WATCH | Riding Madeira’s wildest MTB trail

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Andrew Neethling sampling the Madeiran red meat obsession, with his Scott Ransom in the background  (Photo: Andrew Neethling)
Andrew Neethling sampling the Madeiran red meat obsession, with his Scott Ransom in the background (Photo: Andrew Neethling)
  • Madeira is forging a reputation, for incredible mountain bike trails
  • One of South Africa’s best riders, has been exploring the Portuguese island
  • And this video, shows him riding one of the most technical trails, you’ll ever see 

Madeira is known for many things. Inspiring landscapes. A crazy international airport approach. And Cristiano Ronaldo.

What is less well known, is the island’s incredible mountain biking. With the gift of topography and year-round fair weather. Madeira has become a destination of choice for European riders – and pros, who train there in winter.

The terrain is steep, reaching from sea level to peaks of 1861m. Perfect mountain bike geography.

Over the last few years, more trails have been built, many of them evolving from existing walking and hiking trails, which was how Madeirans moved about the island, for centuries.

The riding is challenging, with sheer cliff edges and impossibly sharp switchback corners. Madeira offers a variety of trails, from magical forest singletrack to exposed cliff line rides, all targeted technically confident mountain biker.

Steep, narrow and terrifying

Andrew Neethling recently spent some time on Madeira, and discovered what the island had to offer.

The Somerset West local is regarded as one of the best downhill mountain bikers of his generation. Finding trails that challenge his immense riding skillset, is rare.

Madeira delivered. On his last day riding, during the Madeira adventure, Andrew was taken to an extremely risky and technical trail.

He captured a POV video of the descent, and it is mildly terrifying. The exposure and those anxiety-triggering corners are way beyond the realm of most riders.

Andrew showed some of the skills which made him a UCI World Cup downhill podium finisher, using the brakes and his body position, to navigate down one of Madeira’s wildest trails.

The bike? Andrew was on a Scott Ransom enduro bike, which features 170mm of front and rear suspension travel. 

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