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mountain bike magazine FREERIDERMAG.IN

Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine

INDIA | ISSUE NINETEEN January, February 2014




u region.

James Frampton shares the ride from Kull



mountain bike magazine

EXCLUSIVE STORY | Oct Thirteen | 8 EPIC TRAIL STORY | Killer Himalayas | 18 BIKE PORN | 2014 Trail Candies | 27 RIDER PROFILE | Ignatius Chen Chin Fa | 30 RIDER PROFILE | Jackson Goldstone | 33 EPIC TRAIL STORY II | Freeride Ladakh | 38 FRESH JUICE| New Groovy Stuff | 45 FRESH JUICE | Barred for life II | 47 HOT EVENT | Trails n Dust MTB Challenge | 51 HOT EVENT | Northeast CycloBHP Racing | 56


Photo by: Piotr “zdan” Zdanecki | Location: Ladakh, INDIA

We officially begin the 2014 riding season with our long awaited 19th issue which will show you more hidden trails from the mighty Himalayas. Mountain biking culture has exploded in the country, featured events like the ‘Himalayan Trails n Dust’ & ‘Northeast CycloBHP racing’ are clear examples of this movement! In this issue join James Frampton as he continues his journey to explore and build more trails in the Himalayan region. This edition also features cool riders like Iggy who recently got into the Indian DH racing scene. Jackson Goldstone from Canada, probably the youngest shredder who has surprised us and all the pros out there. All this and much more. I hope you enjoy the issue while I gear up for some snowboarding.

Vineet Sharma

Founder, Editor-in-Chief | Hi5 for yet another awesome year of bicycle powered freedom! What a year it’s been, from Big Mountain shredding in the Himalayas to India’s first appearance at the Asian DH Champs. Twenty thirteen was incredible indeed. We saw the world’s rowdiest mountain bikers visit India in search for some high altitude freeriding in Leh region while Red Bull Media House sharedtheir remote mountain action with the world. As Japan’s Yohei Uchino tutored India’s top BMX flatlanders in Pune during the “Red Bull Street Maharaja” gig, India’s biggest unofficial downhill event – BBCH ‘Turahalli DH Madness’ saw faster timings than previous years. 2013 also brought in a top spot for Nepal in the Megavalanche Mega Kids race. The DH Races in Nepal gained momentum along with new tracks opening up. As 2014 has stepped in, lets get ready for some new bikes, fresh dirt and a bag full of good times! We at Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine wish all of yall wheel spinners a great riding season ahead!

Vinay Menon

Deputy Editor | FR MTB MAG | 6

a| Photo: Vineet Sharm

Rider: Guido Tschu

gg | Location: Sarch

u (India)

R A D N E L A C 4 1 FREE 20

ceive your 2014 Make sure to re is issue. calendar with th

The Team: Editor in Chief: Vineet Sharma Deputy Editor: Vinay Menon BMX Agent: Dipak Panchal Himalayan Trails Minister: Naveen Barongpa

Contributing Editors and Photographers Malcolm Mclaws, Gautam Taode, James Frampton, Sarah Frampton, Robin Darius Conz, Piotr “zdan” Zdanecki, Bjorno Aunet, Jean Daniel M. Momin, Pyntngen Lyngdoh, Damechwa Lyngdoh, Sahba Rowshan, Sarah Appelt.

Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine #410, Sector: 10 Panchkula (Haryana). INDIA. ........................................................ Special Print ‘Collectors Edition’. For sale in selected stores only. E-mail us for more details. ........................................................ Feel free to write, contribute or advertise. E-mail at: |

NOTE: We have done our best to make sure that all content in this issue of Freerider mountain bike magazine is accurate, but would emphasise that we at Freerider mountian bike magazine accept no responsibility for any errors in the magazine or content.

Earlier in summer last season I stumbled upon “Asia Pacific Downhill Challenge” event info over the internet. 2013 being its 7th action year, the event organized in Bali, Indonesia has started to attract the best in the world. The “Elite” Category Racers this year included, Troy Brosnan, Wyn Masters, Tracey Hannah, Guillaume Cauvin, Fabien Couisinie and many more.

India at the‘Asia Pacific Downhill Challenge 2013’ - Bali, Indonesia Words: Vinay Menon | Photography: Vinay Menon & Gautam Taode



Through the weekend of 25th-27th Oct, coastal town of Klunkung, Bali was the venue for the high speed downhill battle. A ‘United Bikes’ hosted event, the ‘Asia Pacific Downhill Challenge 2013’ had over 255 riders registered for the comp. From Malaysia, UK, Australia, Indonesia, Japan and more, the racers had to fight it down the dry, rough and lose 1.3Kms course designed by the ‘Trail Scapes’ team. With a super humid day in 40+ degrees Celsius heat, the race weekend was a tough one for all. A course scattered with Double Jumps, Drops, Rock Gardens, Hip Jumps and steep chutes it was a delight to bomb down the trail.

This was the first time an Asian DH race start list had India’s name on it! A last minute addition to the start list, GautamTaode and me were listed in random categories that had vacant slots. After strapping up our race numbers, we hopped on the shuttle van up the ‘Bukit Tengah’ downhill course. After couple of practice runs and a seeding run, it was a long wait until Sunday morning for our Final race runs.


