Recently mountain bike photographer Sandra Sabitzer headed off the beaten track to somewhere unusual - Jamaica. These incredible pictures tell the story.
We'd spent much of autumn dreaming of escaping Europe's cold, wet winter weather to satisfy our trail hunger in warmer climates.
After some research we started looking at Jamaica. "Mountain biking in Jamaica?" One of our friends asked. "Do they even have any mountains?"
"Do they even have any mountains?" Yes, it turns out they do.
Well yes it turns out they do. The eastern part of the island is covered by the Blue mountain range with its highest point at 2,256m. A decent elevation by anyone's standards.
The climate in Jamaica is tropical, with hot and humid weather. But in the higher inland regions the weather is more temperate. The trail types vary from flow forest soil to exposed rock sections.
Previously the only way to get riding properly in Jamaica was to participate at the annual “Fat Tyre Festival" which was an invitational event, but starting with 2015 it became possible to arrange a personalised trip through Singletrack Jamaica.
It's an experience I'd recommend for everyone!
The white sandy beaches round Ocho Rio are like the Caribbean Dream. It's a good place to stay before and after your bike adventure.
This place is called Irie Blue Hole. One of the best places to hang out and having fun around Ocho Rios.
“What the hell is he doing there?" The surprised look of a man sitting in front of a local supermarket.
Riding through tiny villages in the middle of the Caribbean forest is a highlight. People were amazed of the colourful bikers passing their way.
Erwin, who I travelled with, waits for the bus on Bull’s Bay near Kingston.
High five – small village kids run out at us, shouting, laughing and having fun pretty much everywhere we go.
It's a great feeling ending a long day on the bike at a place like this – the beach near Robins Bay. It doesn't get any better.
Lonely, beautiful beaches along the trail to Robins bay. You just have to stop and take a walk or swim.
Our head cook at Bull’s bay was always smiling, enjoying the good live - irie! He also made the best jerk chicken you'll ever eat.
We met these sweet girls in the middle of nowhere near Hagley Gap.
There are coconuts literally everywhere. They make delicious snacks between your rides.
See? Taaaaaasty snacks...
Kids are your biggest fans. They have so much fun watching riders coming through.
Small boy, big helmet. Never leave your stuff lying around. Kids will just grab your gear and go riding!
Erwin relaxing at James Bond beach after a long day shredding Jamaican trails.
This is the spot where Ursula Andress emerged semi-naked from the sea in the very first Bond film, Dr. No
The view from Strawberry hill into the Blue Mountains.
Fresh fruits for sale in a day market near Ocho Rios.
A Jamaican MacGuyver with his home made motor bicycle.
Our small but wonderful apartment at Robins bay. A must-stay on any trip to the east part of Jamaica.
Houses like these are the norm in the mountains
“Watch out, mountain bikers!" Local people getting their kids out of the way.
A farm worker working on A banana field. This was at least two hours walk away from the next village.
Collecting and washing blue mountain coffee at Whitfield Hall.
The Jamaican way of life. Kicking back and being irie.
Trails above the sea. The scenery is incredible and so much fun to ride - you can’t get enough of it.
Little Abigail dancing in her school dress on James Bond beach.
Cornering on one of the few shaped trails around Calton Hill. The Pressure Drop trail [presumably named for the Toots & The Maytals song - ed]is peppered with smooth berms and small jumps.
Virgin beaches outside the tourist areas. No infrastructure, just nature. And boats.
A sundowner near Port Maria. Having a cold Red Stripe in your hand and just enjoying and reflecting on the day on the mountain. Good times!
This is the feeling: Enjoying the last sun of the day on the way down to the beach, knowing that tasty food and a ice-cold beer is waiting for you.
In the dying light of the day a fisherman tries his luck.