Martyn Ashton is the star of this year’s runaway viral video hit, Road Bike Party, in which he rides seemingly impossible lines and pulls off jaw-dropping tricks on a carbon road bike.
We spoke to Martyn about the making of the video, the bike he used and the response he’s received since Road Bike Party went live. Haven't seen the video yet? Watch it now:
Martyn’s no stranger to viral videos, having starred in a big-hitting (2m+ views) edit back in 2010 to promote the BikeRadar Live festival, but Road Bike Party is on another level – both in terms of the riding skills on display, the time of release given cycling’s recent boost in popularity and the speed in which it’s gone viral. So why have people loved it so much?
“I think it's important that many viewers can relate to the bike. We've all been watching an amazing summer of bike racing from the Tour de France and the London Olympics. Road bikes are really trending in the UK, so that helped a lot. I think it is also about the video being fun, not taking it too seriously,” Martyn says.
The other star of the show: the Pinarello Dogma 2 Cavendish Replica, complete with Shimano Di2 groupset and Hope RS carbon rims. Martyn changed the bars to a position that felt comfortable and had a rule that it should all be done on the drops…
This didn’t all happen overnight though, so how much planning goes into making a big-hitting video?
“Some shots like the Bristol bridge took a lot of planning – two days of effort just for a single ride across that took seconds. Also the Wall of Death took a complete day to learn and shoot. Although other things like the plane are just ad-hoc moments which we just spotted whilst driving away from the Wall of Death shoot and thought, ‘Let's ride over that!’”
Road Bike Party looked an absolute blast to make, so how did Martyn decide the filming locations, and how long did the whole thing take?
“It was even more fun than it looked. I've not had a better or more enjoyable riding experience/challenge in my career. Working with Robin [Kitchin] is always fun, we bounce off each other’s ideas really well. Blake Samson was also on hand to help, as was Rowan Johns who made the original road bike stunts video I did.
“In all I think we shot for about 10 days over a two month period, something like that. The locations just popped up along the way, although I had a trick-list that led me to those locations. I didn't even get halfway through the trick-list on this edit.”
We’re followers of Martyn on Twitter and we’ve seen the odd celebrity retweet the link to the video, so what’s the response been like from famous Pinarello rider and Tour de France winner Brad Wiggins and other pro riders?
“I couldn't have been more blown away by the response to the video. People loving RBP is an amazing experience. I happened to be lucky enough to meet Bradley Wiggins last week and he said he's seen the video, so that's pretty cool. It was certainly very cool to shake the hand of the TdF champ. I also had tweets from some top pro riders like Lizzie Armitstead and other sports stars like Lee Dixon, Casey Stoner and even Lord Sugar. It's an amazing response.”
When he’s not pulling off absurd tricks on a carbon road bike, Martyn’s part of the famous Animal Bike Tour – travelling the country with dirt jump rider Blake Samson where they put on a show using their custom ramp rig. So, will the Pinarello be joining them now?
“Not sure yet. I've had it with me all year, but no one really looked twice at it. This weekend I did my first shows since the video release and suddenly everyone wants me to jump on it. I have had a little ride on the Bike Tour rig with it, and it's certainly possible. If there are certain events that think it could fit then you never know.”
Even though this wasn’t the first time Martyn had pushed the limits of what’s possible on a road bike, did anything surprise him? “Nothing really surprised me to be honest. I was very aware that the bike could get broken, and if it did then the video wouldn't get released, so I was careful. I'm not interested in braking bikes so the intention was to always get as close to the line as possible, but not cross it. The wheels I was prepared to break and had a spare set. I've broken trials-specific wheels many times so folding a wheel should never hold me back. Thankfully I didn't need the spare set; they are still in their bags.”
Is there a trick that's just not transferrable to a road bike? “Maybe tail whip stuff could be weird to do as it would require some strange adaptations. Other than that I think it's just a matter of adapting your riding position and staying as smooth as possible, all the time. If you start losing respect for the bike then it will get broken, that would suck.
“I can tell you there has been a lot of talk about a new video, which is great. What it will be and when, I'm not too sure just yet. I'm as excited by the RBP idea as I ever was so I can't wait…”
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