Many believe that all New Caledonia is about is great beaches and turquoise water. In this Commencal Insiders episode, Pierre-Edouard Ferry shows us that it is also possible to have good times on a bike too whether it’s downhill, enduro and now pump track sessions too. We wanted to know a little more about the islands potential but also the potential importance of PEF’s pump track and his other projects in this area of expertise. Of course, a video and interview were a must!
Commencal: So PEF, how was New Caledonia? This was the first time you’ve visited the island. What did you think?
PEF: It was really great in New Caledonia, but really tiring! It was a first for me and I was so amazed at the crazy potential there is for bikes. I don’t think I could live there, even if the weather is good but after I realised there are a lot of French people who have moved there and love it.
Commencal: You went to NC to build a pump track. Do you think that in countries like this, a pump track is the solution for helping in the development of mountain biking?
PEF: A pump track is an excellent tool for the development of our sport and for learning to ride. Beginners, who had never tried it before, relished in it after an hour. I hope the local bike club (Ouenghi Sport) will develop the track so that everyone can ride it.
Commencal: Do you think that ‘The pump track’ is a fad or does it have longevity in the bike world? Whether in the countryside or in the city?
PEF: After 10 years of existence and evolution, I do not think we can talk about fads. Our sport of mountain biking has a number of aspects and disciplines and I really think the pump track has its place and that riders appreciate a nice, big, well-shaped track. Expect to see the enthusiasm a pump track can create at the opening party of our refurbished offices during the World Championships in Andorra. It’ll be good.
Commencal: We saw you build the track in five days. That’s quick, no? What are the main requirements when creating a pump track worthy of your name?
PEF: Indeed. I realized, with the help of locals and a two and a half tonne mini digger, that it is possible to build a pump track in 5 days. It’s very fast, believe me, but at the same time unfortunately there was no time to play by the rules! Above all, to make a nice pump track you need good land, good soil and a guy who knows how to do it!
Commencal: We also saw you mentor local kids whilst out in NC. From a reliable source, we were told that you’re a pretty good teacher. Is this is a role that you like?
PEF: Yes, I had a blast as a mentor in NC whilst supervising the locals during their Enduro training. I’ve always done coaching in the past, since I started riding my bike. I was a coach at the BMX club where I started riding myself. In the future, I’d love to develop this aspect of my job but in France the training process is really long in order to be all above board.
Commencal: Is there any good downhill potential over there? enduro too?
PEF: There is indeed! There’s great potential for enduro, which is a sport that does not require as much infrastructure as downhill, but DH also has a bright future in NC. They all have pick-ups so it’s ‘easy’ for uplifts… The landscapes are quite extraordinary. I also want to emphasize that the guys from the southern province have done a great job for the development of the infrastructure of mountain biking.
Commencal: You regularly act as a shaper for media projects and events like FISE for example. Do you get a lot of job offers?
PEF: It’s true, I was there from the start of FISE in Montpellier in 2008. Since then, I have had a lot of requests because of the work myself and my friends have done during the years. After FISE I worked in Les Deux Alpes for the first European Crankworx and for the Roc’n Ride contest in Frejus (France)… I must admit that to design and build these tracks in a weekend was a challenge. This year, I have two great projects that are close to my heart. One of them is not far from Commencal HQ. We are now working with the guys from Vallnord in Andorra to build a blue trail for the resort, which will be named after the famous Andorran brand! It’s a great challenge for me!