The Escape Artist: Thomas Vanderham - Video

Nov 28, 2017 at 16:34
by Freehub Magazine  

The Escape Artist // Thomas Vanderham

Thomas Vanderham's moment of clarity came when he was 10 years old. After witnessing a neighbor kid doing wheelies in an alley, Vanderham set out to master the technique himself. His first attempt was clumsy and short-lived, but for a brief moment, he felt that perfect balance point. And that feeling, the one that fluttered through him during that first wheelie attempt, is one he has continued to chase his entire life.

We all seek the feeling that 10-year-old Thomas had. When we find it, we want to milk it and are constantly trying to re-create it. We search for it on the weekends and in our free time. We daydream about it and occasionally—perhaps while waiting for a train to cross—we'll even slip back into that feeling again, even if only for a moment. It calls to us, driving us to push through pain and fear. It frees us from the rut of routine life, which is exactly what our bodies and minds crave. After all, we're all just looking for an escape.

Continue the story in "Thomas Vanderham and the Moment of Clarity" from Issue 8.4 for free! Freehub Magazine Issue 8.4 hits newsstands on December 5th! Pinkbike Readers also save 40% on subscriptions with our Shared Reader Discount.

Concept by Thomas Vanderham
Shot & Edited by Scott Secco
Photography by Paris Gore
Sound by Keith White Audio
Colour by David Tomiak



MENTIONS: @FreehubMag / @scottsecco / @parisgore




86 Comments

  • + 39
 Beautiful!

"We're all looking for an escape". I hope not. If every reader here is so miserable in his everyday life that he always thinks of escaping, I hope those people will find a life better suited for them, soon!
  • + 9
 This is the story of my life as an American High School Senior. Bikes are the only way out
  • + 84
 I dunno, I think even people who are in a happy/comfortable place in life still need a place to clear their mind, rejuvenate. Some do yoga, meditate, run, ride bikes...others slam a few shots or rail Columbian powder lines. Wink
  • + 7
 @robwhynot: agreed, well put.
I feel pretty dang lucky every day I wake and am blessed to not be slumming and to have a bike.
But there are def days where I just need ‘out’ so to speak.
  • + 5
 22 Years old from Canada, still trying my best to make this reality happen. I work for an Audi Dealership right now even tho I'm not really a car guy.. So I pray for good weather on the one day off I get per week to I can ride bikes lol
  • + 17
 @visedbarbecue: lol...dude High School is a joke...you literally have infinite free time. College (depending on major) is essentially the same way if you use your time efficiently..

Work on figuring your shit out now so you can enjoy the few years of freedom you have left.

Once you enter the business world, if you really want to make it, it requires sacrifice
  • + 1
 @robwhynot: rob, why not all three?
  • - 11
flag visedbarbecue (Nov 29, 2017 at 12:36) (Below Threshold)
 @nvranka: Relax buddy, all I'm saying is that I am wholly dissatisfied with my every living moment I am in school and that riding my bike my escape. So take your "big man" attitude and go elsewhere.
  • + 14
 @visedbarbecue: haha...oh to be young and dumb.

Good luck champ...
  • - 2
 @nvranka: Being a young and dumb mountain biker is good enough for me. If growing up, entering the business world and making sacrifices means being like you, I'm all set. Thanks...
  • + 8
 @visedbarbecue: one day you'll learn to take other people's opinions and advice with a grain of salt, and put your own spin on it so you can have the best version of your life that works for you!

I could tell you I make north of $400k/yr and ride 4-5 days a week, but you and the rest of this community likely wouldn't believe it....I digress.

