Help or Hinderance as trail stewards; film, Where the Trail Ends
I first saw the film Where the Trail Ends, at the IMBA world conference in Santa Fe on the big screen with a couple of hundred pro trail guys and gals. A film of huge eye candy, music, big names, and skilled pro riders going all over the world to ride a bike. I've since bought the flick on-line and watched it a few times. I really enjoy the film concept of encouraging freedom as a rider as a storyline, but as a trail geek, I have concerns as maybe you do too? I didn't see but later heard that some people left because of the film sending a wrong message? Looking back, I wish IMBA had had a morning cup of coffee/tea review that folks could have expressed their opinions about any aspect of the film.
But everytime now while viewing the film, I question the production. Why? In which the underlying message basically says, "go ahead and make a place your own personal playground". Maybe the areas around Virgin and Big Water public land agencies are fine with big mountain riding? I don't know the specifics.
But with this and a few film projects, trails and trail building and trail builders are seen as the cat's meow. Any trail is fine. But I'm wondering how the terrain of what the riders were seeking will hold up over time, both as a resource and as a social/community commentary? Could the trail in this kind of terrain become useable for the masses? Or will this kind of riding be kicked out of the public landscape and back into the bike park?
But I wanted to ask this community what they think of the production of trail flicks that are "fun first" themes? Does it hurt us who are trying to get trails built on public lands? Is it advocacy to say no? Or is this something that will pass, like bad gas?:smallviolin:
Steve Peat did the big mt stuff in the early 2000's, way better to i might add. so it's not a new thing.
Steve Peat- New World Disorder 3 - YouTube
Graham Agassiz makes the stuff look fun.
Video: Gravel Pit Pillows – Aggy And the Tippie Brothers | Kona COG
That video was over dramatized. I don't think we have to worry about to many people trying to do big mountain riding. Cuz for one 99% of people who want to ride that way are to lazy to hike up to do that stuff.
It seems that people are more focused on riding a trail as hard as they can. Which is where the bigger issue lies. People also don't know what a good/ more sustainable tech trail is, they think the only way to get tech is by making trails steep. So that's the real issue is getting legal trails built on public land that your more gnarly rides will want to ride and stop building half ass pirate trails everywhere.
Just a little bit to chew on there. I got tons more to add to that topic, but maybe some other time.
Thanks for the video links mtby. I think you are right on about most riders who are too lazy to hike to the top of some sandpile. Just outside of town where I live is a big chunk of public land that is an OHV area which is comprised of volcanic cinders. Big and pretty steep hills that I've been on a number of times on a dirt bike. ATV's are out on weekends and on July 4th weekend is the annual hundred dollar hill challenge. Its pretty fun to watch a 300hp 4wd buggy try to get to the top. :cool: But these are limited landscapes with not much attraction for mtb riders. Even with a nice dirtbike the place is kinda of boring, and no way would a dude on a mtb would want to struggle for that much hiking for a 30 second downhill ride with a fat tire on his back. But with the power of film, the edit can create whatever it wants. What looks fun and different on a production film, and that is what it is, a production, sometimes in translation the actual act is left out of the storyline. Whatever. I know thats the freedom of the film maker to make a story.
I also agree that the larger issue with trail advocacy is what you describe at "riding the trail as hard as they can". Thats where I really tend to geek out on trail design. For me, bikes belong on trails, not sandpiles, and this is where I really like to look at the way good riders handle terrain. Its when the lesser skilled rider tries to emulate what they saw in a video and in effect causes some sort of excessive damage to the trail, some other trail user, or to themselves. Then all of the sudden this little thing gets some sort of attention. Let's say its a letter to the editor in the local paper about how mtb riders are doing this or that and how dare they! We know where this path goes.
So, I'll ask again in another way. Its not the bike video that is the cause of concern with trail advocacy, its something else. How or what are the most effective ways in your riding community do you minimize the haters?
"How or what are the most effective ways in your riding community do you minimize the haters?"
Beer & whiskey! :)
I minimize haters, by laughing (to myself or good buddy's) at them cuz the way I build, plan and talk about trail goes over there heads. I will try to bring them up to a higher understanding of trail building/planning and teach them why things happened the way they did, but I never go down to there level to make them happy.
Most haters don't listen or use the skills I tired to pass on to them. There are monkey see, monkey do kind of riders. Minimal effort for maximum coolness to talk about.
I think to be a good builder you need to ride everything, It's gives you so many different sets of eyes to look at a trail with. It makes trail design and building a lot more fun.
