Combing Valparaiso’s Hills
I know I’m not supposed to approve of this kind of riding but I can’t help it—this is one of my all-time favourite cycling videos. Lead by Chris Van Dine, who I’m coming to realize is a pretty complex guy for a “dude, more speed” freerider, we’re taken on a wild ride through the streets of Valparaiso, Chile. In the rather limited world of urban downhill freeriding, ‘Valpo’ has been legendary since Red Bull started running their race there five years ago. (It’s insane, as you might guess.)
Aaron Chase and Brian Lopes join C.V.D. for this crazy ride down, then up, then back down the narrow streets and steep stairways of this UNESCO World Heritage City. But this is no closed race course and the boys are sporting GoPros on telescopic poles while they wall-ride and wheelie through town at warp speed. However, no one gets hurt, not even the dogs who chase them (OK, a car roof might have been dinged) and Chris Van Dine’s exchange with the elderly man in the town square is pretty sweet. They’re likeable rogues, this lot.
I particularly love the circularity of this video. It ends where it begins—a breathless Chris Van Dine looking back, deciding he can hit that wall higher.
And he does.
PS: Red Bull still runs their race in Valparaiso, and did in 2015, even after the ‘Gran Incendio de Valparaíso’ in April 2014, when a massive fire destroyed at least 2,500 homes and left 11,000 homeless. It wasn’t the first time this earthquake and wild fire-prone town has defied the odds and rebuilt.