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Interview: Catching Up With Wade Simmons

Jul 10, 2024
by Mike Kazimer  
Wade Simmons

For mountain bikers who were around during the freeride heyday of the early 2000s, Wade Simmons needs no introduction. He was at the forefront of the movement, pushing mountain biking in a bold new direction with his technical lines, big airs, and overall effortless style on the bike. Even now, two decades later, some of those early lines have yet to be repeated – there's a reason he's known as the Godfather of Freeride. There's an entire generation of mountain bikers (my hand is raised) who can vividly recollect the video of Wade jumping over the Marzocchi truck, or his segments in classics like Ride to the Hills and The Collective.



Wade's still a professional athlete and ambassador, but two years ago he embarked on a new business venture with the creation of Godfather's Garage. Yes, Wade Simmons is now selling chain lubes and bike cleaners. However, this isn't a case of buying a bunch of generic chemicals and sticking new labels on them. The goal was to have as many of the products made in Canada as possible, with a focus on sustainability. The lineup currently consists of three different lubes, a bike wash, degreaser, and a tire sealant, all made in Canada, much of it within a relative close proximity to the North Vancouver trails where freeriding was born.

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With sales in Canada going well, Godfather's Garage is now working to grow international sales. Norway was their first overseas market, and they recently shipped to Australia and Mexico. In the US, Godfather's Garage is distributed by BTI, and is also available from online retailers including EVO, Jenson USA, Bikeman and The Path Bike Shop.

The company's athlete roster includes Brett Tippie, Matt Hunter, Thomas Vanderham, and Richie Schley, basically the OG freeride crew, along with Mark Matthews and Caleb Holonko, two riders who are keeping that freeride spirit alive.

Okay, that's enough business talk - let's get to the good stuff. I sat down with Wade for a wide-ranging chat about the state of the sport, the role of social media for modern athletes, e-bikes, and more.



Views: 58,866    Faves: 361    Comments: 13


When Dylan Stark did a tuck no-hander over the Moreno Road gap last year, over 20 years after you hit it, how did that make you feel?


I thought it was awesome. For me, in sport, he stepped it up. If you're going to hang your hat on something that's already been done and you don't do any thing new, you can't claim that. I mean, it doesn't piss me off, but the Tour de Gnar, they're just on old stunts that we already hit. They're kind of glorifying these old things. I don't really like it too much, because that's stuff we hit 15 years ago. You gotta do something new, like 360 off it, Dylan Stark it and throw a trick, if you're going to use that as your identifier. If you take an old stunt and use it as your marketing tool you better add something new to it.

This is what I always ask young racers at Rocky - “What are you doing? What's going to set you apart from another rider?”

That's what motivates me – I've always been a line guy. I still have that; I drive around and I'm like, “Oooh, look at that, that's new.” I got out of freeriding when tricks came in because I'm not a trick guy. When you boil tricks down, everyone hits the same jump, and now it's just a pissing match – who's going to have the sickest trick? It's one-upmanship; I'm tired of that. I'm not taking anything away from people who have those skills, I mean, it's pretty sick to be able to do a double backflip, but it's not new.

In my career, I always wanted to hit things that hadn't been hit before. Like, can I do that wallride, or does that gap work? That's what I like about Dylan Stark – he has that vision.


The definition of freeride mountain biking seems to have shifted - now it seems like it's more about tricks and big jumps rather than finding and riding gnarly features. What's your definition of freeriding?


That's why Rampage is such an event, because it's that one event that has a bit of unknown to it. Look at the Innsbruck slopestyle or Rotorua, it's like “Here's the course, what tricks can you do?” That's not freeriding.

The definition of freeriding to me is going into any zone and finding lines to ride. It's like, what can we do here? Step-ups, step-downs, wallrides, manuals. Creativity.


bigquotesLook at the stuff we were doing on those shitty bikes. 26” wheels? Short frames in the desert? No wonder we went over the bars all the time. Your spot for landing was a matter of inches – a little over the front, a little over the back and you'd get spat off.

When you see the scale of the features on the modern Rampage course what do you think?


I enjoy it. The creativity, like that Battleship on/off, that's pretty cool. I enjoy people who think outside the box – Kurt Sorge was always good for that. If you're doing that big of tricks you've to to be controlled, or else you really hurt yourself.

The big built up lines - maybe they should just raw dog it, just have one day to kick in a line. I mean, it wouldn't be as spectacular. As humans we always want the spectacular, we always want to see the bigger, bigger, bigger. That's why extreme sports are going to eat themselves, because you always need more.



What riders are inspiring you?


Semenuk, I've always been in his court, he's so rad, just his fluid style on a bike. I always bring up Killian Bron, because I like his adventure style; that's what we did, we scoured the earth looking for lines. And that's why I say, all these guys, poor Yoann and Remy and stuff, there's not much new out there – the whole Sea to Sky, we scoured it. Anything within hitting distance we sniffed it out for a decade. Those guys are great riders, and what they're doing, the Gouranga drop, how many times can you film that? It's pretty sick, but it's pretty much scoured.

I think Dylan [Stark] is adding a very cool like cowboy / rock n' roll element to freeride. The Utah young guys... Again, tricks don't impress me too much. When you do a big stunt like the Moreno Gap and do a no hander that's kind of impressive, but when you have like a 20 x 30 ft gap jump that's nothing new.

I mean, Matt Hunter back in the day – some of the shit he did. Remember that Bike Mag cover back in the day with that air to wall ride? How sick was that? A memorable move for me was Gee Atherton's stepdown to wall ride in Rampage.