Being young and dumb is awesome...i wasn't knocking you. Was just giving you some advice to enjoy your time in school as you aren't a slave to bills and responsibilities quite yet
  • + 12
 @nvranka: Thank you for your advice and I apologize for my coarse responses to your comments. Have a good rest of your day. Keep shred'n
  • + 6
 @visedbarbecue: I am guilty of being a complete ass on these message boards, so no worries bro!
  • + 6
 @nvranka: And once you have kids, you look back at all the free time you had just working!
  • + 11
 I'd love to see Thomas in a Van eating der Ham
  • + 1
 @carym: ha ha true dat!
  • + 1
 @nvranka: Truth bomb. I volunteer with a high school XC league and continually remind them that this is the easiest their life will ever be.
  • + 19
 Gotta love that classic Vanderham style! So good! Trails weren't too bad either Wink
  • + 2
 Agreed, he's so rad on the bike!
  • + 12
 Damn @scottsecco, you are killing it this year! Another very fine edit.......awesome stuff!
  • + 7
 He will always be me favourite rider. Since Ride to the Hills he influenced me most from all riders out there!

Epic Thomas Vanderham...living legend!

Please litte bit more Big Bike Wink !
  • + 4
 “Ride to the hills” is a classic. Still got it on vhs. Bought my 1st high roller wit it in a Moab shop.
  • + 6
 Vanderham had some quicker times then Remy A couple weeks back. After watching this edit all I can hope for is that he starts racing enduro. He could be a real contender.
  • + 4
 Yup this is the vid of the year for me. I dropped in behind Vanderham at silver star once and his riding was impossibly smooth, like he could stay ahead of me by just working the bike and not pedalling. Like he knew every inch of the trail and was just out to connect, not to go fast. There was no brap about, just cool as a smooth operator.
  • + 4
 Great video. I like how it tells a story without telling a story. I got the daydreaming while waiting for a train before a ride narrative. I get that feeling on the way to the trails all the time. The cuts at the top and tail of the video were interested as well.
  • + 5
 Fantastic stuff! Vanderham's whips are still the steeziest. There's a train crossing 1km from a local ride spot....I have done this very thing on more than one occasion.
  • + 3
 At 00:19 in the vid I thought I was seeing some of the slickest product placement ever. I was wrong. Anyway, props to this vid anyway. I love seeing vids that feature a trail that looks rideable by mortals yet destroyed by legends.
  • + 3
 wow he just gaps at the start of safety blanket (lost boys ) hard enough to roll it. Love how "escape" videos are made where i live . so lucky to live in Revelstoke truly living the dream.
  • + 4
 so as someone who's just getting into photography, and more precisely drone cinematography, these shot are insane. love to know there setup and settings. great video
  • + 11
 Thanks @Dnpbakon! So all the drone stuff was done with a DJI Phantom 4 Pro. They put a larger sensor in the ''Pro'' version so it definitely helps with image quality over something like a DJI Mavic. For settings, my best advice is to turn the sharpness down to -1 or -2. This sounds counterintuitive but it actually gives a better quality image and reduces noise/artifacts. The other thing I can't stress enough is to use a 1/50th shutter speed. A little bit of motion blur goes a long way to creating a more cinematic image. Sometimes it's too bright for such a slow shutter speed so it's a good idea to buy ND filters for the drone. I like the Polar Pro ND4, ND8, and ND12's for most situations. Hope that helps!
  • + 14
 @Dnpbakon Oh, forgot to add a couple thoughts! If you're shooting photos with the drone then you'll want a much faster shutter speed to freeze the action: something like 1/320 or higher. I wouldn't recommend ND filters for drone photography as you want to keep your ISO at 1,600 or less and your shutter speed nice and fast. Once again, you'll want to lower your sharpness to -1 or -2 as clarity/sharpness can be increased in Lightroom or Photoshop and those do a much better job of sharpening than the drone software will. Good luck!
  • + 8
