Die freehuckers, die.

What do these two videos have in common?

Video 1:

Video #2:

A lot.

Two freehucker types, both on downhill bikes, both riding in and around Santa Cruz, CA.

Both riders are experiencing a recent Post Office diaspora (but only one of them had the nerve to actually say “Post Office RIP” in their video description), both are trying to look fast, and both of them aren’t.

Both videos have over 40,000 views, and both videos have received almost universal praise. Until now.

Here are some other things both those videos have in common: both videos sucked and if I have to watch another freehucker trying to look fast on a downhill bike the ROBOT APOCALYPSE will begin immediately. You’re not fast, and throwing your bike all over the place in a desperate attempt to show how much work you’re doing does not impress me.

Wigglin’. The freehuckers solution to looking fast on film.

I can’t tell whether all the excessive motion is either:

A) an authentic, honest, and unmodified outpouring of your limited bike skill, and this is actually what it looks like when you try to go fast, or

B) this is a blatant and cynical attempt to milk it for video, and by moving around erratically, squaring off turns, and throwing up dirt at every moment you’re trying to convince the viewer that you’re. Going. So. Fast.

Who knows? Maybe you protested over and over again to the corporate heads who demand you skid, freeride flick, and square off your way to millions of youtube views so they can line their pockets and light their cigars with the countless wads of cash that come flowing in every time they release another pander-to-the-masses freeride flick video. Maybe you said no so many times, maybe they were wearing you down and this is the one time you finally gave in to the corporate big wigs. Maybe the money was so big, or maybe your mom’s in the hospital and things have been so tight lately, and you’ve started a family of your own and you’re thinking of them now and maybe it was all too much and you couldn’t keep saying no forever.

This is who I imagine at SRAM HQ calling the shots on small market video decisions.

Either way, my initial response is one of madness and pity.

Madness because the resultant riding that I have to suffer through in the name of quality web journalism pains not just my mind but also my soul. After every ISIS beheading or terrorist attack, journalists the world over are motivated by duty to watch these horrific videos through, start to finish. This is what it’s like a ROBOT HQ every time a freehucker posts a go-fast-DH-bike video.

Pity because if someone had just taken these kids to a few races they might have learned something. I weep for the future, and I can only imagine with hope what would happen if more freehuckers went to races and learned to ride a bike. I think back to the time Geoff Gulevich showed up to a NW Cup in Port Angeles and got smoked in the sport category. I bet that was a learning experience for Geoff. [Editor’s note: this Geoff Gulevich story is unconfirmed race lore. Readers, please contribute with any conflicting or supporting first-hand experience or knowledge).

I don’t like Ben Furbee as a person and I wish him all the worst things in life, but I drove down to Sea Otter with him and we’ve been riding together, and he comes to mind as a fantastic cyclist and counterpoint to the freehuckers. His riding is actually boring to watch because he has such good bike control:

I also think of Sam Hill and Loic Bruni, who are both so dialed on a bike they almost never look like they’re doing anything. Sam has been the darling of every dimly lit race fan for the last decade, but that’s because he always goes inside on turns. Whether or not he looks like he’s in complete control and whether or not his physical motions are measured and boring, if you go inside on loose turns the people will love you.

Sure his upper body was probably so relaxed in this turn that it looked more like a run to the corner store for milk than a pre-race World Cup practice run, but soft focus on the rider with his foot off and a foreground full of roost and BLAMMO! The sheeple eat it up.

Racing is good for you, and it’s good for the sport. Please race your bike. Racing will teach you many, many useful lessons that will serve you and your riding for the rest of your life, but if it teaches you nothing else, it will teach you humility.

When you show up to the start gate after a long winter of freeride flicking your way to internet stardom, you will learn exactly how fast you aren’t. I don’t know who you are as you read this, but I already know you suck at riding a bike. You don’t believe me or you think I’m just some arrogant prick, but please start racing so you can see that I’m right. Hey, guess what? I suck too, just ask anyone who reads this site or knows me personally.

Most working dads who show up to the NW Cup ride faster than either one of those goons from the freeride flick videos. Maybe after a thorough ass kicking at the races they’ll learn to brake a little earlier, relax, and let their tires roll through the turn. It’s called carrying speed. Try it some time, it’s great.