And then Hardline, I mean, awesome. But that creek gap that they did, with the scaffolding? To me, that's too contrived. Ok, the gap is there, but if you have to add that much scaffolding to make the landing.... I'm a natural gap guy.

Hayden Zablotny is doing cool stuff. Just people who are following their heart, doing what they want to do. Braydon Bringhurst does some pretty cool stuff – I like the creativity.



You've never been a big social media guy - what do you think about how social media has changed how the public sees athletes?


I can't physically do it. I go to post and I'm like 'gah, I can't' – I have some mental block. I don't want to shove myself down people's throats. I want them to come into being a fan of Wade honestly, earnestly. Not, “look at me!”

I mean, I've done some rad stuff – I have some old lines that still haven't been hit, and I pride myself on that. One of my favorites is the Acquatic Center, in Vancouver – there's this wall ride up and over. I always did things that I wanted to get respect for. If we're going to play in the urban landscape I want BMXers to respect the lines I did. I don't want to come in and just vanilla it up.

If I was going to do something in an urban landscape it would have to be something that the bosses of that landscape, BMXers, would respect. I remember, I did that line BMXers came up to me saying, “Dude, we've been looking at that line for years.” That's what I strive for. I don't want to do things just to get likes.



We're about to go on an e-bike ride, which seems a little surreal to me - it's not something I would have predicted 20 years ago when I was working in a bike shop with The Collective playing in the background on repeat.


Richie Schley and I high five and say, “Can you believe it? We made it to the e-bike.” We're riding our dreams. I spent my whole life filming, hiking, hiking... you get tired, right? Now we've got these bikes, and it's just quick little ups, you can blast around. It's like, we were dreaming about this, and they're here – we're living it.

On one point, you think “Are we cheating a little on the e-bike?” You don't even need to think about that. It's just because we came from pedaling that we feel like we're cheating a little bit, but if we grew up in the future and e-bikes were normal it'd just be normal. We're just living through the change right now.


What's your e-bike vs regular bike split these days?


It's whatever's happening. My son's 14, in high school, and I was the coach of the mountain bike team, so I was hanging out with a bunch of kids, riding regular bikes. I see the ebike as a tool, like if I have an hour I'll go for a quick lap, because you get the ride you want to do. My wife is very busy, two kids; I don't have a lot of time. If I had three hours to ride every day I'd probably be on a pedal bike, but when I want to get my fix for an hour and a half I have the ebike. You can't go that far in an hour and a half on a regular bike. I don't want to be a trail snob, but I get kind of bored. With the ebike, it's like, “What's new, where am I going?" I can go over to Seymour, put it into Ludicrous mode – it's the evolution of biking.

I was an early adopter – in 2017 I did the first ebike film for Rocky, for the Powerplay in the south of France. It was awesome – all sorts of tech climbing. For people that say they're not ready, they're thinking about it the wrong way. I don't ride an ebike to make my ride easier – I make it harder. I'm finding these new climbs that wouldn't have even been on my radar.

I like to use the surfing analogy – imagine we're surfers. Our whole lives we've been surfing the same wave, we're pretty good surfers, and we see this big waves out back, and we can't actually surf those because we're maxing out what we can paddle into. That's the birth of tow-in surfing. That's what e-bikes are – they're the tow-in surfing of mountain biking.

E-bikes are meant for expert riders. They're good for beginners, because it makes mountain biking easy, but it's great for experts because we see the new opportunities. I don't want to make my riding softer, I want to make it harder. It's this new fuel of where do you want to go, what do you want to do?


Any final thoughts about what the future holds for you?


I sell mountain biking. I'm a mountain biker. This is why I'm not a big social media guy either. I'm hands on – when we go for a ride we session; it's not about the distance or the time, Strava. It's about if we see something to hit on the way, it's all about the experience.

There's two ways of looking at things. Either you can do the big broadcast, and reach as many people as possible, but the time spent in their brain is little. If you spend quality time with 5 or 6 people, and you get them on your team, in your camp, they sell you for life.

It might be the best sport in the world. It's a lifestyle for me; I'm all about the adventure. I'm not going to stop – it's my sport. Mountain biking's always been about fun.

I guess, to sum up what the future holds for me, is just to leave a legacy, a legacy of mountain biking. That is my motivation behind Godfather's Garage. I once said to Tippie, who is always claiming the 'Godfather of Freeride' moniker as well - "We're all Godfathers buddy, if you're pioneering, garnering respect, and leaving a lasting impression.... you're a Godfather."




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167 Comments
  • 151 13
 Man, poor Remy and Yoann
  • 110 12
 He's coming from his perspective of doing new things and exploring new lines and what they're doing doesn't interest him, its as simple as that. I'm stoked Wade is willing to give his honest opinion instead of the bullshit industry love talk most people shovel.

Is the PB comment board mob of idiots about to turn on another legend of freeriding? I hope so. Long live the Godfather.
  • 40 83
flag justinfoil (Jul 10, 2024 at 13:11) (Below Threshold)
 @scott-townes: His honest opinion seems to be shitting on people expanding the sport in a way (let's get everyone riding!) that isn't his preferred way (go bigger or go home experts only, no bumbling allowed) to expand the sport. That's sad. You can prop up the "go bigger" segment without needing to put down the "go everyone" segment.