The D day arrived! Following the seeding run position, I was slated to head out of the gate around early noon. As the beautiful ocean stayed in the corner of my eye, the race course’s drops, rock gardens were a blur! I went down the mountain as planned, sticking to the lines I had chosen in practice. Crossing the finish line and straight on the ‘Hot Seat’! As the faster racers kept blazing down the mountain, I managed to stick to the ‘Hot Seat’ for quite a bit. With a few mistakes here and there, I ended up finishing 9th in “Masters”.




GautamTaode was ready to start his final run around 3pm in the Bali sun. Running a new setup on his bike for the finals, Gautam blasted down the mountain within the 3min mark as planned! This put him on the hot seat for a bit. Eventually grabbing the 8th spot for the day in his category. All smiles for the “Blazing Toad�! FR MTB MAG | 14

Our week long Bali visit was a buzz. Fun trails, beautiful beaches, great food, fast riders all added to our race experience.

With top 10 cracking runs in the Finals, we are sure to see India at the Asian DH Champs in the coming years.


Words: James Frampton |

The Kullu Valley all the way up to Manali and Solang Nala are beautifully terraced with orchards, mountains firing up into the sky. It is a valley of Himalayan proportions. When you wake up to a warm crystal clear day in Old Manali, everything is new and instead of “good morning” your hear “namaste”. Get fresh coffee and a big breakfast down your neck, grab your gear and go riding. The farmers work from low elevations to high up the sides of the mountains and new roads are regularly being constructed for modern vehicle access. Above this, the shepherds roam. Their cattle and goats make trails we could only dream of. These breathtaking mountains are littered with them. FR MTB MAG | 18

Photography: Sarah Framp ton

There are no motorway trails out here, when it comes to testing and technical this is mountain biking in its raw format. The biggest stumbling block for mtb exploration in the Himalayas was the amount of gear I needed to take. Not just bike, body armour, and helmet, but lots of spares too. It is not just about the baggage allowance for international air travel, it is the logistics of moving through India from Delhi and weaving up to Manali. Nothing is simple, need to get a bus? No problem, it leaves at the hottest time of the day and you have to lug your gear 500 meters through the Main Bazaar.

rld and a lot of gear, Delhi.

wo Sarah the most understanding wife in the With three bikes I sweated exactly like the dude in the film ‘Airplane’.

Somehow falling from the sky is a scenario I am more comfortable with than drowning. The madness of Running and jumping off a mountain is followed by the serene quiet I travelled up the hard way, by road. The easy way is flying hiss of the paraglide chord cutting through the Himalayan into Kullu airport, one and half hours from Manali. It is a no breeze, a moment later you are where the eagles fly and brainer - take the plane all the way. With flying there are they are cruising on the thermals beside you. only two risks - take-off and landing. The drive up on the The mountain side is well behind you and you have 1000 windy roads it feels like there is a risk on every single meters plus below your feet. Priceless. corner. Riding a bike in the Himalayas is very different to riding the regular DH MTB resorts on the western trail. The Himalayas will, for your first jeep assent and first few runs, humble you as you realise the gravity of the situation you have put yourself in. Riding down the biggest mountains on earth, where no or very few tyres have been before, feels like the road builders and drivers are battling nature to get you to the top. Simply being a passenger up to the 4000m What you want is an old driver but not so old that he can’t Rhotang Pass once is a massive workout for the abs, come ride the Himalayas go home with a cut six pack. see or is falling asleep after 10 hrs.

My first bus journey up took years for me to mentally recover from The young drivers were racing, smoking pot and at the limit of traction.

Having visited India many times the crazy becomes normal and the bonkers becomes standard. I am referring here to both the locals and the modern day hippies who are draped over the seats of the cafes like...stoner hippies. In tandem with the hippies, adventure tourism has been a big business for the local economy over the past few decades although it has been based on the more traditional trekking, paragliding and rafting. I’m not a water baby and the rivers are beyond wild so the rafting I have missed out on, but the paragliding is another thing all together.

At the Marhi drop in pint on Rhotang Pass.

Uplifts are easy in the Himalayas, for the trails around Manali grab your self a rickshaw (motorised). Drop off your front wheel and your in. Don’t listen to the driver telling you it’s impossible, just say ‘yeah yeah possible’. They normally love doing up lifts and race you down for another lap. Good times.

shaw ride away! There is plenty of natural terrain just a rick FR MTB MAG | 20

The isolation makes you feel pretty small. For rides up the face of the end of the valley known as Rhotang Pass bigger transport is needed. You can put your bike on the roof of the local buses and jump out at the top. I would recommend trying it, a once in a lifetime experience maybe but after that one time hire a Sumo Taxi and a good driver. It is not that the bus drivers are anything but highly skilled, it is just the road/bus ratio is a bit too finely balanced at times when buses and trucks pass after a landslide swallows the road during the monsoon season.

The drive up and past the Gulaba zone you look down to your left and see the huge drop the river has cut. In this valley is the old shepherd trail to Rhotang Pass, it looks like a fun rocky trail all the way. Once I arrived at the top and did the radio check it was time to ride a line I had been running in my mind for years.

The drive up and past the Gulaba zone you look down to your left and see the huge drop the river has cut. In this valley is the old shepherd trail to Rhotang Pass, it looks like a fun rocky trail all the way. Once I arrived at the top and did the radio check it was time to ride a line I had been running in my mind for years.


