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Video: 'Digger's Back' on an eMTB with Wade Simmons

Jul 24, 2019
by Rocky Mountain  

Todd “Digger” Fiander and the Godfather of Freeride, Wade Simmons, are two of the most well-known characters on the North Shore - and for good reason. Digger’s spent his life building trails and features that have influenced riding networks around the world and Wade was right there with him to help make them famous with his skills on a bike. The two have worked side-by-side for over 20 years wandering the woods, sharing laughs on the trail, and filming for Digger’s North Shore Extreme movies.

From all the years of trail building, both of Digger’s knees deteriorated to the point of needing replacement. When it came time for the surgeries, the NSMBA put together a GoFundMe to help make his recovery a little easier and many people in the community came forward to support. Both the surgeries went as planned but his ability to pedal a regular mountain bike just wasn’t there. He hadn’t ridden any the trails he helped build in over 10 years and the future of him as a rider was uncertain.

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Wade Simmons and the Altitude Powerplay
Wade Simmons and his Altitude Powerplay

bigquotesMountain biking on Vancouver's North Shore, or the world for that matter, would not be the same if it wasn't for the trail building vision of Digger. I owe him a lot for helping to kickstart my riding career. I've known the guy for more than 25 years and live just 3 blocks away from him. Hell, I probably see him too much!

All joking aside, witnessing Digger’s knees deteriorate over decades of demanding trail work was heartbreaking. It was painful to watch him move through the forest and even worse to watch him lose the ability to do what he loves - building trails. Once his knee surgeries were confirmed, it dawned on me that an eMTB could play to his favour and get him riding the trails again. It had been over 10 years since he'd been able to do so that was it. I had to get him a bike.
Wade Simmons, Godfather of Freeride

Wade saw the surgeries as an opportunity to help out a friend who had given him so much over the years. It was his idea to support Digger with an Altitude Powerplay because he knew the assistance from the bike’s drive system would help get Digger back riding. Digger’s rehab started with laps up and down Mountain Highway on Mount Fromme, but he soon pushed outside his comfort zone onto many of the singletrack trails he’s helped build.

Todd Digger Fiander and his Altitude Powerplay
Todd Digger Fiander s Altitude Powerplay

bigquotesThank you very much to Wade and Rocky Mountain for getting me an Altitude Powerplay. It's helped me to get out and ride every single day, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to say that!Todd 'Digger' Fiander

If you ride the North Shore regularly you’ve probably come across Digger throwing dirt, cracking jokes, and tuning up the trails. We’re stoked to have him working on the local trails, but if anyone deserves to get out and ride them, it’s him.

Presented by Rocky Mountain
Featuring the Altitude Powerplay

A film by Union Production Co.
Featuring: Todd “Digger” Fiander and Wade Simmons
Director: Andy Rogers
D.P. and Editor: Dan Barham
Additional cinematography by Chad Jones
Motion Graphics: Simon Edwards
Executive Producer: Stephen Matthews
Photography by: Margus Riga, Ale di Lullo, and Dane Perras

