Photo Epic: Loose Screws - At Home with Vinny T

Jul 10, 2020
by Nathan Hughes  




Evian Les Bains, France, home to the world-famous spring of mountain-fresh H2O. Also home to Vincent Tupin, aka 'Vinny T' of Rampage and Fest Series fame. On the edge of Lac Leman, with a more than scenic vista across the water to Switzerland, this man was born and raised. Was it merely something in the water or was it a passion combined with access to some of the best bike resorts in Europe and more importantly, steep and thickly forested local hills? It seems this was the best environment for one of the most aggressive riders we've ever known to perfect his dark art.

The definition of fast and furious, Vinny has more in common than shared first names with California's most famous Dodge Charger owner. But this Vincent isn't the type to flex and loudly call out his rivals in an oil-stained vest. In fact, he could not appear more mellow, approachable, and humble if he tried. Living patiently with his parents and young sister through the strict French COVID-19 lock-down, you could even be convinced this was an entirely 'normal' person. But when the bikes come out it's clear that everything is not okay. This man is in fact quite deranged, with more than just a couple of screws loose. Strap in for some crazy rock rolls, over-flat tables, and alpacas in the rain. Vinny T is the Jekyll and Hyde of MTB.









bigquotesMy Name is Vincent Tupin. I’m 25 and I live in a little village called Maxilly, close to Evian. I love to be outside, especially in the forest. Riding bikes is my passion and I love to share moments with friends on two wheels.V.T.




bigquotesI have lived my whole life here and I don’t want to ever be anywhere far from this area. There is amazing forest where we can build and ride pretty much all year and the lake is super nice, especially in summer. It's amazing how much there is to do without taking the car more than 1 hour.V.T.





bigquotesI think my style comes from the trails I ride. Many people that rode my home tracks with me said they immediately know why I ride this way. We like to build tracks that ride very fast with the best flow. We are lucky to have many steep gullies in the woods; sliding your rear wheel around on your way down through the trees is one of the best feelings you can have.V.T.





bigquotesI have good memories of a few local DH races from my younger years. Back in the days I also competed in the amateur category at the Chatel 'Mountain Style' and some Slopestyle events like the Fise in Avoriaz. I like to try my best against others, but it’s not really what motivates me the most.V.T.




bigquotesMy first contract sponsor was Scott in 2014 I think, I was very lucky to meet Ben Walker a few years before. At this time we were doing video edits with Shape-ride-shoot and Ben helped us a lot with advice and support. I’m very thankful for everything he did and still does for me. I don’t think I had the goal to be pro, but certainly, I was one of the more passionate of my friends and wanted to ride the most.V.T.





bigquotesThe guys from the movies like NWD were my role models at a young age and some still are now! Riders like Andreu Lacondeguy, Darren Berrecloth and The Coastal Crew.V.T.





bigquotesNow I ride every day and it's the best. When I think about the fact that I can ride and do pretty much what I want all the year I feel happy and also very lucky.V.T.





bigquotesDoing videos on tracks I create is something else for me; I like to take time, have multiple tries, and not be rushed by a contest. It’s also the best thing about Fest Series. I hope to ride a lot more stuff like that in the years to come.V.T.







bigquotes2017 was my first year at Rampage and honestly it felt like a dream to be invited. If I remember well, I never actually had the aim to be at Rampage when I started, but after couple years when I was riding the first year at Fest Series events, some riders and other people were asking if I wanted to go. Some said they'd love to see me there and it was at this moment that I turned my focus to making itV.T.



bigquotesThe feeling you have at the top before you drop in is one of the best and the most stressful at the same time. Then when I think about it a couple of months later, I'm reminded that it’s really something I do want to do again.V.T.




bigquotesI started to put spikes on my tires when I saw videos of a crew from Kamloops and guys like Makken who ride in Norway in winter. Where I live it can be pretty cold for 1 or 2 months, but we like to ride no matter the conditions. If there is snow on wet dirt you don’t really need spikes, but if the floor is frozen underneath the snow it can be pretty hard to ride the steep part without a little help.

The grip with spikes is really good, I use to use bigger screws when I did the first tires, but now I know the size that works and I can even ride it tubeless which save a lot of weight. I like to ride all the same features I use to ride on normal dirt, all the jumps work on snow! I never buzzed the back wheel between my legs, but it’s something I keep in mind when I ride with spikes.
V.T.





bigquotesThe skate bowl is a new development for Evian. It opened just this March. When we were younger we always dreamed about a place like this. Definitely it is a big upgrade from the little skate park on the main street where it all began for meV.T.






bigquotesI'm trying to ride the bowl as often as I can. It's amazing for skills, finding flow and I like to meet new people there, mostly BMX riders. You always have something to learn from other people and disciplines.V.T.





bigquotesI love to ride in the bike parks; in France we have so many great resorts. Chatel is one of my favorites and there is also a small local Bikepark with natural tracks and great features called Bernex. Also not forgetting Morgins over the border.V.T.






