Chapter One: (Re-)Discovery
Written and photographed by Matt Wragg
If there is one dream that unifies all mountain bikers, it has to be riding from your door. No matter if your idea of a good time involves body armor and big bikes, lycra and hill climbs, or whatever shade in-between, the desire to be able to roll out of the house and onto a trail is universal.
When my wife Mary and I rented a small house just outside Sospel in late 2014, one of the first questions was, “Where are we going to find our trail?” The answer came in the form of a flight of stone steps alongside the house above ours. Talking to neighbors we understood that they weren’t part of the house, but the end of an old trail…
Hiking up into the forest, it began with a rocky toboggan run, a narrow channel with dry stone walls marking the properties that abut the trail. You could still make out the lines to follow them, but it was little more than a hint of a trail winding up the mountain. Eventually, it popped out on the well-worn fireroad that connects the village up to the mountaintops.