regular bike. And like super technical or super steep or whatever it was things that I wouldn’t be able to achieve. And then down powered e-bike gave me just enough that I was still working physically really, really hard, but suddenly, I was able to make things that I wouldn’t have done.

Carlton Reid 6:03
A little bit extra oomph.

Chris Gibbs 6:04
Yeah, just yeah, exactly that and you’re still using quite a lot of technical skill. And you’re still, you know, your heart rate is still way up there. And that’s when I sort of, I guess had a light bulb went off. This is this is actually really good fun. I think just now on mountain bikes, but all bikes are just this amazing tool for adventure. And you know, it just gets you to places that you wouldn’t see on foot, and you wouldn’t be able to do in a day. Otherwise, obviously, I’m very mountain bike focused. And the kind of views in the places you can get to behind a mountain bike are second to none. And like you say, you can’t, no one ever comes back from a mountain bike ride and feels worse, you only ever feel better. But this is us arriving.

Chris Gibbs 6:54
Cool. Perfect. Let’s just set up some bikes. So Carlton, yours first. At the moment, we’re just releasing some air from the fork. So for Jude is quite a lot lighter than the last person to ride this bike. So we’re just softening the suspension up — basically, in an air fork and shock, the air is acting as a spring. So we’re just getting that set to your weight. And then that way the bike is going to manoeuvre and move over the terrain as best as it can. And be most efficient and most comfortable for you – one more time, stand up as if you’re descending. Yeah, definitely. Brilliant. Let’s have a quick look at the bike. So you’re to turn the thing on it’s here. So with these models, we can remove the battery. So it will come out of here but we don’t need to right now. And you can or you can charge the battery within the bike, either one. Once you’ve pressed and held that for a couple of seconds, you get the display up here, the moment the motor is off, so there’s no assistance, press that arrow, you get one bar. That’s you in Eco mode. [Motorbike sounds]. So Eco doesn’t sound like that, so that’s not Eco, so one bar, and that’s your kind of minimum assistance, two bars that’s you in Trail and three bars, that’s you in Boost. So you’re going to get the maximum power kicking in as quickly as it can. So this is the Shimano EP-8 motor, so the most recent and newest motor from Shimano. So when they were putting this out, it’s a big, kind of big part of it was the fact that it was smaller, sleeker, which means that a bike can be a lot more nimble and a lot more sort of manoeuvrable and playful without all that weight and bulk of older motors in it. It was designed around still feeling like riding a regular bike. So that natural pedal feel. But I guess kind of the way, the way I often think about it is that it’s it’s like you you’re still using your legs, but it’s like you’ve been given really strong legs. And what I really like the fact that is so customizable, so you can power things right down. And if you’re kind of trying to get a training ride out of it. So you definitely can get your own heart rate up. And you can power that right down more or you can boost it right up. So you’ve got maximum power, it’s all working for you. And that’s kind of coming from the the software side of things that you are able to control from the app and from e-tube, and then e-ride can display for you as well. On top of that with this, this bike, it’s built into a 160 travel bike. So it’s a very capable mountain bike, it’s designed for mountain biking. It’s not just a sort of commute up and down canal path near you This is for going up up big mountains and then coming down them again. What I’d encourage you to do up here a little bit, is kind of shift the gears but play around with the cadence you spin. And just see how it reacts to different cadence and different pedalling.

Jude Reid 10:09
Alright, yeah, I think it got the spin up. What’s the left shifter for?

Chris Gibbs 10:17
What’s that? Sorry.

Jude Reid 10:18
The left shifter. Is that the front? No. There’s only one ring at the front.

Chris Gibbs 10:22
On your left is the dropper post remote. And also the display. So that’s to swap between modes.

Jude Reid 10:32
Okay, so

Chris Gibbs 10:35
Well, no, you don’t have a shifter that’s the dropper post?

Jude Reid 10:39
Oh, is it? Sorry.

Chris Gibbs 10:42
Yeah. That’s fine. So when you press that and put weight on the saddle, it will drop, yeah?

Chris Gibbs 10:53
So how does it compare to what you’re used to?