I think the advocacy issue is to get people to take the time to build sustainable, dynamic trails that are designed to be ridden as hard as your top riders can. Trails that have lines that most people will not even see if they don't have the skills.
Also when ever I can I build trails that are not to fun if you sit down on the descents, or that are not as fast if you just sit and spin with your seat all the way up as your climbing. I'm all about dynamic riding skills and dynamic trails that feel like you unlocked the code if you ride them dynamic. That is what I advocate for. This is of course talking about purpose built trails (PMO bikes), But you can still implement some dynamic elements in to a multit-use trail that work well for bikes and not impede other users experience.
Maybe I'm missing the point you're trying to make.
To me, watching films showing expert riders, while fun, generates no help for getting trails built. Racers want to race, stunt riders want to ride stunts. Almost every one else wants to complain the trails are too difficult, or too something else.
I've found that most people who want to talk about trail building are angling to get me to build what they want and have no intention of showing up for a work day.
Less talk, more work.
Good words here mtbty. I usually find it takes about 5 minutes to understand where someone is on their trail design knowledge. Of course I don't want to come off as a know it all when talking to anyone. And yes, every community has only a few people who show up compared to how many complain.
I wish I had the means to sample more riding areas to check out first hand the development process on a number of different levels. There is the trail itself, how it rides etc. There is also the story of how that trail came to be. A really fun project as a bike magazine writer would to go out and tell the trail stories. Later, build a book.
The best trail is one where it can be ridden aggressively and has a number of different lines and looks like it belongs in the landscape. Trails that are forced into a landscape are called bike parks. Trails that lend themselves to a light impact are masterpieces.
I get tired of big production promotion of mtb and I think it does harm the legal trail effort by posing mtbing as just another jocular "thrill seeking" activity with little regard for anyone or anything else. My own experience is that real mtbing is something entirely different, and I don't know why we get sucked into servicing the commercial hype industry so easily, maybe we aren't as sure of ourselves as we try appear. Meanwhile the "adult" hiking, horseback, and bird watching folks get the respect of policy makers and stab us in our beer fogged, music cranking, big air, collective back.
Originally Posted by Chalkpaw
Depends on who your selling too.
We had good luck with showing some crazy videos to a ski-resort owner, as they never knew the more adrenaline side of bicycling existed.
On the flip side, they also didn't think it was going to be a money maker. Their loss.
I would never show the same type of video to a government official or any land manager worried about liability.
And then they talk about how that single ride will be viewable upon the land ... For decades.
Originally Posted by bsieb
Love those videos, but also see the ammo they give to the anti-MTB crowd.
Every public agency and anti-mtb group are aware of the videos. How they respond is their choice. I'm asking do we respond as individuals or as a group? Is a internet forum have any influence or trend setting, or finding new stuff related to bikes outside of the typical banter of which bike or tire is better than the other one? But I think that IMBA, who sponsors this forum page doesn't have the answer themselves or they wouldn't show up to our coffee table to chat (to which most of the attention is headed toward today). They might at some time have to make a formal statement about a subject as vague as the value of big mountain riding, and how will that go?
Here's a story published in Decline that provides the background on how Where the Trail Ends came to be included in the IMBA World Summit program.
Page 40 of Decline:
decline magazine March 2013
Thanks for the Decline link.
But that doesn't really address the issue which is does gravity rad brah bike porn encourage MTBers, especially the younger set who grew up on "action sports" to ride irresponsibly? IMO, in the least, porn like the video in question do nothing to promote stewardship and at most reinforce the "I can do anything I want and I don't care about my impacts on the land, on other people, and on the credibility of MTB .orgs that work hard to keep and further trails access.
It's a good question, like whether all the mags and movies showing dudes riding in the wet and mud is a positive thing as well. They say education is the key to better respect for trails, but movies and mags have a bigger voice than trailbuilders do (except here maybe).
Originally Posted by zrm
I think if a group like IMBA is going to show media like this (which you can argue tacitly endorses it) in the very least they should at least offer a caveat along the lines of "stuff like this is on closed courses and if you want to ride like this, those are the places need to do it, everywhere else it's vitally important that you practice the normal code of ethics/responsible riding".
My personal opinion is that stuff like this is a big part of the problem not just in the (overblown) perception about MTBing that it creates, but the behavior that it endorses.
MTBers like to blame access woes on everyone but themselves but IMO, we can be our own worst enemy.
