Video: Nomads, Riders, Storytellers & Trail Builders in 'Soil Searching: Free Radicals'

May 26, 2020 at 11:21
by I Am Specialized  

Will Cadham and Mark Taylor (the “Free Radicals”), are nomads on a trail riding — and trail building — mission.

“Vanlife? That thing on Instagram? Nah, man,” say Will Cadham, “we’re not into that, eh.”

Will Cadham, along with Mark “Sharky” Taylor and Thabisa (that’s their RV’s name…trust us, it’s a long story) are collectively known as the Free Radicals.

While transforming ailing Westfalias or shiny Sprinter vans into rolling homes on wheels may be many riders’ fantasy du jour, Will and Mark have been nomadic for the greater part of their young adult lives. Not because they’re looking for creative ways to fill their social media feed, but because for Will and Mark, life on the road is a way of life — an absolute conviction.

Let’s start from the beginning.

Will and Mark grew up racing mountain bikes together.

After school, Will bought and moved into a van. Moving into a van, however, is easier said than done. After nearly succumbing to a brutal east Canadian winter, Will followed in the footsteps of many Quebecers before him: He migrated west to what may well be the promised land of mountain biking — British Columbia, with Whistler at its very center.

Mark soon followed and joined Will in his new home. Together, with a few friends, they were ready to take on the world.

“It was a pretty logical decision to move into an RV,” recounts Will. “Rent is the biggest monthly expense. By cutting that out we had a lot more freedom to chase the Enduro racing scene, in the hope of picking up a good sponsor.”

And with that, a young and eager indie-race team, the Free Radicals, was born.

But after traveling to the first few big races on their own dime — mainly living off chips, salsa, and cheap beer (and finishing mid-pack) — both Will and Mark knew they needed to readjust if they were going to keep their dream alive.

The two riders started filming some of their travel adventures and shenanigans, meeting local legends in riding communities, working on trails, and just being polite Canadians. After all, saying “Please”, “Thank you” and “Sorry, eh” can go a long way when you desperately need to take a hot shower, or wash a week’s worth of dirty riding shorts that are fermenting in your van.

All of this led to another revelation. After some deep introspection and consultation with “Uncle Stan” (that’d be the hip flask they share), both Will and Mark realized they could combine their passion for riding, their ability to produce unique content, and their knowledge of sustainable trail building. The Free Radicals could travel with a purpose.

Moving forward, and sideways at times, the “Free Rads” now travel to mountain biking destinations to meet up with local trail builders and advocates, throw dig day parties, possibly consume their own body weight in chips and salsa, and then ultimately share the story of the trails and local heroes with the world. They are riders, storytellers, trail builders, and their very own, unique, rolling media house.

So, when you see Thabisa pulling into your neck of the woods, consider offering these friendly Canadians a hot shower and a place to wash their clothes. And while Will is cooking up a storm in the kitchen, Mark will do a quick oil change on your vehicle, as payment for your hospitality.

The Free Radicals are, as always, ever so polite.


  • 9 1
 Yeah awesome . It would be a bit too much bike for me but I can appreciate how others choose to live and what I like about it is that they sure aren’t into consumatorism they won’t waste stuff and they sure as well recycle it all
Beautiful people ! Happy you guys live the way you do
  • 6 0
 Hey are these guys on instagram or what? That one dude's hair is dreamy.
  • 11 0
 Sometimes, but we are mostly just laying around in the sun drinking coffee (beer).
  • 1 0
 Awesome video and story Will and Mark! You guys are great, living your passion while giving back too the community, advocating for our sport and keeping us entertained. Hope to see you in the Puddle this season or any place that has rad trails. Kudos to Mountain Biking BC and Martin Littlejohn for partnering up with Will and Mark. Good call Martin! Cheers from Williams Lake!
  • 1 0
 Yea Williams Lake!
  • 1 0
 Cheers T! We are also hopeful that we can get back to WL this season, hopefully it will be deemed safe to travel around the province soon, we need more Desous laps!!
  • 1 0
 moving out to BC for exactly these reasons , spent years riding trails now want to give back and help build and maintain them for the generations to come , can't wait to head up to north and spend some time in the communities there
  • 2 0
 I've seen a few of their vids and always wondered what the backstory was! Sounds like an awesome setup - would be awesome to do something like this.
  • 2 0
 is that first pic taken at cat lake squamish?
i also live in a camper for past 3 years in squamish and whistler, skiing in winter and biking in the summer, life is good!
  • 2 0
 Nice work dudes! And Chef Will! Great to see you out of the wrist prison. Gives me hope some day. Mark, hair is looking great!
  • 3 0
 Some of the finest, most useful, and all around best dirtbags money can’t buy.
  • 1 0
 Awesome !!! That will be the dream for many of us, thanks for telling and showing. Thanks a lot for all the work you guys have been done.
  • 2 0
 how about a link to them? to follow and help out or as suggested, hook them up with a place to crash?
  • 2 0
 We are on the world wide web, sometimes.
  • 3 0
 @FreeRadicals: If you find yourselves in Vernon, BC, hit me up, we have a shower for you to use
  • 1 0
 @FreeRadicals: If you are ever in New England, would love to help out
  • 1 0
 @EuroJoe: Thanks Joe!
  • 2 0
 Happy to say these guys have left their mark on my favorite spot. Much love to the free rads!!
  • 2 0
 Hail Satin and trailboss420
  • 2 0
 Ride on. Been following you guys for a while now. Great story! Keep it up!
  • 2 0
 Can confirm. Very good people.
  • 1 0
 Do you guys never pick up chicks? 4 years sleeping in the same bed with your dude buddy..sheesh!
  • 10 0
 Always play away.
  • 2 0
 Nice works dudes. I recognize that green tape Smile
  • 1 1
 if you ever come to my country, please be welcome and feel free to take a shower!
  • 1 0
 Came here for the Nomads?
  • 2 0
 Living it!
  • 2 0
 Cheers Harv dog! Hope your smashing laps in Big Bear #oncoil
  • 1 0
 Screw my comment. Sick vid.
  • 1 0
 Heck ya Dudes! Keep doing what you're doing - Rock on!
  • 1 0
 Love these guys! Helping out builders is a great touch.
  • 1 0
 Big fan of these guys. Great video too.
  • 1 0
 Mark "desperately needs a new barber" Taylor
  • 1 0

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