Life Cycles by Stance Films is a mountain bike (mtb) video, filmed in HD, available on DVD and BluRay, and infused with such passion for riding that, in turn, it will infuse in you the desire to get out and ride. To achieve this, it has taken a unique and distinct approach to what it presents over the course of 47 glorious minutes. In other films, the stars are the riders, and certainly Life Cycles has its share of talent, but in addition, it also stars the trail builders, the amazing bikes and even the bike factory. However, the headline star here is Mother Nature.
After some philosophy that continues unobtrusively throughout as an overarching theme, it begins where the bikes are born, with molten aluminium, CNC, painters, engineers, artists – all working together to create the beautiful bikes that we often take for granted, without wondering what it went through before arriving in our hands.
Once leaving the factory, the bike ends up in the back of a pick-up, travelling through and out of the urban environment with all its noise, bustle and sheer man-made concreteness. Pulling off the tarmac road, engine off, in stark contrast, the woods are calm, quiet and inviting. Rather than leaping into this natural environment and going for it straight away, we are left for a while to appreciate the world around us; the trees, the dirt, the air, the plants that border the trail. For whilst we ride for thrills, we also ride just to be out there, taking it all in, soaking up views, the smells, the feel of the ground in the corners, the gravity, the way the trails snake through the forest and Life Cycles covers it all. Thrills and Nature.
We are taken on a journey from spot to spot, with different weather providing different surfaces, with dust, mud and even snow taking centre stage. From glorious dawn sunrises to humid dusky evenings and on through the artificially lit night, the riding continues. As well as each spot being different, we are also shown how a single spot is different with every season, both in terms of the riding and in how the trail looks. A stunning set piece shows the same freeride trail from the same angles throughout the year, with awe inspiring results. As the rider flows down the track, the footage from changing seasons are overlaid on the fly to give the impression of Nature as a living breathing entity, constantly entertaining us with new vistas and new challenges. And all the while, there’s a bike hammering it. There is a fair amount of slo-mo and this reveals some of the rider techniques and body positions that anyone with an interest in bike skills will lap up.
Over the course of the film, you will see how the components wear down, be it through simple oxidation or from every day use or even being snapped in half after an ambitious drop-in. The life of the bike is all too obvious to us when we grab the wallet and fork out for new components or upgrades, but what Life Cycles also reminds us is that even the trails have a life, death and even resurrection. Over time, the trails change either due to being worn down by riding or rain, wind and other elements or forestry work creating carnage. But from the mess of fallen tress spring new life. We see trail builders using the spare wood to create new sections joining up rideable sections or making a platform above the woodland floor.
Some of the riding also looks possible by mortals. Whilst there is less riding than other films, what’s there is quality, with plenty of big air, fierce cornering and lots of style, made all the more special by the innovative shots and angles. This is all accompanied by an emotive soundtrack that will make your soul soar with the bikes. Rounding it off nicely is the disc case with its cardboard sleeve and stylish artwork – all part of the top-notch package.
Life Cycles is a defining moment in the genre. It connects with us at a very base level – the reasons we ride: thrills and forces of nature. It uses the focus on both of these to get you stoked for riding. There is a magical moment where a rider fires towards the camera through a thick snow shower, covered in all-weather gear. Yes, he is out there in all weathers, living life to the full. The colours are epic and you can almost reach out and touch the foliage along the trails. Whilst most mountain films make you think “I wish I could do that” with their focus on the extreme, Life Cycles makes you think “I wish I was out there doing that!”, making it an essential purchase, which you can do at iTunes Life Cycles.
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