There is no one maintaining trails, and they have been crafted by centuries on shepherd flip flops and animal hooves. Enjoy them, savor them. They are very special and you won’t return home saying it’s a bit like Whistler or Morzine. I loved Whistler when I worked there but a spade is not a hoof and hoofs make trails crafted to thread with and within the landscape.


The old shepherd road to Rhotang Pass has created something wild. FR MTB MAG | 23

The magic forest between New and Old Manali are a joy to ride for a few hours of an evening. The gradient is shallow but it flows all the way to New Manali and gives you so many creative options. Above Kullu There is Jana Falls. A killer dahba sits up there serving amazing local curries made from ingredients from the fields around. The red rice is something you can’t find anywhere else in the world as it is so prized so much it doesn’t make it out of the villages! After lunch get some runs in down to the valley floor. There are natural berms and potential hits on every trail you just need the desire and vision to see it and do it. Freedom, your bike lets you drop through altitude as gravity has a lasso firmly on your forearms. Your here now, to not ride and allow yourself to be intimidated... can you leave with a life long niggle in the back of your head... forever? That said walking away to ride another day is liberating too, ride for yourself in the Himalayas, no one is watching. If a rider screams in these mountains and the there is no one to listen does he make a sound? The answer is no. There is no end to the trails that line the valley at both high and low elevations. New roads up to villages like Kinyal are spewing new opportunities for lower elevation riding for when the upper roads are closed due to the monsoon rains. FR MTB MAG | 24

In a new twist there is the Gondola in Solang Nala. A steep sided valley with surprisingly flowy terrain. Definitely somewhere to play and have a great time. After a day/week of eye opening mountain biking getting back to the guest house and sitting on your balcony with a 5 star view, a bunch of beers and cake is just about everything you could wish for. A big dinner is going to cost about 200Rs (£2/$3). Large beers £1. The altitude adds extra value to your beers too. The super duper Indian Himalayas deal.

The local scene is developing, these guys like Naveen and Vineet have a wonderful trail map developing. When I started riding there in 2009 most people said its not possible and too dangerous, but then they don’t know what mountain biking has become and the type of terrain we desire. There is a whole lot of terrain to explore on this continent and tyres are getting out there. If you fancy some exploration I would really recommend bringing your bike to the sub continent for a ride. It is like being a kid again where all sensations and situations are new, only this time you are on a great bike and not an 1980’s BMX. Exploration takes months and months before a days riding becomes what you would wish for, once you get there it is bliss.

ABOUT THE RIDER/WRITER: James Frampton is the creator and a trail guide for ‘Gravity Assault Tours’ and organizes downhill and freeride tours in the Himalayas. These tours are lift assisted by gondola or l ocal 4x4 drivers, with minimal walking required. More information can be found at their website: Recommended by us at Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine!


Here are 4 best

full suspension

rigs that you m

ight fancy for tr ails this year.

MSRP: $2600 | APPRX: INR 1,60,000 | INTENDED USE: Freeride & Downhill riding. Specialized Status has been our top favorite bike ever since it got launched. This bike is great for park, trails and those demanding technical descents. This package is not too heavy on the pocket like other bikes. Which means you can save some gas money for your summer road trip. Status 1 features its iconic FSR suspension, plus a custom X-Fusion Vector R shock and 170mm-travel X-Fusion Vengeance coil-sprung fork. The M4 hydroformed frame comes with a 1.5 forged headtube, ISGC mounts and 135 mm rear spacing.

However the brakes could have been a little better for this price. We don’t mind seeing Avid Elixir 3 instead of 1. Now coming to the drivetrain, Status 1 will come with Sram X7, 9 speed short cage rear derailleur but assisted with an 8 speed cassette. Sram X4 trigger shifters with Truvativ Ruktion + Status guide completes the drive which could have been a little better. But without complaining much we have to say that we can’t wait to get our hands on this bike and let’s hope it arrives in India soon.


MSRP: $ 8935 | APPRX: INR 5,50,000 | INTENDED USE: Downhill racing. Commencal mountain bikes are very popular in our neighboring countries like Nepal and Bhutan. Their presence has attracted serious DH riders from India too. The beast shown above is definitely for hardcore downhill mountain bikers and racers who are looking for the perfect weapon to stand on the podium. The Supreme has proved to a very efficient and trustworthy for many DH riders worldwide. But the price might set you back.

However the light weight frame equipped with Kashima coated Fox 40 RC 2 DH fork and Fox DHX RC 4 rear shock with Sram X0 type 2 10 speed derailleur and shifter justifies the price pretty much. So when can you expect it in India? Well, its still not confirmed when will Commencal launch its much waited range here, but the talks are still on and the chances are great.

Honestly we are not a big fan of the new wheel sizes floating around the market, but this puppy didn’t fail to attract us. The27.5� carbon tuned version comes fully equipped with a Custom FOX Nude Boost Valve shock, a Kashima Coated FOX 32 Float fork and patented TwinLoc technology, in combination with Traction Control, allowing for three travel/geometry settings to always optimize your ride. Scott bikes have already entered the Indian market and are doing pretty good. Though we are not sure if they plan to launch the Genius 700 anytime soon.

MSRP: $ 7600 | APPRX: INR 4,68,000 | INTENDED USE: All mountain. FR MTB MAG | 28

MSRP: $ 5850 | APPRX: INR 3,60,000 | INTENDED USE: Trail/Enduro. How can anyone not love this bike? Giant Reign X is like the overlord of mountain bikes bolstered by 6.7 inches of active Maestro Suspension travel and a super-strong ALUXX SL aluminum frameset which is very light weight too. The bike is very versatile and performs well on climbs, goes down smoothly and is always ready to take some heavy beating too.

