Once in awhile we're lucky enough to stumble on some extra special types of rider. People who possess savage skills, radiant energy, an unflappable smile, and with moxie to spare. Here's where we'll celebrate those we're lucky enough to call friends.
MEET OLIVER "OLLIE" LOWTHORPE
The first time I learned about Ollie was from watching his crazy antics on Instagram (@ollielowthorpe) where it's impossible to just watch one video. Each edit shows a level of riding that seems to defy physics but Ollie rides in such a way it makes it look "easy" - perfect body english, balance, posture and undeniable nerve. While it may look easy, hint: don't try this at home kids. What's more is, despite GoPro's reputation for 'dumbing things down,' the POV that Ollie shares is friggin scary so you'd better believe it's gnarly up close.
We had a chance to grill the man himself, read on below...
What bikes do you ride?I have two main bikes! A 2022 Norco Range and 2020 Norco Sight 27.5.
Both my bikes are custom built to suit my riding style. They're both set up Mullet (29"front wheel, 27.5"rear) I run Maxxis Assegai, max grip, DD, 2.5 front and rear. Magura MT7 brakes with 220mm rotors and of course a SwitchGrade! I also have a Trek Ticked DJ that I run brakeless with flat pedals. I use it to learn all my skills and techniques before taking them to the trail!
What's your favourite type of riding?
I love riding rock slabs and tech! It's such a unique feeling riding slabs, they can be so steep that they have to be cleared with climbing gear and the grip is just insane. Tech is a close second, the more difficult the better! It's really satisfying figuring out the lines and making it all link together to make it feel smooth.
What got you into riding and when did you start?
I've been riding bikes from a very young age, my parents got me on a bike at 4 and they took me to my first XC race when I was 8. I actually won that race and from there on was hooked to riding and racing. My main discipline was Cross Country but I raced Road, Cyclocross, Track along with any other discipline I could try. Stopped racing in 2018 due to back problems, moved to Canada and started riding the things I do now!
What're you up to when you're not on two wheels?
I currently work as a MTB guide and coach for Ride BC in Squamish. I absolutely love the process of learning and teaching. I taught myself all of my biking skills which has really helped me be a coach.
What benefits do you get out of using a SwitchGrade?
The SwitchGrade has helped massively with my back problems and overall posture on the bike. Through my racing years up to now, saddle angle was something I would actually change before each ride/race. If there was a lot of climbing I'd tilt it down to help my back and to help get traction into the rear wheel on steep climbs but just deal with the angle on the downs. I can't live without it now! Why would you not want the perfect saddle angle all the time?
What's something that very few know about you?
Something I don't think many people know about is my racing background. I raced XC for many years and managed to get myself into the 2018 Commonwealth games where I raced the mountain bike and road race. It was an amazing experience despite breaking my collarbone 7 weeks beforehand.