Also goes counter to "I sell mountain biking", unless there is a subtext of "only to those that can beat me at my own game."
  • 29 25
 I wonder if guys like Remy and Yoann hitting all those old features without hockey pads counts as adding something?
  • 23 13
 @justinfoil: What's sad is your inability to understand context.
  • 168 4
 Ahh I think people might be taking me too seriously here. The Tour de Gnar isn’t my thing but Yoann and Remy are obviously sick riders that are inspiring a lot of people, and I’m always stoked when guys like Caleb step up to add something new to old stunts.
  • 9 1
 @justinfoil: you did not read this carefully, in his opinion they are not expanding anything cause they do nothing new except filming it. And from his perspective it makes sense, he just expects more. I really like these guys and this statement changes nothing for me, what they are doing is mind blowing from any normal rider's perspective.
  • 8 8
 the king of bar turns remy gunna be pissed.
  • 36 0
 I mean, no wonder he doesn't want to do social media, people make something out of nothing and critize everything. He, as a OG freerider has a different perspective on riding new and raw lines and making it yours...bringing something new to the sport. Thats it. Can't the god father have an opinion, especially since there wouldn't be a "tour de gnar" without him? He seems pretty chill and good natured to me.
  • 9 1
 @lkubica: No I understand that, I just disagree that it's not expanding anything. It's expanding the scope of what's possible by almost everyone, as opposed to the best of the best expanding the extremes. Both those ways of expanding/growing/progressing the sport should be considered good and valuable.

Especially since they're not claiming it to be anything new except for exposing tons of new riders to it, not trying to sneak in an old line as something brand new. They're not out there shouting "look at _me_ hitting this old drop for the 18th time". They're shouting "look at all these stoked riders hitting this big thing _for the first time_". They shouting "if they can do it, so can you if you put in the work". Yeah, it's nothing new if you've been in the sport literally forever, but it _is_ hugely helping to grow and extend the sport, and someone who claims "I sell mountain bikesperiod> I sell mountain bikingperiod>" should be stoked on that, not poo-pooing it as not gnarly enough to be worth mentioning or recording.

And especially in light of the comments about extreme sports always eating themselves, always needing to get bigger and badder. So Rampage should go back the same old "kick in a line and huck it", and not keep getting huger and seeing the biggest threes and no-handers chucked off the biggest drops, the biggest and sketchiest lily-pads... but anything else must be bigger and more extra or it's not even worth sharing?

Is PB going to stop front-paging TDG releases now, because they don't contain anything new? Of course, we won't know til next year, since, as they put on the front-page already, this year's is on hiatus because of a gnarly crash.
  • 2 1
 @justinfoil: If by expanding the sport you mean hits on YT than yes. And it's legit since the only way freeriders can influence others is by the amount of stoke generated, let's be honest, number of people who will be able to to ride it is close to 0.001% of all and will always be. But you can also think of progressing the sport as of doing something no one has ever done. So they are all kind of right. There is also a thin layer between sport understood as a challenge and just earning money on exposure. I always wonder what differentiates athletes from let's say actors, singers or show business in general. Because what people see is just a show, what athlete should do is to cross his abilities and push himself beyond, but ultimately he is paid for the show ...
  • 2 0
 @lkubica: differentiating between athletes and performers? Perhaps the line should be drawn across the subjective vs objective. A clock is objective aimed time is faster than the others. Style or amplitude are subjective. I’m not saying that the big tricks are extremely difficult and the guys aren’t athletes I’m just saying one is more performative than the other. No one really cares whether Richie Rude has style when he wins a stage.
  • 1 1
 @blueH2Oj: Yeah but you watch them just for entertainment, don't you? They entertain you by riding fast. Noone would pay them a penny if the sport was not entertaining.
  • 7 0
 Wade, we need more Pick-A-Part episodes please! They are soooo good.
  • 22 5
 Did the God Father of Mountain Biking just said my french brother Yo Barello and myself were just bumbling down all his lines? Harsh.
  • 2 0
 @remymetailler: Moi j'ai compris qu'il disait que vous étiez 2 grosses baltringues (du sud très important) incapable d'innover sur un vélo.
Je dis ça je dis rien........
Bon je sors => Et bonne journée bien sûre :-)
  • 2 6
flag justinfoil (3 days ago) (Below Threshold)
 @lkubica: Yes, they are all very "kind of right", Which is why is was disappointing to hear someone with such a large following and legendarium around them kind of shitting on one aspect. Even if it was allegedly in a casual conversation, it was still a conversation with the biggest publication in the industry during which products were shilled and the statement "I sell mountain bikes" was made. That means everything said means _something_. If Kazimer doesn't want people to read into it, put it on a personal podcast with no connections to PB and no mention of sponsors or business.
  • 1 3
 @justinfoil: LOL keep reaching, you self-indulgent jackoff.
  • 5 0
 @remymetailler: my interpretation is he feels bad that there is nothing new for you & Yoann to ride, since they pioneered all the available terrain many years ago and possibly nothing left to discover.
  • 3 0
 @blueH2Oj: But on much, much better bikes than Wade was on.
  • 1 0
 @alpenglow45: oh for sure you probably could’ve added another much in there. I don’t want to take anything away from the OG shore riders at all. It was awesome to see back then. But to describe modern riders as bumbling down those features is not accurate. The guys doing it today are doing it incredibly smooth and fast or slow by choice (Remy)
  • 86 3
 Some God level shade here
  • 33 0
 *Godfather level
  • 81 6
 Equal parts salt and sugar. Love it.
  • 50 1
 "Even now, two decades later, some of those early lines have yet to be repeated..."

Man, I would definitely tune in for a history of Wade's Lines. Who's hit them and maybe narrated clips of those ones that were never repeated, etc?

Loved listening to Tippie revisit the process they went through and who hit what back then.

Btw, I've been lucky enough to have bumped into Wade a few times on the Shore and even in Utah. He's a ridiculously charismatic human being. It's no random thing that he's the hero of at least one entire generation of mountain bikers. NSMB was originally created just to honor him.

