The latest mountain bike movies include insane riding, skilled camera work, and countless hours of editing that comes together to create a final product that is often equal parts art and sport, but the level of riding in them has reached the point where it's tough to relate to. I'd like to see the best in the world come together to make a mountain bike movie that has actual mountain biking in it, and I don't think that I'm the only one who'd be excited about that.
Mountain bike movies have come a hell of a long way from the days of Tread, the Kranked series, and even the early New World Disorder releases, and I'm not just talking about the shift from filming with a potato to the insanely expensive wunder-cameras of more recent times that can zoom in to catch a gnat scratching its balls at a glorious million frames per second or whatever they're up to now. The skill and courage of the riders in the latest movies has progressed to the point where one doesn't have to be a mountain biker to appreciate what they're doing, and the days of them just showing up and sending it for the camera have been replaced with shoots that are planned out well in advance.
We now have some of the best riders in the world pushing their personal limits and risking life and limb to do things that have never been done before. This often goes down in exotic and sometimes sketchy locales, all while being filmed by a camera that costs twenty times what the entire budget was for one of those 'old school' movies that first showed riders skidding down scree slopes. The internet gives me one-click access to the greatest mountain bike movies made, yet I still find myself bored by roughly the ten minute mark of any of the latest flicks. I mean absolutely zero disrespect to any of the riders or the people working hard behind the cameras, but it's just that none of the latest and greatest movies really get me stand-up excited about what's going on. Why is that? I believe it's because the things that today's top riders are doing are so insane, so mind blowing, that I can no longer relate to it, and it therefore inspires me to get out there about as much as watching the cooking channel has me running to the kitchen to whip up a batch of muffins. Likewise, I like to watch skilled freeriders send it, but what they're doing doesn't have me running for my bike.
Don't get me wrong, seeing Semenuk or Zink spin off of a three-storey drop will always make my palms sweaty in a way that only one or two other things in this world can do, but I have zero issue admitting to anyone that it doesn't get me amped to build a lip on top of a thirty foot rock and give it a go for myself. That would end badly for me, of course, and I suspect that it would also end badly for about 99% of Pinkbike's audience although feel free to pipe up if I'm selling you short when it comes to doing 360s off of cliffs and I'll happily apologize. Having said that, the fact that 99% of us can't do the moves we see in the movies might not matter to most of you, especially if you tune into Pinkbike on a regular basis to see what's new. After all, I'm not about to say that riders tricking jumps that would make a lot of motocross guys grab a handful of brake is anything to take lightly, or that you shouldn't be inspired by it if that's what floats your boat, but I will put my neck out there and say that it has very little to do with how most of us mountain bike.
What's that? You have a downhill bike, some pads, and a few big jumps in your local forest? That sounds like a great time, but the truth of the matter is that you're in the minority when it comes to riding disciplines, with far more people simply wanting to put on their half shell helmet, some baggy shorts and worn out gloves, and take their regular mountain bike out for a rip in the woods. I think that it's these people, riders of greatly varying skill levels but who all love singletrack, that would really appreciate a movie that they can relate to. There's been a few well made 'edits' released over the years that cross off a lot of my points, with Aaron LaRocque's Rocky Mountain / Race Face short from 2009 being one that I can still watch and get stoked about to this day - I can't be the only one, can I? I'm going to feel awfully dumb if that's the case, but I don't think it is.
I'm going to make a suggestion to the filmers out there: make a mountain bike movie that actually has mountain biking in it. Put the best riders in the world on their trail bikes and film them shredding a goddamn trail. Film them riding singletrack that we could all enjoy, but at a speed that makes us go ''holy shit, that guy is really moving!
'' Film them drifting through corners, manualling for longer than seems possible, and generally have a blast on their bikes in much the same way most of us do, only better. These are things that relate to how a lot of mountain bikers ride, and it's something that I honestly believe even the most freeride-focused of riders could watch and get stoked about. I don't know; maybe I sound like an old codger who should move on to recumbents and helmet mirrors, or maybe I'm not the only one who would love to watch the best film makers in the world shoot the best riders in the world actually going for a mountain bike ride. I feel like that would be quite the combination, don't you?