Breaking Down Walls - the Search for Mountain Bike Culture in China

Mar 21, 2013
by Anthill Films  
Views: 34,967    Faves: 157    Comments: 36


China was once known as “the Kingdom of Bicycles”. But this is changing – especially in the cities. In Beijing for example, some four million bikes now compete for road space with more than two million cars. China’s exploding middle class has more money and they want an upgrade. But this has also created an interesting side effect… now that more people have more money and more cars, some of those people are choosing to use that money and those cars to escape the cities and go mountain biking. It is the infancy of what could someday become one of the largest mountain bike cultures in the world.

photo Darcy Turenne

Late last year, Shimano invited Thomas Vanderham, Matt Hunter, Andrew Shandro, Darcy Turenne, Endless Biking and us (the Anthill crew) to come to China and be part of a mountain bike festival at the country’s first lift-accessed bike park. It was a chance to see the beginnings of mountain biking in China first hand and none of us knew what to expect… here’s a look at what we found on that trip.

photo Darcy Turenne
photo Darcy Turenne

bigquotesIt was a very cool opportunity to travel to China and immerse ourselves in their culture. People came from across the country to attend a three-day MTB camp. I can honestly say I have never seen a more enthusiastic group of riders, the stoke level was at an all time high! - Andrew Shandro

photo Darcy Turenne
photo Darcy Turenne
photo Darcy Turenne

bigquotesI was really impressed by the stories of the riders who came out to ride with us. The event was near Beijing and many had driven for hours and hours to be there. A lot of the people were from Shanghai, over a thousand kilometers away! These riders are just as passionate and stoked as anybody. They are living it and they are getting their friends into it. Mountain biking in China is happening. - Matt Hunter

photo Darcy Turenne
photo Darcy Turenne

bigquotesIt is so humbling to see how far our films travel. One night we found ourselves driving though Beijing on a huge highway past nothing but high rises for an hour. It felt like a scene from the future; about as foreign from home as one can get. After getting out of the car and walking on foot through a maze of hallways it was a wild experience to come around a corner and see a huge Strength in Numbers banner and all these people lined up to see our film. - Darcy Wittenburg

photo Darcy Turenne

bigquotesIt was really cool to be able to work with such a large group of riders that had so much passion for the sport, but with so little experience. One of the biggest challenges was the language barrier. Our instructors did not speak Chinese and over 90% of the riders did not speak English. This ended up being a real highlight of the camp, as we all ended up speaking the universal language of the bike! - Darren Butler (Endless Biking)


photo Darcy Turenne
photo Darcy Turenne

bigquotesIt was amazing to see mountain biking in its infancy and to meet some of the people who were working hard to grow the sport in China. The level of excitement and enthusiasm of the Chinese riders we met is definitely unparalleled anywhere else in the world. And riding what was described as "the best trail in China" made their enthusiasm infectious. We had a lot of laughs, made a lot of friends, and ate a lot of interesting food - the perfect ingredients for a very memorable trip! - Darcy Turenne

photo Darcy Turenne
photo Darcy Turenne
photo Darcy Turenne

bigquotesThe riding scene in China may just be starting, but I met some of the most hardcore fans that I've encountered anywhere in the world. They have a true passion for the sport, which was very evident as they rode the new bike park for the first time. With more trails and events like this camp I expect the number of riders and will grow quickly. - Thomas Vanderham

photo Darcy Turenne
photo Darcy Turenne

Thank you to Shimano for making this trip possible! All photos courtesy: Darcy Turenne.

photo Darcy Turenne


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140 Comments

  • + 50
 Glad to see the photos and words about this camp finally released on Pinkbike. I was supposed to be one of the translators for these MTB legends but finally didn't make it. Really looking forward to seeing more and more of you western guys come here to share the joy of mountain biking. And for sure we will treat everyone with our Chinese hospitality. Mountain biking in China is making great progress. More and more DH and Enduro races are taking place in everywhere of this vast land. But we have to admit that we are just starting, and far behind the western. Communications like this would be appreciated by everybody! WELCOME TO CHINA!
  • + 4
 I'll come from Australia to ride that !