Chapeau Mr. Simmons.
  • 31 8
 "Even now, two decades later, some of those early lines have yet to be repeated..."

While I'd wager that this is true in a lot cases, how can he know that? I also would wager that somewhere, someone else who's not "in it for the likes" has done lots of things quietly, for themselves without a film crew or social media post.
  • 53 5
 @pmhobson: lol cmon man. Nobody is hitting those lines and not filming it in 2024.
  • 18 0
 @norcalbike: I want to believe!
  • 4 1
 @pmhobson: You mean like way back when, before the advent of smart phones? Makes sense.

After smart phones and everyone watching doesn't film...? Wouldn't ever say impossible, but...yeah.


There were definitely other people capable of hitting the pinnacle features, I was living there then everyone knew of them. But then North Shore mountain bikers on Simmon's level at that time was a very small community. Like count on one hand.

Maybe one finger.
  • 5 33
flag justinfoil (Jul 10, 2024 at 12:14) (Below Threshold)
 @pmhobson: Considering he claims that if you don't add anything to it then it's not worth as much, then it sounds like many repeats should/would automatically be in that "not in it for the likes" category, and by his own metrics, not worth posting, so who would know? Is repeating something without adding to it, no matter how gnarly, now in the category of "bumbling down the trail"? This gatekeeping of what should be posted and "wasting gigabytes" of the free internet is getting tired.
  • 34 6
 @justinfoil: The people who only joined this site a few years ago who feel the need to throw around ignorant opinions, insulting those who created this sport is getting tiresome as well, bud.
  • 8 3
 “NSMB was originally created just to honor him.”

That’s a great story but it has no relation to reality. Lines up nicely with your user name though!
  • 4 0
 I love how polarizing this interview was!
  • 9 2
 @fredparkenfarker: Oh, I don't know about that.

The first thing Cam did when creating NSMB was interview Wade, whom he called the best rider in the world. He's talked about his reasons on the Forum at length especially back then, and even during that first interview with Wade hinted at it to his face.

"One of the things I was thinking when I was dreaming up this magazine in my head – I’d pick up a magazine and there would be one North Shore picture and it was like giving a junky an aspirin. It’s not the right thing and one of the things I was thinking was that I could get exposure for guys like you who are supremely talented and undervalued."
- Cam Mcrae

The 4 NSMB Wade Simmons interviews are great and worth a visit, as is the rest of the site:
NSMB.com
  • 2 0
 @50percentsure: NSMB was Cam's brainchild after spending time away from Canada, seeing how each country in Europe had several (print) mags in their own language, covering their local scenes and he thought "I'd like to do that for the North Shore and Vancouver/BC". Wade was (one of) the most influential names in MTB at the time and obviously on the Shore. You're right that that interview was the first thing Cam created for the site, but NSMB wasn't created 'as a tribute' to Wade. It was, however, heavily influenced by what Wade and others were doing at the time, and how much Cam loved riding and the Shore.
  • 45 0
 tour de gnar yea just really pays homage to how gnarly the early freeriders were and how much more capable the modern bike is. what an interview. love the brutal honestly. and if you're dylan stark you have to be psyched reading this
  • 12 0
 Does Wade get an invite to Stark Week next year?
  • 9 1
 Dylan Stark's nethers are red raw after this article
  • 11 0
 @shoefanu: I'm sure he has some CBD lotion..
  • 47 1
 You suck! My brother says you're totally washed!
  • 9 0
 Ha, such a classic line.
  • 12 0
 kids these days are viiiiiiiiicious!
  • 2 0
 @flipfantasia: little shit
  • 2 0
 from the desk of Cory Tepper.
  • 3 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT approves this message.
  • 40 2
 I’m no man to disagree with a GOAT, but doesn’t anyone find it a bit strange that he appears to be complaining about Tour De Gnar and the sea to sky riders. If people are still enjoying the content, there’s no reason they can’t film and ride it yeah? Every year I look forward to the tour de gnar, not because I haven’t seen the features before, but because it looks like they have fun. Not to mention the women are throwing down progression, and the youth turns up to. Again, no shade, it just rubs me the wrong way.
  • 63 8
 Wade's point was that he wants to see more new features, rather than recycling old ones. That's part of the allure of freeriding - finding things that haven't been done, rather than doing the same thing over and over again. It's certainly harder nowadays to find new moves in the Sea to Sky corridor, but I'd be fine if I never saw another clip of someone riding Gouranga in Squamish.
  • 22 45
flag justinfoil (Jul 10, 2024 at 12:30) (Below Threshold)
 @mikekazimer: then you don't have to watch those clips.

But it is freaking awesome to see ever more people out there getting stoked about stuff that's _new to them_. Kids who weren't born when those features were built are suddenly supposed to go far from home to find new stuff to get stoked on? Yoann isn't hanging his hat on anything in the TDG, he was a legend already, and isn't expecting anyone else to. It's part of the progression, part of spreading the stoke.

If you're not supposed to hit Gouranga because it's allegedly played out, how are you ever going to gain experience to go bigger? Posting anything and everything is part of life now in 2024, so those Gouranga hits will end up online, despite your complaints about wasting gigabytes, because it's part of the progression. The biggest and baddest, like a potential future 360 off Gouranga, will rise to the top and everyone will see it. The "bumbling" will live in the depths and get shared between a smaller group of friends who will be super stoked on seeing their buddies shredding, which probably means even more people will get out there and shred and progress.
  • 17 0
 @mikekazimer: can’t disagree with that, i always want to see new stuff, but to Remy and Yoanns credit they take trips to Mexico, Quebec and all sorts of places. The future of free riding isn’t in PNW and Utah right now, we’ve all seen it a bit too much, but i think it’s a mistake to call out creators for trying to bring the sport to more people.
  • 13 0
 @mikekazimer: Tour de Gnar might not be his jam, but you can't deny there isn't progression happening. Whether it's women riding these features for the first time, or Steve's super rowdy line from a couple years ago, or tricks on some of the features. Feels like a weird thing to call out.

