The idea behind the “Follow Me” mantra is a positive one – it’s all about leading the charge down a new trail, sharing what you know, getting a posse of riders fired up to drop in. Well life is full of surprises… Yesterday, while filming our second session of the Matt Hunter - Kurt Sorge segment in Kamloops, we were introduced to a different take on the idea of “Follow Me”.
We began the day by loading up the Anthill crew cab, piloted by Darcy Wittenburg, and headed out from Kamloops in the direction of Merritt. The truck was loaded with camera bags, riding gear, the six of us (Kurt Sorge, Colin Jones, Darcy Wittenburg, Darren McCullough, myself and Matt Hunter) and Hunter’s ATV with a customized rack and the two bikes secured to it.
Just as we passed the turn off for highway 97 to Chase, Darcy yells “Bike down!” - we had just lost one of the bikes off the rack and it was now sliding down the middle of the highway.
This stretch of highway is pretty busy with traffic especially tractor-trailers so we couldn’t turn around right away. Two and half minutes later, after finding a place to turn around just up the road, we were back at the site of the bike drop. We were cautious of traffic and on the look out for a place to pull over so that someone could cross the highway and retrieve the bike.
Where the bike should have been there is now no bike. There is, however, a green pickup stopped on the side of the road with what looks like a bike in the back of it. We’re wondering what the people in the pickup will do next and the answer to our question comes in the form of a puff of black diesel smoke as the driver of the pickup accelerates back on to the highway.
The actions of the pickup do not seem to be the ones of a Good Samaritan. We realize the pickup had no intention of stopping so Darcy hits the gas and in a short period of time we’re along side. I was riding shotgun and could clearly see Kurt’s bike in the back of the truck. As we pulled even with the driver I’m signaling to him that he has our bike in the back of his truck and to pull over but the response I get back is the guy rubbing his fingers together as he says “How much are you going to pay me for it?”
The chase is on….
Now we are side by side going over 100 kph towards Kamloops chasing the guy who has grabbed our bike after it fell off of our truck and is insisting that we pay him to get it back. So much for the shoot, time for a different take on “Follow Me”…
What happens next felt like an episode of “COPS”… we’re in close pursuit, taking photos of the truck with the license plate and the bike clearly visible, while Hunter’s on the phone with dispatch (RCMP) giving them a play by play as we track the “Bike Pirate”.
The Bike Pirate’s next move is to turn off the highway – he wants to negotiate the release of the bike. He stops and tells us it should be worth $50 to us to pay him a “reward” for grabbing our bike off of the highway. I get out of our truck and tell ‘no thanks’ and that we will just be taking our bike back. As I approach the truck to grab the bike out of the back, the Bike Pirate hits the gas again and takes off. Darcy yells to me to get in the truck and the chase is back on.
Now we’re following the Bike Pirate through the streets on the outskirts of Kamloops and we are headed towards an overpass. As we come up on a stop sign, bike pirate is getting more desperate. He sticks his head out the window of his truck yelling, “This bike must be worth $50 to you!” To which Darcy replies, “Dude you have officially stolen our bike and the cops are on their way!” Just as this is going down, we roll past a pedestrian walking with a slurpee, who looks up and says to us “Dude are you serious?” Crazy days.
Bringing down humanity…
We track the Bike Pirate through the intersection and follow him into a gas station parking lot that’s on the overpass with the highway below. The Bike Pirate pulls to edge of the parking lot, parks and gets out of his truck. He grabs the bike out of his truck and threatens to toss it over the edge of the parking lot down to the highway 50 feet below. I get out of the truck and tell him to give us the bike back because the police are going to be here any minute. He hesitates for a second and we grab the bike back from him while he’s yelling at us “Show me a bill of sale that proves this bike is yours.” To which we reply “The bike has Kurt’s name on it and it is a factory prototype.”
At this time I proceeded to snap a couple of photos of the bike pirate and suggest that he is a general bring down on humanity.
In the end we got the bike back and we have a nice story and photos to share. We have also included a detailed map by cartographer Colin Jones. Please be on the look out for bike pirates. They are lame. If there is some good to come out of this experience it would be that this is a clear example of how not to interpret our film concept for “Follow Me”.
Jonathan Schramm Anthill Filmaker