I headed out to Loosefest a month or so ago for Dirt Magazine and Wideopen MTB for the first time to witness the insanity that is this jump line. Now, if you're not familiar with Loosefest, watch the video below and prepare to have your jaw dropped. If you do know what Loosefest is about, then you'll understand it's a group of mountain bikers who don't race (which is what you'd typically do) but just do big jumps and make cool videos, That's about the jist of it really, but a percentage of these riders have made a career from it. Not racing, no podiums.. just doing really cool sh*t on their bikes, getting loads of exposure for brands and sponsors, and bringing in the keep that way.
The brains behind it all and living legend, Nico Vink. He still thinks that the jumps can bigger and that we haven't hit the limit yet.
Kiwi Conor Macfarlane is a prime example of a rider who doesn't really race, but gets by by doing the craziest events in mountain biking (Red Bull Rampage, Loosefest), having sponsors who help him out, shooting videos and just generally having a good time without the pressure of race runs.
Style dog Remy Morton. Known for his banging Instagram videos. He took a huge slam on the last jump here and is on the road to recovery.
Bas Van Steenbergen. Or Steezeburger as we branded him. His first time at the event, scared sh*tless at the start, but couldn't get enough of them by the end of the week. A seriously cool dude who has pulled off the 'professional freerider and video guy' down to a tee.
The real rebels... Ronny Racing. Travel Europe, live in an ambulance, and have a good time all the time. They are XL cans of beer in their hands too.
The most talked about up-and-comer, Somerset's very own Joel Anderson.
BMXer turned mountain biker, Tom Isted is an absolute nutcase.
Ronny Racing's vessel. Sputnik 2.0.
We don't race, but we still go fast as f*ck.
Arguably another living legend. Kristoff Lenssens is his name, and is Nico's best mate. Flat out in the digger, and does every jump Nico does, but has near enough zero presence on social media, so barely anyone knows his name. If there was ever an underdog.
This is the general attitude from the group of individuals here towards the rest of the MTB industry.
Style dog Craig Evans enjoys the Belgian sunshine before sending himself over some 80ft gaps.
Josh Lewis is another example, no racing, or not much at least. He puts all his time and effort into videos, riding skills and developing the 50to01 brand.
Talk of the town.. Josh Bryceland. Everyone knows he's not racing now. He's just having a good time. Will he return to the world cups though?
Finishing with the biggest rebel of the lot... Jasper Flashman. Anti everything this man is, and I wouldn't put the guy down as a racer. It seemed like he was pretty much the backbone of the Loosefest community, and the freeride scene back in the UK.
Until next year!
For A Bigger Slice of British Pie, we shot a hell of a lot of footage. And a fair chunk of that was left out and may never see the light of day. Well it might, in the B-Roll. There was so much good photographic content left over from Ben Winder that I'm just trying to share as much of it as possible from what was the best MTB project of my life so far. Enjoy!
At the end of 2 days filming with the North Wales boys, everyone had bonked. It was starting to go dark in the woods and Gaz watched all the boys trickle down the steepest track I've ever seen. An Al Bond special slithering down the steepest of shoots and in-between the biggest of boulders. Nobody wanted to do it, especially not on trail bikes. But peer pressure is a magical thing.
The footage from this track was super dark and not really usable. Steep never actually looks steep on camera, which is a shame. But it was great fun to watch the boys on the edge of control.
Emyr Davies, probably knackered and preparing for another round of Al Bond steepness.
The pink ramp! That ramp is a good 13 years old, Toys R Us special. I used to see how many people I could gap off it when I was 12 and a 'BMXer'. It's use in the pie was to put it in the daftest place and see where you could end up off it. We had to put bricks and stones underneath it to stop the bugger sliding on impact though!
Leo Housman and his seemingly never ending supply of Haribo,
Big thanks to Simmonds for ditching his honeymoon to come and ride with us, even though he was in a pink swimsuit with goggles on.
The full North Wales crew.