Our personal favorite is also equipped with lot of good stuff like Fox 36 Talas fork with 140-160mm travel, Fox Float-X rear shock, Sram XX1, 11 speed drive and the list goes on. We tried Andi Wittmann’s super pimped Reign X and loved every second spent riding. If you are a seriously considering to upgrade and looking for an all rounder bike which can take a lot of beating‌ then look no further as this is a great investment.

Andi Wittmann shredding on his Giant Reign X in the Indian Himalayas. Reign X is expected to be launched in India by March 2014. The price may increase because of custom duty charges and all that crap.



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NICKNAME: Iggy AGE: 27 HOMETOWN: Bangalore, Karnataka YEARS RIDING: Started Mountain Biking 6 Years ago. Focusing on DH for 4 years now. PRIMARY STEED: Giant Glory 01 PREFERRED RIDING STYLE: Downhill FR MTB MAG: How did your inclination towards Downhill Mountain biking come about? IGGY: After watching a documentary on Downhill Racing in 2009, I headed to the hill with my hardtail and tried riding a few downhill sections on the nearby hill. I was hooked ever since! FR MTB MAG: Riders that inspire you? IGGY: Home boys Nilesh Dhumal, Vinay Menon and Mrigendra Mainkar. The Emperor - Steve Peat, Greg Minnaar, Kurt Sorge, the Atherton family, Aaron Gwen and anyone who rips fast …

FR MTB MAG: How does your productive week look like? IGGY: Currently my day starts at 5.30am with little work out at the gym. I have also included running into my train regime. I work at ‘ProCycle’ which is one of the best bike stores in the country. I take the responsibility of whole service department at Procycle making sure every bike runs smooth… On day offs depending on the mood we hit the trails at Turahalli or Nandi Hills. A good day ends with few laps practicing a new section on the track or just building another jump on the track.


FR MTB MAG: You’ve been racing the BBCh DH events for a few years now and have raced the DH Comps in Nepal as well. Do you wish to race more often? IGGY: My First DH race was the Nepal National DH at Shivapuri National Park in 2011 conducted by Nepal Cycling Association along with the local store, KBS (Katmandu Bike Station). I was in the squad of India’s first Downhill Racers (Nilesh, Vinay, Gautam, Piyush, Anand and myself) to step out of India to represent the Country, it felt good. I placed 20th position in my life’s first DH race. Soon the local Bangalore DH Race scene at ‘Turahalli’ started to emerge. Ifinished 5th in 2011, 2012 I was in 6th. In 2013 ProCycle gave me the opportunity to take part in the National DH Race in Nepal again; it was a booster for my performance as I made it into the top 10. With a 4th spot finish at the BBCH ‘Turahalli DH Madness 2013’ it was a good way to end this year. My goal is to be in as many races as possible for 2014 and also hopefully representing India on the Asian Downhill circuit.

FR MTB MAG: Where do you see yourself 10 years from now in the sport? IGGY: 10 years from now I will still be riding (I know I will be) promoting the sport in every possible way. Also exploring and building new trails, sliding those wheels having more fun.. FR MTB MAG: Any shout outs? IGGY: My family especially mom, sister for supporting me..My friend and colleague Nilesh Dhumal for pushing my riding. My sponsors ‘ProCycle’ and ‘Helicon consulting’ for giving me the opportunity to race. To all my trail buddies Vinay, Gautam, Mugoo and others riding with you all has always been a blast.


Words and Photography: Malcolm McLaws

So what were you doing when you were 9 years old? Climbing trees, kicking a soccer ball at Sunday games or maybe just hanging out playing video games? Well Jackson Goldstone usually has other plans, ride his bike, jump his bike or maybe slide his bike around the Whistler mountain bike park on any given day with his dad, Ron. Jackson loves to ride and it shows in his progression and style in the sport.


He has made regular trips to Woodward West and the Post Office jumps in Aptos, Ca. While in California this year he won the Dirt Jump Best Trick at the Santa Cruz MTB Festival and the Downhill Race at the Sea Otter Classic for his age class. During bad weather days you may find him trying out flips with pro’s like Brandon Semenuk at the indoor airdome in Whistler. On riding days maybe he’s doing laps on Dirt Merchant with Tyler McCaul or whipping the A-line jumps with the other local Grom, Finn Finestone, the son of Whistler Bike Parks manager Brian Finestone.

Jackson lives to ride and ride he does, just google his name for video’s and page after page rolls up from the old Rampage site to hitting the pool jumps at the McCauls home in Aptos, this kid does it all. He hits things that most riders pull up on, not Jackson, he’ll just send it with no fear. Pro riders are stoked to watch him ride the mountain or hit the DJ, he gets high 5’s from everyone. As a sponsored rider he has even done the narrative for the Joy of Air from Arc’teryx clothing, all before the age of 10.

One of Jackson’s best qualities is his attitude towards riding, he’s humble and always ready to learn and watch.. no big ego for this kid. That’s not surprising when you meet the Goldstone family of Ron, Miriam and sister Bailey all who ride park and race BMX together. It didn’t take long for sponsors to back this ripper up when they saw him ride as this list shows. Jackson is sponsored by Oakley, Royal Racing, Kore Components, Shimano, Lil Shredder, POC Sports, GoPro, 5.10,and Leatt, a list that would make most Pro riders or racers happy to have on board.



