Stephen Matthews: The Shore

Matt Dennison Video for NSMB Team

Words by Stephen Matthews
April 16th, 2013

My experiences riding on Cypress are completely and will forever be divided. No other mountain on The Shore presents me with such uncertain outcomes, every ride is a different animal entirely. The mountain’s terrain presents everything from fast technical riding, to creeper rock lines and drops – it’s really a downhiller’s dream. Matt Dennison and I managed to schedule a shoot that aligned with good weather, and we got an early start to a personal favourite trail. Although it’s fun to point and shoot rock faces, I’m always a fan of carving into rich dirt, and zig-zagging my way through the forest.


The trails on Cypress demand a bit of respect, and they tend to bite back. I’ve had a few spills on the network that have left me with my tail between my legs and not wanting more. I like that though, the feel of intimidation, not the real pain itself. A lot of the features here put you in your place, and they make you think twice.


I’m pretty happy with my division of DH/AM bike time this winter. Through North Vancouver’s winter months, when the snow line was low, I felt quite fortunate to be regularly riding my AM bike. But as the snowline receded, my DH bike beckoned and it anxiously was brought out into daylight. I absolutely love getting back on my downhill bike after an extended period of AM riding. Everything about them screams possible, and as the speed of the ride increases, so does the opportunity for fun.


With the beautiful start to Spring we’ve had, it’s tough to spend any amount of time inside looking out. I hadn’t done a filming project with Matt since last season, and it’s always inspiring to see how he all puts it all together. Enjoy the video, and I’ll see you on The Shore!

Dirt surfing and helicopters – does it get any better? Great job boys!

Paul Stevens in Squamish

Paul Stevens and Matt Dennison Make Magic

Words by Paul Stevens
March 18th, 2013

This winter, with Whistler and Pemberton sitting under a blanket of snow for the last few months, most of the riding I have done has been in Squamish. The majority of the time I have been on my new Range, pedaling over a lot of ground under my own steam, and accessing trails that you simply can’t drive to.


I have learned a lot of new rides, and on the way down certain trails, have often thought how fun it would be to have a downhill bike on some sections. I didn’t need to be asked twice when Matt Dennison mentioned that he wanted to make a video with the big bike. I threw the Aurum on the car and ripped down to Squamish to test out some of these trails with a bit more travel underneath me.


Holy crap was it fun! Obviously downhill bikes are faster on burly, rough and steep terrain, but I sometimes forget how a piece of relatively simple terrain can be transformed by the technology of a bigger bike. The extra travel, softer, wider tires, more powerful brakes, more sophisticated dampers, they all enable you to shift up a gear, and give you that margin for error that means you can ride faster and stay in control. Suddenly you are up to a speed where the trail isn’t so simple any more, because it is coming at you so fast!


It was great to get the downhill bike out again, and to feel like I was riding totally different trails because of what the bike was doing for me. It was also great to have Matt there to capture some speed and some experiments on the trail. Please enjoy!

It’s no doubt that Paul has settled in on his new Aurum. The winter did not slow Mr. Stevens down! You dig it?

Shore to Stay

Stephen Matthews Gives in to the Shore

Words by Stephen Matthews Photos by Morgan Taylor
March 14th, 2013

The criticism I received upon my decision to leave Calgary for Vancouver always floats around in the back of my mind. Not because I have ever regretted my decision, in fact it’s quite the opposite. More as a reminder of the hilarity in the labels and judgments made from those outside looking in. “It rains everyday!” and “You won’t see the sky for months” is what they said. Well I’ve found that you get any season you want in Vancouver, and on February 2nd I did an unforgettable trail ride with blue skies and double digit centigrade, something that wouldn’t be a reality in the prairies.

NSMB Team Stephen Matthews North Shore Cypress MEC Ghost Bikes

Winter on the Shore means riding bikes! Photo Morgan Taylor.

In past years the winter months have always been about planning out my summer effectively to enable as much time on the bike as I can get at. Now that I’m not bound by a cold and snowy environment, the planning still goes on but the focus has switched to staying in shape, building lines for filming, and getting out for rides as often as possible. I’ve gotten into night riding with friends from work, filming on the weekends for upcoming projects, and perhaps more exciting than anything is riding on a full new fleet of bikes!

