Video: The Stories Behind Dylan Forbes' Hand-Painted Helmets in 'Memories in Paint'

Jan 29, 2020
by Rocky Mountain  


Most of us can agree that the riding season passes by too quickly. After a couple of road trips with your friends you can chalk up the season as a success, but there’s always more to ride. As mountain bikers, we think back on our rides and often associate it with the bike we were riding at the time. Dylan Forbes takes that line of thinking a step further and thinks, “what helmet design was that?”

In 2012, while visiting family in Newfoundland, Dylan was given an opportunity by a friend in the form of a deal. His lifelong friend, Mark Squires, pitched to Dylan that if he did a custom paint job on his welding mask, he’d cover the costs of Dylan’s compressor, paints, and airbrush.

Fast forward to current day and Dylan’s memories are jogged by looking back at his personalized helmets. From the welding mask that reminds him of his lifelong friend, to his first custom bike helmet that caused endless frustrations when dealing with vents and curves of the outer shell. To him, each helmet means something different and is filled with fond memories.

Custom helmet paint project

This year, his helmet was dedicated to Taylor, Dylan's first dog. Like all pets, she was incredibly important to him and would go on bike rides, come to work - they were nearly inseparable. Taylor passed away in 2018 which inspired Dylan to apply a portrait he’d done of Taylor to a new medium. A fresh helmet for the season was the perfect way to carry the spirit of his dog, Taylor, with him on every ride.

Custom helmet paint project
Custom helmet paint project

Custom helmet paint project
Taylor the dog

Custom helmet paint project
Dylan with his new dog, Moe
Custom helmet paint project


Presented by Rocky Mountain
Video by: One Antler Productions
Still photography: Mitch Gulliver and Mark Mackay


34 Comments

  • 52 1
 Best damn video I've seen in since I don't know when. When I got up this morning, I sure as hell didn't think to myself "You're going to watch a video about helmet painting....and you're going to cry"
  • 35 0
 Awesome article, and so relatable. After 13.5 years of skiing, mtn biking, hiking, backpacking, sailing and just going to the supermarket together, Hannah May, my Golden Retriever who was my wing girl every single day of the week was injured by another dog (accidentally) and had to be put down 8 weeks ago. The silence within my house is deafening, and the loss is without measure. I keep thinking it's going to get better in time, she was just a dog for Christ's sake, but it's not. I miss her more than I can say. This article helps in knowing there's other like minded lucky souls who have had the same connection, and the grief of that loss.
  • 6 0
 I lost my first dog 20 years ago now and still think of the good (and bad) times we had with her.
I think everyone that has ever had a dog can relate with you, hang in there bro it gets easier, don’t ever think that if you get another dog it’s a replacement they are all different and fantastic in their own way!
  • 13 0
 I´m sorry to hear your loss, when my dog Thomas passed away last year, I felt (and still feel) the same.I took him from shelter when he was a puppy. Everyday he could not wait for me to come back from work and we did few laps till dark,we watched the sunsets together for years. All I was scared of was that one day we´ll watch the sunset together for the last time. And that day came out of nowhere. It was so lonely when I rushed home from work stoked to go riding just like always, and then I realized that I will go alone . When I was sitting there alone I wished I could give him some of my years, that I have left.

After some time, I had a shift. I realized, I gave him all of my years since he was a puppy. We were lucky that we found each other and we spent those short 14 years together and those years were full of adventures,smiles and good times. I still miss him to this day,I always will, but now I know, that we can´t change how long we´ll be here, all we can is that we can give our days meaning. I believe Thomas died as a happy dog who had a happy life, even when he saw me crying in his last moments. That´s what helps me to get over it when I miss him. I ´ll always miss him. After this Christmass, my girlfriend and I went to a shelter and took this little husky puppy and we named him Archie. I guess this summer he´ll be disciplined enough to go with me for a ride and I hope he´ll enjoy to watch the sunsets with me as much as Thomas did..

(sorry for my english Smile )
  • 3 0
 @darren853: Your english is great, and thanks for the story, anyone who's lost a dog can feel your pain. It's clear you gave that pup a great life, have fun with your new furry friend, enjoy the husky zoomies.
  • 3 0
 Right there with you man. I buried my dog of 9 years just two weeks ago. It is such a tough decision. I didn't know how much I liked that dog and the energy she brought to the house until she wasn't here. I put her out by one of the moto trails. Not too obvious for everyone to see, but I know where, so I can stop for a moment.
  • 2 1
 A dog is never "just" a dog. At least not for me.
  • 4 0
 The silence from loss is ultimately the worst. Nearly impossible to fill, though we try. Our new girl is 3 today and while we love her the piece of my heart that was her sisters before her still aches. I love dogs more than people.
  • 5 0
 Hah. My first trail dog was a rescue too. Total spaz & a complete jerk who lasted 14 awful, horrible & yet awesome years.
Only way I could tick that dog off was to shave his horrible, infernal masses of hair that coated my very existence.
I didn't take the wisdom seriously regarding:
"If you ask God for patience, realize he simply gives you the opportunities to exhibit patience"

Drexel, you psycho jerk face mutt...I miss you bud!!! Facepalm
  • 5 0
 Bond between a rider and a trail dog is something very special. Touching and fitting video. That helmet has always been perfect.
  • 3 0
 I'm going to go ahead and put in my vote for the best video of 2020. this is it. I don't even ever comment on vids, this one got me in the feels. well done Rocky Mountain and Dylan!
  • 1 0
 This feels like a cosmically-timed tribute to my own trail dog Peaty, who was also a blue-merle Aussie. It broke my heart to say goodbye to my sweet boy this week, but there is some comfort in this beautiful tribute to Taylor. We went everywhere together, and I'll take his spirit with me now, too. Thank you Dylan and Mitch
  • 1 0
 Awesome feels! I love the part where his dog is clearly violating the rules and taking the "French" line! My dog does this all the time and, while it endears him to me, it also makes him a dirty cheater!
  • 6 4
 Awesome paint job, awful finish. The orange peel on the clearcoat is a pain for the eyes
  • 2 0
 New paint, with new results. He's got it dialled for next years though!
  • 2 0
 Aren't you not supposed to paint plastic lids? Or do they have better paints now that make it okay?
  • 3 0
 Everything about that video was absolutely best kind!
  • 2 0
 Passed you filming this in Squamish. Been stoked to see how it would turn out since. And I wasnt disappointed.
  • 3 1
 This is absolutely awesome!!!
  • 3 1
 Miss you and your crazy eyes, Taylor.
  • 2 0
 Wicked helmet, will be a sad day when mine passes.
  • 1 1
 Yo that DH fork got me confused I thought it was a Saracen and I read Rocky Mountain on the Jersey I was like hol up.. something ain’t right ????
  • 1 1
 So sick! Love how you combined your passion for biking, your talent for art, and the love of your dogs into an incredible video. Nice work!
  • 2 0
 Nice work chaps, lovely to see
  • 2 0
 Such a great film and tribute to Taylor!
  • 1 0
 Amazing tribute @summer-of-summit and awesome film @mitchgulliver
  • 2 0
 Great work guys.
  • 2 0
 Dogs are rad.
  • 1 0
 Nice work Fylan Dorbes
  • 1 0
 Deep thoughts....
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