How many trails are there and is there a website for the hill ????
  • + 3
 Duolemeidi, now it's a ski park. Here's the location: 40.841866,115.385628.

Their English site: www.duolemeidiski.com/en/index.asp

I'm not sure how many trails there are, but will go there next month, then I'll find out. If you come, just contact me dude! It's really near to Beijing.
  • + 3
 I am so stoked to watch this scene grow
  • + 1
 It looks really cool! The trails are awesome, the people, the view... would love to ride there tup
  • + 0
 Some serious Malware on that site link Frown
  • + 1
 Good luck Bunnyboy Adrian...missed ya
  • + 1
 this video makes me happy to ride a bike. id go there for sure!!
  • + 2
 Waldon83 DO NOT COME!!, this park actually never got off the ground. I built 3/4 of this trail before we were shut down due to insufficient funds, this event was actually the first time the chairlift spun in the summer. Anthill did a great job on the film but there is only one trail
  • + 23
 Here's an idea!
Since RedBull likes to sponsor everything and come up with crazy events, they should create an enduro (maybe even DH?) event on the Great Wall of China.
Any thoughts on that? Maybe throw in some ladder drops, doubles, or tables! That'd be tight
  • + 1
 sounds great!
  • + 11
 Ha! Actually I've been thinking about have a DH event on the Great Wall for a long time. But that is really hard to achieve, for the stupid asses in the government may not allow it. lol
  • + 5
 the Great Wall will not closed any more.
  • + 0
 i always dreamed about get a all mountain and cycle on the great wall Big Grin would be awsome!!!
  • + 9
 and that was the last we heard of milanboy1986. Wink
  • + 1
 No dude, my plan is that I will go to negotiate with the government, and you will ride. ha!
  • + 3
 As much as I love mountain biking, riding bikes on historical landmarks is not a good idea. There is so much history there. Even thinking about it is a disservice to what has been called "the longest cemetery on Earth". Supposedly over a million people died building it. It wouldn't take much to damage the stone structure. There are not many structures that have withstood time for so long. Next you'll be saying we should mountain bike down the pyramids. =/
  • + 1
 yeah the government in china isnt known to be too submissive
  • + 11
 This is really cool to see. I lived in China for a few months and got back to the states in November. I lived in a "rural" town of about 1 million people and while there were plenty of mountain bikes everyone where I was at road them in the mountains, but on the pavement decked out in lycra. Even in the bigger cities I saw people everywhere on decent looking bikes just riding around town. I searched long and hard for a mountain biking scene but didn't find out anything about China's real mountain biking culture until I was back home. Great to see that trail riding is catching on there because so much of the country's terrain is just prime for this kind of riding.
  • + 5
 This is a good start. Mountain Bike will become more and more popular in china.we will do BETTER.
  • + 1
 SDKman, that was the exact same situation for me. The decked out hardtail mountain bike on the road was so strange to me. I actually was in Tai An, and hoping to find a way to ride Mt. Tai, but bikes are not allowed up the mountain. We actually ended up riding some trails that people were hiking on and were a ton of fun! There is a lot of potential for trails and most of the locals that saw us biking were so impressed to see bikes on the trails that they were extremely nice. Great trails if you are willing to explore a little!
  • + 1
 I know some guys in a smaller town named Xin Tai, which is near Tai An. They usually do some biking on mountains. The small town has their own cycling association. If you are interested, I'd love to help you to get contact with them.
  • + 13
 I swear to God, if someone says that it looks like a Trek Session...
  • + 20
 Looks like a session.
  • + 11
 I can't help it, but i gotta point out that the Trek session in the video actually looked just like a Trek session. Must have come out the same factory for sure.
  • + 8
 Do you even lift?
  • + 1
 Do you even generate lift?
  • + 9
 I saw and heard myself in the vid! We are from Shanghai and we drove 20 hours to get there, so stoked and wanna go again!
  • + 2
 Ha, this is the real Gao Laoshi!
  • + 2
 Yes, I am 高老湿, haha
  • + 2
 Huir from Chinabike.net here.
  • + 2
 f*ck 老湿 !!!!!
  • + 5
 As i was born in Russia and since i've begun riding, lots of events were made in different parts of world. And its cruely sad thats big companies only once made such events in Russia. Thats was Kona. That was golden era of mtb in RF. 2000-2005 years. Huge dirts like in NWD, shores and 4x tracks. But after accident everybody forgot about us. Where is cycle family?! I've been writing in kona, Santa Cruz but nobody answer. Why everybody ignores Russia? We've got the biggest mountains in the world! U call Utah freeride? We've got 5 000 meters Elbrus - more than hour of freeride down the mountain! In the end of a ride ur rotors are "red". Sochi, Crimea, Magnitigorsk, one of the most pecefull mountains in the world near Baikal lake. Maybe some of big companies will return to Russia and will see thats we're moving forward despite all the problems and obstacles?
  • + 1
 What accident?
  • + 5
 No matter where you ride and what you ride, it's fantastic to see such a global community! Glad to see China getting some coverage! I'm from the US, but I've been in Hong Kong for a few months. Hong Kong has a great riding scene!
  • + 2
 I would have to agree firefox90!! I was in Hong Kong for a month and rode some of the rad DH trails that were all built by enthusiasts! It's great to see that mainland China is getting more exposure to the sport!!!
  • + 4
 For someone who is a super devoted mountain biker as well as a Chinese and Sports Business major in college, this is so awesome to see because one day I want to be working in China helping to grow mountain biking! 我希望去中国骑山地自行车!
  • + 3
 nabs . Chinese is very good. 哥们!中文不错哟!
  • + 3
 谢谢!我学了中文五年了!Thanks man love to see mountain biking in China !
  • + 2
 谢谢你.
  • + 9
 more Darcy pls
  • + 2
 I've been to China twice and really enjoyed it. The Chinese people are very warm, friendly and hospitable, and seem to love contact with people from other cultures. It's a shame their government has kept them separated from the rest of the world for so long.I have a question for the Chinese users on this site -- are you freely allowed to be on Pinkbike, or do you have to connect through foreign IP addresses?
  • + 2
 Hi everyone,
I'm from Taiwan, one of those who rode with you in the video. 高老湿是高大哥嗎?
I posted your video clip onto Youtube. www.youtube.com/watch?v=hW7lVZoh58U
I've also posted an article about this trip on the following website.
2012北京多樂美地登山車訓練營
(www.mobile01.com/topicdetail.php?f=315&t=3112844&p=1)
  • + 1
 小恶魔??
  • + 1
 That trail looks pretty good actually so much room to build!
  • + 4
 Its good to see how MTB can bring people from different places together. Now, if we could just get those 29er guys to stop telling me how great their wheels are....
  • + 1
 so true hahaha
  • + 1
 hahaha! That's the funniest reply so far this year.
  • + 1
 The current situation of mountain biking in China is: people are rich enough to buy the best bikes and equipment, but there are no good bike parks for them to practice. So most people would discover trails on nearby mountains or hills around their local cities. Also, they are eager to have advanced and experienced teachers or professionals to teach them basic skills such as positions on bike, cornering or even rolling over roots.