When you see the talents of this little grom who rides like he’s 5 years older you just know that when Jackson’s old enough you may see him at Crankworx during Red Bull Joyride or racing the A-line DH or hitting the World Whip Offs in the years to come. During a day spent at the new Coastal Gravity Park where Jackson and Ron rode with the Coastal Crew on the new trails they have built it was high 5’s and smiles for miles, lap after lap. Jackson was the youngest ripper to hit the park, the future looks bright for this talented Grom. Oh and did we mention he’s also a sponsored winter athlete as well, hitting the terrain park on snow days.


Words and Photography: Piotr “zdan” Zdanecki |


It has been one of those rainy evenings in autumn, that the best thing you can do is browsing the internet. I have been looking for a place on our planet where mountains are very high and till that moment no one dared to shred paths lying there on a mountain bike. Once I have seen Ladakh on photos, it was love at first sight. Finally, after few months of preparations, in August 2013 the flight from Poland to India landed in Delhi. We were in the team of three –MarcinKleszcz, KlaudiuszDuda and PiotrZdanecki (me). Since our trip was supposed to be a low budget, we decided to get to the Leh in Ladakh by land, via famous Manali-Leh Highway, instead of taking plane from Delhi. Even though we were totally exhausted after arrival to Leh, it was worth it! The road passes through the wild and vast Himalayas, crossing few passes including those above 5000m. We had also a chance to get more familiar with the Indians and their lifestyle which is so different from ours, Europeans. The whole travel from Delhi to Leh took us about 36 hours in a row. FR MTB MAG | 39

We spent about two days in Leh before taking our bikes to the mountains. We visited the magnificent Leh Palace; got some necessary acclimatization, bought few things and then we were ready to conquer the Himalayas! Our first target was the Sengge La. Since there was a possibility to get a ride by car to the top of the pass we used it. When the car reached the top of it and left us there alone we were so astonished. The sun was slowly going down and scenery was so breathtaking. Only us and spectacular mountains! We took few photos and descended back to the valley. Fortunately, there was a river so we could have set a camp. After the sunset, the darker it was getting, the more stars appeared on the night sky. We have never seen so many stars. Oh, and there was even a milky way visible!


The next day, which was a little bit cloudy we spent on climbing to the Yogma La. Due to the lack of acclimatization it took us 7 hours to reach the top of it. Nevertheless, the scenery was mind-blowing, we felt like we were on the moon. But the clue of that day was a path going down from the pass. The narrow singletrack, we were so stoked on it! We did not manage to reach the valley the same day, so we had set camp before the night came. The day after we continued going down and then started to climb towards the third pass – Nyguitse La. Unfortunately, the weather was getting worse – rain and snowfall were coming – so we decided spend a night in the half on the climb to the pass. In the morning we packed up our things and followed the path to the pass. This time also we were not disappointed – once again great view and amazing, very long singletrack right to the Kanji village. We spent a night in Kanji and then came back to Leh.


In the next days we visited the region of Stok Kangri. While we were pushing our bikes towards the Ganda La I have noticed great looking ridge calmly coming down to the valley, where we had our basecamp. It looked quite promising, so after we reached the Ganda La, we turned left and followed the ridge to the unnamed peak from where we started for what we came here for – freeride! There was no path, only we, our bikes and ridge.



That what was looking easy from the valley, it was looking quite differently behind the handlebars. Quite narrow ridge and steep scree pumped a lot of adrenaline to our bodies. Once we were back to our tent, we were pretty happy. It was really cool experience, to ride in such terrain. Later, we climbed and shredded Stok La, where we found countless number of switchbacks.


In total, we spent 24 days in India. Most of the time took travelling so only a week could have been devoted for pure riding. Anyway, it was great time for all of us. We met great people, especially the owner of Tukcha Road Guesthouse, who was extremely helpful and nice for us. Landscapes offered by the Himalayas were amazingly astonishing, green trees in Leh surrounded by the desert, and 6000m peaks covered with snow. Moon-like sceneries and rocks in colors that we have never seen before. By the time, I am writing these words, I am thinking about coming back there, to Ladakh. We would like to thank our sponsors for the support without them our trip would not be possible to accomplish:, Urge bike products, Garmin, PowerBar, AkademiaG贸rniczo-Hutnicza, Santa Cruz, GoPro.

Whenever we think of flat pedal riding shoes, Five Ten is probably the first brand that comes to our mind. Five Ten shoes are known for their superior rubber grip soles and a while ago they created a rad looking freeride shoe inspired by Scottish street-trials pro rider Danny MacAskill. Our bike slayer Jeewan Jeet Singh Dhillon got hands on these shoes which feature TPU toecaps, TPR external heel cups, leather uppers and stiff soles and took them through a brutal test which lasted for 9 months. Now talking about the durability, they have taken a good beating and we must say that they performed really well. The shoes were used almost every day while riding and general fooling around the town. The overall look is not too flashy (which is exactly what we prefer). The Stealth rubber sole is very stable, but started to give up in the end. Overall the grip has been phenomenal and amazingly grippy even after all the abuse. They are asking for more.

