Like any good bar or restaurant, it's not just the food and drink that keep you coming back. It's a culmination of things, the feel of the room, the music, the way the menu feels and the smile you get when you walk through the door.
A riding location is no different. Sure, the trails maybe incredible, but if the people you meet make you feel like you've been served raw chicken, you're not going to want to come back...it's the people that make it special.
Every place you ride has them, the trail builders, the local pinner, the guy in the bike shop, the guide or the uplift driver. In Finale Ligure, these guys are Ride On Noli.
When we first decided on Finale Ligure as a destination on the MTB Beds roster several years ago, we spoke to many uplift companies. It's the right thing to do when you arrive in a new town, you introduce yourself to the locals and see what you can do together.
It was obvious from the first meeting that these guys played the game on a level different to the rest. They are the guys Enduro World Series, Fox and Vital MTB turn to first when they need things in this town, why wouldn't we?
So who is Ride On Noli?
Co-founded in 2012 by best friends racing Downhill bikes together on the Italian team, LOA bikers, Ride On Noli established themselves very quickly as the go to guys for Finale Ligure uplifts...
Marco is the man you need in your corner. If you need something in Finale Ligure, he knows how to get it. Need to weld something at midnight? He just had a beer with the man who can do it. It seems every time we come across a problem, Marco has the answer.
He's the man who'll pick up the phone when you call Ride On Noli for a reservation and he's the man who keeps the wheels turning. A former estate agent of all things, it was he who proposed to lifelong friend Paolo that they make their passion their life. So guiding clients around their hometown began. Initially pedalling around the town of Noli, the desire and demand for riding more descent orientated terrain took hold and the vans were bought.
Secretly handy on a bike, though he'd never admit it. He's prone to some questionable line choice, though they always seems to work out! Fit as a fiddle and the mind of philosopher, he's a great companion on the trails, in the van, and at the bar.
Paolo, Zuni, Party Paolo. An enigma. The man you cannot help but love. The man who cannot help but love life. There is a very good reason Paolo is responsible for booking the restaurants and osteria's Ride On Noli select from the vast array on offer in the region. The man knows his food, he knows his wine, he knows how to have a good time.
Party Paolo arose not as an alter ego, it's who he is. He won't ever say no to a good time and more often than not it is he who'll bring them. Quite how he manages all of this with a wife, two children and two dogs we have no idea! Paolo quit his job working as a graphic designer to guide clients around his native Liguria. He's a locals local. More than once he's had to bring out his knowledge of the long forgotten Ligurian dialect to help us win over hunters in the woods!
Rapid on the bike, his solid, burly style is belies his kind, easy going nature. If you're looking for a good time on or off the bike, Party Paolo knows where to find it. Never say no to Paolo if he wants to take a beer with you and never turn down his recommendation from a menu!
Sandra is the third part of Ride On Noli and the part we all never knew was needed until she arrived. When we heard they had hired a new guide we were of course apprehensive, no one likes change! From the moment we met Sandra we knew we shouldn't have worried, when we first saw her ride a bike we knew they boys had struck gold!
Quiet and unassuming, she has an easy going nature which matches her riding style. Fluid and poised, she can't seem to take a bad photo, always in the right position for the challenge ahead. She has the ability to carry speed through sections of trail that seem impossible for someone her size. Line choice and good technique is everything and we must warn you, many have turned up thinking that they will be faster than her.......they more often than not end up in a bush!
After leaving full time racing she still works as a brand ambassador for some top industry names. Sandra is the girl who can teach you how to ride a bike properly, and be cool the whole time doing it.