Also, I don't care how many times clips of Gouranga pop up. Now that I've seen it in person, I will never not appreciate how rowdy it is, regardless of what line you take. Ha ha
  • 7 0
 @jsnfschr, I don't think anyone's denying that progression is happening - I rode with a 12- and 13-year old up in Whistler recently and they blew my mind, hitting features that most riders would never even consider. The future is looking bright, and maybe a little scary - I can't imagine what these kids will be able to do in another few years.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: 100% agree. The kids are wild these days.

I do wish few kids would ride with their phones and just try to get clips of everything they're doing, but that's just angry old man yelling at clouds stuff.
  • 11 0
 I think the tour de gnar gets a little misunderstood, it's an endurance event, not a freeride contest. It's just ticking off an extremely scary list by the end of the day
  • 7 0
 @mikekazimer: Yeah but if Casey Brown (or any woman freerider) hit it, it'd be rad. I think Gwizard has a good point that Yoann is expanding the freeride community, which will lead to more firsts & exploration as those folks level up.
  • 36 0
 Hit those lines 15 years ago? That's what happens when you get old. You lose track of time. I filmed Kenny Smith and Mick Hannah do the Rutherford lily-pad TWENTY YEARS ago this August.

He did forget Caleb who did step it up and gapped the whole damn thing last year.
  • 13 1
 Fair, but I think he was generalizing about the Tour overall, not specifically the lily pad feature between Whis/Pemby.
  • 23 0
 @mammal: I mean he also sponsors Caleb, so it's pretty clear he's not talking about him.
  • 9 0
 Caleb gaping the whole thing is still the gnarliest shit ever done. From the Inside Out came out 12 years ago now... dang, we're all losing track of time.
  • 31 0
 "extreme sports are going to eat themselves, because you always need more"

That's prophecy and history in one perfect sentence
  • 16 1
 no mention of NSX " I BROKE MY LEG!!!" ??? in all seriousness tho, Wade's the best! nicest guy to everyone, still craves the adventure rides in all forms of 2 wheeled fun, and If he WAS actually on social media he'd break it.

As far as Negative comments go here, Theres another reason Social media sucks and takes a written conversation out of context. Knowing Wade i know he's not hating on anyone and certainly not the jealous type. He's stoked for everyone on bikes, but speaks with no filter, unrehearsed, can say dumb shit when the blood sugar is low, jokes around, and always open to debate if someone cares to. = genuine
  • 13 1
 This man @wadevsimmons , is responsible for me riding today. I was just getting out of high school, had been mountain biking for only 2 or 3 years and it was XC this and how fast can you climb that...and I was getting bored and loved going fast and wanted something different. I was going to quit riding that summer after high school when my local shop owner let me borrow the VHS, Ride to the Hills. I was so blown away and so inspired. I started riding my trails differently, I started looking for jumps, I was learning to ride wheelies and ride stunts and do some street riding. I got flat pedals and I worked my ass off and bought an RM7FR that summer. I rode the crap out of that bike and rode jumps and skinny ladders and started building stuff in the woods. Here I am, 44 years old now, still in love with biking and still have Wade to thank. Of course there was Tippy and Schley too. ( I went to a Schley freeride camp in 2003). Thank you.
  • 5 0
 I love Brett Tippie. That dude is the cheerleader's cheerleader.
  • 12 0
 Yeah Wade! Love this and couldn’t agree more- “ I don't want to make my riding softer, I want to make it harder. It's this new fuel of where do you want to go, what do you want to do”
  • 11 0
 real talk from the OG. One of my best times on a bike was riding with you in the pouring rain on Toronto's Ridge trail in the Don Valley where you were the guest star for the Rocky Mtn. demo day. In your honour I rode my 2000 RM Reaper complete with the Bomber. The ride was a slip and slide bronco ride we laughed the whole time. Mad respect.
  • 13 2
 Love this!

"For people that say they're not ready, they're thinking about it the wrong way. I don't ride an ebike to make my ride easier – I make it harder. I'm finding these new climbs that wouldn't have even been on my radar."
  • 3 8
flag dododuzzi (Jul 11, 2024 at 8:58) (Below Threshold)
 Yes, that is so brilliant! He discovered that if you use an engine you are faster than an human. How ridiculous can this get? Get a moto cross bike and be done!
  • 7 0
 Ok. That’s what he does. That’s not why Shimano, Bosch, Yamaha, etc spent millions to develop motors. They did it to expand the bicycle market by removing the primary (non-monetary) barrier to entry: fitness.
  • 11 0
 "There's two ways of looking at things. Either you can do the big broadcast, and reach as many people as possible, but the time spent in their brain is little. If you spend quality time with 5 or 6 people, and you get them on your team, in your camp, they sell you for life."

THIS!
  • 11 0
 Wade has done the craziest shit, and it's a lot harder imo, to hit stuff no one has ever thought of hitting before. When you're on the leading edge of things, most people would be consumed with so much self-doubt, so in my mind it's infinitely harder af to lead the charge.

