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Rider Owned For Life

Ragamuffins - A British MTB Film
March 19, 2024

Take a riding journey through the UK!

This full length riding video showcases all the best and most legendary riding spots in the United Kingdom. From smashing laps at Bike Park Wales to Sheffield loamers, this video has it all!

Now gather up your best mates and sit down to enjoy a masterpiece in filming and riding that will leave you fired up for the season ahead.

If you're interested in getting the full story, take a peek below to see what John had to say about creating his first full length MTB film.

"Stupid enough to start, and stubborn enough to finish." Unfortunately, I can't actually remember who I nicked that saying from, but it sums up this project perfectly." - John Arthur Ragamuffins' Creator

At the start of 2023, I decided to shoot a full length mountain bike film. Not for any particular reason. I'm personally just a huge fan of longer videos, but there aren't so many these days. I set a goal of shooting a 40 minute film, comprising 12 segments from all around the UK, with a good mix of locations and riding styles.

The problem was that I didn't know if I would actually be able to see it through. To have any certainty of being able to do it, I would need a big budget. Most problems can be overcome if you throw enough money at them. However, I knew that nobody in their right mind would give me a bunch of cash, just to speculate on having a mountain bike film made by a guy who's never made a mountain bike film before, and who wants to attempt it on his own. My boss would probably have looked at me like there was a drunk guinea pig at the controls in my head. So, I decided to just press on, see how far I could get, and hope things worked out.

In hindsight, it was kind of a good thing not to have any financial pressure. Even doing it under my own steam I went through phases of worrying that I would never manage to finish it, anxious that I had wasted loads of people's time. Fortunately, I've also made videos for all sorts of emergency contingencies. As it turns out, nothing calms me down like a video of myself, telling myself to calm down.

Anyway. Somebody once said that to get something done, you need two out of three things; time, money and skills.

Of course, all three is great, but with only two, you should be okay. Time wasn't really an issue because I'm employed by Windwave, the UK distributor for Transition Bikes, and I have a lot of autonomy. Formerly I did freelance media, and my job is to create content and do various marketing type things, which meant I had the skills and equipment needed. Plus, I also knew some really good riders on Transitions.

So, with no budget at all, I just quietly went off and started filming.

In Spring of 2023, I met up with my friend Bjorn for an early morning shoot in the Surrey Hills. I knew that it would be a great starting point. He's one of the nicest people you could ever meet, which meant he was kind enough to go along with my stupid idea, plus he has great style on a bike. I was eager to get some footage in the bag, so that I had something to show other riders and give them confidence it was worth their time. And with that, the project was underway.

My next hurdle was how to film the segments further away from home, especially Scotland, because being on the south coast of England, that's approximately a very long way indeed. At least 10 hours, if you don't get caught up in traffic, or stop for a break. It would also be expensive.

However, some good fortune came my way. Two Transition dealers wanted to host demo events, so I volunteered to do them. The first with Biketreks in the Lake District, and then another with 20Twenty in Aberdeenshire. The two events were on consecutive weekends, giving me 5 days clear in between. So, I booked myself a couple of campsites and stayed in Scotland for the week. On Monday and Tuesday, I filmed Fort William. Wednesday was a travel day. Then, on Thursday and Friday I filmed Ballater and Pitfichie. It was an exhausting 11 days, but it didn't matter, the shots were on the memory cards and I knew we had some good stuff.

I had hoped to remain in Scotland a couple of days longer and film Glenlivet with Ryan Middleton, but he couldn't make it due to work. I wasn't too worried at the time, and I had lots of other segments to press on with filming. But the weeks rolled by and I knew that as the end of summer approached, it would be harder to get good conditions. Ryan is super stylish, and the new Glenlivet trail is a work of art, so I didn't want to miss it out.

Late in the summer we managed to line up or diaries, and the weather was looking favourable. So, on the Friday afternoon, I left the office at 1.30pm, drove to Scotland, and arrived some time after midnight. I parked up at the side of a road and grabbed a few hours of sleep, before a days filming at Glenlivet.

After a second night of sleeping in the back of an empty van, I was up at 7am to film Tarland, and Ryan brought his friend, Scott. Scott turned out to be a formidable rider, and the shots of him and Ryan together are some of my favourites. But, I don't really know if he understood exactly what we were actually filming, he just kind of turned up and rode his bike for the camera. I haven't spoken with Scott since, and he's probably forgotten about it by now. He might be in for a surprise when he finds himself in the opening segment.

We wrapped on filming at 5.30pm on the Sunday afternoon and I set course for home in Hampshire, fueled by four cans of Monster and an unreasonable amount of coffee. I'm pretty sure that by the time I passed Stoke-on-Trent with a head full of caffeine, I had achieved some higher state of consciousness. I finally made it home at about 4am. That's a 21 hour day and 600 miles of driving, for those of you who are counting. I think it was worth it though, and I'm really pleased with the shots we got that weekend.

I finally wrapped on filming in February 2024, which was 2 months behind my planned schedule, simply due to the endless rain we had during late 2023. My intention was to finish this for release in January, because it's normally a very cold and wet month in the UK. We're all hiding indoors looking for stuff to watch. But, although it took longer than expected, I'm really happy to finally have it done.

I can't express enough how grateful I am to the riders who gave up their time (and often had to take holiday from work), the bike parks, and the artists who helped with the soundtrack.

Hopefully the film brings some enjoyment!



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