NSMB Team Stephen Matthews North Shore Cypress MEC Ghost Bikes

Airtime is just not an option in Calgary this time of year, unless it’s indoors. Photo Morgan Taylor.

The new year was brought in with the development of a new relationship and then solidified further by maintaining my commitment to my current ones. My involvement as a rider on the NSMB team and on the Chromag Family is renewed for 2013, but to add to that is a sponsorship with Mountain Equipment Co-op on Ghost Bikes. The sky is the limit with this opportunity, and I’m proud to be riding with MEC. They’ve taken me on and I am now backed by a company that has so much enthusiasm for mountain biking and has taken on retailing the German branded company, Ghost Bikes.

Last season MEC as a sponsor of the NSMB team set me up with a Ghost AMR Plus frame to get me out on the trails pedaling the local network. The bike was an absolute charging machine, capable of handling the North Shore even at its grimiest and most gruesome moments. I’d like to pay regards to those who helped get me that bike, as it played probably the biggest role in the success of me learning about The Shore, and set up the opportunity to move fully on board in 2013.

NSMB Team Stephen Matthews North Shore Cypress MEC Ghost Bikes

Season two on Ghost bikes, and a new partnership with MEC. Photo Morgan Taylor.

Come to present day, I’ve been set up with a brand new 2013 Ghost DH 9000 to start out my winter, and a Ghost Cagua 650b is to follow! Over the last month I’ve been sampling a carbon AMR Lector 29er, but I will be sticking to downhill and trail riding this season. The DH 9000 sports a 63 degree HA, and handles as a true downhill race bike. The bike comes stock with an absolute dream part spec, and after subbing in the Chromag highlight components, I can honestly say I’ve never been happier with a build.

NSMB Team Stephen Matthews North Shore Cypress MEC Ghost Bikes

Chromag cockpit brings familiarity to the new sled. Photo Morgan Taylor.

NSMB Team Stephen Matthews North Shore Cypress MEC Ghost Bikes

The Ghost DH 9000. Photo Morgan Taylor.

I’m proud to say I’ve found home moving to Vancouver, and can’t wait to capitalize on the sponsorship opportunities that have come my way. There’s a great community of riders and riding history here, and I’m doing my best to live and learn it. Summer adventures are stirring in my brain, and planning trips are only interrupted with riding itself, because it’s winter in Vancouver and everyone’s still out there!

NSMB Team Stephen Matthews North Shore Cypress MEC Ghost Bikes

February on the Shore. Photo Morgan Taylor.

Stephen has finally learned what it is to be from the Shore, and we’re glad he’s decided to stay!

Stars, Hoodoos, and Rivers

Wallpaper Wednesday Camp Vibes

Words by Mason Mashon
February 20th, 2013

This week’s wallpaper is a trip to Farwell Canyon on BC’s Chilco River with NSMB’s trusty Toyota Tacoma. This shot comes from Mason and Mark’s Fall Lines story, but the zone itself – well, you now know where the trail ends.

NSMB Wallpaper Wednesday Farwell Canyon Chilcotins Mason Mashon Mark Matthews Toyota Tacoma

Farwell Canyon with the trusty Tacoma. Photo Mason Mashon.

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Previous Wallpaper Wednesdays:

January 9, 2013
January 16, 2013
January 23, 2013
January 30, 2013
February 6, 2013
February 13, 2013

Have you spent much time in BC’s interior deserts? Because this shot really makes me want to…

Sunshine Coast February Annual

NSMB Team Hits the Coast

Words by Stephen Matthews Photos by Stephen Matthews and Dan Graham
February 19th, 2013

While many riders have hung their wheels for planks, we are lucky to have a mostly snow-free winter here on the coast of BC. The NSMB Team riders are among the die-hards who get out on two wheels no matter what the weather or time of year. We’ll have a closer look at each rider’s plans for 2013 in the coming weeks; Stephen Matthews’ recap of their annual winter trip to the Sunshine Coast sets the stage for these introductions…

Everyone loves an annual road trip. The excitement and anticipation of departing is only fueled further by the reminiscing of past year’s hilarious antics and close calls. There’s always a push of encouragement to get the same crew together to re-create what’s already happened, and to raise the bar further by stoking everyone’s imaginations. This year we couldn’t get the usual group in its entirety, as unfortunately schedules weren’t aligning, but there is always room for change.

