The Pinkbike Podcast: Episode 29 - Freeride or Die!

Nov 5, 2020
by Mike Levy  
Art by Taj Mihelich


If you've been riding for a couple of decades or more, you might remember the golden days of freeriding where it seemed like new heights (and distances) were being reached each month. The days of shoprats playing New World Disorder 5 on repeat endlessly are long gone, but does that mean freeride is dead? Or maybe it's just slopestyle? Speaking of that, what's with Crankworx not including skinnies and teeter-totters on the course anymore? Only joking...

Episode 29 is all things freeride, and I swear there's more to it than Kazimer and I talking about "The good ole days."

Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, or wherever else you get your podcasts.




THE PINKBIKE PODCAST // EPISODE 29 - FREERIDE OR DIE
Oct 5th, 2020

Skinnies and wheelie drops or flips and spins?

Hosted by Mike Levy (usually) and featuring a rotating cast of the editorial team and other guests, the Pinkbike Podcast is a weekly update on all the latest stories from around the world of mountain biking, as well as some frank discussion about tech, racing, and everything in between.

Previous Pinkbike Podcasts
Episode 1 - Why Are Bikes So Expensive?
Episode 2 - Where the Hell is the Grim Donut?
Episode 3 - Pond Beaver Tech
Episode 4 - Why is Every Bike a Trail Bike?
Episode 5 - Can You Trust Bike Reviews?
Episode 6 - Over Biked Or Under Biked?
Episode 7 - Wild Project Bikes
Episode 8 - Do We Need an Even Larger Wheel Size?
Episode 9 - Why Are We Doing a Cross-Country Field Test?
Episode 10 - Getting Nerdy About Bike Setup
Episode 11 - Are We Going Racing This Year?
Episode 12 - What's the Future of Bike Shops?
Episode 13 - Are Bikes Too Regular Now?
Episode 14 - What Bikes Would Pinkbike Editors Buy?
Episode 15 - What's Holding Mountain Biking Back?
Episode 16 - Who's Your Mountain Biking Hero?
Episode 17 - XC Field Test Insider
Episode 18 - Electronics on your Mountain Bike: Good or Bad?
Episode 19 - The Hardtail Episode
Episode 20 - MTB Conspiracy Theories
Episode 21 - Stuff We Were Wrong About
Episode 22 - Does Your Riding Style Match Your Personality?
Episode 23 - Grim Donut 2 is Live!
Episode 24 - Why Even Buy a DH Bike?
Episode 25 - Fall Field Test Preview
Episode 26 - The Three Most Important Mountain Bikes
Episode 27 - The World Champs Special
Episode 28 - All About Women's Bikes


88 Comments

  • 73 0
 I still take my trail bike downtown and to the University to huck to flat off every piece of concrete I can find. Wearing headphones and usually a little drunk
  • 51 0
 Please never stop.
  • 6 0
 In the town where I live thats basically the only riding one can do because there is no trails.
  • 5 4
 @mikelevy: Well, except for the drinking bit.
  • 6 0
 @2pi: Exactly, smoking weed is a different story ;P
  • 2 0
 @erunner376: that is why I grew up hucking my Schwinn Preaditor Pro off of stair sets and loading docks. We have "trails" according to the land managers but going 50 mph on cattle damaged fire roads on a rigid Rockhopper with a U-brake under the chainstays while hoping not to die just wasn't as fun as getting air time with almost no effort.
  • 2 0
 @Avanwin: That is exactly what I ride right now! You either take your hardtail and send if off the most sketchy drops in town or you get a shuttle up a steep fireroad into the mountains and try not to die coming down
  • 36 1
 Maybe the slopestyle stuff isn't getting more eyes because it just looks like BMX on a hill these days...like a lot of other stuff. MOST riders ride in nature. Even rampage is looking like a jump park on a hill these days. The trails are too groomed to relate to most riders.
  • 30 0
 Yeah that's what I was trying to get at. There are a lot of parking lot dirt jump spectacles masquerading as a real sport out there, and it really hurt the competition aspect of slopestyle.

