Torn Between Two Hemispheres

Words by ambassador Graham Beaumont

Roll back 10 years or so, I was in my early 20’s with a life focused towards the bike industry and intention to make my mark on it. 

At the time I was working my way up the ladder in bike shops soaking up all of the information I could. With no real goal other than knowing I wanted to ride bikes for a living, I had set out to do just that. 

My life was the Lake District. After a very short move to the ‘big city’, I knew in my heart living within the mountains was where I needed to be. 

During this short stint in Manchester My Mum spoke to me about the potential of her moving to New Zealand for a couple of years, and did I want to go with her? Looking back at this question, in many ways this could not have been timed any better. Having just had my wings clipped from moving to the city I was 100% certain that I wanted to stay here in the UK, in the Lake District. 

So a few months passed my Mum moved to the other side of the world, along with my stepdad. This was huge for us all as we are not big family, shortly after I packed my job in the city and made moves towards moving back home to the Lakes.

At the time my sister was at university studying back in the Lakes so I stayed on her sofa for a while.

Sven Martin photo Photo by Sven Martin

All of a sudden I realised that ‘home‘ wasn’t necessarily what it used to be, and I needed to create a home for myself.  I got myself a job with a good friend of mine in a suspension service centre, and rented a house with some other folk and started to rebuild my life back home in the Lake District.

With all the modern communication platforms we have, dialect should have been easy to New Zealand. My mindset towards the whole situation put a stop on any real dialogue for the first few years. I occupied my life with partying, riding bikes and generally just pretending to be okay with it all.

After a couple of years in the suspension centre I decided to leave full-time employment and take the plunge into being self-employed down a road towards Mountain Bike Coaching and Guiding, which has lead me to where I am today.

When my sister graduated she also headed off round the world ultimately finishing in New Zealand, at this point I knew it was time for me to pull my socks up and head out to New Zealand for a trip! 

Travelling to the opposite side of the world was a daunting necessity, and I had been putting it off for too long, flying to the other side of the world opened my eyes to so many amazing possibilities and showed me that the world is full of amazing riding! 

Since that first trip I have got Flying with a bike down, I have met some of the best people and ridden some of the greatest trails, and I even get to ride in the forest with my Mum! It’s awesome to have a family who shares my passion for bikes, even if they are 11,310 miles away.

It can be so easy to look at my family situation as a negative thing, and I have definitely flicked between it being positive and that over the years. But sitting here and thinking about the trips I have had to New Zealand and other places on the way, the experiences shared, but even more specifically the trails I have been lucky enough to of ridden along the way, it’s pretty fantastic having my folks out there. 

Ben Gerrish Photo Photo by Ben Gerrish

The Brief for this project was Time Travel, and that got me thinking about certain points in my life. if I had a Time Travelling machine would I have done things differently the second time round? 

It took me back to the moment I decided to stay back here in the UK, and would I change it? I have pondered over this question for years, but I think 21-Year-old Graham had his head screwed on to a point. It was a pretty bold move to stay here as my family emigrated but it seemed less scary than packing my bags and moving. 

To think at the time I was worried the mountain biking might be rubbish in NZ! Any of you who have been will know that it’s definitely NOT the case, My mum lives a 5-minute pedal out of the redwood Forest In Rotorua. If you haven’t been to Rotorua and ridden your bike I strongly recommend it.

Staying in the UK has had so many positives for me. I love the people around me, the riding and the friendships that has created, my work and lifestyle I am able to live and accessibility to the rest of Europe in a heartbeat.  Riding bikes can take you anywhere!