Jude Reid 10:57
Well, it’s nice to have gears.

Chris Gibbs 10:59
Yeah. Like we were saying earlier, it’s as customizable as you want it to be. So if all you want is Eco, Trail and Boost, fine. But as you kind of develop as a rider, and you start to want more from your bike, and to understand a little bit more as well, that’s when you can get into the depths of it. I think now it’s getting harder and harder to distinguish between them. Because like the EP-8 motor is small, small and discreet.

Carlton Reid 11:36
Small as in looking?

Chris Gibbs 11:37
Yeah, yeah, exactly. I mean, frames. Now, some of the most modern is quite hard to tell the difference. And the EP-8 was a much sort of sleeker designed motor than its predecessors. And you look at it and the bottom bracket area, you actually do need to look to notice, and, and we’ve got three bikes all together, so we are hearing them. But if you were to compare this to all the motors, also, you can have different brands, each one sounds a little bit different. And this is significantly quieter. And if you listen now, a bit more gravel, you’re hearing more trail than your motor. So this is all part of the Great Glen way. We’re gonna branch off this in a second. So it’s a tight left, just round the rootball just up here, if the gates closed. Yeah, it is. So following my line again, nice and wide round here.

Jude Reid 12:49
No, I’m not going wide.

Chris Gibbs 12:50
a little bit wider than that.

Jude Reid 12:53

Chris Gibbs 12:57
Do you wanna have a go at that, Jude?

Jude Reid 12:59
I’m not sure I’ll be able to do that.

Chris Gibbs 13:01
That’s OK. So like, you want to keep traction on the bike. So you don’t want to stand up pedal, you want to kind of spin into keeping a bit of weight on the saddle, and just spinning up. So where we are, this is kind of a big local riding spot. So going up to the very top end here, that takes us up to some pretty steep and gnarly trails like half of the Scottish World Cup downhill team practices in this spot. So you often see some pretty, pretty handy riders around. That around that side goes down to sort of a Great Glen Way. And this takes us down to face Inverness. So we could pop down in here, we’ll get a couple of views, some nice, easy descending, and then we can link back into the forest. And there’s a few little up downs and things we can play on and have a bit get a bit of a feel for the bikes as well without jumping into anything super committed up here.

Chris Gibbs 14:00
Okay, Jude. So we’re about to go down a slightly steeper it’s still fire road, but kind of rocky, like you can see. Yeah. So this is the time to make use of that dropper post, get the saddle right out the way Yeah, and just start descending nice and big and open. So like up here, like a big gorilla. So you’ve got loads of room for the bike to move underneath you. So the thing to get used to now you’ve got 160 mm of suspension, so you don’t need to turn around every rock. If you can keep loose in your arms and legs. the bike’s gonna soak it up for you. So just nice and down this line here on the left. Good job. Just here’s perfect. Well done.

Jude Reid 14:43

Chris Gibbs 14:44
No, don’t apologise.

Carlton Reid 14:47
Look back, it’s quite steep.

Chris Gibbs 14:49
Quite steep, quite rocky. The trick to all this stuff and the more and more familiar with the bike you get is looking for far ahead. So look where you want to be. Because if you look at If you look at the tree, you’re going to hit the tree. If you look past the tree, you’re going to sail right past it. I’m sure there’s a lesson for life in there. And just that nice is soft in your arms and your legs, like you’ve got this much suspension in the bike, but you got this much in your legs and arms. So like working with the bike, I almost think sometimes you can just look at everything and treat it like a pumptrack. Really. So with mountain biking, a lot of people look at a good rider and they go, their first response, or their first impression of it, if they don’t, if they don’t ride themselves. They’re like they’re so aggressive. But they’re not aggressive. They’re just really active. So they’re using their body to absorb the lumps and push down into the holes. So their body and their bike and moving loads underneath them. But their head is staying nice and still. And if your head is nice, and still, because everything else is moving, then that’s how you feel really in control. Yeah, when you look at good videos, you see like the bikes are going way out to the sides and over, up and down. But you can almost draw a line from where their their vision and their head stays. Same with good skiers and all sorts. Yeah, perfect. We’re going to continue down here, it’s going to bring us into a really beautiful bit of forest. And then we can pick and pick and work our way sort of back up and over. Yeah, nice one, just move out here. So we want a solid grip of the bar. And we only need that one finger for pulling on the brake. Can you just feel a little bit more control? Let’s take a minute to get used to but you’ll just feel a little bit more stable on the bars. Yeah, yeah.