What I feel these days after diving into a lot of video work is that (now listen up IMBA) is there is an opportunity for a story to tell about responsible riding with the Red Bull generation. Include the nice action shots, the drama, the stoke, but also send a message about responsibility on trails, both in the design/build and the riders credo. Anthill Films has a great product and investment with their sponsors but I'm left wondering what happens to their nicely manicured "trail" one year after the film shoot? Nothing is mentioned.
They (we) need to have a recognized star to say "hey, there is way more to riding than just riding....." and develop the message and story that tells how we can maintain the progression of riding technique and the progression of trail care.
A couple of trail steward videos I have seen and liked. Check it out.
and here is one that does a great job on showing the folks working together and then some riding stoke at the 4 minute mark.
The NSMBA is a nice model to check out. They are getting out the work and word in an interesting way.
Have you checked out Pedal-Driven? (A search will pull up the film's landing page.) IMBA worked with the excellent filmmakers at Howell at the Moon to create something very much along the lines you have described. It will premier on Universal Sports (NBC) later this month, March 18, at 6:30 EST and will play several more times this year. We would like to go even bigger with video and television but IMBA's media budget and Red Bull's aren't really comparable. That's one of the reasons we're trying to start a dialog with them -- we can't plausible ask for a role in the editorial direction of their projects until they get to know us.
Mark-Glad you responded. I bet if IMBA could offered to send a man into low space orbit the face of MTB advocacy would be just a little different.
Yes, I have checked out Pedal Driven. I found it almost preachy in its format, but it was a good stab at story telling about bikes and trails. It will be great to get it out on NBC. Props!
I was thinking about instead of having something like RB Media or the Superstars of action flicks trying to do something in this vein, how about encouraging regular folks to produce their own version of a trail story? Use Vimeo to be the driver of format. Create a contest with the criteria, shot on legal trails, gotta have stoke, gotta tell history, got to tell how this all fits in as a part of a trail system. Tell why it works. Offer prizes and maybe the grand prize of the winners would that their video would be converted into a format that fit the big screen and would be entered in a outdoor film festival like Telluride or Banff?
This way, while its more grassroots oriented, and their will be some predicable stuff, there will be some really outstanding work done too. Instead of one story, there would be 25 stories that are pretty good to watch and learn from.
Let me try and get this the right way. There's another side to this debate. It may have to do with everyone getting over-sensitive about environmental impact.
If a film shows dudes shredding a trail built for the movie, somewhere in the wilderness only stalkers will find, a trail that will be consumed by nature after the film crew leave; is that a serious environmental impact? It would be far easier to prove that destination locations built to modern and reputable standards (ie IMBA) cause more damage than anything these flicks do.
Similiar situation with "Strength in Numbers" which they showed as part of the Banff Film Festival at an event I attended in Suffern NY. This area has has a very well establish hiking organization that is at odds with MTB access. The hiking group was also a supporter of the event and many of their volunteers were there. We have worked real hard trying to earn their respect, we put in thousands of hours in TM, try to educate our user group to respect others and the trail etc etc. Yet,we are still regarded as the destroyers of solitude and the environment. So when they showed this film with riders flying down trails in close proximity to houses and barns with little regard for safety, dirt flying, and trails made that nobody could dare walk on, you may understand how poorly the film could be interpreted and how is does not help us in our efforts.
Its called riders intention. The amount of environmental impact ie, erosion in this case is not always the first thing on the land manager's agenda when seeing tire marks on the land. It happens all the time, all over the world. At least in the case of where riders were riding in WtTE film, it was the most open, most soft, most visable, most dry environment around, the desert (which may be different where you live). Yes, all landscapes recover from our fun, our profit, our curious state of just walking around. The question is, how long is reasonable for this area of land to recover? And in that time will another person come in and do the same? And again, and again and pretty soon it looks like Glamis on thanksgiving weekend. This is not a place where "stalkers" like to roam. This then throws the land manager into having to do something? People are complaining, his boss is asking what the hell is going on, and he looks like a fool. Not fun.
Originally Posted by Ridnparadise
The opposite, is a planned approach, which is why we are here looking in this forum right? Saying that riding destinations cause more damage is bunk. Technically, they do, but so does the house you live in.
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Just watched the "Builders' Segment" in Strength in Numbers, and really dug (no pun intended) what Graham Aggasiz said:
"We owe it to trail builders for every smile that they put on our face when we ride our bikes."
Granted, his trails are huge, high-speed hits one after another while threading the needle between tight trees (i.e. way above the level of us mere mortals) but I still appreciated the line. It would be nice to spread that mentality, and apply it to all user groups.