Gravity Bolivia on ABC Nightline

Jan 28, 2008 at 13:33
by Gravity Bolivia  
Gravity Bolivia was just on ABC Nightline for doing tours of the most dangerous road in the world, on mountain bikes. The mainstream world gets so little exposure to mountain biking, that it's always great to see a bit of it on TV, over 3 million viewers in the US tuned in to this piece on a crazy kiwi running a company taking people mountain biking down the World's Most Dangerous Road... in of all places, Bolivia, South America. Check out the thrills and spills, definitely not for the faint of heart...
Views: 5,644    Faves: 1    Comments: 5
Check out www.gravitybolivia.com to learn more.


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59 Comments

  • + 10
 I don't think the point is for it to be the most extreme biking out there...its just cool to see that at least some form of mountain biking is getting onto regular television. it may not be the "coolest" biking any of us has seen, but its certainly another small step in the right direction for televesion and what the non-mtbikers see.
  • + 2
 Dead right. that's the point for sure.
  • + 12
 the group leader looked like a ginger version of chewbaca
  • + 17
 Gingabacca!
  • + 4
 ^ lmao
  • + 2
 i like his beard Razz
  • + 7
 Who cares if its sped up? Everyone has been complaining about people speeding footage up and what not. Its not about how fast your going on the death road, its all about the scenery. The fact that if you mess up 1 time you could be dead, and the fact alot of these people havent touched a bike for 20 years of there life. A lot of you guys think that mountain biking is all about pinning trails, and railing berms, but remember where it all started. People on peices of junk bikes, rocking down fire roads. The tours on death road arnt very far off from beeing the pinnacle of mountain biking, we have just morphed it into what we want.

This trip looks sick, and i would be more than stoaked to go on it. Theres a huge death factor, and an even cooler bragging right to say "yeah dude, i rode the most dangerous road in the world".
  • + 2
 I totally agree. It's obvious that in a freaking mainstream news segment it was all going to be dramatised and exagerated. I cant believe people are writing things to the extent of "they dont know what they're doing" - of course they f*cking dont! They arent trying push Mtb into new realms, they're riding up a scary ass road! Take it for what it is. Riding isnt all speed, height and ego, there is room for adventure and imagination.
  • + 0
 There´s a simple way to imagine what these people feel: Imagine you´re 10 years old again and have to go down there. Fast. In bad weather. In Bolivia.
Should be an impressing experience, if you have enough fantasy.