Chris Gibbs 16:37
The point is to come and have some fun.

Jude Reid 16:39
Yeah. I like the uphill.

Chris Gibbs 16:42
You know it. I’m a big fan of climbing as well, actually.

Jude Reid 16:47
Uphills and wide downhills it’s very much the same.

Chris Gibbs 16:51
I see. So as someone that rode mountain bikes, and has ridden other bikes and hasn’t spent much time on an e mountain bike, how does it like, does it feel like riding a bike to you?

Jude Reid 17:05
And yeah, I mean, yeah, but there’s just that mountain bike feel, isn’t it? You still got a mountain bike feel whether it’s an e-bike or not an e-bike.

Carlton Reid 17:16
You don’t you don’t feel as though you’re riding a motorbike?

Jude Reid 17:18

Chris Gibbs 17:20
That’s and that’s, I think, what I think that one of the biggest strengths of the EP-8 is it does feel like mountain biking, you know, feel it doesn’t feel like you have a motor that’s doing all the work. It just feels like you are pedalling. And then you have as much or as little assistance as you want. I quite like it because sometimes you just feel like it still feels like your own legs just got really strong.

Chris Gibbs 17:48
Have you tried Boost mode yet?

Jude Reid 17:52
Is that number three?

Chris Gibbs 17:53
All three, yeah.

Jude Reid 17:54
Yeah, that’s what got me up that hill.

Chris Gibbs 17:56

Jude Reid 17:58
Fast spin and Boost mode.

Chris Gibbs 18:00

Jude Reid 18:02
Ooh, woah. Went into a tree!

Chris Gibbs 18:09
Did you look at the tree? Good job.

Jude Reid 18:18
Didn’t quite get the hang of that one right.

Chris Gibbs 18:21
Yeah. That’s the thing as well, you know, like, I think, again, with e-bikes, a lot of people go ‘oh, the motor takes away all need for skill.’ It doesn’t. There’s still timing, there’s still and you still do need a feel to ride them or need many, many skills to ride them well. And I think that it is good to come out and find that, actually, some technical sections are still hard.

Carlton Reid 18:48
Our induction afternoon over we were shuttled to our luxurious lodging, the historic Bunchrew house beside the Beauly Firth, a stone’s throw from H+I’s new-build HQ. Chris joined us for the silver service dining and we used those calories on the following day’s ride in the Rothiemurchus estate just outside Aviemore.

Chris Gibbs 19:15
Alrighty, so we’re down in the Cairngorms today, and riding just outside Aviemore at the moment. What we’re going to do for for this morning’s ride is we’re going to kind of pick up some of the really famous and amazing sights of this area, and really scenic trails, but we’re going to thread it and piece it together with all the little local bits of secret singletrack. There’s loads a little punchy ups, nice rolling bits and this area’s got loads of flowy forest trail in it. Later in the day, we’ll head out on much wilder, but this morning gives a great place to test out the engagement of the motor like how quick engages, you’ll definitely notice that kind of quietness of it as well it will give us a chance to play with some of the modes so we can head for some steep, techie terrain, feel how the different modes play out and each one so we’ll kind of find different places that we find more comfortable or less comfortable and how we ride it in different ways. So the trails will lend themselves to showcasing everything that we’ve got working with us today. And firstly, you want a lot of control as you’re going down and up and sort of undulating, so nice to start off in Eco mode. And then as you come around the turn, then maybe flick it into Trail and see how you feel kind of punching up through the roots.

Chris Gibbs 20:28
So technical move coming up

Jude Reid 20:39
Not in the right gear or the right mode, I don’t think for that bit.