That said, I really loved his youtube on how to do drops. I'm really not much better at them but his video was the first video (after watching countless ones) that really made a lot more sense to me. For the first time I was able to really wrap my head around the riding technique required to do drops properly. It would be really cool if he did more of these. And it's really unusual for a guy who's so naturally gifted on a bike to be able to break it down for us mortals. When you ask people that have a knack for things how it's done many of them just shrug and say I just do it. Always followed Wade's career back in the early days before I took up mtb, but this series made me like him even more.
  • 4 1
 Well said - the mental side of it has always intrigued me, all your peers telling you it can't be done, people calling you crazy, saying you'll kill yourself, on and on....still having the cajones to try it with that self doubt and sticking it, legend... I've seen some of that stuff on the N Shore in the vids in person, I know it's possible and I still don't have guts to try it, cannot fathom being the first, I'm certainly not wired that way....
  • 14 0
 oh yeah Wade is the man!
  • 11 2
 100% agree with his take and I've said it before, Rampage should be scored more from a style/creativity perspective NOT just bigger and bigger tricks, as Wade says, it will eat itself alive. My love of "freestyle" moto and things like Rampage really dropped when features were built up too much. I think to a certain extent people can somewhat relate to raw stuff, we see it, we think it, we fantasize in our heads, very few of us have the balls to hit it...but when it gets manicured too much it becomes completely unrelatable....
  • 13 1
 I love my brief riding encounters with Wade. We need more people like him in the sport
  • 20 13
 The tow-in surfer analogy doesn't make sense to me.... you can always get to the "good" stuff on normal bikes and it much more enjoyable than a 60lb sled. What could possibly go wrong with a newb hitting up tow in waves?
  • 7 9
 It's not a perfect analogy but still illustrates the point I think....human vs machine and what that machine can offer. Fitness for fitness, you can go say 2x the distance on an Ebike which = opportunities just like a Ski does with surfers.
  • 4 12
flag justinfoil (Jul 10, 2024 at 12:38) (Below Threshold)
 2x the distance is very different than getting a tow-in.

The tow-in is closer to needing a rope to assist in the climb up to a sick drop or jump, or a friend passing your bike up after you scramble up. An e-bike doesn't help you hit bigger things, doesn't help you access new terrain, though it might help you pedal to the top, or through that new terrain without walking, but when was freeride ever about pedaling to the top? Does the old stuff not count because they had to walk and carried their bikes up? Of course not.
  • 12 4
 He summed it up perfectly for how I feel. If I had unlimited time I would be on a pedal bike, but e-bikes make it possible to ride nasty stuff in the time I have. And you can do it more often.
  • 7 3
 Analogy is unintentionally negative. Paddle-in locals at the spots hate tow-in surfers with a fury. Rich outsiders poaching every wave it's understandable.
  • 4 2
 @justinfoil: you reading into it too much - point is you have mechanical assistance either way.
  • 4 2
 How do you feel about shuttles?
  • 3 6
 @RadBartTaylor: mechanical assistance makes one possible, and makes one easier. It's quite different.

An e-surfboard that helps you get out past a rough break that normally saps your energy, and then easily onto a wave that is still quite possible to catch by paddling, is much closer to an e-bike.

Jet-ski tow-in is way closer to a heli-drop on a summit that is virtually inaccessible for any bike to be pedaled up or even carried up.
  • 3 6
 @Ososmash: different. Shuttles shift the effort. You _could_ pedal up, but the shuttle lets you save it for the descent.

Note, I didn't ever say I'm against e-bikes or tow-ins, just that the analogy doesn't fit. One makes the impossible possible (getting into waves a human simply cannot paddle into), one shifts the effort (e-bikes and shuttles don't help you descend anything that's not descendible on a normal bike, just helps you get there)
  • 2 1
 @justinfoil: Why couldn't you climb / rope up to that summit with your bike in tow? You could certainly make it up anything you could ride down I'd think so that is a poor analogy to Tow-in surfing.

Two can play that game....
  • 10 2
 I thought freeriding was supposed to be free of all the hierarchical bullshit and just be about the riding?
  • 18 13
 This is a frustrating read to me. Obviously we all love Wade and what he's done for freeride, but this feels like he's closing the door behind him, like he's saying that modern freeriding isn't real freeriding to him and the sport is doomed to eat itself. Why not embrace the style, the tricks, if everything gnarly has been hit already why not emphasize the execution?
  • 13 1
 It was all a bit weird. You can tell it was just straight from the heart and not well thought out, which I can respect. He says people shouldn’t film old hits unless they are adding a trick to it but then he also says he hates the trick aspect as it’s all just one up manship. Yet he said things aren’t worth doing unless you are one upping the previous person…
  • 9 1
 @BrianColes: for sure. Dude’s all over the place, which is completely human and relatable. Good thing it’s just riding bikes.
  • 1 0
 @BrianColes: straight from the horse's mouth lol
  • 8 2
 Rampage would 100% be better if they only had one day to kick in a line because with all the building on it now it literally is “Here's the course, what tricks can you do?”.

Change the venue, make freeride great again.
  • 5 0
 I follow downhill religiously, but Wade is my all time favorite human to ever ride a mountain bike. Dude is pure Canadian chillness and as a 12 year old I aspired to the calm-before-the-huckstorm vibe that is so visible in the films.

