For much of February, our morning routine was very, well, routine. We’d roll up to the office, spread cream cheese on a bagel and get the coffee machine rumbling before heading over to Bikemag and our Twitter feeds to check on the latest “Escape BC” updates from the Union Production Company. The team’s four members were leaving a trail of tantalizing social media crumbs across some of the most spectacular roads, trails, and waterways found in British Columbia. Every morning, we’d ruminate on the thoughtful prose and fawn over the incredible photographs, all the while furiously taking notes on where we’d be looking to ride when it was our turn to explore the spectacular and lush northwestern coast.
The Union Production Company snapped an unholy number of photographs along the way — some published, some not, but all deserving of the thousand word adage. In our envy and caffeine-addled haze, we were all too happy to interpret the photographs as we saw fit, but sometimes it’s the few contextual words from the photographer or the subject that tells the best story. So out of both curiosity and the slowing of our collectively pre-cooked imaginations, we checked in with Dave, Andrew, and Seb (three of the Union’s four) to get their insight on a few of our very favorite photographs encapsulating the suffering and joy of 13 days on the trail. Several of the other more self-explanatory shots, we have simply re-published here, once again for your viewing pleasure, and in no particular order:
“Most Epic Vista”
Saturna. Another little gem in the Salish Sea. There isn’t actually much riding on the island but what there is melts my heart just thinking about it. This one piece of singletrack is about ten minutes long but took us an awfully long time to complete because we sat and stared at the view for hours, over and over again. The funniest thing about this day was when Dan Barham forgot that the law of gravity applied to his camera bag. He placed it down on a 45-degree slope and it trundled off down the hill… for a long way. It probably rolled 200 feet and launched several two-story cliffs before it came to rest — a sack of mangled sensors, glass, and camera body. [Seb Kemp]
“Most Poignant Environmental Lesson”
This shot was taken in Duncan on Mount Tzouhalem. A few years back a developer came in and leveled part of the forest, stripped the earth and re-landscaped a hefty chuck of Land on the north west side of the ‘Zoo’ in order to build a golf course. The development was halted, the developer eloped and all that is left is a horrible scar on the land, several kilometers squared. Because it is on the side of a hill it is in plain view of the community. It’s like a massive raised middle finger. Well, that’s how I see it. [Seb Kemp]
“Most Luscious, Endor-esque Foliage”
“Most Authentic Sea Captain”
“Best Use of a Stepladder”
“Toughest Wake-up Call”
An early ferry to catch paired with post-birthday celebrations isn’t ideal, but with a day of riding on Hornby Island calling, it was up an’ at ‘em! Cumberland is a sleepy town for sure and we had the place to ourselves as we rolled out of town towards the ferry (and coffee…). Dan was panning wide for the departing shot, so I needed to make sure I didn’t cramp him. Lots of cool diagonals here, and with the blue light and flashing lights, this almost took itself. Those with a keen eye might have noticed a new member of the team: Martin Ready fresh from a solo trip of Menorca, who was happy to dust off his BOB trailer for the occasion. [Andrew Rogers]
“Most Likely to Require Another Napkin”
Powell River. What’s not to love about this shot? Buff, sinuous singletrack surrounded by dense moss-covered trees was the theme for today. Our guides, members of the Powell River Cycling Association, are proud stewards of the 430km trail network that winds up from Highway 101 towards Duck Lake. Their story is one often repeated in historical timber towns; mountain bikers utilize the natural topography afforded by these second and third growth forests to build flowy, rolling two-wheeled playgrounds. [Dave Roth]
“Most Indicative of a Path Well-Ridden”
On the road to Nanaimo. Cracks and crevices, rubber seals, chain rollers, brake pads – each were punished by some of the most severe riding conditions I’ve ever experienced. We spent hours riding wet, wintery roads between our nightly destinations. These road transfer days saw tires constantly spraying our bikes and bodies with a mix of water, sand, eroding granite and road grime. It was a real test of our gear. It required the careful adoption of a daily ritual: hose, scrub, lube, and dry. Repeat if necessary. Strangely, we only had to wash our Kitsbow riding clothes once the whole trip. I hate to sound a little trite to say this, but the Kitsbow gear really was something we didn’t have to worry about. [Dave Roth]
Even as the imagery continues to marinate in our collective conscious, the introspective Escape BC story continues. Union’s goal was not to simply take great photos and ride great trails, but to illustrate the many facets of enjoying mountain biking — through the people, the places, and the very dirt that brings it all together. This mindset was already so closely aligned with the Kitsbow vision, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to vicariously participate, and see what happens when our kit was put through the wringer. But even cooler, is how a huge part of the Escape story will be told through another one of our favorite mediums: video. While the feature-length isn’t quite done yet, you can check out the moving picture trailer below:
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