Once in a while, someone creates a piece that captures not only their emotion but our collective thoughts on a subject. In this case, it is Lars Veenstra’s message of thanks to the bicycle. It has given his life a deeper meaning the same way as it has affected many of us.
Thank You, Bicycle from Lars Veenstra:
“For some time now, I wanted to put together something personal, something that really links filmmaking and the sport that brought me so much in life: riding bikes. Coincidentally my company exists for three years this week (HURRAY!), so this seemed like the perfect moment to look back and go back to my roots if you like.
All footage is archive footage from the past five years of myself and of some of the people I met through my cycling adventures.”
The music is “Counting Stars” by Reaktor Productions.
We did a Q&A session with Lars, who so eloquently produced the piece that expresses what many of us mountain bikers feel.
Mtbr: Who are you? How long have you been riding and where? What do you do for a living?
Lars: I’ve been riding for about 7 years, first just in the Netherlands but soon in Germany, the Alps and Scandinavia. I’ve ridden bikes in Canada, Spain en Slovenia too (some shots are in the video too). After two years of just riding I started racing and got support from a local Specialized store, Stappenbelt Apeldoorn. That’s when I started to film my races and adventures and discovered my passion for filmmaking, which is now my full time job. I create action sports videos of course, but also do commercials and some photography.
Mtbr: What are your favorite trails and what is your favorite riding style, bike?
Lars: Favorite trails are definitely single tracks. I just love ripping down pristine untouched brown pow trails, of which the Alps have many. You do have to get out of the resorts but the trails are absolutely worth it. I used to be purely a downhill rider but I’m really impressed with the current Enduro bikes so that’s my main rig now. I do some road riding too, have a pumptrack in my backyard and spend many winter evenings at indoor skateparks riding my P.Slope.
Mtbr: What are your favorite destinations in the world and why? What are your worst and best moments on the bike?
Lars: Favorite destinations are probably some high alpine single tracks I’ve ridden in Sauze d’Oulx (ITA) and Verbier (SUI) last year. Whistler and Silver Star in Canada were fun too and I’m definitely getting back to Oppdal (NOR) and Jarvsø (SWE) too. Worst moments are breaking my arm and getting a concussion, best moments were first time Megavalanche, landing my first backflip and riding in an empty bike park in Sauze d’Oulx Italy on brand new trails.
Mtbr: How do you balance your bike lifestyle with your normal life and daily obligations?
Lars: Yeah that’s pretty hard sometimes. 2 to 5 years ago riding really was my life, I raced almost every weekend and wanted to become pro, so there wasn’t much else besides riding and university. I’m not that serious about racing any more but do still ride whenever I can. As a filmmaker I also shoot for a lot of events like the Trans-Provence and some Enduro holiday weekends where I ride all the trails myself to, but actually get paid to be there and capture the action. It are long and exhausting days (TP is already hard, try doing it with a 8kg backpack and skipping breaks to catch up with the leaders again) but a absolutely love it.
Mtbr: What do you have planned for 2015 and beyond?
Lars: For this year so just want to keep the momentum going, work on some cool events and with cool companies and create more films like this that are about passion and nothing else. Beyond that I would love to one day direct a full feature bike film and create some films that not thousands but millions will see. Also I want to see the world, travel to Australia, New Zealand, the US and Asia. Hopefully filmmaking will take me there one day, I do think that’s really possible. If you just set your mind to something and work hard, almost anything can be done.
For the blog post behind this short film and for more of Lars’ work, visit larsveenstra.com.