If you are looking to purchase these shoes in India… then you can’t. But they can be sourced via online bike shops which ships to India and should cost between 7000 to 8000 Rupees. Don’t forget to add shipping charges which will make them more expensive. But they are highly recommended as they are worth every penny. FR MTB MAG | 45

Lowepro is a well known brand for making quality backpacks for more than 40 years. The products are pretty innovative. After getting tired of carrying heavy camera backpack all day around we wanted a light and compact backpack which can carry DSLR and few essentials required on trails. We finally sourced a lightweight basic backpack and ended with Lowepro Fastpack 100. It was a cleverly designed “compact backpack” that’s exactly what we wanted! When you open the camera compartment, you will notice that it’s just enough to fit your mid size DSLR with or without a midrange telephoto lens. Here we had our Canon with a 300mm lens and a battery grip which just fits fine. If you adjust the divider properly, the side padded compartments can also fit in an extra lens and other things like battery charger or something of similar size. The security flap on the outside provided additional protection to outer compartments and also gives an easy access to your equipment.

Coming to the top compartment… It’s surprisingly roomy and enough to stuff in with random things you fit in your backpack while riding on trails. We even stuff this section with another lens (a 50mm), a GPS, a spare tube, a cell phone and a multi-tool. If that’s not enough then you will also find couple of places to slide in pens, MP3 player and other personal items. We could still fit in a point n shoot camera. The outer section is usefull to keep cables, manual or a cell phone for super easy access. The shoulder strap also comes with a MP3 player pocket. It even has a mesh pocket on the side which is perfect for a regular water bottle. The Fastpack 100 is made of weather resistant nylon with a polyester lining and is sturdy without any doubt. The back padding is fine and could have had more ventilation area. This backpack was great during local ride sessions which lasted for a day. It was great however a waist and chest belt would have made a lot of difference in the comfort while riding + a rain cover could have given this backpack 5 leaves. At the end of the day it’s a great pack for photographers who are into hiking, riding etc and who don’t wish to carry lot of photography equipment. FR MTB MAG | 46

FR MTB MAG: First up, a high five for the release of your much awaited sequel to Barred for Life! Lets start off with a little intro about yourself? BJORNO: Right now I’m 29 years old and not looking forward to 30 lol. I’ve been film for the last 11 years, since I first started back in high school. FR MTB MAG: How did ‘Chainlink Productions’ come about? Could you share some details of your past releases? BJORNO: “ChainLink Productions” came about, through my passion for extreme sports. It all really started with skateboarding at a young age and the yearning to become a professional athlete in that sport. I loved skateboard videos, with all the sounds and action that was going on, I just figured it would be great to be apart of it. On that note, one of my best friends at the time, was my main partner in crime when it came to skateboarding and practicing. He was a few years older then me, I looked up to him as far as the sport was concerned and as a cool role model, however, that all changed when he got into mountain biking. I had no interest at the time, in “spandex wearing dorks” as I saw them at the time. So with that beings said, I stuck with skateboarding and he went into the XC racing scene.

I had allot of fun making fun of him for it, but when the whole “free ride” movement showed up in the scene, that’s when the spark went off. I was interested right away, and it was something that I could get into and keep a healthy competition between friends going. The videos at the time really caught my attention. They were a whole step above any skateboard video I’d seen at the time. I loved the extreme style of riding and it seemed like something I could really get into. Bringing my whole “professional dream” into this new sport really fuelled my passion. I just wanted to make it big as a riding and getting to the videos. With that beings said, I thought that the only way to make that happen fast, was to put myself in my own film. Seeing how I was already enrolled in a media course during high school, I thought I’d give it a shot. So I went out producing “Descent”, my first ever attempt at an MTB film. It was a fun process and I loved the creative side of things, rounding up riders and friends to shoot with, as well as the whole editing aspect. Creation is a fun process that ended up consuming almost all my riding time, hece taking away from any section of myself in the film, however, I did led a few good shots in the DVD extras. Let’s face it though, a rider that puts himself in his own videos really isn’t cool in my eyes, so I’m glad I made the move to cut myself out! FR MTB MAG | 47

FR MTB MAG: Which locations stood out while filming for ‘Barred for Life II’? (Some details on perfect spots with great light, dirt, etc. + the riders in that location) BJORNO: We were blessed with so many awesome locations for this film this time around. It’s really hard to choose the best zones, when deal with so many rider styles. I’d have to say that “Halfjell Norway” and “Chatel France” were at the top of the list.