Steve Peat. Who'd have thought the face of Mountain Biking in the UK would be in my film. Quite the honour having him in front of the lens.
The 4x powerhouse that is Luke Cryer, chauffeured by Alton local, Dean Wood.
We found a wild Nikki Whiles deep in the heart of the South Wales valleys.
The boys were buzzing with some free stickers!
About 25 of us turned up to this pub after the dual session and it was only a little place. Jam packed it was, no room!
Phil Atwill's old school style at Beastramps, Manchester.
Just before the Pie impacted on Phil's face. No wonder it hurt his nose (his nose that he had surgery on a few months before), we had to reinforce the plate as it wasn't heavy enough. It had 2 disc rotors strapped to the back of it! But I didn't tell him that part.
Never thought I'd carry a catapult with a grandma.
Grandma Bryceland getting ready for her big appearance.
A wild Joe Flanagan in his natural habitat.
Winter. It's great.
The Lakes crew, mid lunch break. Also feat. Beamer.
Classic pikey Phil Atwill.
The home made chain guide his dad crafted the night before out of a piece of teak. It worked, until it snapped off.
Bill Farrington trying to fix his bike minutes before the start of the big grand prix.
The boys lined up ready to give it some throttle.
The media squids putting in some elbow grease to clear some trail obstacles. We accidentally rolled this bugger down the backside of Ben Nevis. We heard it rolling for a good minute after we pushed it. I hope it took out no hikists on the way down.
On the 2nd day of filming, Cathro properly spannered himself against a tree. I think he dislocated his collarbone.
The boys off for a dip in Loch Ness when the air temperature was a barmy 4 degrees.
Jono and the talking gash.
We had every type of weather during this day. This was when it was hailing. A great expression of enjoyment upon Brendans face.
The man, the myth, the legend. Olly Wilkins.
A recipe for disaster feat. Matt Jones.
This was the consistency of Jono Jones' road gap. Basically chocolate cake.
Bryceland trying to perfect his slopestyle career, whilst Pagey looks on.
The boys congratulating Joe on his backflip.. attempts.
Brendan tasting the surrey soil, probably not for the first time.
This part never made the film. It all looked well and good launching out of this old brick building, but on the landing were a series of very soft, and pretty brutal natural steps. You couldn't go fast it it just looked awkward bobbling down these steps. Bit of a shame really!
Manon Carpenter showing Vero Sandler how she actually trains for World Cups..
Vero trying to perfect her own 'jib'...
And then the food fight begun. In the middle of Bringewood!
Little man, big truck, and bullhead.
Bullhead or Dave Wardell as it turns out is bloody quick on a bike. Masters silver medalist and can keep up with Danny!
We'll leave it at that for now, B-Roll on the way soon!
For our latest film, A Bigger Slice of British Pie, we decided to up the ante on props for the opening scene. Last year, Ratboy took a pie to the face from Phil Atwill. This year, it was Josh's turn to get some payback and I wanted to build him a highly strung, medieval weapon.
Humble beginnings on Rob's driveway. This is Rob Kennerley and his dad, Adrian. The mechanical brains behind my creative ideas. Not sure where I'd be without their hands on 'let's get it done and done properly' approach.
Bit of wood, an aluminium pipe from the scrapyard, some bolts and some massive elastic bands. Oh and a bin lid for the tray.
Flick through the slideshow to see this monster come to life. Think it came to just shy of 200 quid and an afternoon to build after some planning and research. Ie. searching 'how to build a catapult' on Youtube.
There she is, finished and about to be tested. We carried this onto Woolston Park in Warrington whilst some Football training was about to finish. We got some very strange looks carrying this onto the field. We launched a few bricks and my phone a good 70-80ft so I was more than happy with it's range capabilities seeing as in the film it launches a silver platter full of shaving foam with disc rotors strapped to it for extra weight.
To finish she got a lick of fence paint and then got stored in Josh Gleave's barn until we needed it. It was designed to be flatpack to fit inside vehicles better. It's still in his barn now so if anyone wants to borrow a catapult, let me know!
