Video: Mountain Bike Out of the Box Iran

Jun 8, 2014
by Gregor Mahringer  
Views: 16,150    Faves: 58    Comments: 10


Iran. For most of us this country stands for the axis of evil, religious fundamentalists and the fear of the nuclear program. But apropos of nothing in this often misjudged country there is much more. For example a fast developing gravity mountain bike scene that is worth discovering.

It all began two years ago, when I was employed to develop an extreme sport web series. My idea was to go beyond the mainstream and give an insight into the off the wall mountain bike scene of the Asian continent. Unfortunately the project ended up in the drawer. Nevertheless I already got in contact with some very passionate riders and the Iranian guys were the most ambitious ones. They sent me stunning pics from them flying in front of the Tehran skyline or flipping into a crystal-clear mountain lake - all of that in the middle of Iran!

experience your own MTB adventures in Iran otbtours.de

A friend of mine, who is a cameraman was also fascinated and one evening after a few beers we just booked flights. Five weeks later, after a little Visa bickering we arrived in Tehran. Tehran is a fascinating city – 15 million people live there and contrary to what we were expecting, the city was surprisingly neat and tidy. But certainly there is the air pollution, which all Asian mega-cities suffer from. The car is status symbol number one and you barely see bikes in the heavy traffic. Hossein Zanjanian – Iran’s best downhill rider is an exception. He rides every free minute and due to his home and workplace in the south of Tehran he has to improvise.

experience your own MTB adventures in Iran otbtours.de

“During the week there’s no possibility for him to get out of the city.” Sina, one of Hosseins best friends, told us. “But fortunately in the north of Tehran the big mountains are touching the city. So after work he’s grabbing hold of car after car to get there." The snow covered summits of the Alborz mountain range in the north of Theran are breathtaking: The mighty Tochal rises up to 3,964 meters.

experience your own MTB adventures in Iran otbtours.de

The rest of the evening we enjoyed the fresh air and the breathtaking sunset view over the mega-city and saw firsthand that Hossein is not just a phenomenal urban rider, but also an incredibly fast downhill rider.

experience your own MTB adventures in Iran otbtours.de

That talent is reflected in the UCI world ranking where Hossein is currently holding position 96 of 796 riders! His good performance in Iranian national downhill championships since age 16 and international races; Asian Championships Lebanon 2012 4th place, and China 2013 10th place attracted the attention of sponsors and in 2013 the Iranian Specialized importer supplied him with a Demo II and this year he’s riding for Giant. Coming from a relatively poor background (making 60 bucks a month in his father’s repair shop) it was the only possibility for him to get his hands on a good Downhill bike.

experience your own MTB adventures in Iran otbtours.de

High prices for good bikes and parts are the main problem for Iranian riders. Due to the sanctions, imports are so expensive that good bike parts are not affordable for most, considering the average monthly income is $270. But they are masters in improvising and know how to have fun on the trails nevertheless.

experience your own MTB adventures in Iran otbtours.de

The day ends in one of the many kebab restaurants with great food and non-alcoholic beer. There’s a wide flavour variety of this drink – some of them even advertise with German brewing technology. But all of them taste like lemonade. Drinking real alcohol is a serious crime in Iran. The penalty is up to 80 lashes. When they catch you more than twice there can also stand death penalty. But Mountain bikers in Iran and also tourists don’t have to fear the revolutionary guards or the religious police. If anything the mullah regime likes it when young people do sports – then they are away from drugs and dangerous ideas. This is the reason why we found one of the most modern skate parks we have ever seen in the middle of Tehran! The government owned bank sponsored it and every night it is crowded with skaters, roller-skaters and bmx riders. We have even seen a few girls with roller-skates. But the “extreme sports” like skateboarding, bmx and downhill riding are still male dominated sports.

experience your own MTB adventures in Iran otbtours.de

The next day Hossein and his friends picked us up at 06:00 am for Kale Pache – a traditional Iranian breakfast. A few minutes later we sat in front of well-cooked parts of the sheep head – including the brain and the jelly legs all sprinkled with a dash of cinnamon. We managed the greasy brain and the tender tongue but we couldn't stand the legs. The dish did the job it’s famous for quite well: We didn’t get hungry for the rest of the day.