I set off on a two month shoot in Europe for the film, with my first adventure starting in Chatel France, with Steve Romaniuk. Steve approached me, for the big mountain event that was being he’d at the resort and pitched it as with top place to shoot an amazing big mountain section. FR MTB MAG: Elemental & Barred for Life 1 have showIn the end, it proved to be just that! Things couldn’t have cased some of the most progressive riding, can we got better. Conditions were perfect and Chatel helped us expect the same explosive action in the newest ‘Barred out with accommodations, lift access and even for Life II’? support with a helicopter, for our epic mountain shots. BJORNO: Elemental and Barred For Life were very Steve worked very hard on the section and it really shows different films, however, they were very progressive at in the new film. their time and both films were a beast to make. It’s funny, Once things were wrapped up in France, but we have received so many emails about an “ElemenI headed over to Norway to meet up with Trond Hansen tal” sequel over the years and the love for Barred For and Makken “Mads Haugen” to film the Norway section. Life has been through the roof. So with the release of This was a section I was very excited to shoot, given that the second film, we tried to combine the feel of the two its one of my favourite places to ride in the world. films while bringing even more progression to the screen. If you haven’t been, GO! I just recently came across a With guys like Steve Romaniuk succoring the big mounphoto that Steve Smith posted from his world cup race in tain scenes, with some 40 foot drops, Greg Watts with a Norway and it was photo of one of the berms on the stand out slope style section and the 2012 RedBull Joyride Halfjell track, with the caption “Best berms in the winner “Thomas Genon’s” first ever film section, we have business”. It just so happens, that it’s no word of a lie….. been able to put together a solid flick. The trails in Halfjell are amazing and the conditions we were able to film in, were just the same. Focusing on the FR MTB MAG: The action star cast in your films include golden light during the evening, we were able to capture some well-established shredders and some new risers, some amazing berm action and big air that these crazy whom can we expect in this new video? Norwegians love to catch. We were also accompanied by BJORNO: The rider line up is a packed one with some new Anders Haheim from “Damage Inc”, who added to our names for sure! Some of the stand out new names are film shoot with his fast cable cam action while filming “Thomas Genon”, who by now, should be a with another Norwegian shredding Niclas S. Andersen. household name in the MTB scene, swell as Sam Dueck. These guys did a great job and it’s defiantly a top section These guys threw down for the film and it’s great to see to look out for in the film. fresh talent in the scenes, that are bringing new progressive tricks to the scene. It’s going to be interesting to see what these guys are going to do for the 2014 season. The list also includes: Steve Romaniuk, Greg Watts, Geoff Gulevich, Eric Lawrenuk, Trond Hansen and more! FR MTB MAG | 48

FR MTB MAG: ‘Barred for Life II’ was cooking for quite some time now, what delayed the final release process? BJORNO: Well the “Barred For Life #2” concept was cooking for quite sometime, however the original attempt was scrapped due to budgets at the time. Once we really kicked things into gear, we had a horrible set back with our good friend Greg Watts breaking his back and neck, while filming his section for the film. The whole ordeal is something you would never want your worst enemy to go through, and hit close to home for us. It’s always been a thought on the back of our minds that something like this could happen at anytime, however, it’s hard to prepare for it. Once we found out that Greg broke his c-1 and t-3 vertebrae and was going to have a 9 month set back, we had to make the decision, weather to move on with the project without him, or wait and hold out to get him the solid spot he deserved. So it was an easy choice and we held out to make sure he could have the banger section he shot out to create. It’s great to see him back and shredding often a scare like that and a true testament to his love and passion for the sport. Greg will not let you down at all with this section!

FR MTB MAG: Apart from Mountain Biking films ‘Chainlink Productions’ is involved with other sports and video projects as well, what are they all about? BJORNO: We are starting to set off on more commercial based projects, seeing how the MTB scene can be a little unstable at times. So we have focused a few projects in the music scene, for a new and upcoming music site called “FOEJam” aka “Freedom Of Expression”. This is a social media site, which is going to cater to musicians and like minded individuals in the music scene on a social media level. The aim is to bring musicians together on a easy to use platform, where they can exchange and create content for their fans worldwide. Sounds like it’s a played idea, however, we have some key ingredients up our selves. So be sure to check out our page for updates to our release and latest video projects that are currently in production. FR MTB MAG: India, Nepal and Bhutan have a small yet rapidly growing community of shredders, would you consider visiting this side of the planet to capture the majestic mountains and its trail worshippers? BJORNO: In a heartbeat I would be over there to film! Really when it comes down to it, I’m always looking for new locations and loves experiencing new cultures and countries. So if I have the right athlete and it fits the budget, I’ll be there! I think it’s great to see such a strong growth in that scene and can’t wait to see where is, in the next ten years, seeing how fast the progression of the sport is growing these days. Maybe we will see a top DH athlete or slope style athlete from there soon! FR MTB MAG | 49

FR MTB MAG: Now while ‘Barred for Life II‘ is hitting the DVD shelves, do you have plans on making a triple threat installment of the series? (Barred for Life 3 ideas) BJORNO: The “Triple Threat” is on the burner as we speak. We are just in the beginning stages, lining up new sponsors and resigning with older ones. With some fresh new idea , cameras and approach, we are aiming to make our best film yet!


FR MTB MAG: Shout outs to one and all involved with the film. (Sponsors, friends & family) BJORNO: Yes, a big shout out to the MTB community! For supporting ChainLink Productions throughout the years and keeping our creations and travels alive. All the friends and family we have made along the way and of course the sponsors! Norco Bikes, Chatel Mountain, ChainLink Clothing, Evil Bikes, Joystick Components, ION, TSG, Toyo Tires and Damage Inc.



y: Naveen Barongpa Words and Photograph

The 3rd Himalayan trails’N’ dust mountain bike challenge is back to hit the trials with more gnarly trails more riders and more adrenaline. The race took place in the pristine valley of Kullu-Manali on the 23rd-24th November. The riders were asked to report on 22nd evening in camp exotica (Sarsai), the briefing was done and the jersey plates were distributed at the time of the briefing. The riders were told about the race details and the. On a cold morning of 23’rd, the riders got more motivated after a speech by Ace Rally Driver Suresh Rana (9 times winner of Raid-De-Himalaya) and cranked towards the start. The flag off was done at around 10, and the riders warmed up with a joy ride from Sarsai to Naggar. The climbing stage started with 4 riders at a time. All the riders had to pedal their lungs out in the demanding uphill section, which consisted of a broken tarmac and thick Deodar forest. Devender Thakur was leading the section followed very closely by defending champion Brestu and not really far behind was last year’s runner up Sunil Barongpa. Theclimbing stage finished at Jana waterfall which is also a famous tourist spot. The riders had a delicious lunch which had 12 different local cuisines in the platter! The next stage started after lunch just 2 KM away from the first stage. FR MTB MAG | 51

