British Columbia

Documentary tells origin story of B.C. mountain biking

Vancouver filmmaker and former professional mountain biker Darcy Hennessey Turenne shows how freeride biking began in B.C. in her new film, The Moment.

'We were just trying to emulate what we were doing on our skis and snowboards'

A documentary film by a former professional mountain biker tells the origin story of the sport in B.C. (Darcy Hennessey Turenne)

Freeride mountain biking has deep roots in B.C. and a new documentary showcases how the sport began with a crew of local bikers looking for an adrenaline rush.

Freeriding can be compared to downhill skiing. Riders pick a route and execute tricks while barrelling down mountainous terrain at high speeds.

In The Moment, former professional mountain biker-turned-filmmaker, Darcy Hennessey Turenne, tells the story of the riders who pioneered the sport in the 1990s in Kamloops, the Kootenays, and Vancouver's North Shore.

'We just wanted a thrill'

Brett Tippie stars in the film and said the sport began in this province because he and his buddies were bored.

"We just wanted a thrill. We had biked all the trails and the roads and the [mountain bike] races at the time were not that technical or challenging," Tippie told The Early Edition host Rick Cluff.

"We would go up to the top of hills and pick the gnarliest lines that we could and see if we could ride them, said Tippie. "Sometimes we couldn't and sometimes we could and the next thing you know we are dropping cliffs."

According to Hennessey Turenne, Tippie and his friends created the genre of freeriding and the buzz around it and that spirit lives on in the Whistler Bike Park,and in parks throughout the world dedicated to the sport.

But freeriding wasn't always as accepted and celebrated as it is now.

A bike ladder bridge on Mount Seymour, BC (Darcy Hennessey Turenne)

Early challenges

There was a lot of tension in the early years of the sport between riders and landowners, said Hennessey Turenne.

"These guys were creating their own lines in sand pits in the Kootenays, as well as creating their own trails on the North Shore," said Hennessey Turenne. "That wasn't viewed lightly with a lot of landowners and civilians."

Some landowners would go so far as to sabotage bike trails.

"They would take slats out of the ladder bridges right where you land, and your front tire can go there, and you can go over the bars and kill yourself," said Hennessey

Disgruntled land owners aside, the sport skyrocketed in popularity since Tippie and his crew started shredding.

"These guys pushed the limits early," said Hennessey Turenne. "The mountain biking we see today is the result of these guys pushing that limit."

With files from The Early Edition