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Bikefax - the new kid on the block.

Photo: Sue Savege doing what she loves best...

An interview with:
Sue Savege; founder of Bikefax, and co-writer of recently published bilingual (Welsh/English) guide, ‘Y Llwybrau Beic Mynydd Gorau yn Eryri / The best mountain bike trails in Snowdonia’

Vital Stats: 5’1”, blonde(ish). Ridden for 16 years; currently rides a custom built Titus Moto Lite; likes exploring, adventure racing and good coffee.

Born & Bred: Birkenhead to Bethesda, via London and Corris

Bread & Butter: Started working life as a Sculptor and then Project Manager working in London but soon swapped city-living to move back home to Wales, becoming an accomplished mountaineer working with the top and leading mountaineering expeditions to far off places around the world, AND then 9 months ago…

Latest career: Setting up Bikefax!

Tell us how you first got into mountain biking, Sue.
Well, in 1989, I pawned my car to pay for my first mountain bike. The bike cost twice as much as my car!!

I was always pretty adventurous on my bike. When I was 20, I decided to cycle the whole ‘Tour de France’ route on my Dawes Tourer…. Solo! And it was my first time abroad, needless to say it was pretty Calamity Jane from start to finish. Then when I first got a mountain bike, I thought they were for going up mountains… I ended up carrying the bike uphill a lot, but the downs were good!

Later, whilst working full-time as a climbing instructor and leading mountaineering expeditions abroad, mountain biking became something I did to blow the cobwebs away on my days off. Living in the Mid and North Wales area for the last thirteen years I have very been lucky to have the Dyfi Forest, Coed y Brenin and Gwydyr Forest trails right on my doorstep.

What has been your Biggest Epic – you know - the one that’s good to tell stories about after the event?
Got horribly lost in Nepal – but the less said about that the better!!

What’s your favourite trail in Wales?
Has to be the circuit of Llyn Cowlyd near Betws, or is it the Marin Trail? Or maybe the descent of Snowdon. I don’t know, there’s so much good stuff around here it’s hard to choose a favourite.

What’s your favourite venue abroad?
So many great venues, it’s impossible to choose, but the ‘anti-gravity trail' in Bolivia was ‘estupendo’, or words to that effect!!!

How did you come up with the Bikefax concept?
Bikefax was born on a rainy day in a café in North Wales, when myself, Dafydd Davis and husband Jim were putting the world to rights, and decided that somebody should do something about the lack of comprehensive quality information for mountain bikers in the UK. Before our coffees had had a chance to go cold, insanity had overtaken us and we had committed ourselves to setting up a company to provide clear dedicated trail information for the whole of the UK and abroad.

That’s a big challenge, where did you decide to start?
It made sense to start with the area I know best, right here in North Wales, and after a year of hard riding, through rain, mud, sunshine slush and snow, our first guide ‘The Best Mountain Bike Trails in Snowdonia’ is OUT! so get your copy and get out there and get riding!

Is there more to Bikefax than producing guidebooks?
Absolutely! Right from the start we have had the vision of producing an on-line community for mountain bikers, with up-to-the-minute up-dates on trail maintenance, guide book up-dates, and much, much more. Bikefax aims to build a comprehensive trail library for the UK and Europe. No more searching high and low for a guidebook or trying to track down that elusive route map. Soon you will be able to down load your routes, giving you fast, immediate access to trails, maps and bang up-to-date info. Ultimately, we want to evolve as the mountain biking world evolves.

What next?
Well the Bikefax team is already working on the next book. I have already been out to Spain exploring around Malaga to hunt out those perfect routes, aiming for a guide for the Costa next year. Others members of the Bikefax team are out and about, seeking those hidden gems to include in future guides – with North East Wales and Morzine top of the list. It’s a hard life but someone’s got to do it and the Bikefax team is willing to make the sacrifice!

So what other services are you looking to offer the mountain biking community?
Bikefax will offer mountain bikers the opportunity to download route descriptions, local information and maps on line for a weekend away; pick ‘n’ mix – so you can build your own tailor made tick list of routes, eg ride all the Epics in Wales' or sample all the ‘Downhill Courses' around the UK; we offer a bespoke mapping service, surveying and accurately mapping your routes by GPS and drawing up detailed specific maps with as much added information as you need; and much, much more.

How do we find out more?
Well, you can log on to www.bike-fax.com, or e-mail us at enquiries@bike-fax.com, or even phone us at our office in Brynrefail, near Llanberis. Look out for the new guide in your local bike outlets and if you tell us if they haven’t got a supply in and we’ll follow that up!

And finally……and very importantly….
What do you look forward to most after a serious blast in the hills/forests?

Planning the next ride.

Check out Bikefax’s excellent website at www.bike-fax.com for news, information and trail updates and to buy your guides on line.

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