I miss the days when slopestyle courses had a ton of different ways to ride them, and we saw some real surprises in terms of choices. Timo Pritzel trying to send the whole Joyride course. Semenuk gapping over the entire whale tail on-off box at Crankworx Colorado. Wondering what Zink was going to attempt.

I love flippy spinny shit more than most, and get pretty nerdy about who's doing what opposite/switchfooted/etc., but even I get kind of sick of just adding another bar in. It's impressive as hell, but not very creative. Takes the free out of freeride for me.
  • 5 0
 @brianpark: Similar to snowboarding contests nowadays.
  • 4 0
 I love it when lines are mixed between the two. A steep freeride decent mixed with a jump line is really hard to beat
  • 2 0
 Yeah, that's definitely why I don't usually get into the slopestyle stuff. It's hard to appreciate the scale on a screen, so BMX stuff ends up seeming more impressive. On the other hand, Rampage and Fest are my two most anticipated MTB events of the year. My formative years involved watching a lot of New World Disorder, and for me, that will always be what mountain biking is supposed to look like!
  • 6 0
 Have you ever been to the rampage sites? I don’t think that anyone who’s actually been there would say that rampage looks like a jump line
  • 3 0
 @Mntneer: An accurate statement. It doesn't work to huck 60'+ to a natural landing, just ask Bender, nevermind flipping and spinning. Rampage isn't groomed, its just so big its hard to appreciate it on a tv screen.
  • 21 2
 Coming in 2021 Pinkbike is redefining the sport of MTB (once again) with the most technologically advanced skinny shredder: The Grim Churro. Coming standard with OneUp components new stem integrated airbag and auto-balancing handlebars. With its stiff chassis, limitless travel, and progressive 77 degree head tube angle optimized for “hucking to flat”, you can wheelie drop any roof with full confidence. Freeride or die.
  • 17 0
 I thought episode 29 would be about wheel size...
  • 34 1
 They're saving that for episode 32.
  • 6 0
 @kcy4130: It surely should be in episode 30.5.
  • 15 0
 Freeriding is literally just not racing
  • 11 0
 Like @jamessmurthwaite snuck in there we could go with the Slim Doughnut for the name of the skinny bike. Or we could play off the name in other ways with the Grim Slim, Grim Diet, Grim Salad. I can imagine they could have the prototype built and the first video ready to go about April 1st of 2021.
  • 17 0
 Slim Donut the best possible name.
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: Instead of having a BC edition with a burlier fork, just call it the maple bar edition.
  • 11 0
 A travesty that @jamessmurthwaite didn’t get credit for Slim Donut in the podcast, podcast gold that Smile
  • 1 0
 imo that headtube area is still pretty grim shady
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: I believe you have already stated the brand would be Grim. And cruller are round and scalloped (and eggy). I think a long john is the donut you were thinking.

I'd go with the Grim Eclair. The fancy name emphasizes the finesse required for skinnies.
  • 5 0
 Internet fame achieved, haha. And no ban-hammer, I've just had this username all over the place for a veeeery long time (just checked and holy crap I joined here in 2000 Eek )
  • 6 0
 I miss urban rides from the freeride days.
  • 9 0
 YES! I remember being able to spend four hours at the same parking barrier or curb or set of steps every other night. Not so much anymore.
  • 8 0
 @mikelevy: bring it back, could be the new thursday night ride.
  • 2 0
 youtu.be/DZpoFy4WQRE
Shift was my favourite freeride movie. Plenty of urban free riding
  • 1 0
 @goldstreamubrew: shift was the best! Defined my riding in highschool-
  • 3 0
 @goldstreamubrew: YES. Shift was the best.
  • 3 0
 +1000 great memories....

