Mountain Biking – The Untold British story

August 8th, 2016

By Andrew Dodd

Mountain Biking – The Untold British story

We often hear about the story about the Klunkers and how mountain biking was born in Northern California, but what we don’t hear enough is how the scene developed in the UK.

Having grown up with mountain biking and seeing much of this first hand, I was really happy to hear that my friends at Singletrack magazine had a film in the pipeline telling that very story.

Mountain Biking – The Untold British story is available right now…

Mountain Biking - The Untold British story

It’s great to see the late Jason McRoy as the cover for Mountain Biking – The Untold British story. He’s an icon of our sport, and this excellent documentary celebrates him, as well as those who helped get the sport this far…

Starting before mountain biking had even become a thing, Bafta winning film makers Pip Piper and Michael Clifford take us on a journey to the roots that date back to the 70’s. Long before mountain bikes existed, a cycling group called the Rough Stuff Fellowship were taking touring bikes off road – enjoying bike packing holidays long before the bike packing we know existed.

And Geoff Apps might not be a name many know, but really his early vision for an off road bike was pioneering – and it’s great to have an in depth section with Geoff. It’s great to see Geoff in the saddle too – you can see exactly where his dignified and relaxed print advert for the Range Rider bike comes from.

It’s also nice to hear of the link between Geoff and MTB icon Gary Fisher – who tells plenty of stories about both the US scene, and how the UK scene boomed. Geoff and Gary were in touch for a large part of the early period in mountain biking – and though the styles they were pioneering were radically different, they shared the vision of where MTB could go.

Something I never knew was how similar cycle speedway bikes were, to mountain bikes of the time.  Those original bikes – known as ‘trackers’ resembled the early mountain bikes we saw the Klunkers riding in the US – you can see how things progressed toward off road specific bikes.

The start of mountain biking for me was really when Muddy Fox took off, and it’s ace to see founder Drew Lawson and Ari Hadji Petrou talking about the company that threw MTB in to the mainstream for us brits. They were both instrumental in the UK’s mountain biking scene – even though their first major bike was called the Courier and was adopted by the urban market.

I also appreciated seeing my MTB mentor Tym Manley in the film along side the most influential MTB photographer in the UK – Steve Behr. They both tell some great stories including a section about the iconic Jason McRoy. It all helps joins the dots of the UK MTB story and it certainly gave me a huge dose of nostalgia.

Really, Mountain Biking – The Untold British story by Blue Hippo Media covers a lot – all the way through to modern day stuff, where the journey features the Atherton family; Tracy Mosely; Martyn Ashton; Steve Peat and old captain black beard Rob Warner.

It’s essential viewing. Get involved!

£3.99 to rent, or £9.99 to own it. Both options are on Vimeo right here.







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