MENTIONS: @RockyMountainBicycles

Regions in Article
North Vancouver


  • 111 19
 Here come the comments saying "this is the only time that i approve of an e-mtb." As if we needed your permission, your highness.
  • 51 124
flag casman86 (Jul 24, 2019 at 0:20) (Below Threshold)
 Riding a motorized vehicle on a trail does require permission.
  • 56 8
 There shouldn’t be any negative comments if people have used the filter system properly.
  • 19 137
flag RustySaguaro (Jul 24, 2019 at 3:16) (Below Threshold)
 Nerds. Ride a real pedal bike or stop being too scared to ride a real motor bike. Y'all probably can't drive stick and think Tesla's are cool too.
  • 62 1
 I feel like anyone who has filtered out e-bikes has missed out. This is a feel good video! I'm an Aussie but lived in North Van for 3 years and have had the pleasure of meeting Digger many many times not to mention yelling cries of thanks as I ripped past him as he worked. His work has shaped my building and riding more than any other person I can think of. This to me is the greatest strength of an e bike, allowing someone that couldn't ride to do just that.
  • 29 0
 Pulling on your friends brake lever. Absolute
  • 44 1
 @RustySaguaro: I have a shot knee and ankle and have been contemplating an ebike. I also drive a manual trans diesel and Tesla’s are pretty sweet...
  • 4 3
 @RustySaguaro: I ???? Tesla
  • 25 4
 Or maybe just enjoy the video and appreciate Digger instead of trying to foist your own selfish bike politics on top of it Ron.
  • 3 0
 @ReubenSandwich: Yes! Such a feel good video! Love for all things MTB!
  • 2 1
 someday you will have bad knees too- karma is you know what...
  • 3 15
flag pinnityafairy (Jul 25, 2019 at 6:18) (Below Threshold)
 Realist announce e-bikes cause obesity laziness and fake results. Maybe in the future as a bonus you can get lipo and PEX implant coupons with an e-bike. Watch sales Skyrocket for all the people unable to earn it on their own. Sheeple and E bikes are like peanut butter and chocolate.
  • 9 1
 @pinnityafairy: I don’t know where you’re from but where I am in the shape I’m now in also couples with the fact I don’t pedal my bike up the hill anymore because I don’t get to ride enough to keep that muscle group in shape having a bit of assistance may help me get that muscle group back into shape. Also I’m in the same boat as digger with regard to needing a knee replacement but I’m far to young for it. Pedaling your bike around has nothing to do with being fat. I control my weight with diet and strenuous work at my job. I just need assistance getting to the top you judgmental little prick.
  • 5 0
 @casman86: that is counterintuitive due to digger built a lot of the trails on the shore. Can’t see him asking him self to ride the trail HE built, try again bro
  • 1 0
 @ReubenSandwich: I think this one might be just general content. I have the efilter on and this still pops up.
  • 76 0
 Thankyou Digger for everything you've done on the north shore (specially Fromme) I look forward to seeing you out on the hill.
  • 71 0
 Thanks Digger!

Thanks Wade!

Thanks Rocky Mountain!

Great vid appreciate the stoke and getting Todd back out on the trails that would not exist if it was not for his work! Don’t forget people Digger founded the NSMBA, built approximately 50% of the bike trails on the North Shore, pioneered almost all of the trail building standards that the world relies on to create sustainable mountain bike trails, and so many more amazing accomplishments. All for the love of the sport and the community. This man has given his life energy to the world of mountain biking and the sport is what it is because of him. And he has never once asked for anything in return. Nothing. No recognition, no money, nothing. Wade (and others in the community) figured out how to get him riding again because we are all desperate to show this man our gratitude.
  • 10 0
 Dam straight! we owe him big
  • 1 0
 Well said!
  • 70 0
 Thanks for everything Digger! The Shore scene (and mountain biking in general) wouldn't be what it is without you.
  • 37 0
 Yeah Digger!!! Thanks for all years of blood, sweat and tears.
  • 34 0
 I love in when he puts on the Roach gear!
  • 17 1
 Its pretty awesome seeing Digger getting to enjoy the trails he's put so much work into over the years. I see him or his truck up Fromme basically every time I ride the mountain! I ran into him just after his surgery on a E-bike. He was almost apologetic for riding such blasphemy... But if anyone deserves to shred Fromme on the dreaded E-machine its that guy!
  • 13 0
 Awesome - no words can ever express how much he has done for MTB and Freeride. However even more important to me is the inspiration he provided to become a builder. Keep shredin DIGGER and Thank You !
  • 11 0
 Go digger!!! To all the ebike haters if it gets you back in the sport I am all for it. Mtb has slowly been tapering off for a while if ebikes change that so be it. If there is any guy with a golden ticket to ride whatever he wants its digger. The man who made mtb what it is today. Props and much love to the man the legend digger. Any guy who has made a career of making and maintaining trails is a person to be looked up to
  • 14 1
 If anyone deserves to ride those trails it's that man who built and maintains them for all of us!
  • 15 2
 Finally we are going to get new trails with high skinnies that can support heavier ebikes....and me!
  • 3 0
 As long as you're still riding the blue Bullit and Monster T like back in the COP days, it should all be good.
  • 8 0
 This is the greatest thing ever. The Godfather and Digher out riding trails together is pure rad. Who cares if he's on a Ebike... The dude has earned the right to ride whatever the hell he wants. We as a worldwide community of MTB owe him so much. Also it's like Cap says "Whatever it takes". This absolutely made my day to see Digger ripping trails. Ride on Digger my man, ride on.
  • 7 0
 Just out of curiosity what is the reasoning behind the opposition to e-bikes instead of shuttling?