experience your own MTB adventures in Iran otbtours.de

We had the perfect start to an amazing road trip, to some of the best mountain bike locations in northern Iran. During this trip, we delved even deeper into the Iranian mountain bike scene, shredded stunning trails, met incredible people and witnessed a national downhill race through a rain dripping, misty green jungle. But we can't do justice to those stories, by trying to include them in this article.

experience your own MTB adventures in Iran otbtours.de

Our adventures, unexpected experiences and amazing mountain bike action captured on film is around 700 GB of well-organized footage waiting to be edited, to become a new kind of mountain bike film combining the best elements from documentary and bikeporn: “Mountain Bike out of the Box IRAN”. And that’s where we need your help!

We’re trying to fund the post production cost via crowd funding on Kickstarter: by supporting creative and independent projects you are offered tangible rewards and special experiences in exchange for your donation. It’s really fast and easy to make your pledge - you only need a credit card. There’s no risk at all - if we can't reach our goal all the pledges will be automatically refunded. You can support this film and be a part of our project starting from only 1,23 € (1£ or 1,67 $)! Please consider it, choose a reward, and help this extraordinary film become a reality!

Click this link for more information and to support a new kind of mountain bike film (the campaign is running only until the 19th of June!

Mountain Bike out of the Box IRAN
.
Pledge Now



130 Comments

  • + 40
 No girls and no beer?

I think those are requirements for mountain biking (especially the beer).
  • + 3
 Beer is the second greatest invention from the wheel. Razz
  • + 15
 they are great improvisers - you wont miss anything over there
  • + 10
 I think I will miss women having the same freedoms as men. I guess I can go a little while without beer. Doesn't matter anyway. My passport says USA on it, so I would likely be arrested as a spy...
  • + 8
 There is no alcohol in Iran:
Iran is an Islamic republic and Islam condemns alcohol. (Seriously guys, everyone knows it)
That said, you could drink alcohol-free beer, but you might as well drink dog piss
  • + 2
 If I was in Iran with a mountain bike I would pedal that shit strait to the border... lots of respect for the rider though. No one wants to leave their home.
  • - 6
flag viatch (Jun 8, 2014 at 17:15) (Below Threshold)
 no disrespect but id be weary about land mines, bikes arnt worth getting blown up for..
  • + 10
 @ GiraffelnPurple Yeah but which size wheel?
  • - 8
flag Reinforcer (Jun 8, 2014 at 19:57) (Below Threshold)
 Islamic bicycle... You won't get my money, Iran!
  • + 0
 Come to Iran and ull see the finest woman u can ever imagine (cant promise good beer though Big Grin )
  • + 32
 For Those who said The Iranian Gov Is Pure Evil...........

remember Every Gov Is Pure Evil...............In fact in my opinion Government is Evil....

And for those who said The iranian Scientists would maybe make some think that might be harmfull for us............
The fact is that the US Scientists have been doing and acting so throught out the history whole over the globe...............
At least we havnt done anything harmful for real....................

But the real fact here is that :

We dont believe in politics..................We believe in Bikes...................

Governments + Politics are to control the mainstream.................We are not mainstream we are bikers............................

we cant be controlled by Gov.s and politics....................

We Are all United whole over the globe....................we are bikers.............................And politics isnt any force to motivate us.................instead Gravity & adrenaline Does.........................
  • + 2
 While I would agree with your sentiments, unfortunately it is politics and culture that can keep us from riding where and with who we want. Both sides are to blame, but its the people like us that must convince each other that we are all human. We may have different opinions and different cultures, but instead of fighting over our differences we should enjoy our shared hobbies together. Until the cultures and the politics are resolved, that won't happen.
  • + 1
 Pure evil? I think it might be better to look at governments as the culmination of our societal progress and failures. Often inneficient, but still the most powerful gauge of our social evolution as a species. As for the whole f*ck politics, I'm with you on that my man. f*ck politics, its all about bikes, science, food and pussy!
  • + 17
 Free trade is the key to eradicating human suffering and is the only path for humanity to progress. This is a clear example of what happens when economic freedom is restricted. How much human talent (and not just mountain biking) is being wasted because of trade barriers and governments? What if the next Einstein or Mozart is on the wrong side of that border?
  • + 8
 Let's hope it's not the next Einstein or we may be getting real toasty here in North America Smile
  • + 2
 The Iranian Government is pure evil, no doubt. However people in general are not evil. Iranians are people, with all the empathy and humanity that the rest of us have. The people of Iran are as good as any people anywhere. If you were conscripted into our military and Obama ordered you to push the nuke button, would you? Any decent person would refuse such an order. Your comment is not only ignorant it is offensive.
  • + 18
 I don't think Dusts comment is aimed at the people of Iran. If an Iranian scientist invented a technology that could be used against us it is the Iranian government that would use it, not the citizens.