And, of course, there´s no speed limit. If you think you´re Steve Peat or whoever is good a racing, go on and show us how to do it! Everybody here can ride Whistler. Nobody ever raced that road...
  • + 4
 atticus got the point of this post... its definitely not the gnarliest trail, but it IS mountain biking on TV which is rare, and we also take more than 6000 non-mountain bikers on a "thrilling" (to them) ride every year, introducing them to mountain biking as well. We have many much more gnarly trails out here, but we can't take non-mountain bikers on them as they WOULD die. If you want to see some of our more challenging trails have a look at the photo slideshow here: www.gravitybolivia.com/gallery/HighlightsfromSecretSingleTrackAdventures. Oh, and the point about 2 finger braking with beginners is it enables them to brake more subtly throughout the day, remember this is a 64km, 3600m vertical downhill, and non-bikers get pretty sore hands doing that!
  • + 0
 Hey...are you Gingabacca from the film clip?? haha!
Anyways, I liked the story, and I thought it looked fun and challenging in it's OWN right. Glad to see some bikes on TV.
  • + 0
 yeah, that's me. if anyone is interested in a more "extreme" ride than this one, you can check out a recent YouTube video we have of one of our insane inca trail downhill rides: www.youtube.com/watch?v=bimsEa8-JmI&feature=PlayList&p=5D319C26FA1212F7&index=7
  • + 6
 Scary shit especially when your riding a kona...
  • + 5
 that looks a bit dull - lol. it's like a downhill tour de france on gravel...more tourism than mountain biking imo.
  • + 4
 Yeah. Really dull, not dangerous at all. Hundreds of people dying there a year? Pft.
  • + 5
 i used to live in bolivia and those roads are fucked
  • - 2
 Not people on bikes died, people in cars they just make it sound like its on bikes.
  • + 1
 Uhm, no, people have died on bikes there. They made that quite obvious.
  • + 1
 fishizzle, and o2beland, yup, that's us/me. We have lots more gnarly trails, not all groomed like Whistler, much more adventurous than that. Ripping good time to be had out here. Again, check the gallery on our web site: www.gravitybolivia.com/gallery/HighlightsfromSecretSingleTrackAdventures and you'll see just a it of what we have out here.
  • + 1
 the point of the video is being missed my most here! its showing a exposure to mountain biking that the average person doesnt see every day like you and me. i think it is still good for the sport even though its not a pro dh or anything as interesting
  • + 1
 The weather looks more extreme than the trail lol. They don't ride everyday so I guess it's pretty exciting for the people taking part. Personally I would much rather do it on a bike than sat on bus, now that would be s**t scary!!
  • + 0
 i am having trouble grasping the fact that some people on here are missing the point by so much! its not supposed to be extreme or to "hold up to a famous trail (quote giantzack)"....its not about the trail!!! some people on pinkbike are hillarious. its just awesome to see that, slowly, mountain biking is getting a bit of exposure and credibility. sure you could show the average tourist a proper downhill trail that they can't ride, but something like this puts it much better into perspective for them. it may not be extreme to us, but it will sure as hell be to them, and even if its not an entirely accurate idea to them for what we realy do, its better than what they thought before. its about sending a message and getting the seed planted in all those virgin minds out there who havent been able to see what mountain biking really is. and to boot, its made it to an american national tv newscast, which is even better for exposure.
  • + 0
 if you think that most of the cyclists on the film werent actually hardened cyclists, then it makes it a better watch,yehh most of us would think it was poor terrain, but the roads were very trecherous, remember no barriers. i enjoyed it,but i would have compacted the movie.
  • + 0
 ... sometimes its hard to remember back to when you first started mountain biking, and what got you into the zone with it... it sure wasn't A-line in Whistler as your intro, or you'd be dead ... the point as a few people here have realized is to get folks stoked at their level, and after that they can step it up, bit by bit. Glad to see this piece has generated quite a bit of discussion/debate.
  • + 0
 urm, coupstair, thanks for your point of view, but actually, if you listen to it, we don't talk about LEADING a foot into corners at all, most beginners aren't capable of going into corners with horizontal pedals. What we say is that into a left hand corner your left hand knee should be up, so that your right hand foot is down, this gives the best possible weighting to the biting edge on tires. Trust me, these folks aren't up to counter-steering! So actually what you say about pressure on the outside of the corner, and facing the right way into the corner, is EXACTLY what we tell them... maybe the way they edited it didn't make sense to you. As we like to say, "its no accident" that we have gotten more than 30,000 beginners down this road alive ...
  • + 0
 I just got back from riding the "Camino de la Muerte" or "Death Road" two weeks ago in Bolivia and it was fun. Now I do have a house at Whistler and ride the MTB park there at a lot so I can speak about both. The "World's Most Dangerous Road" (hereafter referred as 'WMDR') received the nickname from a bank in '95 due to the deaths of drivers and passengers in vehicles; supposedly 200-300 per year. The main contributing factors to this are the sheer drop-offs (some nearly 2,000 ft), 3 meter width, no guard rails, fog, slick mud and rocks when wet, and let's not forget the sub-par driving ability of many Bolivian drivers who have no sense of mass or velocity. Many of these drivers whip around blind corners without a thought of oncoming trucks too.

From a MTB perspective, it isn't a technically challenging road. It is wide, there are no jumps, teeter-totters, ladder bridges, etc. Far more people get injured badly at Whistler; from a skills standpoint they are so far apart it's not even the same game. But what does make it dangerous when riding a bike is that, well - there is a cliff you're riding next to. We've probably all fallen down in a parking lot for really no reason at all so that always sticks in the back of your head when looking down 1,000 feet just under you left hand. Doubtful anything would happen but the brain still thinks about it. Secondly there are still trucks which drive on that road and there is the possibility that when taking a corner some drunk Bolivian driver is hauling ass right at you. You now have a panic stop situation where going left (off the cliff) is not an option. Just hope he sees you and actually cares enough to slow down and give you space.