Is this an environmental issue, or ego? For example, who can pedal to the top and still have energy to be the fastest down?
  • 1 0
 it's just idiots with blinders on who refuse to accept that life is different for everyone and every situation
  • 2 0
 @laxguy: Yea, pretty much seems that way, plus it's very popular on Pinkbike to hate e-bikes, herd mentality!
  • 2 2
 @Bomadics: I think people foresee problems such as collisions - imagine your descending a trail that has blind corners, thinking that you may only come across someone climbing slowly or some hikers and suddenly there's someone on an e-bike going 30kmh up the hill. Also I think the fear of ruining trail access for bikes because of people riding like yahoos (and there will be some) and hitting or almost hitting hikers who will then complain, and to most of them all bikes are pretty much the same and they'll want all bikes banned. Trail access is already a fine balance in a lot of places.
  • 2 0
 @h82crash: Sure, but with that mentality we would need to ban stupidity, that's a difficult one to police!
  • 1 0
 @Bomadics: For sure, best we can hope for stupid people is that they take themselves out.
  • 1 0
 @h82crash: I think you just made the argument FOR e-bikes!
  • 1 1
 @Bomadics: Yea stupid people+motorized things makes has always made a fun combination to watch as long as they don't take you out too.
  • 1 1
 @h82crash: just stop trying bud.. no one is going uphill at 30 km/h and if you're using 2 way trails, you should always use your best judgement and discretion going either direction.
  • 1 1
 @laxguy: stop trying what? That wasn't my opinion, as stated it says some people foresee in what I've heard from other people. My last couple comments were just joking around Bomadics.
  • 8 2
 I will need a new frame soon.
Can any company sell EMTB frames please?
Less powerful motors and batteries options would be nice.
Adjustable CS and shock mounts would be nice too.
  • 9 1
 Fantastic work by RM to get this going. Video made me really happy.
  • 5 0
 Wait! He’s got his old knee preserved in formaldehyde sitting in a jar on his shelf full of mementos? That’s macabre and cool at the same time.
  • 3 0
 The best part of this is that Rocky has given something to the community by rewarding someone so deserving. But the whole thing is one of the most effective ads, so it also benefits Rocky a lot (hopefully) by increasing interest in their ebikes. All bike companies pay attention - give to the trails, and the riders will end up giving back to you.
  • 6 0
 Awesome for Digger. Hope to see you riding the trails!!
  • 6 0
 Wade Simmons is the best. Love how happy and stoked he always is.
  • 2 0
 If anybody that deserves to have a bike sponsor is Todd.
Thanks for all the hard work. For all these pros if it wasn’t for digger you guys would not be sponsored by the bike companies To the bike Company you should’ve given him a bike a long time a go and if it wasn’t for his videos you guys would not sold as many bikes as you have
Thanks Digger we all appreciate your hard work
  • 5 1
 Good Times! If Digger or any other person needs an Ebike to get out and enjoy the sport again all the power to them! Smile
  • 3 0
 Right on Digger got back on the trails with the king and if it was only possible with an ebike, all good!! Glad to see these faces again!!!! Keep after it boys!!
  • 1 0
 This made me tear up a little, I have not seen todd for awhile. I've been off work for 6months with a knee injury and then surgery for it, just barely back on easy xc clmib trails on the shore. I hope to bump into sometime soon. Cheers Digger!
  • 2 0
