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Mountain bikers race to Coliseum

A CROWD-FUNDED UK mountain biking film had its premiere Welsh screening in Aberystwyth on Saturday (Jul 30) and was a very big hit with mountain bikers and fitness fanatics alike. 

‘Mountain Biking – The Untold British Story’, was shown at the Ceredigion Museum in Aberystwyth at 7.30pm.

Shot and co-produced by Blue Hippo Media (the makers of Bafta Winning ‘Bicycle’) and in partnership with ‘Singletrack’ magazine, the documentary film tells the story of the early development of mountain biking from its early days of ‘fat tyre clunkers’ four decades ago, all the way to what people know of it today- a modern day success , especially for UK Mountain Bike athletes worldwide.

Mountain biking made its mark by beginning in the hills of the West Coast of the USA, and the documentary sets out to tell the story through archive footage of early XC racing all the way to the modern British scene of mountain biking.

The documentary is made even more spectacular by featuring clips and interviews with famous names in the biking industry such as Steve Peat, Dan Gee, Tracy Moseley, Rachel Atherton, Rob Warner, Gary Fisher, Jason Miles, Geoff Apps and many more. In addition, the contributions of the famous names portray how they have helped shaped mountain biking into a global phenomenon. Piers Linney, former Dragon on BBC Dragons Den and MTB enthusiast, also participates in the film as an Associate Producer.

Pi Piper, the Co-Director and Producer of the film, spoke to The Herald on the film’s success and how it has aimed to inspire future Mountain Bikers: “Blue hippo media is a film company that has been going for over ten years and has made several feature length films including multi award -winning ‘The Insatiable Moon ‘, a NZ story we produced with the producer of The Lord of the Rings in 2009. We also made the much acclaimed documentary ‘Last Shop Standing ‘.

“The film has been made over the past nine months and took us all over the UK. It is an untold story and features what we believe are key elements of the story told through people who were and are there. It has been received really well which is a relief!

“I think it inspires that getting out on a mountain bike whatever the terrain or for how long, racing or just taking it easy , is about freedom to have adventures in nature.

“The film is screening in several places across the UK but can be bought as a download from August 6 at vimeo. com/ondemand/mtbuntold . ”

Alice Briggs, Assistant Curator at The Ceredigion Museum, spoke to The Herald about the screening and how Ceredigion Museum was honoured to be hosting the event: “We had fifty people attend, and there was a short introduction from Joe Hayward of ‘Summit Cycles’ in Aberystwyth , as it was a partnership event and they are one of the Crowd Funding supporters , because it was an ‘Indiegogo’ Crowd Funded film. They wanted to screen it in Aberystwyth as one of the premieres across Wales because it’s not actually on general release until this week (Aug 6), so it was a good opportunity for us.

“People hung around to chat with one another after the screening but we did not have a Q&A on the night. Fifty people, for us at The Ceredigion Museum, is a nice size audience, because we don’t have a huge number of seats at the moment.

“We ran an ‘adventure film night’ with Travel Writer s Hannah Engelkamp and Rhys Thwaites Jones, who make adventure films locally , and they partner with us on a type of quarterly programme.

“Joe Hayward came to the last one, which was an American equivalent of ‘Mountain Biking – The Untold British Story’ focussing on one individual in the Californian history of mountain biking who disappeared. When he was here, he mentioned about the British History of mountain biking film and asked if we would be interested in screening it.

“They don’t have a partner in Aberystwyth at the moment, only in Coed y Brenin, but they were looking for somewhere to screen locally here. It works really well for us to have a nice partnership like that and it brings a different audience into the Museum.

“Since the Ceredigion Museum had a cinema screen re-installed a few months ago, the success will slowly come and the ‘Mountain Biking – The Untold British Story’ was one of the first screenings, so we are looking to get more offers and there is more potential for us to work in partnerships with people. We definitely would like to get the word out there.

“We’re really keen to diversify the audience that we get into film screenings and other events as well; that’s one of the exciting things about having the cinema screens back , definitely.”

“What we want to make sure of is that we’re not trading on the toes of other local film providers in the area – that we’re doing something different and unique. We do feel that we can offer something different and that coming to the old Coliseum isn’t just about coming to the cinema , but also for the atmosphere and experience.”

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Dayne Stone

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