Comrie Croft Bikes Turns 10!

Think back to 2006, Chico got to number 1 in the charts (really?), the one billionth song was downloaded from iTunes (now over 40 billion), Facebook went public (how did we live before then?) and more importantly Comrie Croft Bikes was born.

How did it all begin I hear you ask. Well if you're sitting comfortably, then I'll begin...

Once upon a time there was a little boy called Colin.  He loved bikes, spending many long summer holidays learning tricks (squashing his brother in the process) and hurtling down the local hills on his favourite five speed racer much to his mum's dispair.  As little Colin grew into a teenager mountain bikes became more mainstream and his love of bikes developed into a passion.

Evenings after school, weekends and school holidays were spend drooling over new bikes in the local bike shop, building jumps and racing mates down trails they created themselves.  Bikes became part of Colin's life as he started competing all over Scotland; his greatest achievement was coming 2nd at Fort William one year!

Colin left home at 18 and moved to Glasgow full of good intentions.  The bike went with him; he'd always have time for trail riding.  As time went on city life took over. Nights out, music and maybe becoming a little lazy (his words not mine) meant his bike became more of an ornament.

Jump forward 10 years to Aberdeen where a job at a Virgin music shop let him get out on the hills a bit more, but there was still something missing.  He knew he wanted to do something bike related, but what?  Were there actually any jobs out there that let you get paid to have fun with bikes?

One rainy November (is there any other kind of weather in November?) feeling a little low Colin sent CV's to almost 100 campsites and hostels looking for a job running their accommodation.  Comrie Croft was the only one to reply with a position available; they were looking for a maintenance man and were thinking of setting up a bike hire business!  This was the best news ever (I can imagine Colin doing victory laps), all his dreams were coming true.

Comrie Croft Bikes was born in early 2006 with a small fleet of good quality mountain bikes that people rented to use on nearby trails.  Having to negotiate busy roads wasn't great and with Comrie Croft nestled on a 230 acre estate, much of it an ex-Forestry Commission plantation there had to be other options. A new dream was forming - Comrie Croft Trails!

The dream was quickly put into reality thanks to a hasty agreement to host a bike race (The Hairy Coo) for the Drovers Tryst (local walking festival).  Realisation dawned, a course was going to need to be built and soon.  Friends and family of the croft were drafted in with shovels over summer 2006 and the first of what is now a set of well ridden trails emerged.  For Colin this really was all his childhood dreams coming true, now he was getting paid to make and test trails.

The race was successful and year on year more sections were added.  As much of the trails were being hand built, large roots or rocks were left with the mantra being "just ride them!"  Although short, the trails enduced much grinning and lots of glowing feedback helping the dream grow.

In 2012 Colin and the Comrie Croft Bikes teamed up with trail designer and builder, Rik Allsop to create the Blue Trail, Skills Park and a Red extension.  This meant there truly was something for everyone.  They have proven so popular that Comrie Croft Bikes now employs three staff (bike gurus) and has a fleet of over 80 high quality rental bikes. 

I think Colin has well and truly answered his question: Are there actually any jobs out there that let you get paid to have fun with bikes?  Yes! 

So now you know how Comrie Croft Bikes was born: From the passion of a bike mad little boy that dared to dream big!


Colin and his son Stanley - Race you dad!


27th May 2016

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