bigquotesIf I can ride my bikes every day of the week I do it. Normally I ride 5 days a week I think. Sometimes I ride the enduro or DH bike in the morning and then take my DJ bike for a sunset session at the trail. I really like to mix up the bikes and try to be as versatile as I can. The bike I use the most depends on the season; in summer I ride my DH bike a lot, in spring I use more my trail and e-bikes.V.T.





bigquotesI took many crashes over the years and still do. I think it’s part of the game when you push and want to be faster or do bigger tricks. Luckily not such bad injuries compared to many other riders... I've just broken both of my collarbones a couple of times and dislocated my shoulders. Also a couple of concussions. My goal is to be stronger in case I crash and get my shoulders and knee a bit better after many falls on them, so this year I started a training program with a friend of mine who is a personal trainer.V.T.






bigquotesGrowing up in a small village near the forest helped me to love nature and animals. I have some motion-triggered wildlife cams that I put around the mountain. I like to see what animals we have, it’s cool to check the camera during a E-bike or motorbike tour.V.T.




bigquotesWhen I was young I collected feathers, curious to know which bird it was from in each case. I started to have a passion for birds and knew so many different types. Now I can just remember a few, but I still like to watch birds in the sky, most of all eagles and owls.V.T.





bigquotesI have one big brother (Loris) and one little sister (Candice) and both of them ride bikes. Loris works as an engineer at Syncros and Candice is at school, she's just 14 years old. My mom and dad were not really happy at first when I wanted to do more riding and less studying, but after a few years, they understood it's what makes me the most happy. Now they support me and love to see all the photos and videos. I started with my brother and other friends, spending many hours at the local skate park and at the dirt jump spot.V.T.




bigquotesMy dad always loved motorized machines. I don’t exactly remember how he ended up buying the buggy, but I guess to have fun in the forest and for working on stuff in the area around the house.V.T.





bigquotesHe likes to give a tour on the Polaris to everybody who visits our place... Usually, he doesn't go too easy on them!V.T.






bigquotesDuring the lockdown we had the chance to rebuild our old dirt spot in the village. Two of my oldest friends who I started out riding dirt jumps with sent me a message. They stopped riding bikes a few years ago, but they wanted to get back into it. It was great to hear from them and to see them again. With all the free time we took the opportunity and in 2 weeks it was ridable top to bottom. I’m really happy that they were motivated to go back to this place. Without them and the lockdown, it would never have happened.V.T.





bigquotesMy little sister is at the age where she can progress really quick. It’s funny to see her try new things and tricks... She pretty much learned by herself how to toboggan! It reminds me when I was her age at the same local dirt jump place. She rides DH too and just got her fist season pass for Bernex Bikepark this summer. She is so motivated to go ride whenever she can!V.T.





bigquotesNow and again in the summer I go up the top of the mountain. It's called 'Pic Des Mémises' and it’s a really good place to watch the sunset over the water of Lac Leman. You can see for miles across to Switzerland.V.T.







bigquotesNormally I ride up there on my trials bike or with my E-bike. It’s fun on the climb and the descent is an epic single-track of many hundreds of height meters. I bring my Hope lights and I can ride down in the dark just as fast as daytime.V.T.






bigquotesAbout 8 years ago when we found this place we automatically knew that we have to build some jumps and features. We started to build with friends and named the track 'America' because it was just like the forest and dirt we would see in the bike movies.V.T.




bigquotesIt’s one of my favorite local tracks and overall the kind of terrain I like the most. Deep in the forest, loamy, dark dirt with some roots and rocks for the challenge. Now I mostly ride it alone with my enduro or electric bike. There is no good access to get to the top with a car.V.T.







bigquotesThere are many old features in the forest from years ago. Now they are too sketchy to ride, but we still have the photos and videos and good memories.V.T.





bigquotesI love to ride steep stuff. I think because I learned to ride my bike in a region with this mountainous terrain I feel comfortable and at home. I do feel afraid on my bike sometimes, but mostly when I try a new jump that I built. I like to push myself, it’s the way to progress and with experience, you know your limits and what you can do.V.T.





bigquotesI think table-tops and whips will always be the best. They are the basics and they are some of the first tricks I learned. You can do these kinds of tricks on pretty much any jumps or situation and they give me a good feeling.V.T.




bigquotesWe found the rock on the first day we scoped this forest nearly 10 years ago, but we didn't build the line until 2 years ago with the help of friends. The first one to ride down this rock was my friend Benoit Gurnel... He even did it on a muddy day!V.T.




bigquotesWhat I like about this feature is that the way up is even scarier than the way down. It’s like a spine. I think when Brendog visited this winter, he was surprised by how it looks in real life. Then he was afraid.V.T.




bigquotesIf people call me crazy, mostly it's my family and it’s ok because I can understand their point of view. Normally, I just explain that I know what I do and so for me, it’s a lot less crazy than what they think.V.T.




bigquotesWho can know what the future will bring, but I would be happy if I can still do what I love for many years to come.V.T.




bigquotesI would to thanks my parents, family and friends for everything. And of course, also the many brands who have supported me over the years; Scott, Chatel, Hope, Box components, Michelin, Bluegrass, Dakine, Syncros, Ride Concept, Marzocchi, Gopro and SensusV.T.



