Photography & Words: // Austen Tanney // Joey Reinhart // Jayme Hunter
What a year! It’s hard to find the words to describe just how rad 2019 was for the crew. We travelled the world, linked up with legends, progressed on two wheels and just generally had a hell of a good time. Once again, we set out to make a positive difference in the bike community. We dug, we helped out, and we gave back wherever we could.
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Mountain biking as a sport has changed, but we’re fighting hard to stay true to our roots. Don’t get us wrong, flowy jump lines and modern trails are great, but we’re still fiercely passionate about the ladder bridges, sketchy chutes and one hit wonders that shaped this sport as we know it today.
Check us out on Instagram at @theflannelcrew to follow along with all of our adventures!
KONA BIKES SPONSORSHIP
To start the banger of a season that was 2019, The Flannel Crew were able to secure our first major bike sponsor – Kona Bikes. We were invited to a team build night at Bow Cycle where the bikes got built, the beers got drunk, and stoke was at an all-time high rolling into riding season on the fresh steeds.
What is Canadian Freeride these days? It’s definitely not what it used to be. Mountain biking as a sport has changed, but we’re fighting hard to stay true to our roots. We still push our bikes to new heights to ride new things out of curiosity. We’re out there doing the stuff that got us stoked on this sport and we’re going to keep doing it. For those of you that thought freeride had turned into freeduro, guess again. We’re keeping it beer league and doing our best to show the world that you can still kill the old way.
You know, as much as we like to crush beers and shred bikes; we’re trying to make a difference out there in the world. The things we do for the community are a prime example of our appreciation for the culture around us. As much as we try to stoke up everyone we see out on the trails, we know that we have the ability to help make shredding around here better for all of us. From volunteering at the Plaid Goat Mountain Bike Festival to our involvement with the Moose Mountain Bike Trail Society, we do our best every season to make the riding scenes around us the best they can possibly be.
Take Captain Flannel, Joey for example. As the VP of MMBTS, he spent a good chunk of his year fundraising, being political, running trail days, and helping other trail societies hype up their events. Overseeing a massive jump trail building project in your spare time with other dedicated volunteers may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Joey embraces it. This is a man with a heart that is three sizes too big. He’s like the rest of us; all he wants in life is to put a smile on your face and to have some sweet jumps in his back yard.
We all chipped in and did our best to leave a lasting legacy people will never forget this year. From time spent fundraising for the trails to picking up a shovel and putting in some sweat equity, we’re proud to say we feel like we have made a positive impact on the trails we ride and the people around us. There’s a lot of people that are just too damn cold in this sport. If you want to have your faith in mountain bikers restored, come to one of our events or hang out with us. We’ll deliver the good times!
THE PLAID GOAT MOUNTAIN BIKE FESTIVAL
The Plaid Goat Mountain Bike Fest is a three-day festival held in the beautiful mountain town of Canmore, Alberta. The festival included shuttles, a regional craft beer hub, bike rodeo, dirt jump jam and much more. The Bike Rodeo is a combination of games and events, conjured up by Freeride minds, to create excitement about bikes. We were able to host the event for the third year in a row, adding a twist of absurdity to an already good time event.
For this year’s festivities we were honoured to have Brett Tippie host the event and riders like Graham Agassiz participating in the rodeo shenanigans. With the event taking place right outside of the venues beer gardens, even the most timid weekend warriors were blasting heckle absurdity.
On the last day of the festival, we were able to get out and shuttle with Graham Agassiz and show him the local trails. Bryant got a little too zesty and bailed hard, snapping his collar bone. A quick trip to the beer gardens fired him up, like a can of spinach to popeye and back out we went.. The good times were flowing and the ultimate trail was poached – Claimer. Straight down, no forgiveness and nothing but good times with a freeride legend.
The crew was busy this year helping out at trail days all over Alberta and BC. You know what they say “No Dig, No Ride”. We stayed true to our roots this year by supporting the builders and organizations that built the trails we rode. That included memberships, attending trail maintenance days and even organizing build days for the Columbia Valley Cycling Society and Moose Mountain Bike Trail Society.
Western Australia was an absolute game-changer. It all started when Austen had the opportunity in 2014 to build for Robbie “Air” Bourdon at the RedBull Rampage. Consequently, the rampage entourage extended an invite to the land down under. With the sunny skies of Perth as a home base, the local boys showed him everything the region had to offer. From spearfishing and waterfall diving to ripping laps with the fastest man on earth, Sam Hill.
Its moments like this that make this sport a lifestyle. Mountain bikers are hands down the friendliest, open-hearted individuals on this planet. The Australia trip allowed us to share our passion for bikes with like-minded individuals and prove once again that the mountain biking culture has no boundaries.
“What is the Flannel Crew?” Was a question that came up at every post-ride parking lot beer. The best way I can summarize this is in the words of a new found parking lot buddy.
Photos: Jayme Hunter
Words: Austen Tanney / Joey Reinhart