Madeira is a world-class bike destination, but this island’s seriously rideable trails haven’t fallen from the sky. It’s taken a team of dedicated, passionate individuals and countless hours of sweat to build them. For part one of iXS Trail Stories, we take a closer look at the story of Freeride Madeira, who’ve shaped more than just the trails on this island.
Three friends – John, Rob, and Filipe – have been pivotal in developing Madeira into a bucket-list riding destination. Back in 2010, these three long-term MTB riders took a trip to Portes du Soleil, one of the most popular bike destinations in the Alps. Surrounded by immense mountains and a bounty of purpose-built trails, the trio realized just how much untapped potential existed back home. With the landscape as it is, a mild year-round climate and stunning views, Madeira has almost all the ingredients in place to position itself as a world-class bike destination… There was only one thing missing: good trails.
This is where the story began, and it’s now at the point where Madeira is synonymous with mountain biking. The island has hosted two rounds of the Enduro World Series and staged films like Deathgrip and Gamble - these factors are precisely what have made riders from all around the world lust over this Atlantic island.
Indescribable diversity: expect the landscape to change around every corner.
Madeira wouldn’t be what it is today without the hard work put in by Freeride Madeira. In recent years the team have built more than 20 trails totaling over 250 km, and show no sign of slowing down when it comes to building new trails and maintaining current ones. With sustainability front of mind and in order to ensure their clients get the best possible experience, Freeride Madeira are committed to reinvesting 20% of the company’s income for exactly this: trails. The team of trail builders also collaborate closely with the island’s authorities to help reforest areas affected by forest fires.
"It’s really cool that brands like iXS are recognizing the work we put in and helping to support our work as trail builders.” – John Fernandes
With the development of the island as a world-class bike destination, Freeride Madeira has not only laid the foundation for their own business, but also made space for business opportunities for others. Accommodation providers, cafés, bars, restaurants, taxi drivers, and freelance bike guides are all now part of a value creation chain. We at iXS are proud to support this team, whose hard work and passion is shaping more than just a world-class riding destination – it’s shaping the whole island.