“Our films are not about heavy-metal for 45 minutes, guys giving the middle finger and guys showing off their tattoos."
August 11, 2006 9:39 AM   Subscribe

The art film at the bike shop: praise is building for Roam, a 16mm film shot by Vancouver area filmmakers, the Collective. Roam and the Collective's eponymous first film are credited for taking bike films to a wider more mature audience. Sophisticated camera work, a compelling narrative and an appropriate soundtrack take the place of the gnar factor and loud hip-hop/metal soundtrack that are the defining factors of most bike films. Comparisons are already being made to the 1966 surf film Endless Summer.
Google Video clip of ROAM
posted by [expletive deleted] (38 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ahhh....you beat me to it. I just watched Roam the other day and it's amazing. I especially enjoyed Ryan Leech's sessions in Prague.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:47 AM on August 11, 2006


That looks like a beautiful film.
posted by Milkman Dan at 9:57 AM on August 11, 2006


Yeah, but do they find Animal Chin?

That cable cam is crazy.
posted by NationalKato at 10:03 AM on August 11, 2006


One of my favorite things about Roam is the sound. The seamless blending of good music with the sounds of riding is integral to the film. I can almost smell the musky mix of damp earth and fresh cedar when I hear the thunderous clatter of rolling over ladders. A jump is so much better to watch when you can hear the hiss of the tires on the approach, then silence in the air, followed by the metallic crunch of the landing.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:15 AM on August 11, 2006


Is there a bicycle equivalent of parkour?
posted by lodurr at 10:18 AM on August 11, 2006


The sound design is nice. This was made by people with some well-developed aesthetic sensibilities. I wouldn't even consider trying any of this stuff, but it's beautiful to watch.
posted by lodurr at 10:21 AM on August 11, 2006


Lodurr: that's what freeriding is all about, especially urban.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:21 AM on August 11, 2006


Yeh, but don't the freerunning/freewalking and parkour communities like to draw a pretty strong distinction between what they do? I understand what you're saying about freeriding (assuming that this is a fair presentation of freeriding) -- much more naturalistic by far than the freestyle stuff I've seen on TV and streetcorners -- but what I'm wondering is whether there are any folks who are approaching it with more of a parkour type aesthetic, where flips and spins would be regarded as wasted motion unless they had some kind of effect on how you could progress from there.

Just looking for cultural insight, here.
posted by lodurr at 10:25 AM on August 11, 2006


According to Leech, his riding (a small part of the film and the only street segment in it) is about the elimination of the typical preamble of the ingress into a trick - he wants to make a smooth, fluid transition from obstacle to obstacle instead of bouncing around to get ready for it. He's doing pretty well at that, from what I can see.

There's a scene where he hops up onto a wall and then rides along the top of a 2-inch wide, 10-foot tall double-doored gate, and onto the wall on the other side. You need to see it to believe it.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:40 AM on August 11, 2006


Wow, the film looks amazing, and appeals to me as the way I remember riding the North Shore. In the early 90's Mountain Bike Action sent a writer here to ride the trails and he laughed at us for wearing body armour for mountain biking -- by the end of the day he changed his mind and wrote that the NS trails were some of the toughest in the World.

[old man rant]

1) Back then, 2" travel front suspension was a lot. We rode that stuff with hard tails or no suspension at all. Weekly, someone would come in the shop with a busted downtube, and sometimes a busted bottom bracket-chainstay break.

2) You always rode up what you rode down. I don't care if it's Whistler -- you only get to ride down as much as you ride up. No cars, no stupid fancy-pants chairlifts. That's why you don't bother with rear suspension or any other unecessary anchors.

3) My favorite memory: riding up Grouse at night by moonlight and riding down with 55W home-brew lighting rigs in a rainstorm. You couldn't doddle coming down because the lights would burn for 1-1.5hrs max.

[/old man rant]

My race-kitted first-gen Cannondale Delta V is now used to tow my nephew around in a trailer on the Seawall.
posted by Extopalopaketle at 10:43 AM on August 11, 2006


Well, there's always downhill.

I don't think a fair comparison can be made because there is no two-schools type of divide. Freeride is a young sport, and has as many styles as riders. There people who stick to dirt jumps, trying to perfect flips, spins and other tricks, and there are are people who basically just try to master bigger stunts and higher drops. Finally, there are people who focus on "flow," meaning a smooth and consistent pace, using smooth, effortless movements to roll over stunts and obsticles and link them together. The North Shore is like this, because it consists of very difficult and demanding terrain, with many switchbacks, high ladders and contorted skinnies. The videos tend to show crazy tricks, but this is not really the norm. When my friends and I ride, our emphasis is usually on flow.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:50 AM on August 11, 2006


Thanks, [expletive deleted] (and Extopalopaketle).
posted by shoepal at 11:04 AM on August 11, 2006


Extopalopaketle, Fromme is as popular as it ever was, and you still have to ride up what you ride down. Hell, I even ride up Mtn Hwy.

