Video: Road Bike Party 3 with Sam Pilgrim

Dec 23, 2014
by Pinkbike Staff  

“We wanted to try something different, to film against the backdrop of blue sky and blazing sun… California proved a memorable choice,” says Martyn Ashton, who has just returned from the US where the crew have wrapped up filming Road Bike Party 3.

Pilgrim Road Bike Party 3

Ashton, the bike rider turned director, was paralysed from the waist down in a well-publicised trials crash in September 2013. At the time he was part way through secretly filming Road Bike Party 2 with videographer Robin Kitchin, and to complete the project the un-filmed stunt riding was taken up by Ashton’s pro trials mates Chris Akrigg and Danny MacAskill – both celebrated riders in their own right. For Road Bike Party 3, Ashton drew upon the services of 24-year-old dirt jump champion Sam Pilgrim.

Pilgrim Road Bike Party 3

“I’ve known Sam for years and he’s one of the greatest riders in the world across any discipline. He absolutely nailed it,” says Ashton.

Bringing Pilgrim on board was a departure for Ashton and the Road Bike Party team – which includes Kitchin and rider/helper Blake Samson – as Pilgrim’s honed his skills in the seemingly insane art of dirt jump, rather than the relatively disciplined world of bike trials. His day job sees him travel the world competing in the Freeride Mountain Bike World Tour, which he won in 2013.

Pilgrim Road Bike Party 3

“It was something we wanted to try,” explains Ashton. “The whole idea of the Road Bike Party series is to excite people by doing something different. By doing what we’d done before would go against that ethos. Dirt jump is a more extreme way of riding than trials and we wanted to see what he could do on the Ridley.” It’s led to a Party that’s even pacier than the previous two, but still filled with lads in lycra, wheelies and skids, and some utterly buttock-clenching jumps. Pilgrim gave everything to the project – “even getting up every day for 10 days by 6.30am!” He’s as aware as anyone of the inherent dangers of this kind of riding, and gladly lay his body on the line to follow Ashton’s direction. There are a lot of special moments in Road Bike Party 3, but for Pilgrim, there was one that was truly poignant…

“There’s a scene where I ride across a tree,” says Pilgrim. “I’m not a trials rider and the second attempt saw me face-plant a tree. I almost lost another tooth! I finally managed to get across, which I was pretty stoked with. It was good to hear from ‘a trials rider’ [Martyn] that I wasn’t too bad. He thought it was cool.” And Ashton responds with one of his favourite stunts from Road Bike Party 3, which echoed the mutual respect these guys have:

“I’m so impressed with Sam's determination to pull the fakie flip in the drainage ditch. Having ridden a road bike on these videos myself, I know just how scary that would have been.” While Road Bike Party 1 and 2 saw Ashton, Akrigg and MacAskill pull some amazing stunts around myriad UK locations, for Road Bike Party 3 the team take a pilgrimage to San Diego.
“We could have done the riding in the UK but around the time of filming, the weather wasn’t good enough. The trails would have been too muddy, we also wanted to focus on one location and base the whole film there rather than roaming the country like we’ve done back home with the previous two. And let’s be honest – who wouldn’t want to bike in California?”

Pilgrim Road Bike Party 3

The lure of sun, sand, sea and its cycling heritage made Cali an easy choice. It’s also an area that the team knows well. Ashton’s toured there in the past, and Pilgrim’s ridden there more recently.

“When the weather turned bad in the UK, Martyn asked me where I reckon we should film. I’d rented a motorhome and spent the start of 2014 dirt riding round San Diego so I knew it well. So Martyn said let’s go there. Sick… off to Cali we went.”

Pilgrim Road Bike Party 3

Pilgrim’s progress

Typical of Ashton, embryonic plans for Road Bike Party 3 emerged while he was working on its predecessor in 2013, but it wasn’t until June this year that he really cranked up the project. He came up with the concept of top-end road bike versus dirt jumps and realised there was only one man for the job.

