Filed under : Riding
Filed under : Riding
I am happy to introduce 3 men who had a big influence on the sport of mountain biking, and particularly the Freeride movement. As a matter of fact, they brought the word Freeride to our sport, adopted from Snowboarding. They first made a name for themselves as the Fro Riders, or Rocky Mountain Froriders, but since have all become household names in the mountain bike community with their respective names.
A interesting story from those days and how they became the Froriders is from the time when a certain bike company thought they owned the word “freeride” and told their lawyers to instruct Rocky Mountain Bicycles to stop using the term. Oh well, they did, but didn’t stop the evolution of Freeride, consequently they called themselves the Rocky Mountain Fro riders instead of the Rocky Mountain Freeriders., which was not only funny but it eventually made this other bike company realize that they couldn’t copyright or own the word freeride. Between their fros and their full face helmets it was initially not easy to put faces to these new kids on the block, but their actions spoke for themselves: huge air, massive drops, off –trail descents, and unique style.
AND, what the heck was a freeride team anyway? It took a while for the bike industry to accept this new trend and to realize that it wasn’t just a fad; and it was even harder for the established team managers of the racing teams to start sharing their marketing budgets with non-racers….. All this and more was part of the pioneer work these guys have done.
And, did I mention their riding skills yet? At a time when full suspension bikes where just growing out of their puberty and World Cup Downhill courses still included fireroads and uphill sections; these guys started shredding steep chutes, gravel fields and drops with transitions. Hmmm, I thought, transitions that’s a pretty genius alternative to the drops to flat I was used to. They also helped catalyse the whole Video/ DVD boom – over the years they starred in over 30 films and with all this they consequently pioneered the freeride events and contests, because, as you can imagine our racing driven team managers, media and consumers needed a measure for the existence of freeride teams, even though, at the time, competitions seemed a bit against the philosophy of freeriders? By the way I always thought the attitude and approach from freeriders has never been far off from what the original Klunkers did.
Quickly many mini trends developed from Slopestyle to Northshore – baggy pants became a fashion statements and people started to realize that going downhill and having fun can be accomplished with out the pain of riding bikes to the top first. Shuttleing slowly became acceptable and even ski resorts started to transport bikes up their lifts in the summer time. Simutanously, Shaun Palmer, entered the Downhill Racing scene bringing with him attitude, style and tatoos. Mountain Biking now was forever split between the gravity and the endurance guys, it started to become ‘cool” and a lifestyle; much of this can be traced back to the doings of these three crazy Canucks from British Colombia.
All three of them had roots in BMX, combine that with their snowboarding or skiing backgrounds and things almost start to sound logical. A lot of these early influences came from these sports and not necessarily from the established mountain biking scene of those days, along with them came other riders, filmmakers, photographers and promoters from the skiing and boarding industry – and all them helped shape this new school movement. Slopes got steeper, drops and jumps got bigger and Tippie’s jokes stayed the same and nobody laughed more about them than he himself. But that’s a different story.
The boys ruled the films and competitions and started snatching covershots from me…..
The 3 of them were a great combination as a team; an old interview maybe sums it up best: Richie the Professional, Wade the Natural, and Tippie the Rockstar.
Wade won the inaugural Red Bull Rampage in 2001, Richie created the first Slopestyle contest at Joyride now known as Crankworx and Tippie went bigger and higher than was imaginable at the time.
The rest is kind of history, but these guys were far from being done; to this day they ride professionally, travel the world, inspire people to ride and still having as much fun as in those early days in Kamloops.
Ladies and gentlemen, without further odue : Richie Schley, Wade Simons and Brett Tippie aka the Froriders.