When Wade first started doing the how-to videos more recently, I hoped he might become the Bill Mason of mtb education (Bill is the late great Canadian canoe-filmmaker and educator). But I think Wade needs to get a little older first as white hair is crucial and Bill Mason worked with an exceptional filmmaking team who elevated the films into the art space (in case anyone was/is curious, some of Bill's films are on youtube).
  • 5 0
 SO much respect to you Wade. SO refreshing to hear some HONEST opinions and speaking off the cuff. You've done so much for MTB, and inspired countless generations. That Vancouver aquatic centre wall ride is burnt into my brain... was that in Pedalfiles?
  • 1 0
 I think it was NSX 2. Maybe 3. Edit: BP corrected me below. Ride to the Hills.
  • 5 0
 The godfather, saying the things many of us are thinking. Love it. You’re the man, @wadevsimmons !!

Love the Holonko shout as well. Freeride MTB ain’t what it used to be on the Shore - he’s one of few pushing the bar.
  • 15 11
 Dude’s willingness to accept (and even embrace) e-bikes as an acceptable evolution but dismiss changes in freeride is…interesting.
Avoid that salt, be happy you were there when it was what it was for you. Some good ol days talk is expected but this dude just said he doesn’t like tricks! Ahahahahaha

The form of a city changes faster, alas, than the heart of a man…
  • 3 0
 it is what it is
  • 5 0
 Thanks @wadevsimmons. Just thanks for being authentic to yourself and the sport and chill enough to just join up for a lap with some random you meet on the trail.

The grease is good too.
  • 4 1
 Our riding crew, in our 20’s, got back together in our 50’s, one 60ish now all riding e bikes, it’s a blast climbing at 20kph. We all started on the shore, Woodlot etc. on fully rigid bikes amazed doing one foot drops, hanging out at The Cove when it was The Cove, seeing Wade and all the other riders we tried to be. Now we are still pretending and love it.
  • 3 0
 Surprised to hear him say the sea to sky is scoured. I think the opposite is true. There is an incredible amount of untapped terrain here. Lots of creative building going on in new zones. Just not by the pros or on social media.
  • 2 0
 We're better at hiding stuff now for sure
  • 7 1
 no mention of if Moab remains a classic destination for a road trip
  • 3 6
 Moab is anti E so probably not a destination. I live 90 miles from Moab and avoid the place at all costs nowadays.
  • 4 0
 Nothing wrong with good naturedly challenging a new generation to continue the freeride tradition. You can't be the Godfather and not be tough and opinionated.
  • 3 1
 This strikes me as “ Wade is line guy”. He a BMXer at heart. He appreciates finding a creative spot and hitting it big, or going bigger on a well know spot.

I think what he fails to mention because he doesn’t like social media is that social media is bringing old lines, even hit in a boring way, to the masses in new and interesting perspectives: ie high fidelity action cams. Let’s be honest, Remy’s stuff looks fantastic, even if they are old zones.

I also see why he loves Semenuk, because Brandon uses terrain like nobody else, but Wade even slights him too by saying that Rampage is too built.

Wade Simmons wants to feel like all of us felt in the early 2000s watching him, but is freeride played out? Do we need to go back to urban freeride?
  • 2 0
 I walk in to a bike shop, when I saw the cover on the vhs video of nwd 3 I was shocked... watch the movie and never looked back , thanks to all the film crew and riders... they change my lifestyle for the good ...Thank you Wade Simmons. Much love.
  • 5 0
 Sounds to me like Wade is working on an e-surfboard.
  • 5 0
 Wade was sending before the internet.
  • 1 0
 I had to take a second to internalize this as I finished it kinda scratching my head. First off, I don’t disagree with the majority of what he has to say and have all the respect for him, but feel it’s completely unnecessary to call folks out by name. Everyone is on their own program, no need to come down on anyone if it’s not your ideal approach. Secondly the surfing analogy is widely off. Jet skis were used in the late 90’s early 2000’s when surfers thought waves were too large to paddle into. Fast forward a decade and a half and surfers are using human power to paddle into waves that tow surfers thought were never imaginable. I own an ebike and ride it every so often having young kids but it’s not the same. Just like towing into a big wave is not the same as paddling. Lastly, in the surf community, you would get absolutely roasted for calling yourself “godfather.” If you call yourself the godfather, you’re not the godfather. At least in surf culture the real ones are humble and would never imagine calling themselves that.
  • 4 0
 Clear as day he's still shredding, and falling. check his elbows! sick af
  • 4 0
 Made In Canada...synonymous with quality.
  • 4 0
 I love how polarizing this interview is!
  • 5 3
 I want to see that aquatic center line now. He nailed it describing the eebs too
  • 10 0
 That Aquatic Centre line is one of my favourites. It's in Ride to the Hills at ~30:18 but you should probably watch the whole thing: www.pinkbike.com/news/throwback-thursday-ride-to-the-hills-with-wade-simmons-thomas-vanderham-andrew-shandro-jordie-lunn-and-more.html

I'd love to see some new school freeriders take it on and step it up, would be cool to see.
  • 4 0
 Huge fan! Loved this.
  • 2 0
 What truck is that? I've wondered since watching it as a kid, it looks so badass.
  • 1 0
 He talked about it in an interview once...F350?
  • 1 0
 @50percentsure:

Looks more like F550. I've seen customs with pickup beds mounted...wei kewl.
  • 4 0
 @thomasjkenney1024: I think it is the F650. The 450 and 550 have the same body as the 250/350
  • 1 0
 @ShawMac: Looks like it
  • 3 0
 Also…all those classic lines done on bikes that look 2 sizes too small.
  • 3 0
 This should’ve been a podcast
  • 1 0
 Nah, make it an interpretive dance.
  • 2 0
 You heard it from Wade first: Nothing new of interest being built in the Sea to Sky!
  • 1 0
 canadian macho badass has incredibly conflicting opinions. that aside, I like his view on sticking with your small group and fostering royalty.
  • 4 2
 Bring some more e-bikes to Nelson BC for us to trash again! Thanks Wade!
  • 5 7
 He's coming from his perspective of doing new things and exploring new lines and what they're doing doesn't interest him, its as simple as that. I'm stoked Wade is willing to give his honest opinion instead of the bullshit industry love talk most people shovel.