“I’ve known Sam for a long time. I rode with him on the Animal Bike Tour for three years. He came onto the Tour really young – just 17, I think. I also managed him for a short while. I just think he’s one of the most fabulous characters in mountain biking,” says Ashton.He also reflects that looks can be deceiving: “He has a persona that’d lead you to think he’s a bit of a ‘lad’, but I can assure you that he’s one sharp kid and knows exactly what he’s doing. Very focused on his career. He’s nailing it.”

Pilgrim Road Bike Party 3

With Pilgrim signed up, Sam’s next challenge was to acclimatise to a road bike – he’d never ridden one in his life! “Dropped bars were the most difficult thing to get used to. Having my hands turn at a funny angle was weird but good. My style of riding’s way harder on a road bike as trials is about being smooth and clean. Dirt jumps aren’t. It was scary at times because I know it’s made of carbon and I’m doing all these flips, but it surprised me just how strong the Noah was. It took a lot of shit.”

It’s quite a bike for Pilgrim’s virgin road experience. It’s a ‘standard’ Ridley Noah, so there were no structural adaptations to cater for the battering. The Road Bike Party team applied a bespoke paintjob but the rest of the components – from the FSA bars and stem to the Vision aero wheels and Continental GP4000 tyres – are off the shelf.
“It’s just amazing what the Noah stands up to. Throughout the video we had two punctures. Throughout the three videos, we’ve had seven punctures. That’s crazy for the punishment we dish out!” says Ashton.

Pilgrim Road Bike Party 3

He doffs his helmet to the bike manufacturers who are courageous enough to poke their heads up above the Road Bike Party parapet. “It’s brave of them because they’re setting themselves up for a fall. But it shows that they have total confidence in their product.” “I’m a mountain biker. That’s what I am...”

That kind of confidence is reflected in how the team respond to Martyn Ashton, whose remarkable story goes down in biking folklore. He’s credited by many in the UK for spearheading the niche sport of mountain biking trials – but in truth his pioneering work helped popularise not just trials but the whole gamut of mountain biking, in the UK and worldwide.
A trials rider, he turned professional in 1993 and went on to win four British Bike Trial and one World Expert Bike Trial Championships. He started his own bike team, designed innovative frames and travelled the globe on the Animal WD40 Action Sports Tour… and then on 1 September 2013 his riding career came to an abrupt end during one of his shows at Silverstone’s Moto GP when he crashed heavily from a 3m bar. “I hovered and fell backwards as I had nowhere to step to,” he recalled after the accident that left him paralysed below the point of injury (discs T9 and T10). “I fell headfirst and effectively snapped my back in half.”

The accident happened midway through working on Road Bike Party 2. Amazingly, Ashton continued to direct the masterpiece from his hospital bed – with Akrigg and MacAskill taking over the remaining riding duties – the trials legend preferring positivity and pragmatism over self-pity. It wasn’t long before Ashton was spotted out cycling, albeit this time handbikingaround Newport Velodrome, which raised the question: did he turn the camera on himself in Road Bike Party 3?
“At one stage there was talk of me appearing on a handbike but I wasn’t really into it. My long-term goals are still about riding bicycles. I’m a mountain biker. That’s what I am. My view’s never changed. Stubborn as it sounds, even when I was lying in that hospital bed, I never thought I wouldn’t ride bikes again. For me, that’s not an exciting future. But now is all about making videos. I love that the digital revolution has made biking so accessible and visible, and I’m fortunate we have such a laugh. And anyway, Sam’s just too good – I don’t know what I could have added!”

