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Tread the Movie- a journey back in MTB time…

| Blog, Mountain Biking Uk | 02/03/2012 11:10am

When  I first started watching bike movies in the early ’90’s, they were truly awful yet somewhat addictive…

There wasn’t anything else back then- and because of that I’ve got a lot of bad retro footage engrained on my memory. Anyone else remember the original Kamikaze video? Or Totally Wild? I’ve still got them on VHS tucked away somewhere…

When everyone else was busy enjoying the radical phase making crash compilations from the bomb hole at the Malvern Hills Classic, Bill Snider put together a full length feature film called Tread the Movie, which followed Hans ‘No Way’ Rey and Greg ‘H-Ball’ Herbold across america as they hit up a bunch of races and ride some classic spots whilst trying to define what mountain biking really is. Despite being massively out-dated, there are a lot of comparisons to many modern films- angles and techniques; narrative approach and even a deeper feel. Tread then was a great film, but looking back on it now, I think it’s a fantastic film. A genuinely great feel good film with some unique approaches- like the XC race that builds pace with it’s opera style sound track. Brilliant.

The road trip of all road trips

Now that’s a bike rack. The upright wheel holders were all Rockshox Mag 21 forks- possibly the most expensive bike rack ever!

The film starts with a road trip feel and it continues all the way through.

Now that's a shot! Modern techniques, old film.

As soon as I saw this shot of Greg Herbold riding at Moab, I knew I had to get there. Immediately Moab became a destination I wanted to ride- and only became greater through the film with the Slickrock that followed.

This shot was filmed from a chopper, chasing H-ball down- looks like Poison Spider Mesa or Moab Rim to me- any know where this shot was?

Droppin' in!

Good food or healthy food?

H-Ball and Hans have the post ride buzz going on, and are chatting about those moments that nearly went wrong, and those that felt rad. We’ve all been there.

And the kit doesn’t even look that dated- we’ve nearly come full circle. At least in the colourway stakes…

blond mullets, Troy Lee peaks and paint jobs. Awesome!

H-Ball chases Dave Wiens in an XC race- for champion of the mullets perhaps. XC was rad back then when people like Tomac and Herbold were shredding it up!

Hans up to tricks in Bolivia

Long before Martyn Ashton had mastered the amazing Animal Biketour show, Hans Rey was the originator in taking MTB skills to the people and entertaining them. Here he hops over a Bolivian child in front of a crowd that probably hadn’t seen a mountain bike before.

Zap Espinoza makes a cameo, and plays Hans for a fool

In a comedy scene at a bike race, well known bike journalist Zap Espinoza makes a cameo as a race marshall, giving Hans and Greg spoof directions, leading the pair round in circles.

Double angle face plant from Sara Ballatyne. Ooof!

XC racer Sara Ballatyne was just one of the riders caught out by the double jumps on this XC race track. Tinker Juarez and John Tomac had no such problems though with their BMX back ground.

Jimmy Deaton’s legs cranking round a dinner plate sized ring. Only on the Kamikaze!

Moaning about arm pump? Shut up.

Long before the Red Bull Rampage, people have been shredding in Utah...

Long before there were mountain bike freeriders, those that know the outdoors have been exploring incredible terrain- recognise this spot?

1994, on a Mongoose Amplifier full suspension- what a bike, and amazing terrain! For the record, I need one of those bikes in my collection.

Mavic SUPs, Onza Porcupines, Purple Grafton brakes... dribble.

Herbold’s Miyata bikes were always ahead of their time with their experimental full suspension designs and trick componentry.

You could say Greg was the original Freerider- or a proper All Mountain rider. He rode a whole mountain via a heli drop in this film too…

One of the first MTB Heli-drops. Ahead of it's time!


Herbold dropping in from a heli drop

Herbold looking Moto. Check out the MX boots!

Missy styles out a crash

Even Missy Giove makes an appearance- even if it’s a flat out flat spin on the snow. Kind of like a Bambi set up, and just like what we witnessed Pro Ride Guides Alex Rafferty do across a golf course the other day! You can just about see her pet pirhana, Gonzo, hanging from her neck. He jumped out his fish tank and dried out on the table when Missy was out, so she punched a hole through him and hung him round her neck on a necklace. Weird, and very Missy!

Travis Brown on one of those old 2 wheel steering Treks

Long time XC pro and product developer for Trek, Travis Brown makes an appearance slip sliding his way down a ski piste with Herbold, Tomac, Missy Giove and more.

H-Ball down!

Herbold wasn’t afraid to goose around in the snow either, pushing what can be done on a mountain bike…

Now that's a rack...

Insert awesome Tioga disc drive thunder rumble...

Paul Turner of Rock Shox also has a scene in the film, where he’s ripping down a trail on his own, with just the rumble of his Tioga Disc Drive to keep him company.

The scene’s split up between cool rumblings and visual moments of madness- kind of showing what goes on when we hit the afterburner on downhills.

San Francisco made an amzing urban backdrop to prove mountain bikes worth

There’s an amazing scene in San Fransico when the Mongoose riders- including BMX pro Fuzzy Hall hit the steep roads with fly off ramps and catch some serious air- even by todays standards.

The technical riding in this scene was way above anyone’s ability back then!

Nasty winter weather doesn't put off hard core New York couriers

A really interesting scene with a couple of New York couriers tells tales of their 100mile days and even a armed robbery in a lift. It’s got a great documentry feel to it, and jumps to a motorbike scene in the UK with more couriers weaving in and out of traffic showing the similarities.

The Tomac Attack, Earthquake Jake Watson, Dave Cullinan, JMC and Jurgen Beneke

Downhill raing back then was about power- and these riders were amongst the strongest out there. Tomac was always riding at 100% output, and looked great with it. The late Earthquake Jake Watson who’s sadly no longer with us was just a massive guy that used to mash the pedals round whereas the burly German Jurgen Beneke was a monster of a man when it came to pedalling. Flat out, the whole way.

Cully never wore armour, and in this video is riding a Diamond Back Dual Response- which isn’t a million miles different from the Verlicchi frame he won the World Champs two years previously.

Jason McRoy came screaming in to view too- when he was still riding for Hardisty Cycles on a GT RTS…

The differing looks of DH protection back then...

Check out  the face masks! They were pretty in back then- the Oakley one was the only nice on, but the UK’s Simon Kipling made the Scott one seem quite cool when he used to race along side Jason Shackleton on Scott bikes. He used to use the pink mask!

Tomac just ran a custom sprayed Bell helmet with a Troy Lee Peak, which always featured an American Eagle and the classic stars and bars logo. Herbold did the same, but ran goggles over his prescription Oakleys. Herbold always had rad paintjobs- I’d love that one now!

Poison Spider Mesa at Moab. Wish I was there now!

Tread closed with a great scene of Hans and Herbold shredding the Poison Spider Mesa slick rock area at Moab. It’s an incredible place to go and ride- if you ever get the chance- you gotta go there!


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