What inspired Rich Williams, founder of Ridgeline, to leave London and to become a full-time mountain bike guide in the mountains of Italy?
BikeMagic did an interview with Rich during their stay with him at RivieraBike back in 2013.
Hidden in the mountains inland from the coastline of the Italian Riviera and just half an hour from Monaco, there’s a paradise for mountain bikers, a small village surrounded by forest and spoilt with fresh crashing rivers, abundant singletrack riding and all manner of earthly goodness. That place is Molini di Triora (check out our Travel Guide here).
A destination of choice, in the opinion of most people who have ridden there it’s possibly Europe’s best riding spot. It’s got everything you could possibly ask for as a mountain biker and, even better, you can climb off the bike and sit down to amazing food at a fraction of what you’d pay over here.
We sat down with Richard Williams, publican turned events professional turned trail guide for Riviera Bike, to talk how you end up in such a place, what it’s like, and why he can’t go back to his former life now.
Bike Magic: So a bit of background – who are you, how old are you, and where are you from?
Richard Williams: I’m 32 years old at the moment, and I had a bit of a strange upbringing. I didn’t really come from anywhere, as my parents were military diplomatic service, so I grew up all over the world, really, then got dumped in boarding school. So I guess that’s where I’m from, Stamford – I spent ten years in boarding school there, then university and then I lived in London.
BM: What were you doing in London?
RW: I went to university first – I had to spend a year doing art school to do graphic design, so I spent a few years of university there, and then got into the pub trade. I ended up working in nightclubs and stuff – I loved all that life, but I ended up buying a little pub in Battersea and had that for two and a bit years before I sold it. Then basically I got a bit of money from that, so I thought rather than take my parents’ advice and invest it, I’d go and live a little, so I moved out to Meribel and pissed around for a year and learned how to snowboard really well – something I’d always loved but never had the chance to do. I did that as long as I could, then came back to the UK and went back into the pub trade and the nightclub trade as an area manager for Virgin, and I hated it. Being in the great outdoors for a whole year, I couldn’t go back to the office thing – it ruined it for me. But it was the best thing I did really, because it set me onto the path I’m on now. So from there I got into event work – started off just in the summer and became a lackey just working with marquees and things like that. I absolutely loved the outdoor life and that sort of stuff, so I just worked my way through and ended up right at the top, working for quite a large Europe-based event company, doing that for about eight years really.[…]
Read the full interview here.