Pilgrim Road Bike Party 3

For starters, a banging soundtrack is what he’s added. It’s not just the riders’ stunning tricks and Kitchin’s videography that captivated the 23-plus million viewers in Road Bike Party 1 and 2 – the acoustics did, too. In Road Bike Party 3, Pilgrim scorches around the woods, streets and beaches of San Diego to the backdrop of another rocking track chosen by DJ Ashton.
“Music is integral to all the Road Bike Parties. I’m fortunate because my brother, Andy, works in the music industry, meaning we have great access to bands that we wouldn’t normally have. That’s how we came about choosing a track, Fantasy, from an Irish band called The Blizzards.”

Andy spoke to Niall Breslin, the lead singer of the band and judge on Ireland’s version of The Voice, and discovered that ‘Bressie’ (“Andy knows him well enough for a nickname”) was up for it straight away. It’s a brilliant tune that, if you listen carefully, has a hint of the festive to it.

“There’s a Christmas feel at the start but it’s ever-so subtle,” says Ashton. “And that means no bloody jingle bells!”

Jingle bells or not, Road Bike Party 3 is Ashton’s most ambitious and bravest project to date. He could have stuck to the trials formula that proved so successful for the first two but that wouldn’t be his style. Life is there for living. Boundaries are there to be broken. But ultimately, it’s about inspiring viewers to get out and bike. “If after the video, one person hops on their bike, we’ve done our job. Your job as a professional rider is to excite and inspire. And that’s exactly what Sam has done.”

Pilgrim Road Bike Party 3

Equipment Used

In addition to the custom-painted but otherwise unaltered Ridley Noah frame, Pilgrim used FSA’s K-Force carbon road-racing drop bars, stem, seat-post and K-Force Light cranks; Vision’s Metron 55 and 81 carbon clincher wheels; a Prologo Nago Evo saddle; an 11-speed Shimano cassette with mechanical shifting and Continental GP4000 tyres.

Pilgrim Road Bike Party 3

The story so far…

Road Bike Party 2 - The 12 million view sensation

Road Bike Party 1 - The film that started it all

Images © 2014 Robin Kitchin and Blake Samson

Mentions: @sampilgrim @blakes19 @robinkitchin


  • 93 0
 I don't think anymore i can ride a bike
  • 40 1
 and I thought 650B would solve everything
  • 10 25
flag chyu (Dec 23, 2014 at 10:26) (Below Threshold)
 Possible to hook Andreu, Zink or the McCauls up for Roadbike Party 4?
  • 32 0
 as every pink bike reader knows, its only the flat pedals...
  • 38 4
 For Sale: Brand new Ridley road bike "only ridden twice"
  • 2 6
flag bikecustomizer (Dec 24, 2014 at 1:53) (Below Threshold)
 ..UCKING DEAR HOLY S..IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is the living proof: it is about rider skills not about the bike.

Alos seems like the answer to Chris Ackrig's CX riding Wink
  • 2 10
flag bikecustomizer (Dec 24, 2014 at 2:04) (Below Threshold)
 Road Bike Party 2 - The 12 million view sensation
That hop over net.....

Looked to his fit -he didn't do toe-down motion.
Oh, may be a tiny...

But who's that!!! CHRIS!! Smile ))))))
All guys are just awesome.
  • 58 2
 Good old Sam Pilgrim, he's the boy, top boy!
  • 23 0
 100% agree, Sam is a legend!
  • 7 0
 Sam is a top guy and seems up for interesting challenges. I met him at the recent 'parkour ride' event in London, and he seemed stoked to be doing something different. Friendly guy, very down to earth, a true professional.

We were providing neutral technical support, and were pleased to assist all the riders including sam
  • 9 2
 A lot of people on pink bike seem to think he's a right wanker, but I'm not one of them. I thhink he's funny as shit and great on a bike too. What a lad.
  • 8 1
 Thank god he's on a bike. I had no idea he was that talented... I mean with the trials stuff specifically, and overall being very well rounded. That was awesome. Who needs nobby tires!?
  • 11 1
 Good to see Sam in some spandex, been waiting a while for that.
  • 2 0
 really now
  • 4 3
 He seems like a great guy and this was a sick video but that rental bike thing was shit.
  • 52 1
 Imagine the guy with his DH bike going to this spot, and noticing all the 1" skidmarks ... Wth ??!??!!
  • 20 13
 I can imagine a couple of people being into facts and physics who'd go: it makes no sense, why would he ride a road bike? It's unreasonable, pure hype, we have the best bikes for the job...
  • 33 0
 anyone know what waki means?
  • 41 7
 Kill Miley Cyrus before Easter, that's what I mean...
  • 8 2
 I understood what Waki meant. Typical Pinkbike arguments for equipment.