My first trip to the Sunshine Coast was in April of 2011 with my brother Peter, Joe Schwartz, and Calgary friend Kurt DeFreitas. The plan was for a few days of exploring The Coast while camping out of Wilson Creek, and it couldn’t have gone better. To this day it was one of the more memorable trips I’ve ever been on. Meeting up with some of our local friends, we were taken on a few of the true gems in the area and shown how to enjoy your time in Roberts Creek.

The next trip was in February of 2012 (clearly we were all finished with winter a few months earlier that year), and it only improved upon the previous year’s adventure, especially having added a few more members to the dynamic. There’s something special about the Sunshine Coast, and I think the secret is in a genuinely shared feeling of enjoyment both in company and in activity.

NSMB Team Stephen Matthews Paul Stevens Sunshine Coast MEC Ghost Bikes Norco

Don’t be afraid to pedal your downhill bike a bit, descents are usually worth it.

It can be hard to find the perfect recipe of individuals to ride with. Not necessarily because of the varying scale of people’s skill and abilities on a bike, but rather one’s personality. I’ve always found it to be the varying outlooks and approach people take on a ride that can flaw a group’s overall ride impression. I like to travel with people who are willing to explore and find the unknown. Following the same trail down the mountain is a fantastic way to learn that single line, but the experience is often much more meaningful if you’re willing to take a turn away from repetition.

NSMB Team Stephen Matthews Paul Stevens Sunshine Coast MEC Ghost Bikes Norco

Peter Matthews railing a corner in perfect tacky dirt.

The trails out of Roberts Creek were hit hard with severe weather this winter, and the resulting deadfall has definitely left its mark. The locals who have helped clear the trails have done an incredible job – it’s an absolute jungle in there – so Thank You! With the amount of downed trees, the group was opportunistic and decided to dabble into a few unknown trails, finding further coastal riding success.

NSMB Team Stephen Matthews Paul Stevens Sunshine Coast MEC Ghost Bikes Norco

Trails I’ve never ridden before? Twist my rubber arm… Conditions were absolutely stunning.

The group was split half and half on scheduling this trip, and some were forced into only a day trip. I was part of the lucky crew to book a night at the Up the Creek Hostel in Roberts Creek. The hostel was familiarly fantastic and accommodating, and has seen new improvements for mountain bikers. Martin has set up a very functional bike wash to keep the rigs running clean and proper. Just minutes from the main trail network access, and up the street from the coffee house, this is one conveniently situated rider’s oasis.

NSMB Team Stephen Matthews Paul Stevens Sunshine Coast MEC Ghost Bikes Norco

“Topographically speaking, this trail should work out perfectly.” says Stephen Matthews. Photo – Dan Graham

NSMB Team Stephen Matthews Paul Stevens Sunshine Coast MEC Ghost Bikes Norco

Out of the dark trees, and into the flow.

As another mid-winter mountain bike trip has come and gone, it’s pretty amazing how lucky we are to be on the West Coast of Canada. The Roberts Creek trails that I’ve been familiarized with have grown in clarity as I’ve put more time into the trails and understanding the logging road networks. The opportunities for riding in Roberts Creek are seemingly endless, and for our group, we’ve found a place that every time we’re there to repeat the past, we’re left with more fuel for future.

NSMB Team Stephen Matthews Paul Stevens Sunshine Coast MEC Ghost Bikes Norco

NSMB Team rider Paul Stevens cruising down one of the more popular trails in Roberts Creek. Mach Chicken is running perfect right now!

This is the first winter that Stephen’s escaped the icy confines east of the Rockies, and he’s taking full advantage. What are your road trip traditions?

Please activate some Widgets.