For the launch of A Bigger Slice of British Pie, we travelled up and down the country to put on 3 premieres as well as a launch day party. The film was very well received everywhere we went, here's a snapshot of each night and the antics that ensued.
One Planet Adventure, Coed Llandegla. North Wales Premiere.
Launch day party and Midlands premiere at Spokes Bike Shop.
The boys crowding around to watch a naked Phil Atwill do a burnout on a moped covered in shaving foam.
Things did get a bit messy at Stoke. The free beer provided by Monster Energy made people a bit wild. Hair was cut off and fireballs were made.
Josh Bryceland takes a more refined approach to the free booze.
Big shout out to Monster for delivering free pies to the shop for everyone to delve into. They were bloody nice, too!
Chatting with the Sheffield Steel, Craig Evans. Check him out in the Lake District part of the film.
The South West premiere, once again at Mud Dock Bikes, Bristol.
Edinburghs premiere was held at Transgression Skate Park.
Once again, big thanks to the guys at Monster for supporting these events and making them the best they can be.
3 out of the 4 premiere were sold/maxed out. Not bad going! We'll go for 4/4 next year..
The wise eyes out there will have noticed the next Slice of British Pie film is in full swing. Named 'A Bigger Slice of British Pie' and once again a Dirt Magazine film (along with some pretty special sponsors), the next pie is going to be such a step up from the first.. longer, wilder, and I'm so excited for you all to see it.
We're now about half way through production, and projected release date to be late April due to not wanting to clash with Brendan Faircloughs new feature film, Deathgrip. This new pie works on the same basis as the first, documenting all the different riding groups and scenes from across the UK. But, this time everybody's friends have come along to play. Take everyone from last year and add all of their mates. The sense of community has been taken to the next level and it feels a lot more inclusive. It was never an elitist brand or film and it's going to stay that way. It incorporates everyone's favourite riders.. Rat, Brendan, Atwill to name a few. But it also features the local builders and local pinners that never really see the light of day on the media front. That's what the pie is all about. #roadgaptommo #gregsmatekeil #dangergaz and not forgetting Calum Mackie's spectacular crashes..
North Wales hosted the first filming back in October when it was still dusty. Yes, dusty. Gaz, Joe, Bondy, Leo and 'Danger' Perry were the recruits along side coastal import Emyr Davies. Offroading, drifting, quad bikes and some serious corner ripping rounded up our time in North Wales. Special shout out to Matt Simmonds for coming back from his honeymoon in his swimwear to be with us for those few days. Commitment!
Following Wales, we headed for a day of antics with Phil Atwill and friends down at his local. Now this one got really out of hand. You may have spyed the shot of a grandma holding a mobility scooter on two wheels.. and that's just the start. Phil built a never been hit roadgap which he nearly killed himself on and James Purvis had a mankini on. We'll leave it there for now.
We then ventured down into the dark and dingy valleys of South Wales to meet up with Laurie G, trail master Nikki Whiles, style master C-Dog Hatton and Dirt test rider Ieuan Williams. Now, Ieuan isn't your average rider. Laurie had never met the geezer before and by heck he was in for a shock. Ieuan rode for the 2 days with a broken ankle, and rode hard at that. He will not miss out, whatever the cost.. and for that I greatly respect his attitude, albeit a very reckless one. The trails Nikki had touched up for us to film on were immaculate. There is so much gold in those hills. Many cutties and tyre burps later, the segment was wrapped up along with a few huge slams from the ever composed Charlie and mind blowing speed from the world number 2, Mr. Greenland.
A skate stop on the way home at a park in the middle of a strange estate rounded off our second day in the valleys. We accidentally bullied some kids into dropping in for the camera. We gave them loads of stickers after though so it was ok. Probably.
The peak district was next, and there was a vague plan to just go wild with about 15 riders. 30+ turned up after a little word of mouth got out of hand. So we had filled the car park and had pushing 40 people on the hill including the film crew. So much talent in one place.. Rat, Atwill, Loosedog, Sambo, the list goes on. Wait until you see what happened here..
