The Outdoor Center, Kona Bicycle Company, Jack’s Bicycle Center and the Western Cycling team have all collaborated to bring Freeride Entertainment’s “Unchained” mountain biking film to campus on Thursday, October 13th. This screening of the event comes only a few weeks after the world premier of the film on September 28 in Las Vegas.

“Unchained” features mountain bikers gone totally insane. This is not your grandma’s ladder attempt; these boys are freeriding, a style similar to BMX riding, but out in Mother Nature’s unforgiving and unpredictable terrain. In the theatrical trailer, the bikers …mostly make their landings, while others bounce haphazardly down jagged cliffs.

The film features big air under big sky. Much of it was pieced together from filmed segments in Utah’s Red Rock country, as well as in Bolivia, Canada, and Mexico. These scenes show riders taking huge jumps off of whatever is dished up naturally.

Other portions of the film are filmed in Monsterpark, Crankwork and Adidas Slopestyle. Both BMX bikes and jumps look dwarfed next to these burly bikes and the air the riders get on them.
The film features countless riders, including the world famous Paul Basagotia, Kyle Strait and Robbie Bourdon.

According to Chris Trepanier, events coordinator in the Outdoor Center, this event is for “anyone that respects people pushing themselves.”

There are a few added benefits to attending this event other than seeing this landmark film before most of the world. Kona is one of the sponsors for the event, and they plan to make their presence known by giving away free swag in a raffle. The Outdoor Center may also pitch in a few items for lucky viewers.

And of course there’s the after party at the State Street Depot, where world famous Kona biker Dave Watson will be making a special guest appearance. This is a strictly 21 and older event, but it will be a great opportunity to see another screening of the film and to chat it up with one of the best mountain bikers in the world.

Though you may not have heard of him, Dave is not just some shmuck that toodles around on a bike. “He is the best,” according to Mike Parlskin, who works in the Bike Shop at the Outdoor Center.

Hailing from North Vancouver, Watson grew up with a motorcycle fanatic for a Dad, and a wise and fearful mother. His mum was afraid that he would follow the same path as his father, and would eventually end up getting wiped while astride a motorbike. She gave him a BMX bike hoping to deter him from that fate.

Judging by what Watson now does for a sport, mom may have been a bit off the mark in her method of protection. Watson progressed quickly from BMX to downhill racing and has made quite a name for himself. His best, and most recent, stunt gained him national renown and earned him the title of “Alternative Sports Personality Of The Year” in a British daily paper.

This stunt was performed during the Tour de France, a race deeply routed in tradition. In order to celebrate their 100th anniversary, Watson helped by performing a very unconventional display. As the bikers passed underneath during the Alpe d’Huez section of the race, Watson rode his bike of a 20 foot cliff, riding over the top of the world class athletes, and landing 45 feet from his start point.

Basically, this guy is a badass.

But he’s not so badass that he’s precocious. When asked by Si Paton— assistant editor of Descent-World— about whether mountain bike films water down the sport by just using sensationalism and not skill, he responded, “If anything, big stunts create more exposure in mainstream media and ultimately get more non-riders into riding and keep our industry thriving. As riders we know our limits and people will keep chasing there own dreams whether it’s hucking 30 footers, or [downhill] racing.”

Hopefully, “Unchained” will grab the attention of non-riders, because the Outdoor Center is the best place in Bellingham to get started mountain biking. Kona Blasts are available for only $12 dollars a day. These are a very solid bike to get started on, providing suspension on the front tires (putting the bike into the “hardtail” category) which is enough for beginning to intermediate riders to get out onto some rough terrain.

Also, the Outdoor Center is offering some upcoming mountain biking trips. Local trips up to Golbraith Mountain, a hot spot for avid mountain bikers, are on October 16 and 23, and November 11, 16 and 19. They cost only $20 for students.

The real mother load of a trip, however, is on October 29, when the Outdoor Center is going on an excursion to British Columbia. The final destination is the North Shore, a famed mountain biking Mecca. Though some of the trails are rated as very difficult, those with little to no experience are heartily welcomed to come and learn in one of the best biking areas in the Northwest.

So whether you are a hardcore mountain bike fanatic, or you just want to be, join the Outdoor Center in its screening of “Unchained” on Thursday, October 13 at Arntzen Hall 100. The show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets cost $4 for students and $5 for general admission.