We spent a whole lot of time behind the video camera this year. How much time? Enough to produce 150 videos. Yup, 150. I know, it sounds unbelievable, but, yeah, we got busy this year.
Now some of these videos are mere snippets, but others, like our Blueprint and You Don't Know… series are in-depth pieces that we are more than a little proud of. There are also nearly 40 bike test videos, some great race and contest videos and more.
In light of all that, I thought I'd list a few of my personal favorites from 2013. Hope you like `em.
You Don't Know….Mark Weir
Mark Weir is a tough guy. Maybe the toughest man I know. He's also one of the most sensitive and caring people I've ever run across. I wanted to do this video for years—to dig a little deeper and get at what makes Mark Weir truly tick because Weir is a much more complex and interesting person than his public persona might suggest. He's like a bald version of Yoda, if Yoda were the type to do hill repeats on a 40-pound freeride bike; I wanted to capture that on film and came away really impressed by Weir's bravery in this one.
We (Dan Barham, Seb Kemp and I) crashed Weir's couch and shot this at his place in Marin. Apologies, Mark, for how we left the guest bathroom. That was totally Seb's fault.
Blueprint: Santa Cruz Bronson
Wow, was I ever wrong. Having ridden my fair share of 650b bikes and not really noticing much of a difference between 26ers and 650b (not enough to warrant blowing your kid's college fund on a new bike, anyway), I was sure that consumers would bridle at the army of 650b bikes that was coming their way.
For the record, we aren't 650b haters, we just thought the wave of people clamoring for a wheel size they'd never ridden was kind of idiotic. Joe Graney, however, was right: the public wanted themselves a big ol' heaping plate full of 650b and they've got it coming to them. As far as I know, no one has accused Santa Cruz Bicycles of being profit-seeking "whores" (my words) and the company has sold a ton of Bronsons—which are, in fact, very good bikes.
Side note: Joe Graney actually shanked me—prison style—with a broken crank-arm the moment we wrapped up this shoot. Graney's both a brilliant engineer and a ninja, so I guess I should have really seen that one coming.
You Don't Know….Brett Tippie
Tippie is funny, he’s a hell of a rider and he’s an institution unto himself. You know this already. What most people don't know is that Tippie has also triumphed over some seriously dark moments in his life. It’s truly Tippie’s struggles and ability to rise above them that impress us most. This episode captures all of that.
650b Death Match…With Puppets
Yeah, again, with the 650b thing. Well, we can say this: no one ever brought hand puppets into the mix until we made this video, which I think settled the controversy once and for all. There's also a talking dog with a flowchart in here, which just ups the precision by a factor of at least 10.
Science. Puppets. Boom. Hats off to Seb Kemp and Mike Gamble.
Fat and Furious
You can only hear that fat bikes are the ultimate riding weapon for every application so many times before you feel like burning the entire category to the ground. Look we get that they are awesome in the snow. No dispute there. Looks fun. But…. commuting, Tour de France time trials and slopestyle contests? Come on now…there are limits to our collective patience. So the idea for this video was simple: get the least expensive fat bike on the market and compete in every race/contest at Sea Otter: cyclocross, downhill, slalom, cross-country, log pull…. Could one bike dominate it all? You be the judge.
Mike Ferrentino came out of the womb as an old man in a rocking chair, on a front porch with a pickle jar full of urine sitting beside him. I'm only exaggerating by a narrow margin here. I've known Mike for nearly 20 years now and he's been a cranky, cantankerous 80-year old the entire time. Ferrentino is also brilliant, which is why we put him in front of the video camera and asked him to dispense some hard-earned wisdom about what it takes to survive tradeshows in Las Vegas.