Episode 106: Mountain Biking in Bhutan with Darren Berrecloth

Not long ago mountain biking was simply a minority offshoot of cycling, a sport only a few pursued on mostly quiet, cross-country trails. But over the last two decades it’s gone mainstream and now has many disciplines of its own. And as the sport has grown more popular, it’s also gotten more extreme for some, particularly our guest, Darren Berrecloth. A freerider, he’s ridden all over the world, and in 2019 filmed a mountain biking movie, Chasing the Yeti, in Bhutan. He’ll share that experience with us on this episode.

TalkTravelAsia · Talk Travel Asia: Ep. 106: Mountain Biking in Bhutan with Darren Berrecloth

Trevor & Scott banter about their exposure to and experience mountain biking, Scott having the following to say and Trevor typically winging it a bit, having not a lot of mountain biking experience!

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Darren riding in Bhutan; courtesy Margus Riga

Scott: I first started riding about 1998, borrowing my friend’s old bike to ride around a reservoir in Calgary and it grew from there. I’m on my third bike now and have ridden all over Thailand, much of British Columbia, BC, and have had a few epic rides and adventures in Nepal. In 2010 I also did a trip to Switzerland riding around Verbier and Zermat which was incredible. 

I was very lucky to live 1.5km from really good trails in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as well and rode there quite a bit for two years. I am a keep the bike on the ground guy, never learned to do big jumps, and actually bought a hybrid bike recently as much of my riding these days is on tarmac in Bangkok, along quieter roads and atop canals. What I love about bikes is that they are pretty much everywhere, a great way to explore while traveling and they can be the reason for a trip themselves. I love biking, particularly riding single track in thick forests.

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Darren riding in Bhutan; courtesy Margus Riga

Today’s Guest: Darren Berrecloth, nicknamed “The Claw”, is a professional freeride mountain biker. Hailing from Parksville, British Columbia, Canada, he’s famous not only for his success in competitions, but also as one of the pioneers of the sport of freeride. He’s won many of mountain biking’s premier competitions, has filmed biking movies around the world, and is more or less a legend in the sport. He joins us from his home in Parksville. Welcome Darren!

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Darren riding in Bhutan; courtesy Margus Riga
  • Where are you from and when did you first start mountain biking?
  • At what point did mountain biking go from something you did to a full-time career?
  • Tell us a bit about your career as a professional mountain biker and some key highlights?
  • Where have you ridden in Asia?
  • When did you first go to ride in the Himalayas?
  • You rode in Mustang, Nepal and Xinjiang, China in your movie Where the Trail Ends, what were those experiences like?
  • So in 2019 you and some friends set out to film a mountain biking movie in Bhutan, Chasing the Yeti. Where did that idea come from?
  • How did you go about planning to shoot and ride there as it doesn’t seem like an established riding destination?
  • For our listeners who aren’t at your level, did you find it a destination that amateur bikers would be able to navigate?
  • How does riding there compare to other places you’ve ridden / what made it special?
  • We saw in the film that you had a bike blessed? Do you still have that bike and does it retain any special meaning for you?
  • What sort of crew do you have when filming a movie like this in a remote location?
  • How has the movie been received?
  • Looking back at the process of riding and filming now, what are a few of your stand-out memories of the experience?
  • Where have you not yet been riding in Asia that you would like to? 
  • Do you think there will ever be an Asian Rampage?
  • What do you have in the hopper?
  • How can people learn more about you and your adventures?

TalkTravelAsia · Talk Travel Asia: Ep. 106: Mountain Biking in Bhutan with Darren Berrecloth

IF YOU ENJOY LISTENING, PLEASE DONATE TO THE SHOW

You can sponsor anywhere from $1/month upwards. These funds will help us cover costs of keeping the show going. Visit PATREON TO DONATE TO THE SHOW or the link from the left-side of our website, or search Talk Travel Asia Patreon. Thanks in advance for supporting the cost and helping to keep the travel talk happening. There are several sponsorship levels: $1 – Vagabond (thanks for helping to keep it going); $2 – Day Dreamer (much love); $25The Big Kahuna (we’ll give you a shout-out and send you a postcard from Asia); $100 You Da Woman – Man!! (talk about you on the show and send you something from Asia)

See a Photo Gallery from the episode. 

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To learn more about Scott & Trevor:

Talk Travel Asia is brought to you by Trevor Ranges and Scott Coates, every two weeks(ish) from wherever in the Asia they happen to be. Alternating episodes feature a guest or the two hosts, cultivating travel insight through intelligent conversation. If you enjoyed the show, please donate, even just a dollar a month: that’s only .50c per episode(ish). 

PLEASE DONATE TO THE SHOW – we appreciate your support to keep the podcast happening (thanks)!

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