The riders were already aware of the competitive environment around them and looking forward for the next stage which was 100% off road, and had some really challenging sections which could make some of the best riders suffer. The stage finished at Mattikochhar rest house which was also the place for the overnight stay. This beautiful location showcased the view of the Kullu Valley. The tents were pitched to give a rich outdoor experience to the participants. A bonfire was also set up where the riders shared the day’s experience with other. The young ‘un Devender Thakur was leading the race followed by Brestu and Sunil. Devender and Brestu were trained well as they even raced in MTB Himalaya recently.



The next day was full of 17Km’of gravity and all the participant were looking forward for this. The stage started after 4 kms of joy ride session. In no time the riders were seen ripping the trails with dust. The section was 13kms long and full of loose gravel and some nice and fast hairpin bends. The riders had smile on their faces at the end of the stage. . But it was not easy for few. The tough trail left some riders dragging their bikes down with flats and technical problems. The riders who had to pay the most were the day 1’s top contender Devender and Brestu who had all the skills and stamina but luck was not In their side.

Both of them had technical problems and could not finish the stage and ended with a DNF. That was really disheartening for most of us.


The riders were escorted to the camp after the stage. Everybody was restlessly waiting for the results now. By the time the chief guest came; Robin a local rider impressed everyone with his skills. The Chief Guest to distribute the prizes was Mr. Bhuvneshwar Gaur (Youth Congress) who gave a motivating speech and also promised to support in all possible way for future events.

A big shout to the supporters: Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine, Firefox bikes, Himalayan trails, Sunshine Adventures, Ridul Holidays and tours, Into Himalaya, Camp Exotica, Bhram Ganga Hydel project, The Himalayan Golden Oak Adventure.

The riders received the certificates and prizes. Since the top riders were now out of the race, the whole result chart had a new turn. The result was announced and Sunil Barongpa was on the top podium followed by Ramesh Kumar Jogi in 2nd place and Lobzang Barongpa in 3rd place. The race also had 2 female riders Sarah Appelt and Lousia from Germany. Riders from Chandigarh and Calcutta participated in the 3rd Himalayan Trail n Dust Mountain Bike Challenge.

ngdoh raphy: Pyntngen Ly og ot Ph | in om M . lM

Words: Jean Danie


doh & Damechwa Lyng

The Meghalaya xBhp Sports & Adventure Club under the aegis of the Department of Sports & Youth Affairs (Govt. of Meghalaya) recently organized the 2nd Northeast CYCLOBHP Racing in Shillong. The two days event was flagged-off in 14th December 2013 by the Director of Sports & Youth Affairs, Shri F.M. Dopth, MCS, with a cycle rally in the city to promote cycling as a lifestyle and outdoor sports. This was followed the Super-D Racing for mountain bikes and the only BMX Downhill racing in Upper Shillong. Unlike the past, this season witnessed a specially constructed racing track featuring 5 berms and jumps in the 1km of downhill track. A dream come true for most of the amateur downhill riders, who for the first time, experienced riding through the wooden berms and jumps.

Altogether 30 riders from various states of the country took part to finish the race including Anissa Lamare, the only female rider from Shillong. Each rider had 3 laps to record their fastest time and the winners were selected based on their individual best of three time records. The fastest time record was clocked by Garry A. Umdor with 1min & 33sec followed by Abishek Saikia & Ian D. Kupar in the MTB category. Ismamul Howk with the time of 1min & 36sec took the lead in the BMX category followed by Meban Suiam & Dame Suiam.

Handcrafted wooden berms were used in NorthEast CycloBHP Racing.

Speaking to Gregory Nongrum, winner of the 1st CycloBhp racing quoted “The organizing team has done a wonderful job especially with the introduction of the berms (first of its kind seen in the country), uplifting the race to a higher level. We look forward to more such downhill race tracks & event coming up in the future, hopefully and national level and even and international event in the coming years�. Unfortunately for Gregory, he could not finish at the top due to his recent collar-bone injury during the recently concluded MTB Himalaya event. FR MTB MAG | 57

The organizing team wishes to thank all support crew, participants, prize sponsors (Hercules Roadeo, Wildcraft and D.D.Laloo&Co.), Media partners (Freerider Mountain bike Magazine, The Northeast Today Magazine, xBhp Magazine, Peitngor Cable News, Mawphor Daily, Meghalaya Times), Medical Emergency Partner (GVK EMRI 108), the Forest Department, the Dept. of Sports, Meghalaya AIDS Control Society & Youth Affairs and Metropolis Asia for the valuable support and contribution to the success of the CycloBhp Racing 2013. We look forward to a bigger and more challenging season in 2014! Till then Ride Hard, Hit the Tracks and Feel the Breeze!


Photo by: Sahba Rowshan

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Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine #19  

Issue # 19 - January 2014 SPECIAL COLLECTORS EDITION #2 Printed.

Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine #19  

Issue # 19 - January 2014 SPECIAL COLLECTORS EDITION #2 Printed.