I remember rolling up to Vancouver during college, hitting the trails on the NS in the afternoon, grabbing a bite to eat at Pita Pit or one of those $.99 pizza places downtown then rolling out with a bunch of locals on the waterfront in downtown until the wee hours of the night....on my Bullit with Monster-T of course....
  • 1 0
 Wade and Donahue on the street... pretty sick back in the day.
  • 1 0
 I distictly remember an urban freeride video that was posted here on pinkbike ca early 2000s that showed riders in the vancouver (?) winter ... lots of riding concrete road dividers etc. Anyone wo can dig that one out?
  • 4 0
 @brianpark: ....now I'm telling you man, that donut was THIS big!
  • 1 0
 My buddies and I used to do this all the time! This was our go to riding. Trails on the weekends, urban at all other times.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Back in the day my go to bike was a Kona Cowan DS (Marzocchi 4X, Sun/Ringle MTX/Abbah, Avid, and Raceface everything; obviously). However I set up or modified the bike, it had to be comfortable doing a solid concrete session. The trick was to get that bike to be able to do a less then painful day at Whistler as well. Nowadays I'm on a Santa Cruz 5010 (Fox 32, DT Swiss EX471/350, Sram, and Chromag everything; less obvious). More then capable for a concrete session; much better for a day at Whistler... and my body.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: it was such a great excuse to not have to do an "impossible climb".
  • 3 0
 Now i really want to see some 'Freeracing':
Heli-Drop a few riders off on the summit of a mountain without built trails and whoever gets down to the finish on the bottom fastest wins
  • 2 0
 Or something like a series of hardline, riders build the course, like the fest series, but racing and some tech.
  • 2 0
 All the time! I ride around town with my kids and we dare each other to huck off different things, or ride skinny concrete walls. All the good stuff. Derailleurs are cheap these days. Or if you are lucky like us you can ride from your house to the trails and hit all sorts of stupid stuff on your way to the dirt.
  • 6 0
 James did not get enough acknowledgement for the 'slim donut' comment
  • 2 0
 Seriously have was that completely ignored/missed!?!
  • 5 0
 Huge drops, ridiculous rolls and scary gaps are still a thing out in the woods.
  • 2 0
 I just miss when mountain biking wasn't just riding trails. Point A to B type shit. And people telling me their product will make me faster. I'm not trying to get to point B faster. Life's about the journey not the destination right? Thats freeride to me.
  • 4 0
 Rampage should become a world series. Utah and Mongolia and some other place.
  • 1 0
 I've been riding since before freeride. And, it was like a light bulb being turned on for me. I'm not saying I was a talented freerider, but it was something that brought a ton of fun to a sport that was all about racing. It was about hanging out and having fun getting exercise with buddies. And, some of those skills learned are still serving me well on modern bikes and trails. I don't want to go back to those days, but I also really appreciate what they brought to the sport.
  • 1 0
 The term freeride is just not that cool to say anymore, but the activity that the term Freeride conveys is off the charts, friggin awesome. I prefer to say I am going for a ride, not I am going for a freeride. But when I am out on my bike I am free to ride how ever and what ever i want, I am free to choose. Its awesome, just unabashed fun to rip, shred, cruise, or flow a trail or piece of terrain as I see fit (obviously being careful to not braid a corner). As long as i have a grin on my face at the end, signaling a great ride or shall you say freeride, does it really matter.
  • 1 0
 Isnt free riding kind of just trail riding, but with some jumps sometimes?
And some trails. Yeah. Trails are good too.

Big mountain is actually “the free riding” of all the other action type sports sports ....

And slope style mtb could really use some more “MOUNTAIN” ..... I think the current slope style guys could crush it if we had more stunts in the woods and included big mountains.......

What if: (Travis rice type) “supernatural” kind of events migrated the way of mtb and was held with a “jam format”
??????

That’s probably what we would all relate too
  • 2 0
 I think @jamessmurthwaite deserves *podcast gold* for his "Slim-Donut" comment that just seemed to have flown under the radar during the podcast.

Just sayin'
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy depending on where the 3ft high skinny that breaks your ankle is located, it might get you that helicopter ride..