Recently there are two big bike parks open in North China, including the one of this camp took place. This is a good sign. Hope more and more experienced riders could come to have fun with us!
  • + 2
 Heh, u've got two bikeparks. We've got rich people, montains BUT NO BIKE PARKS. In Whole Russia, note the biggest country in the world (17 098 246 km^2), there is no bike parks. Everything is built by ourselves. Thats really bad...
  • + 1
 That's true. But we are the third largest country in area, and the first largest country in population... Our population are 13 times as big as yours, plus we don't have that much area of frozen land. So, generally, we are more pathetic than you. LOL. But we feel lucky that this sport is attracting more and more people's attention. That's a good thing.
  • + 1
 I will build trail for housing and good pay.
  • + 1
 You want to see mountain biking in its infancy? Come to Vietnam! me and my buddies are riding on trails that have never been mountain biked on. check out our vids on my profile. it dosn't do it justice but at least it is something.
  • + 1
 I just checked it. You seem to have the holy grail of dirt when it comes to trail building. Wink
  • + 2
 WOW. Welcome to china.................I want to take you to taste Chinese food. I want to take you to see the beauty of China. Warmly welcome you to visit China.--------------------The hospitality of the Chinese people.
  • + 2
 The Chinese were super hospitable while I was there too!
  • + 1
 Good job,man! As a rider in Gobi Desert,I have a chance to know Claw and the way he rode has changed me.Hope they can be back,so I can ride with them.And I hope U guys can go to here in this year.The Gobi Desert looks like Utah,I know U will like it.Please!
  • + 1
 ALL RIDERS IN CHINA, UNITE! haha