Is the PB comment board mob of idiots about to turn on another legend of freeriding? I hope so. Long live the Godfather.
  • 7 4
 I guess the PB idiots are just giving their honest opinion?
  • 2 0
 So true! Biking should be fun.
  • 1 0
 Guy who’s done it all, he can say what he wants. But then I’m over 40 so…
  • 37 37
 Honestly, he comes across a bit of an angry old man in this. Slating the new generation of stuff is kind of lame.
  • 22 1
 Some good points and interesting perspectives, but there is a lot of "old man yells at cloud" sentiment in there.
  • 7 1
 @secondnarrowstroll: And today, I'm here for it.
  • 6 1
 @pmhobson: I think most people willing to read an entire written interview with Wade will second, at least parts of, his view.
  • 18 9
 Yeah, the Tour de Gnar comments were weird. They're not "going to use that as [their] identifier", they're just trying to explore progression and how riders of all kinds can hit the same arguably huge hits that helped make the sport what it is. Yoann certainly doesn't need TDG to hang anything on. Not everyone is Dylan Stark and can no-hander or 360 those monsters, but progression of the entire sport has helped many many more at least clear some of them and not get maimed, and that's a great thing!

If there were a bunch of riders out there hitting something old and claiming it was something special, that's one thing, but Yoann and crew fully acknowledge there are old features getting ridden by new riders, some who weren't even born when they were built! If people can't get stoked on hitting old stuff that is new to them, if progression only means the best of the best hitting the biggest of the bigger, then the sport is in a really shitty place.
  • 41 2
 I mean, most athlete interviews are banal, meaningless platitudes, and sponsor plugs. Refreshing to have someone tell us how they really feel.
  • 15 2
 @brianpark: Valid. This was also PR for Godfather's Garage though, right?
  • 23 1
 @secondnarrowstroll: To be fair, there's points I do echo. But it's just the way it comes across. It's very "I did it first, you're all so boring and uninventive, big gaps are for losers" in my eyes. Droning on about creativity. You know what's not creative? Another tyre sealant and bike wash company with branding that looks like it cost $30. Lol.
  • 18 0
 @justinfoil: TDG is literally paying homage to the shit he and his crew were doing back in the early 00s. It's just respect. I don't want to minimise the impact he had on the sport, but watching early rampage compared to the current stuff is dull. Riding has progressed so far since then. He mentions not liking big gaps and loving Dylan Stark. Dylan Stark literally ended his X Games vid with a 110ft gap lmao.

If doing new stuff was all that riding was about, it'd get a bit draining. That's one-upmanship. Which he claims to hate. I feel like I'm falling for rage bait, given how contradictory the article is.
  • 14 22
flag justinfoil (Jul 10, 2024 at 13:02) (Below Threshold)
 @brianpark: If it takes slagging off people trying to extend the progression of the sport in different ways that don't match your own to be considered "refreshing", that's sad. I get what he's saying about bringing something new to the table, but could easily just mention that he really digs Dylan's style and progression, that's what he loves to see, and not have to bash on alternatives. Prop up what you like all you want, but there is no need to put down things you don't prefer, especially when those things are really good for expanding the entire scope of the sport.

Says "I sell mountain biking. I'm a mountain biker.", but actively dislikes (arguably for wrong reasons, no one is claiming any firsts in TDG) a very popular kind of mountain biking: progession of all kinds of riders via sessioning existing features. TDG arguably sells mountain biking to the average person way better than one of the best (if you know) doing a tuck no-hander (if you know) off something that is only famous to someone already steeped in freeride culture, ie: someone that doesn't need to be sold on it!
  • 26 6
 @justinfoil, once again, you're reading way too far into this. Wade's an awesome human with all sorts of opinions. He's been in the sport for a long time, and has seen how the scene has changed. I like that he's not afraid to speak his mind, and if that means some good-natured poking at other riders, why not? Interviews don't need to be super serious, and every sentence doesn't need to be examined for hidden meanings.

Maybe it doesn't translate as clearly when you read the transcript, but this was basically Wade and I having an informal, off-the-cuff conversation.
  • 11 0
 @mikekazimer: Kazimer, I love your work - but this is the internet, what else are we going to do but complain?

Also, it's a transcript, there's no tone, so it's easy for him to come across as an opinionated douche due to misinterpretation. That's not nullifying the respect he's due as an OG.
  • 14 0
 What's the point in getting old if you can't get angry? It gets me out of bed every morning. Razz
  • 1 1
 with all due respect to the godfather, he sounds like an OG that is bitter at missing out on the opportunity and the reach that the current generation have with their platforms. i feel this is very common these days in many sports and industries. everyone is entitled to their view/opinions and we can all respect that. heck, most of my perspective is aligned with his butt there was no need to call out a local event to make the his points. if that wasn't a direct shade, i don't know what is.
  • 2 0
 Absolute LEGEND!
  • 1 0
 Wade is the man! Always so inspiring! The Milky Wade!
  • 1 0
 Loving the old man vibes. Get off my lawn!
  • 1 0
 That dry lube attracts dirt like a wet. The wash is great though.
  • 3 3
 Keeping it real! Millennials just don't understand
  • 5 8
 E-bikes are to mtb as pickleball is to tennis. Thumbs down.
  • 1 3
 Go cry.
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