Joey knows how to carry speed, and now he gets paid to fly around the world and live the dream. All thanks to racing.

In a related story, anecdotal and scientific evidence indicates that kids who participate in multiple sports during high school develop a broader and deeper athletic skill set than those students who choose to specialize in one sport. In other words, racing as a kid will lead to better freehucking. Here’s an article which covers the scientific side of this story:

http://changingthegameproject.com/the-perils-of-single-sport-participation/

Don’t like reading? Here’s a quick graph from that article that captures the multisport demographics of Urban Meyers miraculous come-from-behind National Championship college football team that just about covers the anecdotal evidence:

Multiple sports as a kid = better.
Ask Brian Foster how racing affected his freehucking:
Or Mike Aitken. Or Andreu. Or Cam Zink. Or Martin Soderstrom. Or pretty much anyone who doesn’t suck.

32 thoughts on “Die freehuckers, die.

  1. fucking rights it teaches humility. if you never test yourself against the clock, you are the fastest person alive. if you do, you are out the back.

    it is no surprise that 100% of huckers stand up and brake late in corners, because that skill wasn't learned through racing. local stars think they are fast until they show up for a race then are punted out the back, never to be seen again.

    you should probably have included something about how every little Joey and Suzy is out taking paid lessons on elbows up, attack position, but you want to learn those skills? go race your bike. the cheapest coach there is.

  2. mumford taught me to kickstart that motherfucker to intimidate the masses and i got the holeshot. then my sram chain snapped.

    lesson 1: i can only beat guys who ride with toe straps, and nobody else.
    lesson 2: sram

  3. Recently signed up for my first race solely as a learning experience. I work at a racetrack as a performance driving instructor, so I know the importance of maintaining speed through corners and the overall importance of cornering. I can only apply a little bit of it to biking, but I hope that being in a race sitaution will help me sharpen my skills.

  4. Every article of yours I read, you tell me I am garbage. I love it, maybe I'm a masochist, maybe I'm slow, probably both.
    plz take me off the kill list.

  5. The worst thing about the Ryan Howard video, even worse than the pointless flicks all the time, is that it's so blatantly sped up. The guy is actually a solid rider and IMO it's pretty disrespectful for the guy making the video to say “your riding isn't good enough so we'll just speed it up”. Well fuck then, film me instead, and just speed it up another few percent! What's it matter how fast the rider is if you're just gonna speed it up anyway?

    Besides that, not everyone cares about going fast. I spent 10 years getting my ass kicked at DH races, but some people just like riding because, you know, it's fun.

  6. Steve M gets it. At best mid-pack robots, being binary, not so much. Mt. biking would survive without racing. You can have fun, and even progress, without racing. Those that put such an emphasis on racing to validate their or others experience are mentally no more evolved than jocks. Exactly like the prickish, elitist, uniform wearing, team ball-sport playing tank-top wearing dudes you petulantly and incorrectly liken free-huckers to. The only thing that separates you from the aforementioned jocks is that you aren't any good at ball sports.

  7. I barely have time to breathe for fear of throwing my body position off line when I'm riding good trails.

    Anyone can wiggle their way around on a sidewalk trail.

  8. I agree with much of TeamRobot but I disagree on a few things here:
    #1- R-dog's video is one of the best videos I've seen this year despite whether or not he's going world cup speeds. His riding is sick and super stylish. No he's not a DH racer but I didn't enjoy the video less because of that.
    #2-I think Ryan Howard actually is pretty damn fast on a bike, and most freeriders are pretty good racers. Take Darren Bearclaw as an example; he raced the Pro GRT to 18th or something a couple years ago. Thomas Vanderham made the World Champs team in 2010.
    #3 I very much doubt it's sped up as someone in the comments posted. Mindspark doesn't pull that shit.
    #4 I agree that racing is awesome and more people should try it.

  9. I think you're overestimating how many people in the general mountain bike community actually care about World Cup racing…

  10. That Sam Hill photo is still my computer background 5 years later for 3 reasons;
    Schladming is one of the greatest tracks of all time
    Roost photos when you know it's not a powdered up berm are timeless
    Sam Hill is amazing!

