#StaffSaturday Jesse Wigman
Tiso, Alpine and Blues staff are experts in their own fields. This comes from experience and a love of what they do, whether that be hill walking, running trails, rock climbing, or spending time on the water. Each Saturday we will be highlighting a different member of staff and talking to them about their outdoor journey. This week we are chatting to Jesse Wigman, an all round outdoors enthusiast who loves bikes and lives near Inverness!
Which store do you work in and for how long? What were you doing before?
I'm the supervisor and head mechanic in Alpine Bikes in Inverness. I've been in IOE for nearly 7 years and prior to that I managed the Fort William and Nevis Range Alpine Bikes stores. Before joining Alpine Bikes and Tiso I owned a bike shop with my partner in Fort William. During the summer months from 2016 to late 2019 I was also a mechanic for local downhill mountain bike rider Greg Williamson on the UCI Downhill World Cup circuit. I worked as head mechanic for the Cube Global Squad team and then Unno Factory Racing and travelled all over. Tiso were awesome to give me the time off to go to these races and help support a local rider!
Has the outdoors always been an important part of your life?
Yeah it sure has! I'm Dutch and moved to Scotland in 1997 when I was 10 years old. My parents decided to emigrate to Scotland as they loved the Highlands so much. So beautiful and peaceful. Quite different to an overcrowded Holland! I grew up camping, hill walking, skiing and biking mainly on holidays in our campervan travelling to the Highlands and often in Wales and Germany too. I was always outside as a kid playing and exploring. Even in school I would always be thinking about being outside in the woods on my bike. I started riding trials (mountain bike trials) in late 1999 and then went onto racing downhill for a good few years too. I have pretty much only worked in bike shops since I left school, but why not!? I love it!
What is your favourite bit of kit and why?
Probably my Ortlieb bike packing bags. Super hard wearing, they fit extremely well and are actually water proof! Trust me, I've tested them... It's definitely worth having a decent set of bags in the Highlands! A close second would be my MSR Windburner stove. Super handy.
What bikes do you have in your shed just now?
Far too many! My current bikes are a 2020 Trek Remedy, a 2019 Whyte 629 and a Cube two15 DH rig. Many others include various retro (late 90s/early 00s) dirt jump, trials and DH bikes...
How do you spend your time outside of work?
I love getting out and about on new adventures. I spend a lot of time in the woods and in the hills/mountains with my Border Terrier Bramble. We both love exploring new places. I do a bit of trail building and a lot of technical riding on my trail bike. I also love going further afield to do some bike packing and bothying trips with my friend Emma. It really is awesome living in the Highlands and having so much to explore on my doorstep!
One of my other main hobbies apart from mountain biking is restoring classic Citroen cars. Mainly 2cvs and Dyanes. I love the technical side of things like rebuilding the engines, gearboxes, brakes etc on these. I'm currently busy with restoring a small Acadiane van to full factory spec. Everything has to be exactly right! Just like when spannering on bikes, it's all in the small details! I do also love a good road trip in one of my Citroens. It's always fun heading to Citroen meetings!
Where is your favourite place in Scotland to ride?
Locally around the Inverness area. There is a huge network of trails around here. Steep and natural is always best for me!
Is there an activity you're really keen to try?
Yeah I'm very keen on doing some packrafting with my bike. Some more of the remote areas in the Highlands would be easier to get to with a packraft!