Video: Sending Sketchy Gaps & Drops in Greece

May 16, 2019
by kleomenis koufaliotis  
Views: 8,252    Faves: 38    Comments: 7


It was in the back of a pickup truck that Michalis found I was a filmmaker and pitched me the idea for an edit. We had met once before in the same truck, both practicing for a downhill race. He was telling me that he wants to make a video edit, I didn’t pay much attention at the time, I was a bit hungry. Nevertheless, when I gave it a second thought, I had been looking to shoot a project like this, and when he was telling more about his idea, I knew it was the perfect fit for me. For a couple of months, we spoke and tried to figure out the details of the edit and the date which would work. Before I knew it, I was 3 hours away from home in a small village named Achladi - Michalis’s home town. We started filming right next morning.

Quite scary

The thing that surprised me the most about the riding scene in Achladi… is that there isn’t any. The only rider, builder and sender there is Michalis. He built these trails from start to finish, countless hours of individual work put into. He would go to dig whenever he could after work, shaping the rocky, difficult and dangerous terrain. His determination is on another level. The trails he builds are loose, slippery and sketchy to say the least.

Shaping before the first try

Full of jumps and drops, off camber sections, and rock gardens that gave me goosebumps. So unusual that some of the best riders in Greece call it a death trap instead of a trail. But while shooting there, I discovered that these trails are made to fit Michalis’s riding style. The way he rode his trails felt natural and unsettling at the same time.

Mechanicals caused headaches

The days went by and we had nearly finished shooting. This is when I asked him the question: “Why are you so passionate about shooting this film?” He smiled and told me that he wanted to share his passion for riding his special creations and the risk involved with a wider audience than just himself and some of his friends. If this video would inspire someone to get out of their home and build something straight from their imagination, let go and do what makes them happy, then the goal of the film would be a success.

Waiting for the wind to calm down

Soon the filming had finished and I sat on the same bus that I had taken to get to Achladi. Although Michalis and I had some intense moments while shooting, it ended up in a great friendship that I really appreciate and, hopefully, a great film. While the actual film is quite short, the story behind shooting it was unforgettable, and I hope it will put a smile on Michalis’s face by inspiring more people to go out and do what they love.

Just getting the bike on the roof for our big stunt was a nightmare



38 Comments

  • + 16
 Loved it all pal. Nice work in the quarry, looked steep on video so probably even steeper in reality.
Even saw mud on your tyres? What's that about? This could have been in the UK Smile
  • + 8
 hahaha yes it could ! thanks mate ! Well it had been raining and snowing before the shoot for 2 weeks and I was really muddy , and the quarry was so step that I was scared to even filming the rider .
  • + 12
 No special effects, no gimbals, just RAW riding! Loved it.
  • + 7
 Love love love it!!!! Totally reminds me of the early days of free-riding and making the most out of the terrain we could find at our local quarries! Great riding and great edit!
  • + 5
 ..."The only rider, builder and sender there is Michalis" ...

Great edit, great riding.
Keep going..
  • + 4
 need Gyros while watching this. Awesome Video, keep doing what you love brother!!
  • + 4
 yeeeah boy! Michalis is one of the radests dudes in Greece. good job, nice edit!
  • + 3
 Finally a sick video with good rock instead of most mtb videos hippie shit, Dh is about getting loose and deadly
  • + 3
 Hahaha thanks mate ! But I'm only the camera guy , the props should go to @MichalisBertsimas
  • + 4
 crazy Greeks, me like....
  • + 4
 some really technical lines in there ! thumbs up to you @kleomenis
  • + 1
 Hahaha thanks mate ! But I'm only the camera guy , the props should go to @MichalisBertsimas
[Reply]
  • + 1
 So refreshing. Hitting hard, songs about drinking beer and rum.....reminded me of days gone by. So raw, and yes, 13ish spirit....
  • + 2
 Lost me when dude used a crow-bar to get through an OPEN gate
  • + 7
 Haha, well let's give'im the benefit of the doubt and think it was just stuck
  • + 2
 @neoides: this is an answer ! Big Grin
  • + 1
 @neoides: hahaha like the way you think mate!!!
  • + 1
 Love the raw edit. He smashed over or round those boulders faster than most people cruise down smooth clay!!!!
  • + 2
 That tree at 2:21....how’d the rider fair?
  • + 1
 Greek style riding - how’s it riding Greece? Sorta rocky and dirty, but it feels so good and raw.
  • + 1
 Reminds me of a old school sponsor me video you'd send out to companies. Brought me back and absolutely loved it!
  • + 1
 That rock garden @ 1:45, piiiinned. Awsome riding man, and nice video.
  • + 2
 FUN.
  • + 1
 Mad skills. Need Greek representing on the WC circuit!
  • + 1
 Kudos to everyone for this video! Keep shredding!!
  • + 2
 Bertsi-sick riding
  • + 1
 Great job guys! Keep it up Michalis - you are not alone!
  • + 1
 Great video guys! Keep it up!
  • + 1
 Superb riding and fantastic edit. Keep it up guys!!
  • + 2
 Ghetto AF.
  • + 1
 great riding, great video!
  • + 1
 Awesome!!! Respect to the builder-rider and the filmer also!!
  • + 1
 kaulwsa
  • + 1
 Great job nice ride !!!
  • + 2
 alestorm - drink
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