Riding Insane & Beautiful North Shore MTB features


Last year I visited the Pacific Northwest
for the first time, and got to see “North Shore” features in their natural habitat. The definition of what a “North Shore”
feature is can vary, but usually the term is used to describe a ladder bridge, drop,
berm, teeter totter, or other obstacle, made from wood. Often times, these materials are sourced from
the same location as the trail. It’s for this reason that true North Shore
features take on a likeness to the forest they were built from. Today we’re going to see some examples. This trail is actually in Whistler, about
an hour and a half north of the actual North Shore of Vancouver. It has a relatively flat elevation map, so
many of the features were built to span swampy sections. Still, its clear that some things were built
just for their own sake. These teeter totters are arranged so that
they connect to one another as they fall. This one contains a tight squeeze that likely
predates 800mm handlebars. And unicorn mounted 360 cameras. Other features test your balance with skinny
lines, featuring sharp turns and pesky trees that just barely clear your bars. But these trees weren’t intended to be part
of the feature—they just fell here, and I give props to anyone who can get around
them on this log ride. But I wasn’t going to hang around trying. Because this wood is native to the area and
naturally resistant to decay, it can last many years without being treated with chemicals
or paint. It looks at home in the forest, and the rough
finish does a better job of gripping your tires. Perhaps best of all, it will eventually decay
into the forest floor, attracting all the same bugs and fungi as the other deadwood
around it. During my time in Whistler, I drove down to
Vancouver for a day to ride with YouTuber Jordan Boostmaster, Artist Kristina Wayte,
and aspiring racer and builder, Aidan Borthwick. Jordan and Aiden had ridden most of these
trails before, so following them was quite the challenge. While rock features are pretty common on most
mountain bike trails, they’re particularly widespread in BC. Whether or not BC has more rock than other
places is debatable. What’s certain is that the builders there
use it to their advantage as much as possible. What some people don’t know is that rock
work is a prominent characteristic of North Shore trails, with pathways and even berms
made entirely of individual rocks. This helps armor the trail against wear, and
keep everything from falling apart during the wet season. But sometimes, rocks are just the coolest
thing to build something out of. But perhaps the most iconic, emulated North
Shore feature in existence, is the skinny ladder bridge. On that day, we encountered many of them. I would have needed quite a few more tries
to clean this bridge. Even the straight line doesn’t let you off
easy. Some of these bridges are really long, as
they’re often built from these really tall trees. I suspect that builders will either conform
the trail to a tree that has already fallen, or purposely fell a dead tree in the direction
that suits the trail. One thing is for sure; nobody is hauling these
trees into the woods. I’d love to hear some insight from builders,
as this stuff is absolutely massive. In fact, this might be the most epic north
shore bridge I’ve ever seen, with sections of ladder, plank, and log spanning a swampy
gap in the mountain side. Speaking of log rides, these features look
more like canoe rides. But at the end of the day, my favorite features
combine a little bit of everything. Kristina’s artwork is very much inspired
by these trails, with the moss, techy goodness, and of course features that send you flying
through the air. Understandably, most artists get things like
frame geometry, body position, and the actual trail totally wrong when they try to make
mountain bike art, but Kristina nails all the important details. Like the fact that Jordan was the only one
with a dual crown fork that day. Another thing she gets right is the loam,
which bc is known for. Loam is awesome on steep, freshly cut trails,
but not so much when your front wheel digs into a big pile of it. Aiden got his shoulder pretty good, but seemed
to be okay. We decided to wrap things up around that time. British Columbia is quickly becoming my favorite
place to ride, at least in the summertime. They have amazing terrain, but more importantly
a community that actually builds technically challenging trails. BC, I’ll see you again this august. Thanks for riding with me today and I’ll
see you next time.

100 comments

  1. My son and his friend was on a similar trail like this . They had a down hill then cross a creek portion of the ride. I got a message with pictures showing his friend didn’t make the crossing of the wood bridge (no side rails) his bike hit a bad portion of the wood trail and he went flying off his bike and flew across the creek and landed on the side of the wall of the creek holding on for dear life. The most disturbing part was next to his left leg was a dead tree stub with branches he scraped his leg badly on the dead tree limbs just missing the dead limb from impaling his upper left hip area. He was lucky. There’s no place to go if you crash before the creek crossing except in the creek or like a dart 🎯 into the side wall above the creek. This is fun and all but be careful..

  2. Whenever I hear north shore, it throws me off because I immediately think of pipeline on Oahu

  3. I live in bc and am wondering where you have ridden as I do not know many apps to ride. If anyone can tell me that would be great

  4. 4k is nice but 24-30fps hurts my eyes, especially at 3:05, had to close my eyes for real. I'd rather go 1080p60

  5. Mountain bikers are nuts (says the road biker who did 40mph today in traffic wearing the equivalent of underwear)

  6. rocks on trails? I mean, check out Rychlebske Stezky trails. Those people literally move rocks the size of microwave oven up to minivan sizes to build trails from them. Not like anything else around.

  7. Hey seth I was wondering if you could make a video on how you got into MTb and how someone that doesn't have a lot of money like a teen (I'm 16) can get into mtb without spending an extreme amount of money

  8. Here in the kelowna area has tons of allsorts of trails and dirtjumps on pretty much any near by himm or moutain small areas beside roads that are not used anyware we can around here its amayzing

  9. Great channel. I'm a mountain climber, not mountain biker and I still find these videos interesting and fun to watch. Also, props on the music.

  10. River Runs Through It! Rode that trail a few years ago after a day at Whistler. Humbling as hell, but damn is it cool.

  11. trail biulder:allthese wooden parts are needed because of the rain
    person:(points to a loop de loop or somthing) even that
    trail builder:OK most of it

  12. hey seth!
    my dad and some of his friends built some of the trails when he was younger i can ask him to tell me about it!

  13. cracks me up the comments about narrow bars… 1st time I rode Galby in B'ham (2000) the older structures were similar as N. Shore where up on skinnies u'd barely clean by some trees with 25-26" wide bars. Great Vid Seth, I love seeing those old trails like fromme & Seymour!

  14. Hey Seth, i ride with flat peddles and i love them. I wanted to know how do you feel about clips have you tried them?

  15. The YT algorithm seems to absolutely love this video. I've watched it at least twice (the features ARE beautiful) and it still gets consistently recommended to me

  16. When I feel like mtb is not for me because it’s too expensive, I find myself revisiting this video for inspiration to keep on saving my money and eventually I’ll be able to ride

  17. mad bike skillz – that part going over the woods and brush was sick I woulda bailed– 5:56  how do you go around that– ???– jumps are just speed that tech  mad balance-wow

  18. 9:14 Aidan crashes,Seth:OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO0OOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

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