Variety is the spice of life, so for this instalment of the pie it's not just trail bikes. Vehicles and bikes of many shapes and sizes to keep things fresh and your minds occupied. We headed to Beats Rampz in Manchester for an evening of tricks and serious trains to get some hardtail and BMX action in there too.
The intro to the film is quite the eye opener. It was very surreal and really quite weird filming it that sunny Cheshire morning. It's certainly a step up from the pie to Rats face from last year! This year we see Josh taking some serious revenge on Phil.. I definitely think it will be a first in MTB media!
They all asked for it, so we did it. The first Official Slice of British Pie TTR and MiniBike Grand Prix took place down near the South Coast and we had about 35-40 bikes there that day. It was an awesome turn out, cheers to everyone who came down! It made for some chaotic mass starts too. Rob Warner, Bernard Kerr, Atwill and a few other big boys headed up the charge for first place all day. A great success, aside a few boys getting ran over, and with people already calling for this to be an annual event, keep an eye out.. it just might happen!
The Scottish Highlands were next, last years crowd favourite by a long way. The scots knew they had to live up the previous years hype and they pulled out all the stops once again. Joe Barnes and Greg Williamson now joined the squadron as carnage once again ensued in Fort William on some super fresh tracks, and some high speed airtime action took place further North in Inverness. Bogs were face planted and the pyrotechnic department went haywire. This section is going to be a riot.. again. Big up to Calum Mackie!
Well, I couldn’t leave all of the leftover footage just sat on a hard drive could I? It’s no good there. I came back from the Lenzerheide World Cup and put together the footage that didn’t quite make the cut for you to enjoy. 16 whole minutes of raw sodding about infact. Mostly from LooseDog screaming his lungs out every time Sambo hits the deck. And also some whaling Ratboy vocals everytime Phil Atwill gets sideways. Anyway, enjoy the (second) show and take a gander at some behind the scenes shots below.
Phil Atwill and his old steed. He might be on a different brand now but his old Orange Five took one hell of a beating during the first segment of the film. All segment one images thanks to Alex Gann.
Josh ‘Ratboy’ Bryceland getting in those all important snapchats. It was bloody freezing atop that hill too (Bosley Cloud near Congleton for anyone who is wondering) and it was only the pumping blood that kept us warm. Oh and the custard creams.
We honestly don’t know how those slide marks got there, officer. We won’t be forgetting this segment in a hurry. Perhaps the most memorable lunchbreak in history. Gazzy B and a Sierra, what a great combination. All segment two shots thanks to Ben Winder.
Some shapes were thrown that day! Joe Smith as pinned as ever trying to stand the steed back up, and Gaz, well being Gaz. There was barely any lip there, he just pulled up and threw the first shape that came into his mind. That’s the effect Ben Winder has on you, he makes you a bit crazy.
Lots of hair, a few transit vans and a dinghy. Oh and fireworks and Poynton canal, what could possibly go wrong? Ps. I’m not sure what Josh Lewis is doing there and I’m pretty sure I never will.
Dave, good old Dave. Just look at the style on the boi. Sideways in John Lennon spec glasses and a lovely grainy image from Winder makes this look like a shot from the 60’s.
Sam Dale post berm log slide attempt number 10 perhaps? As far as days go, this one was a belter.
Well, erm, I mean it could be a good advert for Sombrio gloves?
The North East power houses. Pan shot Friday with Danny Hart, who happens to have just won his first World Cup, yes lad! And the most Geordie man ever, Scotty Mears relaxing in his shop, with a dog that presumably speaks Geordie too. Shots thanks to Dan Hearn.
Now then, Fort William, the one that everyone talks about. Minus bloody five and frozen ruts. Yet we asked Lachlan Blair the Mexican to lie down in frosty grass in only a shirt and have Liam apply factor 50 sun cream to his chest. Took a few go’s to get the sun cream out because that had frozen solid too. Fort William images thanks to Ben Winder.
