yOUTUBER, cONTENT cREATOR, mOUNTAIN bIKER, FAMILY MAN
Mike JP juggles a few different roles in his life, from his Navy Career to his popular Youtube and Facebook Page. All this is done from his passion for Mountain Biking and the drive to bring more people together in the sport.
SFC Media doesn’t always talk to athletes, we also like to talk to those behind the scenes and behind the lens. Lets meet a man who has created a hugely popular MTB Facebook Page and a Youtube Channel that has gone from strength to strength in recent times.
Q: Like all SFC interviews can you give a quick introduction to who is Mike JP?
Mike: I’m Mike, 39 years old and born in Porstmouth. Moved around the UK as my Father was in the Royal Navy so spent many years in Scotland until moving back South when I was 13. Deciding to follow suit I also joined the Royal Navy in 1998 and have served 22 years and counting. Now living back in the Portsmouth area with my amazing wife Francesca and my two beautiful girls Isabelle and Amelia.
Q: So, easy start, how did you get into riding? // What was your first bike?
Mike: I purchased a Carrera Vulan, a Halfords brand back in 2015. At the time I found this to be pretty expensive (Little did I know) and bought it mainly for local loops with my wife and kids. However, one day I took a drive to my local, Queen Elizabeth Country Park, and rode the Blue/Red trails. After bumping into someone I’d served with (Richie) I soon discovered some awesome local trails. After that lucky encounter I was hooked and I’ve never looked back since.
Q: Am I right in saying that you raced for the Navy? // How did that come about?
Mike: So back in 2018 I had an opportunity to train with the Royal Navy/Royal Marines Enduro Team. As luck had it I knew someone who was already taking part in Military races so my name got thrown about as a willing rider. After a long/hard week of Enduro training in Wales with a majority of the team, for which I felt very fortunate to be a part of; unfortunately, life and work took over things and I couldn’t commit to most of the race events. Should I wish to return I’ve been informed I’ll be able to gain a position within the team make-up again.
Q: I hope your keeping busy and safe in this period (COVID-19), what is happening in your world? // How are you keeping busy right now?
Mike: Even though I’m a key worker, my teaching position for the Navy was considered a lower priority during the early stages of Covid-19. Training was paused and I was lucky to be sent home until further notice. That said, 6 weeks at home and stacks of local XC loop to keep my fitness up to scratch has been amazing. In the month of April I’d stacked up 256 miles. 124 compared to the previous month. In all the time I’ve been riding, I’ve never felt so good. When life returns to the newer version of normal I’ll be ready to shred.
Q: You are known for your Facebook page and also your YouTube Channel – Mikes MTB Adventure. Tell us how the YouTube channel came about.
Mike: My channel, which has now become my pride and joy, started as an area for me to upload my riding content. I wanted to make short edits that I could store online and not take up space on my laptop. Then I started to realise that the views were actually doing ok. So I thought “I’ll give it a go”. The key really is for me to enjoy doing it and not feel pressured to produce content. It’s a brilliant way to document my journey and will always be something I’ll continue to look back on in the future.
Q: What is your favourite video that you have created so far?
Mike: Probably in March 2020 I’d arranged a Swinley Group ride through my MTB Fanatics Facebook group. I couldn’t believe it when 74 riders made the effort to travel from all over to ride with the group. It was a very proud and in a way overwhelming moment for me, and really show cased just how far the group has come. So while is not the most extreme place to ride, it was a pleasure to film such a momentous achievement in terms of group ride.
Q: Can you let us know of any up coming videos that your excited about?
Mike: We were heading to Morzine in July to shred the Alps for 7 days, but due to the current COVID-19 situation we’ve had to cancel until 2021. No doubt this will be the ultimate place to ride and I can’t wait to tick it off the bucket list. That said, we have planned to hit more UK trails. Mainly Wales, Scotland and the Lake District areas. So if all goes well, we’ll still have a fantastic array of trails to blast this year.
Q: If you could have one dream video edit what would it be?