全中国的车手们,联合起来!
  • + 1
 Haha,when U go to Gobi Desert U will know what the real mountain biking it is.There are so many trails never been ridden before.I hope the Anthill Films can be here make another Mountain Biking Film to tell the people what the MTB riders can do in China.
  • + 1
 Afternoon All.
Is there a website with links to trail maps? I'm currently on Zhoushan Island, Zhejiang. Spent some time tabbing about but not a lot onoffer here and I seem to be a bit of an oddity.

Thanks for any info available.
  • + 0
 Matt Hunter kinda sounds a little dumb in this , he said he came to China an expected to see a big city
Dude it's one of the biggest land masses in the world and your surprised to see big forests and such

?????????????
  • + 1
 good to see this on pinkbike, yes, riders in china all share the passion and enthusiasm as any other riders in the world for mountain biking, they just need a place and some nice trails to ride and learn.
  • + 1
 So where was this trail? Was it in Hebei? Duolemeidi, Wanlong or somewhere?

Anyhow been living in China 10 years, been riding insane footpaths, never seen lift access or a berm before though!
  • + 1
 Yes you're right. Zhangjiakou, Duolemeidi. 张家口 多乐美地。
  • + 1
 Got any pricing ideas? Same as skiing or less? 500 yuan for 2 days would be fair with your own equipment?
  • + 1
 I think 500 will be enough. Don't know about their pricing in 2013. But usually the lift is not open. I'm considering going there next month with some friends and will find out that when we get there. I heard that they will have some new trails built this spring, looking forward to it!
  • + 2
 This is really cool! And i'm really stoked to see that mtn biking is becoming a main stream sport in places other than north america....slowly buy its getin there.
  • + 1
 Can anyone who lives in China tell me where to ride. All the dedicated websites seem to be in Chinese only making it hard for me to find trails. I live in Haikou but happy to travel at weekends etc. Thanks!
  • + 1
 DONT BE FOOLISH CHINA IS NO FREE COUNTRY NO GOOGLE NO FREEDOM !!!! DONT BUY STUFF FROM CHINA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!BE FREE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 china owns two thirds of united states heheh
  • + 1
 Are there any downhil tracks or plans to create ones near Guangzhou does any know?

May be working out there for 6 months next year so be good to get some biking in.
  • + 3
 Whatever that crazy sprinkled gelatin stuff is, I want some.
  • + 1
 I spent some time in southern Qinghai Province out in the Kunlun mountains a few years ago, and the whole time I was there I was wishing I had my bike!
  • + 1
 I know that kind of feeling.Not good at all...
  • + 2
 Rooster head used to be the most favourite part on a rooster to eat in my childhood! haha!
  • + 1
 I am really happy to see these photos on pinkbike. It is the most biggest mountain bike camp I have ever taken part in. I wish it will be hold in China every summer.
  • + 1
 Hi, Xiaoyan~ Ricki here~
  • + 1
 i agree
  • + 2
 "...we don't have the same skills, but the we sure (have) the same heart."