I also agree, Miley must go. Smile
  • 4 0
 I guess he talked about guys who constantly whine at their stuff, professionally equipped to everything they try, but not skilled enough to deserve it. Am I right?

Oh, and by the way. f*ck ME. Can't believe what I just saw. Former two videos were cool, but imaginable for me. This one isn't. It just can't work!
  • 18 2
 Miley can tongue my brownside any day.
  • 9 0
 that escalated quickly
  • 3 2
 @brooce definetly agree with your later statement.... road bike party two is definetly the best one with a mixture of unreal riders
  • 28 0
 Such a cool intro. I'm really impressed with how quickly these guys can get comfortable riding a road bike like this. Le Tour should take note, I might watch if they toss in a trials day instead of a TT once in a while.
  • 27 1
 That makes uo for his crash video I guess...
  • 22 0
 Get well Martin, we all hope one day you guys will ride all together with Sam, Danny and Chris
  • 18 0
 So much respect for Martyn Ashton, Way to stick to your dreams and not let anything get you down! Sick riding from Sam!
  • 14 1
 It just simply proves what is capable on a bike these days- any of the today's bikes is a perfectioned machine- it's the rider that makes it possible- the bikes are just simply proven to be capable of almost anything thrown at them... It is now RedBull's turn to do Road Bike Party 4 in Utah. Now- that would be a cracker...
  • 2 2
 You make an excellent point: I'd be terrified of what might happen to the riders if they tried this on say, mid 80s steel frame road bikes.
  • 10 1
 Cracking edit. Just gained more respect for Sam, I knew he was good but not THAT good! Only downer was he doesn't look good in lycra!
  • 9 1
 Nobody looks good in roadie gear but it is faster.
  • 16 1
 Maybe you two should worry a little less about what men look like in sports attire...
  • 1 0
 Hehe. I look fantastic in lycra, however I can't ride my AM bike like that! So suppose you can't have it all.....
  • 7 0
 Um... Guess I don't really need a mountain bike after all, amazing what these carbon 29ers are capable of! Haha
  • 7 0
 Now that was amazing.... one of the best vids of the year for sure!
  • 1 0
 My exact feeling. Simply awesome what he did on this bike. Also cool to see Martin taking direction seriously and trying out different things with the whole idea. Big Grin
  • 3 1
 These tricks could not be done on aluminum bars...broke many in the early 90's, just bunny hopping over road construction debris and pits or the odd sofa blocking a bike lane on garbage day. Wheels never warped, some pedals failed, it was always the handlebars that failed to hilarious carnage. Today's carbon bars are amazing...hope the next vid has outdoor staircase drop in-s.
  • 3 1
 Well... That was RAD! Sam always had you pinned a "skate park rat" With a bit a DJ skills for good measure. My bad. You are clearly much more rounded rider on any type of bike. Good stuff keep it up! We like seeing this stuff.
  • 6 1
 *cries into pillow* He's faster than I am on a trail bike! *whimper*
  • 6 3
 That was a Big Berta cannon shooting smiles - It makes world a better place! Incredible skills and incredible grin maker factor! Made my Christmas Big Grin
  • 6 0
  • 4 0
 I guess I'm going to end up destroying my Madone 5.2 that I just bought trying this...
  • 1 0
 With a background nested in XC and then actually racing road for a few years before sticking with mtb I am very stoked to see this. If the Ridley took that beating then I will consider one for my next road bike purchase as I still ride road 1 or 2 days a week.
  • 4 0
 its embarassing that anyone can ride a bike like that in a way like that!
  • 3 0
 Stoked to see Sam doing something so big after such a quiet year. Good reminder he's still got it.
  • 2 0
 So. Effin. Good. Amazing to see Martyn still so involved with the sport, not that I'd expect any less! Big smiles, keep it up!!
  • 4 0
 I think for the next one they should ride the A-line on a road bike.
  • 3 0
 Pilgrim looks like he is having a great time, love that guy!! I wish Martyn all the best, great collaboration!
  • 4 0
 F*ck ya, my hometown! Sick!
  • 2 1
 Excuse me for mi ignorance but was this the same track or at least area, where Redbull and Spesh shot Curtis Keene on Enduro 29?
  • 2 0
 Nope. The Curtis shoot was in the Santa Monica area.
  • 3 0
 Cool that they keep coming up with new stuff and keeping these videos interesting.
  • 3 1
 Makes me wish I could go back in time and show this to my bmx friends who always thought only bmx riding could be "king of the ring" as far as doing tricks goes.