Oh, and hardtails are still popular. I ride one everywhere: from Whistler, to Fromme and Seymour, and just to get around. I didn't have $2500 to drop on a decent dualie, so I opted for a hardtail and I haven't regretted it one bit. It may be a tougher ride on Ned's or CBC, but hardtails are just so damned versatile.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 11:04 AM on August 11, 2006


Is there going to be a G8 Summit or something around Vancouver anytime soon? I'm sure George Bush would love to try some of these local trails.
posted by Flashman at 11:19 AM on August 11, 2006


[expletive deleted]...that Brute looks like an awesome bike. I'm not quite into the freeriding so much as just riding with buddies and getting around - bought a Fury in June and I'm loving it.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:20 AM on August 11, 2006


also, is this really a groundbreaking film? Climbing films have been going in this kind of landscapey, trancey music direction for years, it's surprising that those of mountain biking have yet to become 'grown up'.
I guess climbers tend to have better taste.
posted by Flashman at 11:22 AM on August 11, 2006


The RJD2 track was not appropriate at all.
posted by euphorb at 11:26 AM on August 11, 2006


Looks like a wonderful movie, can't wait to see it. Like [expletive deleted] I can smell the forest, the ferns, earth, moss and trees. A movie about simply being in the forest is exciting.

Extreme downhill biking in Japan. ouch. A music vid ad for Kona of forest Xbiking. More downhill Xbiking. Suburban jungle. Extreme triking. (All youTube vids)
posted by nickyskye at 11:28 AM on August 11, 2006


[expletive_delete], thanks. Just what I was looking for. I'm far too clumsy to do this kind of stuff, but I love to watch it; these guys make it look more like play than like grunting showmanship.
posted by lodurr at 12:10 PM on August 11, 2006


nickyskye writes "Extreme downhill biking in Japan. ouch."

Ouch indeed. But for the record, that was a segment of a Japanese show about extreme downhill biking in Nicaragua.
posted by Bugbread at 12:30 PM on August 11, 2006


Flashman, like I said in the FPP, other sports have already done this, that's why it is being compared to The Endless Summer.

It is a groundbreaking bike film. Also, you really have to see this in a theatre to appreciate some of the camera work; the shore scenes really exploit the advantages of 16mm film. Other aspects, like the cabled tracking shots, are impressive in any format.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 12:42 PM on August 11, 2006


nickyskye, while the commentary is in Japanese, that is a Frenchman going for the bike speed record on a volcano in Nicaragua.

His frame breaks at the head tube just from the stress of moving at that speed.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 12:56 PM on August 11, 2006


This film is really fun to watch.

It does sometime stray into the kind of sophomoric philosophy you get from surfers, but the actual cycling is great.
posted by beerbajay at 1:36 PM on August 11, 2006


On a similar note, people might enjoy MASH a film about fixed gear riders in San Francisco. Theres a teaser on the site, I saw an early version of it at the bike film festival last year and was really impressed. The final dvd should be comming out soon. It is directed by Mike Martin, a professional photographer, and Gabe Morford, who is a pretty famous skate videographer. Course, its got tattoos and heavy metal in the teaser, but its a bit more than that in the full version....

I hope everyone in chicago this weekend is going to the bicycle film festival...
posted by atom128 at 1:46 PM on August 11, 2006


Good stuff.
posted by fixedgear at 2:01 PM on August 11, 2006


Needs Ewoks. And the bikes should 'splode when they hit the trees.
posted by hal9k at 2:12 PM on August 11, 2006


I really wanted to make fun of this, cause I find bike culture to be almost intolelrable. But, not bad.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 3:50 PM on August 11, 2006


lodurr: the thing you're asking about is called trials.
posted by iron chef morimoto at 3:50 PM on August 11, 2006


Nice to see that RJD2's music is being used in more than just bank commericals.
posted by joedan at 6:32 PM on August 11, 2006


Dang bugbread and [expletive deleted] I'm impressed you both knew the exact details of that incredible vid. wow. Do you mind if I ask how you knew that? Are you both bike aficionados? Do you speak Japanese?
posted by nickyskye at 7:38 PM on August 11, 2006


The North Shore is like this, because it consists of very difficult and demanding terrain, with many switchbacks, high ladders and contorted skinnies.