  11. Alright, that erratic wiggling at around 1:50 is horrible, but other than that? It's a free hucking video, the entire point is to look cool and show off, not to go fast.

    He doesn't claim to be fast nor does he challenge any racers to join the next hucking contest.

    So probably not good at racing but pretty decent at hucking while little Sponsel sucks at both.

  12. Yes the best freehuckers/tricks are for kids riders are usually racers. Strait, Zink, Vink, Andreau and Voreis.

  13. its just like football, theres playing in the park. And theres playing in a competition. Most people that are enthusiasts in the mtb care about world cup to some extent – if you are not an enthusiast then you dont care. like football.

  14. I have to disagree. I can be an enthusiast, I can even be obsessive about mt. bike riding, but I could give two shits about caring about who is faster, and/ or if they are faster than me. Good for you. It doesn't define how I participate, enjoy or progress on a personal level. Insisting that others can only enjoy mt. biking if they are racing others, that they can only progress if they are compared to others, that they can only be “good” if they race seems so completely insecure.

  15. I don't give a fuck about how fast he's going — the style is unmistakable, and who the fuck cares if you're fast as long as you look good? Oh, wait… That only applies to chicks? Oh. Well. I'd still have his babies, just for the style points.

    He wins. Derp.

  16. My tiny ego is hurt, my feelings have been ignored. I feel like a great rider, but racing would disprove my feelings. So I go on the internet, and tell everyone who will read my posts that it's all about having fun, and imply that the only kind of fun is the kind I have: fantasizing about how great I am, but knowing I'm not great at all. My fantasy and my feelings prove I'm a great bike rider. By the way, I learned how to make roost the other day. Right hand fist, swing the hips in the direction you want the roost to fly. Don't tell me I'm not good. I can roost, and I have iPhone photos and video to prove it. Plus, racing is dangerous, and I have a job and 3 kids and a wife to support. I can't support my family with a sprained ego.

  17. I get the impression a large majority of pinkbike kids think ryan howard and the other kid are almost as fast as the world cup racers in the videos. It's frustrating, I get it. But I dont see anything about those videos that says “look at me Im as fast as a world cup racer”

  18. Why is Furbees video about caterpillars and frogs? How does this help your argument?

    Howards video was the best one here.

    Kill Yourself.

  19. to all the people who say i ride my own way, i don't care about racing blah blah blah. the point is, a professional rider is in a video. and he is riding incorrectly. he representing our sport and the kids will want to ride like him but these kids don't know they are limiting themselves.

    also to the people who are insinuating that you can have fun on a bike without cornering correctly. honestly that breaks my heart. that person does not know what they are missing. im not saying you have to take big risks but please learn to ride a bike. YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOUR LOCAL TRAIL WOULD BE LIKE IF YOU COULD RIDE YOUR BIKE AROUND A CORNER.

  20. When ever I film an edit, I think about how if I was on the robot radar how I'd be climbing the kill list faster than Tyrone Biggums running to the 5 o'clock free crack giveaway…

  21. You guys are stupid if you don't think r-dog is fast. he was in rampage for a clear reason. buddy has more bike control then all you team robot dickheads.

  22. ….or….any other pro who quit racing long ago to make a career of freehucking/riding, because you know, they were chumps who got got crushed because they couldn't turn…

  23. Braden Schleith: Will White and Benderoni where in Rampage too if you remember…to name a few

  24. I usually don't watch most of the videos you post, but after the comments- I had to watch these. I found a few things out:

    I think it is safe to say Rdawg would school you at racing & dirt jumping, etc. Ben's video reminded me a lot of Charlie's videos: it seem to be somebody just riding normally fast down a basic trail……or what I like to call “grandma riding”

    (Sorry Ben………..#NotHating)

  25. I think you've forgotten one important reason for freeride flicking: it signifies ownership of a dank loam stash. How else is everyone going to know that you have made/found a trail with tons of dead leaves and shit on it if you don't spray it all over for the camera?

  26. Next time you steal a photo of mine and don't acknowledge it for your article you will have to send me a fucking windbreaker.

  27. I'm old, slow and shitty but fuck do I ever enjoy riding trails on my bike… I'm missing out on the true experience of biking because I don't race? Are you fucking kidding me? This article is a steaming pile of dog shit. Keep up the good work!

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