The middle east was the center of the science and math world for hundreds of years while Europe was in the "dark ages", and then the crushing grip of theocracy pretty much put a stop to progress. (Just as the Catholic church tried to stop Newton, Galileo, Copernicus, etc.)
  • + 38
 When is the last time Iran started a war? The US wants to change the Iranian government, not because they don't have religious freedom, but because they will not bow to the will of the US. Too bad the US is imposing harsh sanctions on Iran that mostly just hurt normal people trying to go about their everyday lives.

Props to the dedication of those mtber's in Iran.
  • + 1
 WestEast - Iran is a Nation-State first and is addressed as such within Diplomatic Effort(s). Categorical statements of US Sanctions have lately been superceded by Iranian Subsidies in regards to Economics.
Iran has the same want and the same need for a peaceful Country as anyone else.
It ain't easy.
  • - 5
flag amirazemi (Jun 8, 2014 at 17:39) (Below Threshold)
 @dustfarter hahahahahhaahhaha that was a good one lol
  • + 3
 @hamncheez do you really believe that free trade is the key for humanity to progress? Are you using the United States as an example? And are you unaware of the blatant disregard for human rights in free trade, ESPECIALLY at the hands of US-based corporations. Trade barriers and over-intrusive governments are a problem, no doubt, but so is free trade. Everything has its consequences.
  • - 4
flag thrasher2 (Jun 8, 2014 at 19:28) (Below Threshold)
 Free trade of ideas is the key to progress. That doesn't seem to exist in Iran.
  • - 6
flag freeride-forever (Jun 8, 2014 at 21:58) (Below Threshold)
 Thank you thrasher. GLORY BE TO ALLAH!!!!!! KILL THE INFIDEL!!!!! ALALALALALALALA!!!!!!!!!!!

Short answer, religion/power hunger is the single biggest barrier to progress. Either that or it's damn near neck & neck with corporate greed.

Good on these Iranians. Not just Iran, but the world, needs more dudes like this. Hopefully someday girls will be allowed to ride too.
  • + 8
 there is a difference between islam and the government filled with interpreters and id just like to ppoint that out. it is a peaceful religion and the west has demonized the f*ck out of it by only showing everyone the radicals. wonder what would happen to the views of christianity if we only showed christians on tv or the news that shot up schools/malls/whatever. this is what theve done to islam.

short answer, extremeism and power hunger is the *TWO* barriers to success.

and yes, f*ckfaces are in power there. islam is not in power. extremeism is in power. extremeism != islam
  • + 16
 Great article and it's inspiring to see mountain biking is breaking down cultural barriers the world over,

but as for some of the comments, it's a shame there is so much ignorance in the world...

look up Operation Ajax

before you leap to conclusions about the evils of Iran, ask yourself who is telling you that;

Then ask why... the CIA and MI6 organized a coup to remove the democratically elected government in the 1950s and continue to fund and arm opposition movements to ensure sufficient power over the oil market.

Guess it's a lot easier to justify that kind of activity when you have the general public believing that there is evil bogeymen.

Shame the official story falls apart when you take into account the last time Iran invaded another country...

