"Having fun shredding bikes"

Style is a subject that has been popping up a lot recently, mostly due to being the hot topic of conversation within the pages Shredder, but also because I’ve been spending a lot of time with Shredder team rider Ryan Middleton. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Ryan, he’s the true epitome of style on a bike, a real down to earth character who is extremely passionate about mountain biking. Here’s a brief summary of what the Dundee Destroyer is all about.

Ryan is a 21 year old rider who lives and breathes bikes. When he’s not riding he’ll be building a massive booter at his local quarry spot, and when he’s not digging he’ll be trying his best to get some WiFi to watch a Brandon Semenuk edit that he’s already seen a billion times. He’s somewhat of a perfectionist when it comes to his own riding, which may well come from his many hours watching polished riding videos. For example, we spent the majority of a day filming one opposite whip clip… Ryan must have sent the whip around 50 times, each with the style and finesse that any other rider would be happy with. But Ryan isn’t ‘any other rider’ and had to get the whip that little more sideways for his own personal satisfaction.

It doesn’t just stop at styling it over jumps though, Ryan consistently podiums at Scottish Downhill Association rounds, no easy feat given the standard of downhill riders in Scotland these days. Ryan himself admits that racing is a tough task and he finds himself often performing perfectly during practice only to be hit with the curse of the stopwatch by the time race runs come around. One of Ryan’s strong points however is his cornering ability. He can literally generate speed out of any corner, leaving me either baffled at how he got round the turn without crashing or asking him to do it again because I didn’t move fast enough to get him on camera.

Ryan’s quirky sense of humour makes a day up in the hills an absolute treat. Not knowing what he’s going to blurt out or what song he’s about to break into next will always keep you guessing and makes for some hilarious entertainment. Whilst his attitude off the bike is more goofy than stylish, you can always rely on his riding ability to astound you when he’s presented with a big launch or a soggy rut. I recently caught up with Ryan to find out what he’s all about.

Who is Ryan Middleton?

An apprentice electrical engineer from Angus in Scotland who likes to do a bit of the bikes and is pretty good at digging up peoples land.

How did you get into mountain biking?

I used to play a lot of badminton but I did’t find it very exciting so started launching myself off wooden pallets in the garden.

Where do you enjoy riding the most?

I’ve not visited that many places outside of the UK yet but back home the local loam factory always seems to deliver some quality sessions. I do enjoy a good jump so my Whistler trip last year wasn’t too bad.

What has been your favourite race/event from over the years?

Its got to be between the Scottish Champs track in Aberfeldy or the first race I did at Llangollen when the whole track was pretty much one big muddy rut. I think any race/track where the spikes have been fitted has been a good one.

Who/what inspires you?

I get a lot of inspiration from watching riders who have their own unique, effortless riding style, whether it’s on a mountain bike, skis or BMX. I’ve been watching a lot of Brandon Semenuk and Rupert Walker creations and like how they stand apart from other mountain bike edits with how creative they are. I also like to watch a good World Cup Vital Raw as it always gets me excited to get out on my bike.

What are your thoughts on the shift in media over the past few years moving from physical formats likee magazines and DVD’s to internet only based content?

I think that it’s great with how many high quality edits and articles you can watch and access for free which are only a click away, however I still believe nothing beats reading through a mag which is full of rad content you can physically pick up and flick through.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not riding?

When I’m not riding I love to build new trails and features. There’s something about riding a new trail or jump you have built yourself that’s so rewarding when it works out exactly how you imagined.

What’s your favourite tool to use when trail building?

I would say a digger but they are hard to come across... so probably just a trusty shovel.

What are your thoughts on the current state of mountain biking?

There’s these new types of bikes with big wheels that can tackle all types of terrain which you can use to explore up and down mountains… They seem pretty popular right now.

What does the future hold for Ryan Middleton?

Having fun shredding bikes.

Cheers Ryan! Give Ryan a follow on Instagram for regular updates – @ryanmid

Interview by Stuart Leel. Photos by Innes Graham, Johny Cook and Ben Winder. Videos by Stuart Leel and Glen Thomson.

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