Mike: It would be the ultimate dream for a camera crew to film me riding in a UK area. Providing that quality and experience you can only get from the pro’s. A full cinematic edit from top to bottom. A selection of tech and jumps within my ability.
Q: Through your YouTube channel you have recently gain support from a bike brand, tell us how that came about and who else you work with.
Mike: I quite simply asked to be honest. My channel in particular was doing very well for the short space of time it was running and brands could see the potential it had. Appreciating also that I’m a family man, working full time Royal Navy and an above average riding. I’m extremely fortunate to have 3 brands supporting my adventure on YouTube. The very first was FlowVision (Tony) from the UK distribution side (Instinct Distribution) in 2018. Supplying me with my riding goggles and clothing. Then Dan Stanton from Stanton Bikes came onboard with the Channel in 2019 and that’s a dream come true. Being supported by a UK Brand literally meant everything to me. I’m smiling writing this as I still can’t believe it. Lastly Dirty Rides MTB Apperal also joined ship in 2019 and they provide all my riding gear throughout the season. Not just any riding gear, but all custom designed and exclusive to my channel and Facebook group. To have that support at my level just feels amazing. Just shows you don’t need to be a the highest level to have support from people.
Q: How are you finding the bike?
Mike: The Stanton Switchback FS160 is an incredible bike. It took me a little longer to get used to, but that’s the same for all bikes I’ve owned. It rips the trails and the speed it moves at is eye watering. Yes it’s a “She” and she handles like a Boss. The steel frame gives you this confidence inspiring ride. Only understood I suppose if you ride one. An incredible bike by and incredible UK Brand.
Q: You have mentioned it, but lets find out more. You created the MTB Fanatics Facebook page, which is hugely popular. How did this come about? // What do you think makes it special?
Mike: My group was created in 2018 as a result of no one to ride with. While Richie mentioned previously got me into biking which I’m still extremely grateful for, he was deployed and I was left to ride solo as such. I lost motivation and didn’t really want to explore in areas on my own. MTB Fanatics was born to provide an area where riding events could be created around the UK and riders of all levels of ability and skill could tag along for the ride. It stands out from the rest with the way it’s managed. So I’m the Admin but I couldn’t keep on top of things without the huge support of the MODS who keep things ticking over and within the rules. Thanks guys. It’s a group purely about the riders and riding. None of the rubbish that litters other groups and spoils the feed with the same questions being repeated daily. Its success is testament to the members within it. For that I thank them all.
Q: Where is your favourite place to ride?
Mike: Locally in Portsmouth it’s has to be QECP and Rogate with Stoughton Downhill throughout the year. Travelling further I absolutely love shredding Surrey Hills. Wales is the highlight of my riding so far. I’m talking the trails centres, big rides and every peddle stroke worth the downhill sections. Yes, I also enjoy the Uplift session. Who doesn’t. If I’m riding with my mates I’ll enjoy anything.
Q: Ok so talking favourites, what would be your dream location to ride?
Mike: Easy to answer. Even though we’ve sadly cancelled this year “Morzine” still looms and it will conquer it in 2021. Whistler is also on the bucket list.
Q: Brilliant, now who or what inspires and motivates you?
Mike: I’ve been passionate about all the things I do in life (apart from school) and my motivation is my family. That’s all my family. They’re very proud of what I’ve achieved in life in general. The channel and group add to the mix of every growing ideas I have throughout my life. I couldn’t not mention that all my riding buddies play a big part in my life and it’s more than just riding. They’re people I can depend on and this sport has a big part to play in that.
Q: What does the future hold?
Mike: Well that’s difficult. I’ve got another 5 years in the Navy and will likely be extended further as time moves on. Its pays well and ultimately I still enjoy it. So I’ll stay in until they don’t want me anymore, but in the meantime continue as things are. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to do my channel full time. Who knows what the future holds? I tend to live for the moment.
Q: Do you have a quote or a life motto?
Mike: “Better to regret the things you did in life, than the things you didn’t”
Q: Any final words?
Mike: Ride the Dream everyone, it’s changed my life.
A big thank you to Mike for his insight in to his world and his road so far.