Great line... great line.
  • + 1
 I think what @gaoyiyang said was "we share the same heart"?
  • + 1
 We share the same heart, the passion for biking!
  • + 2
 THAT'S MY TRAIL!!! yee hoo great to see this footage finally come out. Hope to see you guys again next year,
  • + 1
 Awesome trail, Goyglas123! Saw and heard myself in the vid, so stocked! We are from Shanghai and we drove 20 hours to RIDE! Matt Hunter mentioned it, proud of it!
  • + 1
 It's really nice to see me in the pics.
Elite Class Translator / Party Animal ---- Dr.Gao
  • + 1
 Gao laoshi?
  • + 1
 叫兽
  • + 1
 Darcy Turrene. OMFG, makes me feel all romanced in my pants. Could she be any more delicious.
  • + 1
 great article. imagine if we could just get everybody on mtbikes...! is that a line against the great wall?!
  • + 1
 no free bike business in china NO FREE TIBET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TIBET MUST BE FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 I know that a few of local guys are going to Turpan for freeriding in a few days.
  • + 2
 This made my shitty day a lot better. Good night.
  • + 1
 And I want to say, this is the first time ever to see so many national flag of China in one post...
  • + 1
 Nice to meet u on PB Ricki hahaha.....
  • + 1
 Same here! haha!
  • + 1
 "We don't have the same skills,But we share the same heart."
Amazing peoples.
  • + 1
 FREE TYBET !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 Awesome footage, really enjoyed the short clip, would love to see a longer version..
  • + 1
 does anybody knows about some mtb trails in sichuan province? are there some in xiling ski resort?
  • + 1
 Hello i´m thinking of bring a crew to both China and Russia for some moviemaking..
  • + 2
 The expression of the cock head is so submissive.
  • + 1
 In China, the rooster head is to the elders or guests to eat. (a person). And some people said, the man ate, Genital powerful............ Ha-ha.
  • + 1
 I would totally move to China for a few years worth of trail building, riding, and operational management experience.
  • + 1
 you ever been here bro? operational management experience? haha
  • + 1
 FREE TYBET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 FREE TYBET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 tybet must be freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee '
  • + 1
 best chinese berm of all time
  • + 1
 lol breaking down walls.....good one hahahah
  • + 1
 The capital of California has no bike park ......
  • + 1
 It is nice to see a country like China opening their eyes to mt. Biking
  • + 1
 it's nice to see Americans opening eyes to the rest of world, especially to the new power like China..
  • + 1
 Im diggin the vibes from this article! That food looks delicious!
  • + 1
 Love these type of trips!
  • + 1
 How awesome!!!! Beautiful scenery too! Smile
  • + 1
 哦哟,册那,嗲色特了!
  • + 1
 Shandro not needing a fullface, to cool for school.
  • + 1
 Nice pics! Good job Darcy Wink
  • + 1
 Really cool! It's nice to see growth in the sport.
  • + 1
 On my way to China right now!!
  • + 1
 dang,id,bike,with,her,anyday
  • + 1
 where the trails 2 D: jjajaja
  • + 1
 what is this bike park called?
  • + 1
 Duolemeidi, now it's a ski park. Here's the location: 40.841866,115.385628.

Their English site: www.duolemeidiski.com/en/index.asp
  • + 1
 Duolemeidi - does that translate to "lots of pretty land"?
  • + 2
 Yep. But I think a more exact translation would be "Pretty land with lots of fun!"
  • + 1
 then it would be Duolemeidihouwan
  • + 1
 Haha, you mean "haowan"? Actually, "Duole" (多乐 in Chinese) has the meaning of "lots of fun". 乐 (le) means happy or fun. 多 (duo) means "many, lots of".
  • + 1
 I'll bring my own food
  • + 1
 very cool to see!
  • + 1
 really happy
  • + 1
 That's rad!
  • + 1
 those berms look prime!
  • + 1
 STOP OCUPATION OF TYBET
  • + 1
 FREE TYBET
  • + 1
 FREE TYBET
  • + 1
 FREE TYBET
  • + 1
 no politics... you bitching twat..
  • + 0
 In Dalian there is also a lift-access mountain biking park.
  • + 1
 Oh, the good times....
  • + 1
 ^_^

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