Jaw = Floor
  • 3 0
 haha that was some good stuff right there.. GB you guys can have Justin Bieber can we have Sam Pilgrim???
  • 2 0
  • 4 0
 Mad skills !
  • 3 0
 Santa Claus can do one, I've had my present for this year
  • 1 0
 So much fun to watch theses guys tear it up on a road bike. I can't do a quarter of what Sam is doing with any kind of bike!!
  • 5 2
 road biking just got a lot less lame
  • 5 2
 Imagine how much more efficient he would be using clipless!
  • 2 0
 Great to see - both of them are top guys!
  • 3 0
 This has made me smile.
  • 2 0
 Maybe pilgrim should start using that bike more often. He looked good!
  • 2 0
 for me he looks better on this videos rather than the enduro one haha
  • 2 0
 Custom ridley Road bike for sale- only one ride on it
  • 4 2
 That blew my mind out of my asshole!
  • 2 0
 I am going for a bike ride now thanks for the inspiration.
  • 2 0
 SAM pilgrim ...with this video U are The best!!!!!!!!!!
  • 2 0
 ..Pilgrim can thrash any bike anywhere..
  • 2 1
 Not as good as the first 2 in my opinion. Still superb, don't get me wrong, but I definitely preferred the others.
  • 2 0
 I would never buy his road bike off him
  • 1 0
 Just noticed the flats, why don't all road bikes have flats so we can shred?
  • 2 0
  • 1 0
 I don"t know what was funnier flat pedals on a road bike or how it was ridden lol. Insane riding! Sams a best!
  • 2 0
 Soo rad!
  • 1 0
 Amazing!!!! Wish it were longer!
  • 2 0
 haha holy shit!
  • 1 0
 Look at the bine bouncing at 2'39" !!
  • 2 0
 awesome just awesome
  • 2 0
 but how ?
  • 1 0
 How have none of those wheels exploded yet??
  • 2 0
  • 2 0
 That was fuckin' sick.
  • 1 0
 Is this what he was doing instead of FMB?
  • 1 1
 sometimes i wonder if this is just ridley advertising the strength of their road bikes
  • 1 0
 Well done Sam! Strong work mate
  • 1 0
 This video proves that the bike is not everything!
  • 1 0
 That is the sickest thing I've seen
  • 1 0
 Many spokes were harmed in the filming of this video.
  • 1 0
 I want to see something like this on penny farthings
  • 1 0
 Road bike + flat pedal = NICE!!!
  • 1 0
 My mind is blown
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 You. Are. My. Fantasy.
  • 1 0
 RIP GoPro
  • 1 2
 Awesome vid. F^*k you WAKIdesign wanting to "kill" Miley. Maybe u should go?
  • 1 2
 Meh. first two were better
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