In a slight twist to our usual Every Day Ride series, we're mixing things up. Ever wondered how other riders keep their bikes safe or curious to hear the best piece of riding advice they've ever received? This series is for you.
First up we chat to Olivia Plunkett aka Olivia the Engineer.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I'm a full-time civil engineer and part-time mountain biker! I work mainly in development so housing, highways, and recently I've been trying to get involved with some UK bike parks. If I can bring together my work and hobby, I'll have it made!
How and when did you get into riding?
I used to commute to work along canals on my three gear Bobbin bicycle but I wasn't very confident and certainly had no off-road experience. Then I signed up to the London to Brighton off road in 2019 and decided it was time for a more capable bike, so I got myself a Trek Roscoe and hit the trails at Cannock Chase for an introduction to mountain biking.
After a wobbly start and not much bike time due to illness, I wasn't really hooked until 2020 when we all had more riding time and I could explore my local more often.
What are the best and worst things about riding?
Best things are being outdoors, laughing with my mates and the sense of achievement from seeing progression and conquering new features. It's hard to put it all into words, biking is just the best!
Tell us about your most memorable ride to date?
So far, it's probably a trip to the Marin Trail in 2022. I was with a group of my bike mates and we weren't entirely prepared for a long ride or lots of climbing and it was a very hot day. It was quite a rocky techy route but we'd all ridden at Dyfi Bike Park the day before so we weren't really phased by the tracks, that only the week before would have had us stopping, looking and worrying about the terrain.
We all entered some sort of strange exhausted delirium and just blasted along for hours. We had lots of laughs; a few wobbles and I don't think I'll ever forget that whole weekend.
What's the best piece of riding advice you've ever been given?
It's probably a combination of light hands, heavy feet and elbows out. It's amazing what good body positioning can achieve! Oh, and just enjoy it!
What do you bring with you on every ride?
I always have water, snacks and some tools and spares. I tend to pack a little more on longer rides, but I have my multi tool and spare inner tube strapped to my bike frame so I don't have to carry too much.
When someone asks what kit you recommend, you say?
The Endura MT500 waterproof kit is a must-have for winter riding. I love all the Shred Like a Girl kit too, lots of choice for styles and fit! Women's riding kit is really hard to get right it would seem, so shorts and jerseys made for women that actually fit right and look good are precious, so definitely check them out.
How do you keep your bikes secure at home and on the go? Share your best tips to help others keep their bikes safe.
I keep my bikes secure with chains and a selection of locks. When I'm out and about I use the Litlelok X1 as it's easy to carry around and I trust it completely if I need to leave my bike unattended.
What's on your riding bucket list?
I'd really love to ride in Morzine and New Zealand also looks amazing, one day I hope to get to the bike parks there!