As you’ve probably seen. These images did set the tone for the whole segment.
Here he is. The BFG. Big Ben Cathro himself understeering ever so gracefully around one of hundreds of dirty ruts that day.
The Brendog, Olly and Jono day. Crikey it was a laugh, and very very greasy. Perfect in my mind.
Jono Jones beaming with happiness, most definitely mid slide around this corner. He jibbed University off for the day to come filming (top lad) and then I had to send his Uni an official excuse that he was going to be in some fancy (not fancy at all) film. Easily one of the best days! Brendan/Olly shots thanks to Szymon Nieborak.
Ratboy sideways in Delamere. #DelamereAintDead
Oh christ. I forgot we took this bunch of nutters to Delamere. Dave, Rat and Phil Atwill all going at for a good bunch of riders there that day. It was such a good vibe. Here’s the man of the moment though, wingnut Phil Atwill. Images from Ben Winder
There we go then, we’re hanging up our coats on A Slice of British Pie. But may there be another one in the oven? Well, you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled soon…
Social media is too short, glanced over and not really worthy to voice any proper opinions. I've never 'blogged' but I do enjoy writing. So I'll combine the two. Here goes.
People are starting to make good videos again. People are making short, sharp, to the point videos that aren't trying to be epic or professional looking, heck half of them are shot on iPhones but they still make me buzz. I'm hoping people have realised how monotonous the abuse of slow motion is, or how I really, really don't want to see you put your sodding goggles on. I turn off and click X if I see that. PEOPLE, it's mountain biking. It should be raw, rad and fast. Look how popular Earthed and Sprung were, and most importantly STILL ARE. That's what people want to see. The style works for MTB, so why meddle with it?.. I love that style, I love BMX and Skate videos, and granted it took me a while to find my style (after a few years of dabbling with a DSLR) but I feel I can take it to the next level. I'm just getting started.
This is, or was, my Canon XA10. It's not particularly expensive, or that good compared to other cameras on the market, BUT it's all you need. I'm not exactly loaded. I'm freelance filming bloody bikes. I don't care for big fancy cameras, not yet anyway. And look at the state of my mic - each end has snapped and it's held on with one cable tie. Works though.
Anyway, revolution. I'm doing my best to spread the joy of pans and zooms once again, but Josh frickin Lewis - he is the boy that's on it. Straight up spear heading the old school revival. I'm pretty sure he's got a Canon Legria G25 - it's not particularly high end, it's more towards low end. It's cheap and more to the point, it's all you need. Have you seen how many views this dude has racked up? And he's a BLOODY RIDER. His 2015 highlight video hit a million views on Facebook. All he does is capture the action in the simplest way possible, and guess what? It works. He's way more valuable for a company's exposure than any FS700 or RED operated by some slo-mo gorp.
I'm not getting on at anyone here. I've seen some awesome cinematic pieces that encorperate slo-mo (namely Synonym by Last Light Cinema - its insane) and the likes of Kranked and Follow Me are what got me into filming, not to mention Nico Turners FS7 focus pulls. But the likes of 50/01 and ClaySpades are now banging out videos full of pans and zooms and it gets everyone so hyped. There's some cool instagram groups of the younger lads making ace videos too (@safetypencil and @theweaponsofficial are good examples of up and comers).
Check this video out. One of the biggest companies, Fox, purposefully commissioning a video in what they call a 'rough cut' fashion. It's old school as f*ck and it's amazing. Okay, so we're always going to have jaw dropping cinematic pieces to be gobsmacked at, but the comeback is on. We're raw, ready and completely flat out at the other end of the spectrum and it's where us lot, anyway, belong.
If you're reading this (well done for getting this far), ask yourself this. Does newer technology make MTB videos better? I think it's just a different way of capturing it but so many people are caught up on the fact the newer means better. If you ask me, it certainly does not. The video below is my favourite video right now. I laugh every time. Drop bars on a kids bike with a rifle on his back. Amazing.