Compare that with the last time your own country (wherever that may be) invaded another country (and check the invaded countries status in the oil market, or indeed position on a map relevant to Iran (ever played Risk?))
  • + 3
 @jivehoneyjive, very informative bro thnx a lot! never knew that. Just another fact about f*cked up world we are living in.
  • + 3
 jivehoneyjive, I was wondering how long the US, GB propaganda bollocks was going to go on for. Glad that someone has some sense here.
  • + 3
 /\ good comments. Too many people in the USA just lap up the shit their government feeds them about "evil" nations. Always the ones with oil and gas funny that huh. Yet how many wars has Iran started lately ?? The West topples democratic governments and helps dictators all the time I believe they support military rule in Egypt over democracy.
  • + 1
 Everything any government or the media says about America is 100% true though*.
(*note sarcasm)

Recently our media coverage has been more about sensationalism and making money than real current events, but at least it isn't state run, heavily censored, propaganda.
  • + 1
 Funny how US media and politicians call Iranian government evil, while their own country has it stated in law that Corporations are People and Money = Free speech - unfortunately some of those corporations are oil companies, military contractors and weapons manufactures and some of that free speech money goes to the politicians and news stations they also have shares in - next thing we know, there are some shepherds being bombed in the desert in a far away land.

Iranian govt may be full of religious freaks but I wouldn't take anything I see on the news at the face value, do your own research folks, it's the only way we will have a better, safer world where people can ride bikes instead of droning one another.
  • + 1
 @freeriderforever: girls are allowed to ride..and there are a hand full of them...but for sure its realy hard for them to be accepted, they are realy accepted by the riders there, (for sure, they love Girls) but for girls in the suppressed soceity it is hard to have the claim to be free...
When we were there we´d love to have them in front of the Camera...but they had no time...-.really..
And the most people there, are the friendliest people i ever met...because they are fare away of kapitalism, tourism, stupid religion (normal Humans)..And out of the cities in the desserts, away from religion Police,they celebrate real Freeness...i guess more than we often could do....They know what its about in life: Friendship!
  • + 3
 thrasher2 (8 hours ago)
"...... but at least it isn't state run, heavily censored, propaganda."

You are deluded. You get shown the "news" exactly the way the same people that are in control of your "elected" leaders want you to see. Thinking to the contrary is a fools choosing.

Most of what ignorant North Americans will say about Iranians can just as easily be said about the US Gov't and many of it's citizens. Radical religious nuts and greed driven leaders hiding behind the veil of miss information they feed the dumb via their wealthy owners.
Let the rain of minus' begin! Smile
  • + 3
 yes, wingnut, but when they say it about the americans its actually true. the worst part about it is the americans pride themselves on their freedoms and walk around like a chicken shitting on people and countries that try to tell them other wise
  • + 1
 For the truth of what's been occurring, watch this:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=HP7L8bw5QF4
  • + 1
 I also said: "Recently our media coverage has been more about sensationalism and making money than real current events,"

Does that sound like I trust the news?
You Canadians (and most European nations) are included in the "West" along with us Americans by the way.
  • + 11
 This is plain AWESOME. I love culture and I love riding, but what I love the most about this project is how it's using the sport of riding to break down cultural barriers. MUCH LOVE AND PROPS to these guys!
  • + 11
 Iranians are the best people you can make friends with them
  • + 1
 but modesty is not our strong suite * apparently
  • + 8
 I would love to go to Iran and ride with these guys. Would be sweet to take a whole bunch of gear and spare parts and after two weeks just go home with my suitcase. That would be a great way to support these riders.
  • + 2
 @ a-r-c,Look at the Kickstarter pledges Wink
  • + 7
 I cycled across Iran and can promise you the people are among the friendliest and most hospitable in the world, the offers of tea, food and accommodation every day were humbling. though i remember a traditional breakfast along the lines of milk, honey and bread??? oh and for dinner you really should try a dish called 'Dizi' its delicious. Other highlights would be the Imam Reza in Mashad.
Thanks to all those that made my month in Iran so incredible.
Peace
  • + 10
 hey guys! You did it great. I love the that part, KALE PACHE Big Grin
  • + 5
 thank you! I still can remember the mix of cinnamon with brain on my tongue ;-)
  • + 1
 Just read an Article about Hossein Zanjanian in the latest Freeride Magazine a few weeks ago - has this something to do with it? Because there's also the Picture where he Manuals down the "Jet-thing" lol Good interview with him in this Freeride Mag, also really nice Video here! Smile
  • + 1
 Yep, this was also from us..On the last side of this article (s. 68 ) in the corner there is also the Kickstarter link Wink ...thanks for the interest" Uprising Productions"
  • + 1
 and here's another one: thank you! here's another article: dirt.mpora.de/featured/alles-andere-als-mainstream-biken-im-iran
  • + 4
 Great article and it's inspiring to see mountain biking is breaking down cultural barriers the world over,

but as for some of the comments, it's a shame there is so much ignorance in the world...

look up Operation Ajax

before you leap to conclusions about the evils of Iran, ask yourself who is telling you that;

Then ask why... the CIA and MI6 organized a coup to remove the democratically elected government in the 1950s and continue to fund and arm opposition movements to ensure sufficient power over the oil market.