 @scottsecco: Man thanks for the reply! wasn't expecting that! I recently just got a DJI Mavic pro and just getting into it and loving every minute the advantages aerial photography gives you! As far as the shutter speed and filters. I have been on youtube for hours learning the ins and outs of different setups and there advantages:]. i doubt ill get on this level anytime soon but truly amazing to watch and i certainly appreciate the shots better knowing just how hard they are to truly get. Why didn't you guys go with something like the inspire 2?
  • + 9
 @Dnpbakon: haha I'd love an Inspire 2 but a.) I'm still paying off my Red camera and b.) the Inspire 2 is super big/heavy and hard to carry up mountains. Have fun with your Mavic and don't hit any trees!
  • + 4
 @scottsecco: oo man hear ya! right on thanks man!!!
  • + 5
 In my opinion, He's always had the most stylish whip.....smooth, flowy, always brings the back tire straight.
  • + 4
 Thanks Scott and Thomas for giving me a 3:38min escape from my Desklife at work, soo good !!!
  • + 4
 Styles and tricks come and go, but some things are timeless: TV rules!
  • + 2
 besides riding chops and general fitness, honest question here: does it take a lot of serious strength and power to ride like this? TVH seems like a fairly burly dude.
  • + 4
 Rogar Moore of MTB killing it! haha
Great filming/editing too!
  • + 3
 Special thanks to Bobby Brown?? As in the skier Bobby Brown?? What was he involved with and wow
  • + 10
 @Lookinforit haha Bobby the skier seems cool, but Bobby Brown in the credits works for Maxxis and sponsored this project. He's rad too.
  • + 4
 #Legend
  • + 2
 i rode Boondocker once on my only visit to Revy. was a good bit over my head, kinda scared me!
  • + 3
 That looks like fun to me.
  • + 3
 I want those Maxxis tire on my truck, and the vid was pretty sick too.
  • + 3
 Beautiful riding and locations!
  • + 3
 Best short video of 2017.
  • + 1
 Beaut of a vid, but should've ended with him giving up on waiting for the train and turning round to go back to the trail head...
  • + 2
 VanderDAMN!!!! ...someone had to say it
  • + 2
 Jeez, he can sure WHIP! Jealous....
  • + 2
 great team, great video. good work young Secco
  • + 1
 and I still cant find that balance for my wheelies ; ; ) ; ); ).. life goes on
  • + 2
 I miss summer time, but I sure don’t miss all that smoke!
  • + 2
 aww yeah! Those rock roller doubles were bad ass too.
  • + 1
 Would love to see him ride that trail on a 100mm hardtail, now that would be an escape.
  • + 3
 Amazing Edited!!!!!
  • + 2
 Skid king!!!!
  • + 2
 grea hea easy
  • + 2
 Well edited
  • + 2
 What trail was that?
  • + 10
 Trails: Mt. Cartier summit, Lost Boys, Boondocker, Man Quads, and Hotdog Hallway. Revelstoke is amazing!
  • + 4
 @scottsecco: dude youre the man for saying the trail name! i wish more people did that
  • + 3
 @DHsender4life: haha well it depends on the situation. I'm not about to tell you where the secret stunts are in other videos, but everything in this edit is pretty fair game.
  • + 3
 @scottsecco: i built a trail called diesel wolf near pemberton . i invite you to go ride it. Smile
  • + 2
 @DHsender4life: Thanks! I've heard that trail is unreal. The riding in Pemby is awesome.
  • + 2
 @scottsecco: stoked you heard about it ! yea its one of a kind. such an rowdy adventureSmile
  • + 1
 Just want to ride outdoors!
  • + 0
 The spiced rum and sprite knows that there are no bounds. When the spiced rum speaks you listen.
  • + 1
 Escape Artist.....I gave a girl "The Houdini" once. She was PISSED!
  • + 1
 Haha
  • + 1
 Anybody know the song?
  • + 5
 @sandellzach It's in the credits: Modern Shells by The Heavy Eyes. Definitely check out some more of their music if you like it!
  • + 1
 Which bike is he riding?
  • + 2
 Slayer.
  • - 2
 Sweet ridin and nice edit.
I can't help myself thinking it would easily 'be possible' to shred those trails using rubber from other brands Smile
  • + 2
 let me know how that works out for you... Ive been riding Maxxis for 18 years, hands down the best rubber money can buy. Not only do they make great products they support projects like this for everyone to enjoy for free.
  • + 3
 @connormacleodvideo: I don't care if you use a soap or vaseline - it's your personal choice.
Every company tries really hard to get our attentions (and subsequently our ducats) but most of their advertising slogans simply make me laugh.
A bit of sarcasm here or there did not kill anyone yet Wink
Safe riding mate!
  • - 3
 would have been better to see him on a dh bike on those trails.
  • + 1
 Why would that be better?
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