Chris Gibbs 20:46
I put that in trail mode and it was nice. This is for here, we’re now on kind of this sort of flowy forest bit up and down, undulating is quite a good place to feel for that kind of pedal feel of the motor. So because you are kind of on and off the pedals and doing little pedal strokes, you get the kind of feeling of that natural pedal from the motor.

Chris Gibbs 21:10
Nice one. You can lead, just keep going down and stop when you get to the wee loch. Lot more confident today. So we’re just coming up to Loch an Eilein, and as we come around here, we’re gonna turn to the right. And there’s a complete labyrinth of routes. So it’s quite good little spot to play around, probably in Trail mode for now. And just see how many of the roots you can burst through. So Loch an Eilein translates as loch of the island. So we’re about to kind of dropped down just into here. And we’ll have a look at the island, which does have the ruins of the castle on it. So that was the Wolf of Badenoch’s castle. This is Badenoch and Strathspey. And if you ever seen Braveheart, the Wolf of Badenoch is the first guy that gets beheaded. Not the most factually accurate film in the world. Yeah, it’s good spot in the winter. Well, this last winter completely froze over. I mean thick is thick enough that people were walking out to it and all sorts, you can swim out inside is pretty overgrown. Now that the stories of this underwater causeway there’s one of these kind of footpath under the water three steps forward five steps to the right, three steps forward kind of a bit like Indiana Jones to get to the castle. Pretty cool spot and it doesn’t take long before you feel like you’re getting out there and not kind of away from from everyone else. Right. Perfect. We’ll continue around the loch. And then I think we’re going to go and pick up something a little bit more adventurous.

Jude Reid 22:57
Wrong gear. Nearly made it.

Chris Gibbs 23:03
Good job

Jude Reid 23:05
Just the wrong gear for that last section.

Chris Gibbs 23:07
Big difference from yesterday. Nice. So now I’ve put you in a much nicer stance for riding, let’s try and get you just a little bit looser as well. So in the next couple of turns, so the bikes always gonna go where you point your eyes. So let’s try and look around and through the turns a bit more. Instead of just turning with the bars, let’s try and lean the bike a little.

Jude Reid 23:27

Chris Gibbs 23:27
So an example, which is being here.

Chris Gibbs 23:32
Right, looking like a mountain biker now. And this is called the Rocky Road. So you kind of know what you’re getting here for. And it’s actually quite a nice little bit of trail because it goes between two different forest forest boundaries here in Rothiemurchus. side over to Inshriach, there’s one split in the trail. And you just need to stay to the left hand side. And you can lead this go up front, and try and have a play with looking far ahead and test anticipate the trail for what what mode you would be in, and also what gear you need. So try and let you know those little steep punch ups through the roots can be in the right mode and the right gear to give you the best chance of success for them. Because I think you’re quite you’ll have quite a lot of fun for this. There’s a nice wide, wide lines around all through the rocks that you’ll see as we go. And when we get to this little stream crossing. That’s where we’ll stop and meet up again. Yeah, if we’re spread out, go for it, have some fun.

Chris Gibbs 24:38
Just watching ahead.

Chris Gibbs 24:40
It’s quite impressive, being that Jude tried to avoid every single rock yesterday, but now she’s riding over the top of them or

Jude Reid 24:49
I’m trying to look ahead and the bike sort of just goes where it wants to go yeah

Chris Gibbs 25:01
Good job again, when we’re in, because you’re in quite a nice little rhythm there, riding well. That’s night and day from first thing yesterday.

Chris Gibbs 25:13
She’s going straight for it. I like it. Look at that. Nicely done.

Jude Reid 25:25
That was fun.

Chris Gibbs 25:25
Yeah, that’s a big difference from yesterday.

Jude Reid 25:32
How reliable is the battery sign?

Chris Gibbs 25:35
How reliable is what, sorry?

Jude Reid 25:37
The battery sign? Because according to this I’m not using the battery at all.

Chris Gibbs 25:41
Oh, yeah. No, that’s fine. I mean, if you’ve been on Eco and a little bit of Trail, yeah. And you’ve got a big 630 watt-hour battery in there. So you haven’t eaten into it yet. Me neither.