*takes deep breath* As somebody who hikes, rather than rides, on the North Shore, I have a hard time feeling benign towards the whole culture and machismo of mountain biking after seeing the damage done to trails up there (and nearly getting run down on a few occasions). I don't want to step in a wasps' nest here, just to note for those who are reading about this movie (which I am sure is a fine piece of film), that there's local opposition, some of it very angry, to the North Shore mountains being turned into a huge biking trail.
posted by jokeefe at 9:48 PM on August 11, 2006


As an adjunct to jokeefe, I am surprised that such alterations to the terrain are allowed like the nailing on the logs in the beginning sequence of the video. Not to mention the dug up ramps like where they ride over the moss off the rock. Personally I find this kind of stuff as objectionable as off road riders on any motorized vehicle leaving prescribed trails, and quite frankly it isn't any different. I'm both a biker and a hiker, and respect is one of the things that's missing in the arrogance of these riders.
posted by Eekacat at 10:47 PM on August 11, 2006


Nickyskye, I know that because I saw that video on RealTV, or some other show with a stock in trade of photogenic tradgedy.

Jokeefe, I also don't have a very high opinion of the brash and offensive nothing that consitutes freeride culture, and as someone who both hikes and bikes and has grown up on the North Shore, I can see where you are coming from. That said, I strongly believe the opposition to biking on the Shore is vastly out of proportion to any harm caused.

I assume you are mostly talking about trails on Fromme and Seymour. On those mountains, I admit there are use issues. There is tons of traffic coming out of Ned's and the other lower trails. The problem here I think is that there are bikers who don't respect the hiker's right of way or carry excessive speed into shared trails. Even then, I really don't see how this is such a problem. As far as I know, accidents are rare. In fact, I haven't heard first hand of any hiker/biker accident. This may reflect the people I know and ride/hike with more than reflect the norm, but as far as my experience goes, shared trails are not an injury risk.

As for trail damage, this argument tends to convienently ignore the fact that a trail properly built with bikes in mind will not see damage, provided it is maintained. Virtually all of the trail work in areas where bikes are popular is done by riders. This is plainly evident looking at the Fromme section of the Baden Powell. Where the Fromme bike trails come out, hundreds of hours have gone into serious armoring and restoring on a badly eroded and poorly maintained trail. Thanks to the riders on Fromme, that section is now the best built anywhere on the trail. While bikes certainly wear trails, and some riders go where they shouldn't, causing damage to delicate, lesser used trails, it shouldn't be ignored that hikers cause plenty of damage too, just less of it. Another thing often overlooked is that bikers are responsible for a great deal of trail building on the shore, and the better trail builders often make some bike trails with use by hikers and dogs in mind. A well built ladder bridge is one hikers and dogs can use too.

Please, get your anger in check, bikes have just as much right to use the trails as hikers.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 11:00 PM on August 11, 2006


Eekacat, perhaps you should go to a NSMBA trail day, and learn how trails get built. There is no more damage being done by bikers than hikers are doing elsewhere.

I assume you aren't opposed to the damage done to the environment by the Howe Sound Crest, Lions, Crown Mountain, Lynn Peaks trails, etc. These trails are often way more eroded than bike trails because of the difficulty of maintaining something so remote. Besides this, ladders are not typically built by felling nearby trees. There is usually plenty of windfall to supply stringers and rungs. Not only are ladders usually built from dead wood, but they alse prevent a great deal of erosion, typically where it would be of the most concern.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 11:08 PM on August 11, 2006


Not applicable to the North Shore, but:

I remember reading years ago in WER that bikes caused much less trail damage than horses and mules. I found it hard to believe, so I checked it against a couple of horsey friends with eventing or casual trail riding experience. The reaction from both was on the order of "Oh, of course, what, are you kidding?"

Later, I used to ride some of the trails in a local park. Sometimes I'd follow a string of horses from a local dude stable. Those days, I'd have to ride in the grass to keep my skinny hybrid tires from sinking into the trail.
posted by lodurr at 5:42 AM on August 12, 2006


nickyskye : "Do you speak Japanese?"

Yep. I live in Japan.
posted by Bugbread at 7:17 AM on August 12, 2006


oh wow bugbread, that's cool.
posted by nickyskye at 10:50 PM on August 12, 2006


My favorite memory: riding up Grouse at night by moonlight and riding down with 55W home-brew lighting rigs in a rainstorm.

Holy shit, I don't remember that!
posted by grouse at 12:33 AM on August 19, 2006


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