Field Trippin’ on a Classic Southern B.C. Route

It’s a formula as old as dirt—gather a bunch of riding buddies, pile into the nearest operating vehicle big enough to fit the crew, circle a few iconic riding destinations on the map and let the good times roll. This time, the plotline revolved around a quintessential southern British Columbia dirt circuit, an old skoolie dubbed the “Cool Bus” and five talented young shredders eager to put their own twist on some of B.C.’s most storied terrain. With the legendary “Drop In” freeride TV series serving as inspiration and Shimano’s new gravity shoes on their feet, Jacob Murray, Natasha Miller, Lucy Van Eesteren, Mateo Quist and Ryder Bulfone climbed aboard the Cool Bus last fall with two bikes each and embarked from Squamish on a four-day, 1,000-kilometer loop. The bus first rumbled along the long, slow Duffy Road up to Pemberton, Kamloops and Sun Peaks Resort, then headed back south on the Coquihalla Highway and onto Highway 1 through Chilliwack and the freeride mecca of North Vancouver.

Their journey was marked by party trains on tacky DH tracks at Sun Peaks Resort, steep, moon-dust chutes and perfectly sculpted dirt jumps at the Kamloops Bike Ranch, janky skinnies immortalized by freeride legend Dave Watson in Pemberton and laps at Vedder Mountain. The wide range of terrain served as a canvas for creativity and the crew found inspiration everywhere—from spontaneous stops to scout new features to session, like a towering rock slab on the side of the road, to building a makeshift leaf-pile landing in a North Vancouver park in order to pay homage to a “North Shore Extreme” scene shot in the same location. The squad meshed as they towed each other into big lines, tricked dirt jumps and dropped into blind gap jumps, one after the other, building trust as they greased landings. In between riding, the hours were filled with the kind of moments that make a roadtrip like this memorable. One late night after a long drive along the Duffy, a taco stand in tiny Cache Creek appeared like a desert mirage, prompting an immediate stop and a midnight taco-devouring party. And a rowdy afternoon at the Popkum motocross track in Chilliwack ended up being a highlight of the trip for everyone.

“Honestly, the pit biking was so fun,” said Natasha Miller, a rising slopestyle star based in Coquitlam. “I didn’t know what I was doing and the whole first lap I was in first gear, pinning it and couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t going any faster. A lady pulled me off the track and was like, ‘You gotta shift up!’” By the time the Cool Bus chugged back into Squamish, the crew’s shred-ucation was complete—they stepped off the bus with new friendships, experiences and tons of inspiration to do it all over again.