Jude Reid 25:57
That’s cool. I’m used to using half my battery on the on the way up to work.

Chris Gibbs 26:03
Ah, OK.

Chris Gibbs 26:03
Yeah, well, we’ve been riding quite efficiently as well. In the spin of things, if we started throwing into Boost and just boosting everything, then you’d find we kind of start to eat into that battery more. But because we’re riding efficiently, we can get quite a lot of mileage out of them.

Jude Reid 26:21
Yeah. And it’s not half the fun is actually getting the workout as well.

Chris Gibbs 26:25
Yeah, exactly. So as you go up here now, we’ve got a couple of little water splashes. There are little bridges at the side but after your last performance I think you need to take the water every time. After you, go for it. Have some fun.

Jude Reid 26:48
[SPLASH!] Oh, thank you! I’m sopping now.

Chris Gibbs 26:52
Ha, ha you just got tidal waved.

Jude Reid 26:55

Chris Gibbs 26:56
You’re gonna have to be faster next time to get him back. It looked quite impressive from behind.

Jude Reid 27:10
He wanted me to squeal, he did it on purpose. However, I brought some dry socks.

Carlton Reid 27:18
You have?

Jude Reid 27:19
I brought dry socks, you haven’t.

Chris Gibbs 27:24
It’s not a Scottish bike ride until you’ve got wet feet anyway. By the time you’ve been through a few streams, smashed your way through the pine trees for an exfoliation it’s practically a spa treatment.

Carlton Reid 27:40
Day three, and Jude now much more confident on the bike we headed into Glen Feshie.

Chris Gibbs 27:50
Right now we’re in the heart of Glen Feshie. So this is a slightly lesser known area of the Cairngorms. But further out from having more, a little bit wilder more rugged, and sort of big open Scottish glen.

Chris Gibbs 28:02
You brought us out here because we weren’t going to go here this morning, we were going to go overlooking Loch Ness. And then we’re driving out here. And you had this brainstorm and you thought, let’s look at the app, you can tell us about the the actual weather app, or you are using a selection of weather apps to then zoom in.

Carlton Reid 28:21
And then you thought, well, it’s going to be weather basically, exactly how we’ve got it. So tell us the apps you were using and and how you use those, you triangulate those three to get the weather for a very, very small place.

Chris Gibbs 28:35
Yeah, I think. I think firstly, it comes from being being local and knowing the weather a little bit. And when you’re a mountain bike guide in Scotland, you get pretty used to looking at weather forecasts and knowing and trying to keep everyone as much as you can in the dry, in the sun, and in all the best places. But I tend to use the mountain weather information service, which is MWIS. And I use an app called Windy, which is a weather radar. And you can put on lots of different parameters of kind of wind, rain pressure, and then I will say use combination of the Met Office and YR as well. So most mornings start with looking at a lot of weather. And over the course of the years I’ve been guiding I’ve become quite a weather geek. It’s almost like a fun challenge to try and keep yourself in this best spot at the best time. But also even it starts to affect how you time a ride. You know, you want to be in a certain place by a certain time to either avoid rain or or wait till it’s backed off and that sort of thing as well. So it’s a weather weather, I guess influences everything we do up here.

Carlton Reid 29:33
So keeping on the apps angle here. So we’re here on a Shimano trip, now Shimano has got two apps when you’re going to show me so we’re a beautiful forest in we’re actually technically we’re not in the sunshine right now. But Jude who fell into the river a wee bit before unfortunately, is is basking lizard-like in the sunshine

Chris Gibbs 29:53
She is drying out.

Chris Gibbs 29:54
She’s drying out. But you’re now going to show us the app. So we’re in the forest and you’re not going to shows the apps that, basically mesh with these machines.

