Like many women Julia MacLean (Jules) discovered mountain biking a bit later in life, but that hasn’t stopped her jumping in with both feet.
Based in Dunkeld in Highland Perthshire, Jules is surrounded by some of the best riding Scotland has to offer and spends most evenings after work enjoying the playground on her doorstep. Jules’ world revolves around bikes – when she’s not riding, her hands are pretty full as one half of mountain bike suspension supremos Flotec. Her technical suspension know-how and workshop skills make her a real hit when you want to squeeze the ultimate performance from your bike.
What’s your favourite trail Jules?
“Oh, there’s too many…Dunkeld (Funkeld!!) has such a variety of trails – something for every mood – steep and tech, fast and flowy or long xc loops.”
What got you into mountain biking?
“Riding bikes has completely changed my life. I love the adventure, the rush and the incidental exercise! It’s more than that though, it’s opened me up to a whole series of challenges that have helped me to grow in confidence as a person outside of bikes. I love to see other riders go through this same process and gain self-confidence through biking.”
What made you decide to become a guide?
“When I first started I would never have dreamed of doing the Level 3 mountain bike qualification (Level 3 is the highest mountain bike leadership qualification in the UK) as it seemed so out of my reach. I originally started my guiding journey at Level 2 as a personal challenge; but the more I developed the more I wanted to progress and before I knew it I was doing level 3 what I thought I’d never achieve. It’s given me so much confidence to challenge myself and go for it.
At the same time, I was coaching for Air Maiden. I started out as a participant at Air Maiden event, then a helper, an assistant coach and eventually a lead coach. Lynne Armstrong, who is the founder of Air Maiden had faith in me and gave me the encouragement I needed to push on with my coaching and guiding qualifications.”
You’re not shy when it comes to getting stuck in to the mechanical side of things – what’s your favourite bike tool when working at Flotec?
“My Knipex parallel pull pliers. They were the first tool of my own that I got and I was so proud of them! Plus they are so useful, especially for suspension. I now have three different sizes and a set in my riding backpack pack for any trail side repairs or tweaks.”
It’s been an exciting journey for Jules and we love having her on the team – her enthusiasm is infectious and she’ll coax out the riding skills you never knew you had!