As all sports do over the course of time, they change a lot and off shoot into different categories. New people get involved and want to take it in a new direction and old faces fizzle away or change with the times. Mountain Biking is no exception to this rule, when asked to write an article on “Extreme Mountain Biking” I thought to myself that there were many was I could approach this, what I came up with was to do an article on Free ride Mountain Biking. How free ride came about is a matter of debate and can be traced back to certain people and trends, but this is no history lesson in the sport so if you really need to know the day is started you can argue with some armchair athletes on your own time. To give a strict definition of what Freed Ride is would also be somewhat of a contradiction, so all I am going to tell you is that it is just about riding your bike and pushing your limits in many different conditions.
I got into Mountain Biking after my interest in skateboarding went the way of the buffalo, friends grew older, moved away and I was left rolling around downtown Toronto on my skate board at night with out the old crew to skate with. So I bought my first bike and hit the trails with all the boys that had moved onto something new. Started with Cross Country and bored of it within a few rides, that was followed by buying my first downhill bike and the rest is history. All the guys I grew up with were into snowboarding and dirt bikes so all we wanted to do was go fast and hit jumps on our Mountain Bikes. We built jump parks in ravines, numerous stunts deep in the woods where no one would tear them down, and would hit up urban spots anywhere we could find them. There was nothing like driving around in the pick up truck at 2am in the morning, climbing on the roof of a subway station and jumping of the back onto a perfect steep grass landing. That feeling right there is what Freed Ride was all about, and when you are dropping 2 stores you can be sure it qualifies as extreme as well. I would also like to apologize for the world “extreme” I know how over used it has become.
After many injuries, broken bikes, brushes with the cops and more stories than I can shake a stick at the boys and I are still going strong. The best part about it is that the Free Ride part of Mountain Biking has really developed as a sport, major sponsors have arrived, pro athletes have made and continue to make their marks, and it has become a big business. Guys like Wade Simmons, Richie Schley, Darren Berrecloth, Paul Basagoita, and Robbie Bourdon have brought this sport to the brink. The things that these guys are capable of doing on a bike are second to none. All of these and more can be seen in the many DVD movies available through Freeride Entertainment. These movies give you a real glance into where the sport of mountain biking is going and cover some of the biggest competitions the sport has to offer. For those of you who are interested in a little history I would like to recommend a DVD called The Retrospective, Red Bull Rampage. This movie follows a competition that stared about 5 years ago and was simply a way to gather together the top Free Ride guys in one place and get them to show off their skills. The competition grew with each passing year and turned into one of mountain biking biggest events, with some great interviews and some of the best riding you will ever see this is a history lesson and an adrenalin rush all in one. The second movie that I would like to suggest, will give you a no holds barred window into the world of Free Ride, it is a movie that was also put out by Freeride Entertainment and it is called New World Disorder 6: Unchained. In my humble opinion this is the best Free Ride movie I have ever seen in my life. It captures all aspects of the sport and the filming and quality is top notch.
For those of you that are new to the sport and don’t want to roll around in the middle of the night or build their own jumps and stunts, first of all I don’t blame you and second you are in luck. Because right in our own backyard of Collingwood we have one of the best commercial riding spots in Ontario. I am talking about none other than Blue Mountain, boasting numerous trails from beginner to advanced, a Free Ride Progression park, with drops, jumps and a wall ride this is the place you want to be to get some time on your bike this summer. I have been riding at Blue ever since they opened it up to bikes and they have come a long way since the days of carting your bike up the hill in the back of a truck. There is full lift access now, lots of very cool people to ride with and the Village to have a few beers in when the day is done. The whole deal sounds like fun doesn’t it? Well that is because fun is what Mountain Biking is all about, time spent with your friends, pushing your limits, staying in shape, and living a healthy and active lifestyle. Yes there are down sides, like cost and injury and I can assure you there will be injuries, but in the end they are all worth the rush and experience of being involved in Free Ride Mountain Biking.
For more information on the sport and the events that take place please see the Freeride Entertainment website @ freeride-entertainment.com and also keep in touch with and join the online community of Drop Machine @ dropmachine.com. This sport is growing everyday and we all welcome you to come and join us on the trails, in the jump parks and the city streets that is the Free Ride community. Have a good summer.
Submitted by: Scott Moynihan.