 I hope the young Pups know how important "Digger" is too MTB. If it were not for him we would not be were we are at in this sport, we'd be a decade behind. Awesome to see him out there after getting his new knees!!
  • 1 0
 All the eBike haters have never ridden a day in the alps. One trip, one day riding in the backcountry, and you’ll be begging for one. Be nice to the old guy you’ll be one day. That eBike will do wonders for Diggers well being.
  • 2 0
 I think this is absolutely radical. Wader and Digger riding together, pretty unreal. I have to go scrounge up a VHS player somewhere and dust off some old movies.
  • 4 0
 So good to see Digger back riding!
  • 1 0
 This and the Eddy King (another legend) Tools of Empowerment video are great examples of how e-bikes can get broken rider back in the saddle. And at some point I'll be a broken rider that still wants to ride.
  • 2 0
 Cool, made me smile. I do look forward to all the eBike lynch mob eating humble pie in decades to come. Be thankful for what you have
  • 2 0
 The Pipeline used in the video game is my favourite bit of detail. I just want to quit work and play that game for the rest of my life
  • 3 0
 Love that you noticed this, we were wondering if anyone would.
  • 3 0
 Damn, reminds me classic dos digger games.
  • 3 0
 2 legends! If you don’t respect these 2 guys you are a kook!
  • 1 0
 Comment about the end of the video: eMTB aren't a substitute for stretching! Get off that chair and stretch those tight muscles.
  • 1 0
 I hope Todd doesn't stop trail building and starts ridding full time! ha ha right on Digger enjoying the fruits of your labour again great to see Salute
  • 3 0
 You I am even more interested in ebikes.
  • 2 0
 Awesome! Stoked, video makes me want to ride, just need my ribs to heal up a little more
  • 3 0
 Best trails in the planet, thanks Digger!!!!
  • 2 0
 An E mtb gave me a second chance- so remember guys before you poooo pooooo an e rider on the trail
  • 1 0
 Awesome! I wondered happened to Digger, was a big fan of his trail building and videos and then he disappeared. Sad to hear about his knees but great to see him riding again!
  • 1 0
 I’m so happy Digger’s knee reconstructions were a success and he is back on a mountain bike and trails! Welcome back Digger! See you on the trails!
  • 1 0
 smiles for miles , thank you for all the amazing work on the shore and great to see digger get chance to reap the rewards again
  • 3 1
 So much awesomeness!! Thank you for the inspiration.
  • 3 0
 Made me smile!
  • 2 0
 Awesome to see digger on a bike again! Is wade next?
  • 2 0
 This is so cool to see. Digger is the reason I got into Mountainbiking...
  • 2 0
 This had me smiling from the second it started! Welcome back Digger!!
  • 2 0
  • 3 0
 Know your Legends.
  • 3 0
 Thank you digger
  • 1 0
 Beauty eh? So we can ride ebikes anywhere in Canada now eh? Take off to the great white north then eh? Beauty.
  • 2 0
 Best video 2019. for sure!
  • 2 0
 So Bad Ass!!!!!! Two Legends!!!!!!!
  • 2 0
 knees! really cool to see
  • 1 0
 People with health problems are the perfect target for E-Bikes, at this point I think it's undeniable,
  • 1 0
 Ha, two kids on bikes having a blast. Good times. The Legend of Digger continues.
  • 1 0
 I love e bikes, Digger, the North Shore, Rocky, all this shit! I love bikes!!!
  • 2 0
 Cool stuff.
  • 2 0
 great movie!!!
  • 2 0
 I love it.
  • 2 0
 That was brilliant!
  • 2 0
 Thank you Digger!!
  • 1 0
 Biggest smile, ear to ear :-) Heck yeah Digger!
  • 1 0
 I really dig this video. Stop de hat-E
  • 5 4
 Ebikes ftw
  • 1 0
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