Meet The Locals: Alexander Pryanishnikov, a pillar of Crimea’s MTB scene

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When we talk about the best Mountain Bike destinations, we often think about Whistler, Morzine or Rotorua. Moreover, the lesser known riding destinations are often the best ones. This week we gonna discover Crimea, a surprising MTB scene.

Who are you? What’s your feeling while being on a Mountain Bike?

My name is Alexander Pryanishnikov, I’m 36 years old. I was born in Moscow, but I’ve been leaving for a long time in Crimea. In 2002 I got my first hardtail and that’s how I started MTB. I and my friends built some gaps, trampolines and learned to jump. Later I got a double suspension bike, since then, MTB becomes a part of my life. I build trails, organize MTB competitions and bike camps. MTB brings me a unique sense of joy, freedom, and elation.

How nice is Crimea?

Crimea is a small planet with its unique nature and landscape. Mountains, sea, steppe, you can find everything. In the summer, after riding, you can go down to the sea for a swim and dive from the rocks. There is also beautiful vineyards and architectural landmarks to visit.

What are the best places to ride in Russia? Tell us about your local trails?

The most famous places of the Ural mountains, the Caucasus mountains, the mountains of the Krasnodar region, but Crimea is one of the most popular destinations. There are many different mountains but we mostly ride in the Ai-Petri, the top trails are rocky, covered with foliage, thanks to a clean pine forest that grow below the slope. It often happens that you find rocky soil, dusty slopes, and clay paths on the same trail.

We know that the country has a strong history. Is Mountain Biking something that has been connecting people?

I believe that sport should be beyond politics. Mountain biking as a hobby is able to unite people from different countries. You may even not know languages, ride together, understand each other and enjoy the pleasure of riding. Here still come to ride from Russia, Ukraine, and other countries.

We have seen that you are involved in the Mountain bike development in Crimea through a bike camp. Can you tell us more about it?

The main idea is to teach beginners riding in the mountains. We invite well-known MTB riders from Russia and Ukraine, as instructors, who share their experience with newcomers. When I started riding, there was nothing like this and I had to learn from my mistakes. You can also come and work out individually with the instructor for several days, if you don’t have a bike, you can hire it with all necessary equipment. It feels great to see people without experience progressing and in the end riding more difficult trails.

When should we come riding in Crimea?

Well, Russia is a huge country with different climate zones. In the northern regions, summer is short, while in Crimea, which is located more South, you may ride almost all year round. The best season starts in March and the hottest months are July and August. Moreover, even in winter, when at the top of the mountains it’s snowy, you can still ride your bike!

Where will your next trip be?

I was lucky enough to visit European countries. I have great memories riding the IXS Downhill Cup in Leogang and I love French Morzine too. I really wanted to go to the Portuguese island of Madeira and see how things work there. I think this place is similar to the Crimea, hopefully, this will be my next journey.

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