Guess it's a lot easier to justify that kind of activity when you have the general public believing that there is evil bogeymen.

Shame the official story falls apart when you take into account the last time Iran invaded another country...

Compare that with the last time your own country (wherever that may be) invaded another country (and check the invaded countries status in the oil market, or indeed position on a map relevant to Iran (ever played Risk?))
  • + 7
 bro, bro, bro, when will mercedes benz make a downhill bicycle?
  • + 8
 they should continue making cars for old people ;-)
  • + 3
 because an AMG SLS black ed. is for old people for sure. youre german too, what next not liking beer?
  • + 2
 who can afford an sls except old people? besides your bike won't fit in.
  • + 1
 skis dont fit in a lambo but Jon Olson the Swedish skier got a thule rack and custom aero box for his...things can be done with money. Id LOVE to mob to whistler in an SLS with no traffic. oh my lawdyyy that would be a dream
  • + 4
 Sweet! I've always had an urge to visit Iran having spoken to a friend who was there many decades ago. Great people and great terrain from what I heard! Good luck with your kickstarter!
  • + 3
 This is really cool. I'm an American but my parents came to the USA from Iran in the late 70's just as the Shah fell, so I guess I'm an Iranian-American... whatever that means.

DH and 4X racing treated me well and I was lucky enough to compete on the world cup and raced for the USA at world champs for multiple years. But there was always a part of me that thought there has to be some fast guys living in Iran who could race on the world cup given the right support. I went to Iran in 2006 and accidentally stumbled on a DH race with gondola lift access, it was one of the coolest things I ever saw cause it was so unexpected. The race was more legit than some of the regional races I grew up racing. High five to these guys for trying to show the world that it's not all doom and gloom over there in Iran. Rad country with some hidden talent for sure.

BTW, for anyone thinking about visiting Iran... definitely go. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. Believe it or not most of the people getting hassled are guys like me who are dual citizens (Iranian/American) and hold two passports. American, European, Canadian, etc citizens who have no Iranian lineage are at extremely low risk.
  • + 1
 So true! Thanks! High five back...
  • + 3
 Although our Jewish-run state media condemns you on a near daily basis, we always see through their lies. You will always be our allies and I will stand with you, whether you are Zoroastrian or Muslim, Persian or Arab.
  • + 6
 Good to see something different. Let MTB bring people together!!!!
  • + 6
 i bet lycra is banned in Iran
  • + 1
 No its not
  • + 1
 The mountain bike action documentary Mountain Bike Out of The Box - IRAN is finally available for everyone as DVD, download or 48h rental +++ www.reelhouse.org/uprising/mountain-bike-out-of-the-box-iran214 +++ Get your unique insight in this widely unknown country! And now you can also experience MTB adventures in Iran on your own. Check it out: www.otbtours.de. Thanks all four your support and interest!
  • + 2
 I'm excited to see these videos. With everything in the media being so convoluted, I'm interested to see these riders' takes on mountain biking and their views on the state of their country.
  • + 1
 I thought it was interesting that I saw this, that there's pockets starting to pop up in Iran of all places for mountain biking, I suppose it shouldn't really come as a surprise with all their mountains, but it does, what I find to be truly sad, is that the top comments are all trashing Iran and only talking about the politics and religion of the country, yes we all know this, but come on, as a sport we have no political or religious affiliation so drop those political/religious comments and just appreciate that a place like Iran, the sport is starting to pop up to spite the heavy censorship of their Internet there.

