Ask almost any mountain biker what they enjoy the most about the sport and they'll likely give you the same answer: riding with friends. The short-of-breath chats on the climbs, the hoots and hollers of a joyous descent, cracking a beer and toasting to a good ride while kicking back on the tailgate. These are the moments that define us as mountain bikers, when we enjoy the connection to each other as well as the environment around us. They're also the moments we sought to capture in the Community segment of Return to Earth.
The backbone of mountain biking culture is the community behind it. Born out of gatherings at ragtag local races and eventually morphing into veritable clubs and organizations that have real lobbying power, these communities have connected people through their shared values since the nascent of mountain biking itself.
For the fourth episode of In the Blink, the Anthill Films crew traveled to Oregon, Colorado, British Columbia, Switzerland and the UK in search of what makes mountain bike communities tick. We asked a few of the crew members their thoughts on the role communities play in the sport.
On the growth of the global MTB community…
“As mountain biking grows and more people get into the sport it’s only going to mean more trail advocacy, more trail building and more areas that will get opened up to mountain biking. If you look back 20 or 30 years… There are way more mountain bikers than there used to be and there’s also way more places to ride. More mountain bikers is ultimately a good thing. ” —Darcy Wittenburg, Director
On the personal connections…
“It’s so much more than the buzz of adrenaline. Mountain bikers are pretty social and like to discover the sport together. The fact we can get away, get on a trail and move through the landscape with some fresh air… That’s what connects us. Nobody is ever going to say ‘No, you can’t come ride with us.’ You see groups of two merge with groups of three and all of a sudden you’re an eight-pack ripping down the trail together. ” — Sterling Lorence, Photographer
On the community in geographic locales...
“There are places like Crested Butte where biking is ingrained in the community. You see a bike in every person’s yard and they all ride. There are only a few places around the world where the community of biking is so strong.
Now you’re starting to see local governments getting behind the sport. They’re seeing the benefits to having people come and ride in their town and are employing people to build signature trails that will attract more riders. ” —Darren McCullough, Director and Lead Editor
“You have all these enthusiastic mountain bikers that choose to travel or live in Lenzerheide, it’s probably the most representative of a group of people that share the same pastime. That same passion goes all the way up the ranks of the people who organize and plan the resorts. ” —Colin Jones, Director and Cinematographer
In the Blink is a six-part web series that dives behind the scenes of our upcoming feature film Return to Earth. Stay tuned for Episode 5: "Party in the Woods” when we gather the athletes in Hawaii for an off-the-grid camp trip.
Watch Episode 1 "Fall Colours" with Thomas Vanderham and Ryan Howard.
Watch Episode 2 “Creativity” with Brett Rheeder
Watch Episode 3 “Youth” with Jackson Goldstone and friends
Return to Earth. Summer 2019.
Riders: Brett Rheeder, Ryan Howard, Casey Brown, Brandon Semenuk, Thomas Vanderham, Matt Hunter Jackson Goldstone, Jakob Jewett, Dane Jewett, Tahnee Seagrave, Kaos Seagrave, Kade Edwards, Joey Schusler, Thomas Genon, Emil Johansson, Reed Boggs, Carson Storch.
A new film by Anthill Films with art direction and creative by Good Fortune Collective.