My tib-fib break only got my a ride to the ER from my wife...
  • 1 0
 Just listening now and the whole skinny convo was great. We don’t need every trail to be built around skinny’s but the feeling of hitting that “pro line” keeps you young!
  • 3 0
 When the first episode of the Field Test will be published? Thanks!
  • 7 0
 Next couple of weeks!
  • 2 0
 I haven't done a wheelie drop since I had my GT Ruckus. Loading dock was only 3 feet high.
  • 2 0
 I am literally looking at a loading dock now. I'm trying to remember if I did wheelie drops when I rode a bmx back in the late 80s. There are two spots that I was always at that had loading docks but I don't remember crashing on them. Of course, no one wore helmets back then. I never had the guts to do BMX racing but we built a super tiny track at the end of the street. I also think we didn't know how to do real bunny hops, just English.
  • 2 0
 Next time @mikelevy pulls a pinker out, make him read something that he once wrote that he now intensely opposes
  • 3 0
 What a trip down memory lane. Long live the picnic table wheelie drop
  • 2 0
 The only reason I ride skinnies is so I don't totally suck at riding skinnies.
  • 2 0
 What is it where people ride down really steep, really difficult natural terrain? I like that, whatever it is
  • 1 1
 Vertriders? Not my cup of tea but all the more power to 'em!
  • 1 0
 I know I am kinda new to MTB riding, but everything I am hearing described as "freeriding" to me sounds like a good chunk of my riding.
  • 1 0
 It would be nice to see the results for times etc in a table or the actual scores/ranking/power/times especially in this era of data.
  • 1 0
 Style over speed. Tons or riders are doing it. We all get so caught up in going fast that we forget that there is so much more to a trail than the fast line.
  • 1 0
 Also who would rather watch ski racing rather than free ride skiing? Will that same theme happen in mountain biking at some point?
  • 1 0
 "BBQ Beer Freeride" m.youtube.com/watch?v=2W6E1jxrADg

Maybe the LooseRiders could make a jersey out if it?
  • 1 0
 Hey @mikekazimer why didn’t you get @chriskneeland ‘s take on what is and isn’t freeriding?
  • 3 1
 Ep. 29 for freeride, what a pun
  • 2 0
 does freeriding exist is places without mountains?
  • 11 0
 Sure, you just need to find some stairs or roofs to huck off of.
  • 1 0
 The microphone looks like a penis. I can't not see it. It vibrates too. Yep. I'm cocksure!
  • 1 0
 I saw this today as well and now it’s there... FOR EH VER
  • 1 0
 If Mike Kazimer doesn't destroy his man parts without using a chamois, what seat does he use??
  • 2 0
 At the moment, the Ergon SM Enduro and the WTB Koda are my two favorites. I've had good luck with Specialized's saddles as well.
  • 1 0
 I found that getting a wide enough saddle was key for me. I'm using an Ergon women's saddle because I think the width was more important than whatever dubious saddle shaping/marketing they have on the surface of the seat.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: I switched to the SM enduro as well and havn't worn a chamois since.
  • 1 0
 I'd say "freeriding" is doing gnarly MTB stuff on things not made for MTBing.
  • 2 0
 +1 for a slim donut in the future
  • 1 0
 Matt Bolton has to be the pinnacle of modern day bc freeride. Building big lines abs getting sweet footage/photos.
  • 1 0
 Your “skinny bike” talk pretty much points a straight line at: trials bikes. Which are actually pretty dope.
  • 2 0
 Five feet in 2001.
  • 1 0
 "NORTH SHORES, WE PUT THE NORTH SHORES" Big Grin
  • 1 0
 Never choose Die.
  • 1 2
 How does a user get banned on Pinkbike???? This is literally the only forum I haven’t been kicked off of...yet.
  • 2 0
 You haven't met anyone forum users in person and it shows.
  • 1 2
 Freeracing. Did Kazimer just invent a new MTB category?
  • 8 0
 Nah, that term's been around for a bit. I'm not sure of the exact origins, but Rob Warner has used it to describe Brendan Fairclough.

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