An upcoming film in the fall series for the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival (VIMFF) highlights a unique cycling discipline known as gravel riding.
The short film, titled Repurposed, is directed by Pierre-Luc Arseneau and stars several gravel bikers, including Chris Hatton and Lucas Greenough. The film shows how B.C. and Squamish are ideal places to explore through gravel riding because of the intricate and vast array of unpaved roads.
“I thought it was just quite the phenomenon that people were repurposing this infrastructure that was used for logging for all these other things,” said Hatton, who currently lives and works in Squamish.
The film highlights that there are more than 662,000 kilometres of unpaved roads in B.C. that are used for both industry and recreation. Squamish is well-known for its fair share of forest service roads that can be used to access hikes, rock climbs, mountain biking and gravel riding.
“The idea in the film is that you’re really trying to maximize the infrastructure that we have. Regardless of whether or not logging is right or wrong, this infrastructure is here,” said Hatton.
“In my opinion, you’re trying to maximize all these things and repurpose them.”
The film was an idea that Hatton said he had been formulating for a couple of years. He approached Arseneau who helped build a pitch and get support from a few biking companies such as Teravail, We Are One and Squamish-based 7mesh.
Hatton said his own journey into gravel riding started when he moved to Kamloops.
“I kind of realized that there are all these gravel roads and forest roads everywhere,” he said. “I bought a gravel bike and then just started exploring.”
But, Hatton said if someone is interested in gravel riding, then it’s easy enough to try it on the bike you already have.
“I started on a road bike, and maybe it wasn't perfect, but it sparked the inspiration to go and buy a gravel bike,” he said.
In Hatton’s eyes, the spirit of gravel riding is in the exploration.
“The cool thing is that you can just start riding any road or any place that you want and you just kind of explore how you want,” he said. “It’s kind of like … not trial by fire, but like a choose your own adventure.”
And the ability to do that exploration is something Hatton appreciates.
“Squamish Nation, you know, they were here first … so I think that’s something that we’re cognizant of, too,” he said. “We’re fortunate enough to be able to explore this land through gravel riding.”
“And, we're just really grateful for that.”
The short film will be playing at the soldout, in-person BC Bike Show at Brewhall in Vancouver on Nov. 14. It is still possible to purchase tickets for the online version of the BC Bike Show for $18, which includes eight films that you can view between Nov. 14 and Dec. 12.