From Sweden to Finale Ligure

….I saw a downhill bike race and I said ‘I want to do that….

…. The great thing here is sharing the territory because there is an incredible variety of landscapes depending on where you are…. Louise Paulin

Pro Rider , Just Ride Finale

Pro Rider from 2010
Pro Rider since 2010

She is coming from the recent victory of the 5th round of the Enduro World Series season at Les Orres, Louise (Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team) has already won the podium of her Women Master category in the previous stages in Rotorua in New Zealand and in Val di Fassa.

She is waiting to participate in the EWS competition in Whistler, Canada, and then in Zermatt, on the occasion of the Finale Ligure Trophy of Nations (28 and 29 September 2019) representing the colors of the Swedish flag.

“With the races I started in 2010. They offered me to start a competition, so we went to Priero for Superenduro and from there this passion for enduro was born”

Louise Paulin brings with her the colors of her country, Sweden, along with an infectious brightness and smile that make unique the strong passion she has for her work as a mountain bike guide in Finale Ligure with its Just Ride Finale business for 12 years. “One summer I was working in Norway. I saw a downhill bike race and I said ‘I want to do that’”. Yet even though in Lund, the Swedish university town where she came from, the bike was part of her life because she used it to go to school, Louise’s path should have been another. As a child she was brilliant in the science subjects “I had to become an engineer, I didn’t like it even though I was good at math and physics… At 18 years old I would never have said that I would become a mountain bike guide. In Lund all the friends went to university, then I took a year off in France and… “. A university course that seemed to have already been mapped out, but life is not an exact science and so, Louise’s path turned out to be riding a bike. “When I went to live in Chamonix, it was 2004, I took the bike and learned to go. Some friends from Chamonix had come to Finale saying it was great. So when I came here for the first time to ride, it was 2005 and you could still take the bus to Calizzano charging the bicycle over (but already the following year you didn’t do it anymore). Every year I came here to ride a bike, eat ice cream and pizza, go to the beach and since 2007 I moved here. I had to find a job and with Alessandro we thought of an business that was something more than taking people on the trails, something that had more to do with a ride with friends. In this way was born “Just Ride”. At the time I went by bike, but not so much. I was always afraid of not ride strong enough. Twelve years later I can say that this is my job and it’s a whole other thing compared to the beginning. My job is to bring people on a bike trails and I love it“.
This woman energy is perceived right away, it is that passion that distinguishes people who do what they really like. And so, during our talk drinking a coffee, Louise will often repeat to me “I really like riding a bike”. Twelve years very busy for her, she became also mother of two girls and successfully competed in several enduro races. On the back of her last victory of the 5th round of the Enduro World Series season at Les Orres, Louise (Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team) has already won the podium of her Women Masters category in the previous races in Rotorua, New Zealand and in Val di Fassa. Waiting to take part in the EWS competition in Whistler, Canada, and then in Zermatt, she hopes to be able to compete in the Trophy of Nations in Finale Ligure (28th – 29th September 2019, ed) and represent the colors of the Swedish flag. “I started racing in 2010. They offered me to start competing, so we went to Priero for the Superenduro and from there came this passion for enduro. It is not easy to find the balance between being a mom, running my own business and training for races. But I hope that in the future, even my daughters will understand the reason that motivates me to compete, how good it makes me feel and that they can be proud of me”.

With her business Just Ride Finale, Louise helps to make our territory known to the countless foreigners who come to it and to the groups participating in its bike guided tours “it’s a job where you give a lot, but people also give me a lot. It’s really beautiful. Maybe in a quiet group you have to talk more about technique, about curves and brakes, but then at the end of the day you see that they go better – they often tell you so too – and this is very beautiful. Then there are the groups in which you enjoy yourself as if you were riding with friends.

There are people who come back from year to year, guys who have been here three or four times already and that’s a great feeling too, to see them come back to you to share this with you”. The most curious story of these years with Just Ride concerns a group from Singapore “You wouldn’t say they ride a bicycle, but there is a very small military island where they go riding a bike. This group struck me because it was the most different one that came to me. There was a different energy in the group, there was a very mixed level between them, but nobody cared about this. If the weakest or the best did a good result they were all happy. There was a wonderful feeling and for me it was an extra experience as well as having led them to ride a bike”

Our talk goes on and the feeling is to be in front of a friend who
tells you and confesses how the path that led her to become a mountain bike guide, as a woman, it was also a personal journey “Most of Just Ride’s customers are men and at the beginning when they saw that I was the one dressed as a biker and not the shuttle driver – who was a man, they were a little surprised. And then over the years, I could tell I didn’t care, and now there’s so many people coming back, or thanks to friends who’ve already been here, they already know what I’ve done, maybe they followed the races or looked at my Facebook page and see my activity as a rider. I always remain a woman even if you do the races and some have to get familiar with this thing”. With an ever brighter smile Louise speaks to me about Finalese area and when I ask her about the place to which she is most closely connected she replies “I lived twelve years at Melogno, that’s the place of my heart. Even the Barbottina wood is wonderful with that light. The great thing here is sharing the territory because there is an incredible variety of landscapes depending on where you are. It’s so beautiful you can’t say there’s only one place. I’m always discovering new places, even after all these years, there are so many beautiful ones. I also hope that the area can grow in certain aspects. The first time I arrived here I wanted to go to the Museum, but there was information only in Italian. It is important that those who come here can also learn about history, it is important that here people can speak in English. I also like to involve my customers with something different from bike ride, so I propose to those interested, and maybe stop several days, also outdoor activities other than mountain biking, discovering the history of Finale, with cooking class lessons, guided tours… “. With the energy and enthusiasm own of Louise, there is no doubt that she knows how to transmit the passion for her work and for our territory.