Chris Gibbs 30:03
Yeah, and I guess the thing was with the, with the EP-8 and the full Shimano systems they’re 35 years in the making and the development all sorts of, and they play well, with all the systems on the bike, the drive trains, the motor, the brakes, everything kind of works well together, but particularly this app. So the first one we’re going to look at is E-tube. So e-tube is where it’s an app that lets you customise how the motor behaves. It also would let you look at your Di2 components and run diagnostics of the full system, whether that’s the display, whether it’s the motor, you know, all those individual components, the shifters and everything that goes along with either Di2 or with the E bike motor itself. But this is we were talking about where you can have two different profiles on this. And you might have one set up for max power, for instance, where you’re going out with all your mates, and you want to go as fast as possible up and down everything. Or you might set one massively powered down. And that’s for you to kind of work as a training ride or training profile, or anything in between. So as much as you can imagine, so you’ve got that Eco, Trail and Boost in each profile, but you can customise each one and how it feels.

Carlton Reid 31:15
And how geeky do you have to be to get into the gubbins of that?

Chris Gibbs 31:19
I think actually, it’s super simple, it’s really intuitive. If you can work a stereo, you can work this,

Carlton Reid 31:24
Oh, that’s me out!

Chris Gibbs 31:24
Because I think, you know, this one, it’s got really easy sliding bars, you know, you look at it, you slide across, and you go, ‘Okay, I’m in Eco mode at the moment and I’m going to slide that up so that the power comes in as quickly as possible, or the Eco is as powerful as it can be, I’m using that full 85 newton metres, or potentially you want it to come in later and be a lot slower in how it how the power ramps up. And you can do that across every one of the settings in Eco, Trail and Boost. So you can really kind of customise the feel of the bike. And some people like that I particularly like it quite powered down, so that I’m still working physically really hard. But I’m able to make things that I wouldn’t do if I was on an acoustic bike or regular bike.

Carlton Reid 32:11
And then if you’re on a mid ride, and for instance, the weather came out you were using the apps and yeah, it was totally opposite of what the app told is like, suddenly got sunshine, actually, we’ll go out for a longer ride. So would you just use on the handlebars? Or would you would you actually go to the the app and thinnk I will actually I’ll I’ll, I’ll change the profile on the app?

Chris Gibbs 32:34
So I mean, you could do both, they’re quite easy to switch between. So profile, switching between profile one and profile two, you could do just from the display, and just from the bars.

Carlton Reid 32:43
You do that in advance, you set up your favourite profile

Chris Gibbs 32:47
Exactly right, or potentially halfway through the ride, you go, I want to stretch this motor and stretch this battery as far as I can. So then you could start to come in and really customise that. And it’s just a case of firing up the Bluetooth between the two connecting your phone up and having a look through. You can do a physical connection as well, from your laptop to, to and through one of the ports on the display. But very simple with a phone or a tablet just to kind of Bluetooth and connect on through.

Carlton Reid 33:16
Okay, well we are now getting as you can imagine we are getting a little bit eaten by midges, so we ought to get going again. But let’s talk about H+I as we’re riding through these beautiful woods. Let’s let’s talk about what H+I does, where you’ve been. And if people are looking to book for the Cairngorms, what they can expect, the kind of trips that you do basically, if we talk about that as we’re going.

Chris Gibbs 33:38

Carlton Reid 33:38
Chris, first of all, what does H+I stand for, if anything nowadays?

Chris Gibbs 33:45
It used to stand for Highlands and Islands. Since it became international now it’s just H+I.

Carlton Reid 33:53
So the website, tell us what the website because that is not H+I.

Chris Gibbs 33:58
So mountainbike worldwide. And at the time, that was where it’s now worldwide adventures. So H+I is us as a guiding company and mountain bike worldwide is the landing page to access all those worldwide adventures across 17 locations in the world now. So we have three trips here in Scotland, and that is the Highland Odyssey which goes through the Cairngorms and then out to the West coast and up into Torridon in the big Northwest. We have the Cairngorms itself, which is based here in the Cairngorms for the full week of riding. And then we have the coast to coast which is an East West traverse

Carlton Reid 34:38
Thanks to Chris Gibbs of H+I for the expert guiding and to Shimano for the experience. Thanks also to Sean Stanfield of Fusion Media for setting up the whole shebang. The next episode will feature on-bike nutrition with a side helping of Ancient Roman energy food but meanwhile get out and ride …

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