47 Comments

  • 108 0
 Huge props to @nathanhughes for the wonderful pictures and the story about Vinny T.
What a nice place!
  • 10 0
 Thank you very much @ruedi and others for the great feedback Smile Also big thanks to Vinny for the stay and the amazing effort to showcase his insane riding & home spots!
  • 68 0
 My dude
  • 15 0
 What a great kid and family. Props to old man Ben as well for helping him though the years. Scott is doing it right.
  • 1 0
 @jackalope : so right!
  • 22 1
 The perfect rider doesn't exist...OH WAIT, there is Vinny T. Perfect style, simple mindset, true connection with his surroundings, a silent master. Wanted to see him ride 2 weeks ago in Chatel, but he is like Batman, you can not see him. (Even though he posts videos of riding the very same line the very same day just like you, you cant see himBig Grin )
  • 13 0
 He comes across as a really humble, nice lad.
  • 6 0
 Awesome pictures! But where are the pics and vids of the spiky tires in action?
  • 3 0
 It's summer! ha
  • 7 0
 Here it is (to see the spikes in action) : www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqI2mPukoPk
  • 1 0
 @Groscreux: Thanks for the link video was awesome.

Wish i could ride half that well on my studded tires.
  • 5 0
 Stunning pictures!!

Quick remark, For the quote about the Lac Léman and the view accros Switzerland, it is « Pic des Mémises ».
  • 1 0
 Thank you ! Also for the correction, it's changed.
  • 7 0
 Best style!! Vinny T is definitely on my Top 10 favorite rider list.
  • 6 0
 Killer content ! Thanks Nathan for showing such a true picture of the rider and of his living area.
  • 1 0
 Cheers Loris! And sorry for your very limited appearance in the story!
  • 6 0
 What a beast on a bike. Awesome write up and photos @nathanhughes
  • 5 0
 Wow! Lamas, cow bells, mystic mountains, dope ass soil, feathers.... I’m down with this!
  • 3 0
 Just finished reading this on my lunch break at work and I’m gutted I’m not out in the woods now too!!

Great article, sick pics and it’s refreshing to see a pro that’s so humble and loves his job so much!
  • 3 0
 living the dream, the photos and the story are so good that I forgot to complain about why there is no video...every video from Vinny is mind-blowing....
  • 4 0
 Fantastic pictures! I was transported there for a minute! Looks like a great place to live and ride.
  • 1 0
 Soooo, checked out that “crazy cart” he’s got in his garage. That thing looks like a blast! Will be picking up one for my kids for sure. Really hope I will fit on it. If not, looks like they make an XL.

www.razor.com/products/electric-rides/crazy-cart
  • 1 0
 I'm sure it is a blast to drive yourself. Being a passenger though, I cannot recommend! Pure fear
  • 2 0
 Vinny T has styles for miles~ The guy has an uncanny knack for riding on two wheels. It's as if he was born inside the womb shredding on a bike! One of the best free riders ever. He is an absolute legend and he's only 25!!!
  • 4 0
 Vinny T is the man! Sick shots too Nathan
  • 3 0
 V.T. Has the best MTB instagram account, great work on these photos, absolutely stunning.
  • 3 1
 Should have named that track "Canada" or "BC" cuz we don't have that stuff in the US haha. This piece was awesome! Would love to see more.
  • 5 0
 America=/=US
  • 3 0
 Would love to know the screw size you found to work best. Want to try it this winter.
  • 4 0
 My favorite kind of magazine-esque article.
  • 3 0
 Now THIS is a quality article on a quality rider. Thanks to all involved. Great work.
  • 3 1
 The more I read, the more I liked Vinny, ...and I already liked him!!! And Not ONE down vote! I am so proud of you guys! Keep killin' it Vinny and Family!
  • 3 0
 Someone's making the most out of life. Keep it up
  • 3 0
 Need video of Vinny T riding as well.
  • 3 0
 Great piece and fantastic photos!
  • 3 0
 Awesome photo exhibit there. This is truly a beautiful place.
  • 3 0
 Love watching Vinny T ride. One of my favs
  • 3 0
 @nathanhughes You killed it with these photos man, really well done.
  • 3 0
 Amazing feature - vinny has life sussed!
  • 3 0
 Best Pink Bike article to date. Fantastic pictures and story. Thanks guys
  • 3 0
 Top!
  • 3 0
 Content is ace!
  • 3 0
 So good Vinny!
  • 3 0
 Epicly Photo'd!
  • 2 0
 my men !
  • 1 0
 Simply rad. Thank you for the distraction!
  • 1 0
 now that was EPIC!

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