With three Bike Films screenings at this year’s ShAFF, two wheeled connoisseurs are spoilt for choice and, having already seen them all as part of the judging process, there’s something for all cyclists and definitely some prize winners, maybe even a Grand Prize contender, in there.
Leading the lineup are two massive mountain biking films. Anthill Films always deliver amazing action and their latest offering Strength in Numbers is no exception. From World Cup pros to novice bikers in Nepal it explores the shared experiences that connect us all as mountain bikers, our ride buddies, thrills, bikes, dirt and jaw dropping locations. Next up is the Red Bull Behemoth, Where the Trail Ends. Big mountain riding doesn’t get any bigger than this. It makes Rampage look like a kids’ outing on balance bikes. When it was shown at the Buxton Adventure Festival, special guest Danny Hart described the riding as insane and, if you’ve seen his World Championship winning run, that’s saying something.
Sticking to the trails, other standouts for me include Silvia: Winter Trails with Matt Hunter. With the recent weather and some great snow rides on my local Dark Peak trails, this film really resonated but I don’t think I’ll be taking a drill to my Nobbly Nics quite yet. I also love Sea of Rock. It’s a genuine mountain biking adventure as Tom Oehler and Harald Philipp take up the gauntlet thrown down 40 years ago to ride the tyre shredding limestone of Austria’s Mont Sommerstein.
It’s not all fat tyre action though (although you’ve probably already seen it along with millions of others); Martyn Ashton’s Road Bike Party deserves a big screen viewing. The skills on show are staggering but even more so is that the total damage for the film was one flat tyre. Testament to Pinarello and Lancashire’s Hope wheels. Cyclocross makes its ShAFF debut in Rockville with Italian singlespeeders showing typical flair and style racing in the grounds of an abandoned 16th century villa. Definitely more appealing than my ‘cross outings this winter at glamorous venues such as Graves Park and Boggart Hole Clough.
If you’re after a hit of urban fixed wheel, Line of Sight gives an on-the-wheel experience of the mind blowing bike handling of cycle courier “Alleycat” racing. The riding of the racers is impressive enough but, especially when you see his camera rig, the fact that filmmaker Lucas Brunelle keeps up is staggering. Slowing down the cadence a bit, Janapar – Love on a Bike, is a Round the World Cycle film with a romantic twist. It’s a wonderful film where you can’t help but engage with the characters and agonize over their decisions with them. It also contains one of the most ill conceived first meetings with potential in-laws ever.
Finally I’d recommend donning your sallopettes, crashing Ski and Board 2 and watching Shaun Palmer – Miserable Champion. 7 times world champion, 6 X-Games Golds, 38 elite victories and 117 career podiums in seven different sports. If there’s gravity, high speeds and a significant chance of maiming involved on snow or dirt, Palmer was, and is, your man.
Sheffield Adventure Film Festival is Friday 1st March until Sunday 3rd March
Tickets are £7.90 or £5.70 concessions.