If these guys got some sick tracks with chair lift or shuttle service, as an atheist and someone who doesn't support the practices that Islam uses, I'll smash out runs all day long with these guys.
  • + 1
 Look at the Kickstarter pledges..(the last) Wink
  • + 1
 People is people regardless of asshat governments (and there are more than a few of those around......no names, no pack drill)
Great to see, well done for stepping out of your comfort zone. I wonder if there's any MTB in North Korea?
Is Hossein permitted to compete in the west? The middle east is a biiig market, an Iranian competitor could open some eyes and perhaps expand the sport.
  • + 2
 Hossein just need a big deposit to allow him to leave the country..for him impossible...a big company had to do it .
Funny, we already thought anyhow about North Korea for: Montain Bike out of the Box: Part two...
  • + 2
 yeah you're right a big company like giant or an institution like a big bike federation could vouch for him - we're working on that ;-).
north korea is indeed very interesting but you have to bootlick kim jung un first - and I don't think I could stand that. but there're alreardy good locations planed for part II.
  • + 2
 Good luck uprising. Loving your work.
Always wanted to see some stuff from Russia, and I read an absolutely fantastic article about some snowboarders going to Afghanistan.
It seems thay made a film about it; www.whitesilkroad.com/info.html
  • + 2
 thanks for the link! what a great scenery!!!
  • + 1
 Wouldn't really call having to bow in front Kim Il Sung's statue 'bootlicking', but whatever. It would make a really interesting documentary, especially if you made sure your own personal views of the politics taint it and kept it about the biking.
  • + 3
 Schöne Aufnahmen aus meiner Heimat...Finde ich ganz cool gemacht!

vg
medi
  • + 0
 Aren't the people who filmed it the same people doing the post-production ? also, posting here a bank account number would be nice for folks who want to donate. cheers and best of luck !
  • + 1
 you can donate via Kickstarter very easy with your credit card. Just click the link at the end of the story. Unfortunately credit card is the only way.
  • + 1
 Sweet, I want to watch a video where people are getting pulled by a car and jumping over a fire. This mountain bike video looks revolutionary.
  • + 3
 My sister number one DHer in Kazakhstan!
  • + 2
 i need to get my bike and get my A55 back to iran. the mountains here in the netherlands suck. ohh wait we dont have them Big Grin
  • + 6
 BC buddy.
  • + 4
 Can I Enduro in Iran?
  • + 1
 Of course, why not?!
  • + 1
 great for enduro! I will organize enduro-bike trips to Iran fom next year on: www.otbtours.de
  • + 3
 HOLY DANG THAT STOPPIE
  • + 2
 15 billion people live in tehran? optimistic.
  • + 0
 rather pesimistic - but already edited, thanks.
  • - 1
 it was all jokes, awesome article, video and people Smile
  • + 2
 Looks wild! Shuttling to the trails along a freeway! Can't wait to see...
  • + 1
 Hell yeah! Persian riders! But with all of the delicious Persian food, why would you eat kale pache? Yuck.
  • + 2
 Woooooo Like........Hosein Zanjaniyan
  • + 1
 thanks thanks thanks thanks...
& very very very niceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
  • + 2
 feeling hungry and don't know why...
  • + 2
 mmm kabobs
  • + 1
 I wonder if the pledge is even allowed with the sanctions.
  • + 1
 I just Read that article in freeride Magazine,great
  • + 1
 This actually looks so sick
  • + 1
 15 million, not billion bud
  • + 4
 thanks for the hint!
  • + 1
 75 Million in hole Iran...(Wikipedia)
  • + 1
 choose life ride bikes the rest will follow
  • + 1
 Looks very fresh and promising. Can't wait to see the whole thing Wink
  • - 1
 islam sucks. Wherever it is suffering, pain, violence and misery follows. KEEP RIDING. RESEPCT
  • - 1
 What the shit is on that plate? And why the hell would you eat that?
  • + 4
 Lol you're a Brit, yo cant say shit!
  • + 1
 You*
  • + 0
 I can say shit, see I just did!
  • + 1
 You can also cook shit.
  • + 1
 Is that you call 'Meat loaf' in the states?
  • + 1
 lol i'm just ragging on ya
  • + 1
 Like wise, I love meat loaf!
  • - 3
 aladdin madafaker!
  • - 2
 F*ck u یو اس people
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