So is it dangerous? Well, yes but the risk is calculated and controlled. At last count 13 mountain bikers have died in the past 10 years while 52 vehicle passengers have died this year alone (when I was there Oct 28th anyway). Keep in mind that a lot of mountain bike injuries on that road are for stupid reasons. Guys try and ride it while still drunk from last night or after snorting cocaine. Some tourists are real idiots.

Why ride it? It's a day trip from La Paz and if you're in La Paz for a while you're going to want to get out of town for a bit. Also by all comparisons it is fairly inexpensive. The entire experience complete with full suspension Kona bike, riding gear, hot shower at the end with a hot meal and transportation back costs less than renting just that bike alone for a day at Whistler; and that doesn't count the cost of the park ticket either. The scenery is incredible and worth doing just for pictures. If you're an experienced mountain biker this will be more for the location, scenery, photos and experience than it would be for mountain biking. Don't expect a single track downhill trail like Freight Train - you'll be disappointed. Be leisurely, ride it fast and enjoy seeing things that most people never will. If you're a novice, just don't try and show off. Ride smart and have fun. Remember - the trail itself isn't difficult, you just have to stay on it.

I rode with Gravity Bolivia and from what I saw there combined with how they operated I can easily state that you don't want to go with anyone else. These guys know what they're doing and actually maintain the bikes!

Sure, I rode with 2 fingers on the brakes...1 index finger from each hand...
  • + 0
 Bro, yo manejo una agencia en Perú,www.intibike.com MTb Expeditions. Hacemos tours en Lima y Cuzco por increibles senderos Inkas, si te interesa mandar gente para esta zona será bién recibida y tratada con un servicio de primera, obviamente ganarías una comisión por persona que nos envíes.
Se que vinieron un grupo de ustedes a correr a Maras., que otras singletracks conocierón?

Saludos
  • + 0
 Obviously it is impossible to capture an experience like this in a short clip, I worked with Alistair and did the ride over 120 times, it was different every time. As has been said by a few already the ride is not aimed at the skilled off roaders (the balls out single track as shown in NWD6 is for them). This ride however does have most of the elements that got us all into mountain bikes in the first place. Many days we started in snow which was a first for me being from Australia and the fact that we where riding at 4,700m was a buzz, not only higher than any mountains here but a height that requires oxygen if you were to fly a plane at that level. The first 20km is sealed road and you can tuck in and roll at 60-70km fast enough for the average punter to get a thrill. Part of this is cut out for advanced riders who want to tackle off camber scree slopes and single track. On the dirt part riding under water falls and as you are getting closer to the jungle you get a combination of loose dusty corners and a few river crossings thrown in. The end result is that at the bottom you are usually hot, wet, dusty and washing bugs and mud out of your teeth with a cold beer when you finish. The fact that you have just ridden from above the tree line in snow to the jungle without much hard work is a bonus. For some it is the most exciting they they have ever done or will do for others it gets them excited to by a bike and hit the local trails when they get home, it encourages the sport and therefore the more publicity the better.
  • + 0
 here's the only problem with this flick:

the guide is guiding new bikers and teaching them improperly. he telling them to lead with their left foot into lefthand corners, and right foot into righthand corners.

when cornering at speed you need to have forward pressure (on your front tire as it controls) on the outside of the corner. this is for a number of reasons:

1. due to counter-turning the front wheel is more stable by doing this, and

2. your body is positioned facing into the corner rather than away. this is the same principle as in skiing, always have your shoulders pointed towards the falline, which you can't do if your hips and leg positions are turned away from the falline/corner.
  • + 0
 I bet there are only a few places in the world with such a diverse scenery and landscapes such as in Bolivia. you can be at the Andean high lands and drop into the Amazon in a 3 hour ride. The WMDR might not be the sickest think to do if you are a downhill maniac, but the experience of doing it is just amazing. There are other gnarly dangerous singletracks in Bolivia such as Ayma or Collana, or the Sorata freeride park, places so beautiful neighter pictures or films can captivate the real esscense, undescriptible to someone who has never ridden in a place like that. You cant compare Whistler with Bolivia, Whistler is just a park, Bolivia a whole country to discover.
  • + 0
 Funny thing is that for the masses it probably looked crazy?
That ride is def. more for beginner mnt. bikers or adventurous roadies. Bolivia does have killer downhill single-track that starts from even higher up, I think starting at around 18,000 feet above sea level. To bad they couldn't film that for the masses.
Downhill Mike
  • + 0
 Yup, I'm the ginger bearded guy... and yes, ha ha, I was also wearing the helmet camera (and I don't think I was going that fast). This show has played twice on ABC in the last two weeks, but there have also been a number of other shows we are in over the last five years. For anyone in Canada, you can see another show on OLN Canada that we feature in. This will be shown on the series premier of "Word Travels"... which might not be so obvious that it would have mountain biking in it: You can follow travel writer Robin Esrock’s adventures to 12 countries on 6 continents on the upcoming OLN show Word Travels, beginning Wednesday January 30th (10pm EST/7pm PST).
  • + 0
 Arn't you the company which took Cedric Gracia and Robbie Bourdon and some other pros down some really gnarly trails on the show focused on rush tv
  • + 0
 So many things were wrong with that.. Footage sped up to make it look better, two finger braking, "it was too bumpy"? I can be pretty confident in saying anyone on this website would have little trouble with that "death road." Maybe the weather, but that road looked like easy goings.
  • + 2
 they were all beginners for fuks sake.!!!
  • + 1
 12 people? I wonder how many have died biking whistler? I sure as hell know alot more where injured lol. Pussies biking the WMDR IMHO
  • + 0
 lol.. A-Line is more extreme that that road... seriously.. that road is dangerous in a car or truck.. not in a bike.. it is just a tourist attraction.. would be cool to do nevertheless
  • + 0
 You also guide DH riders to the secret DH trail.Iv'e seen pictures on your'e site off that track in the gallery section.Looks very very gnarly and dangerous.But it looks epic.
  • + 0
 Looks like fun for hack tourists but come on, my commute to work is more scary than that....the ABC news anchor was really trying to squeeze this story. I'd like to try riding my 29er up it, seems like more of a challenge.
  • + 0
 i would do that on my hardtail, AND three times as fast... but for people who havn't got into mountainbiking its okay i suppose, i would be bored to death personaly
  • + 0
 Im not sure i would enjoy that! For the price they pay, i would rather pay for a 1st class ticket to Canada and then go to Whistler!!!! Fools!!!
  • + 0
 I can't see it being that tough if at the beginning of the ride they are told how to brake. These people obviously are tourists, not riders
  • + 0
 Okay, I watched the video, and if I am ever in Bolivia, I will definitely do this trip, but for fun, not adventure.
  • + 0
 Theres actually scarier hills to ride down where i live, can you take us where Cedric Cracia rode in bolivia, that looked knarly?
  • + 0
 what a dangerous asphalt... boooooring... More riding and less talking men!
  • + 1
 im pretty sure they put the helmet can stuff in fast motion haha
  • + 1
 Allester Mathew should have a poster of Noddy Holder somewhere
  • + 0
 I would definitely love to experience this, but I would be ashame to label myself as extreme biker with that!
  • + 0
 tha would be a cool experiance. But it dosnt hold up to a famous trail ie any north shore.
  • + 0
 yeah but hey, were finally starting to get into the mainstream media. wethere it be tdf style or not, it helps us all
  • + 1
 two fingers on the brake? great advice Blank Stare
  • + 0
 taht looks like a load of bollocks and shitting boring!
  • + 0
 add some dj's and single tracks to it and then it will be funBig Grin
  • + 0
 that would be fun though, knowing that uve ridden the most dangerous road.
  • + 0
 "it got a bit bumby and i hit some loose gravel" lol
  • + 0
 lol. i would do that on my hardtail np. still looks pretty damn fun.
  • + 0
 im sure that was on a program on tv ages ago.
  • + 0
 fucking tourists
  • - 1
 thats what mountain bikes are made for

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