The Gathering Canada, Cumberland, Vancouver Island

 Words: Stephane Pelletier, Forbidden’s Marketing and Sales Coordinator

Photos: Jarrett Lindal

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The forecast sure wasn’t looking good with a 100% chance of rain on the cards for our inaugural Forbidden owner’s day ride, The Gathering. With one of the biggest storms Vancouver Island had seen in years looming off the coast, it was a restless night in Cumberland, as the weather beat down upon our quaint little village. Come morning and by some miracle, we were all greeted by a clear sky.

Forbidden Glabal HQ, all set to welcome guests with snacks and Classic Tim Horton's Coffee.


By some miracle, this was the weather that greeted us on the morning of.

The Pre-ride mingle with our fellow Forbidden Riders.  

With a little help from our gracious guides over at Gravity MTB, we set up a base camp in front of Forbidden’s global headquarters and having planned for the worse, with multiple propane heaters and tents, we were ready for anything as our first guests rolled in around 9:30 am. The usual chit-chat ensued with some classic Canadian Tim Horton’s coffee and snacks to fuel up for a day's shredding!


Left, Some clean bikes at the ready for the days fun. Right, Chad Hendren, GravityMTB co founder, and one of our gracious guides for the day, basking in the morning light.

Before long,  we had 40 riders, all aboard Forbidden Druids and Dreadnoughts, in various colors and builds, all set out at once across town. It was quite a sight to behold and a proud moment for the team. The ride to the trailhead is quite short, at around 2km (I just checked), and goes straight through the main street of where we’ve all chosen to call home. Heads turned as we blasted up the road like a giant peloton, but sans the spandex and drop bars, and instead, on badass bikes. As we passed the community center, and over to the climbing route, the energy and excitement were palpable.

The Man, the Myth, the Legend, and ultimately the reason why we all "gathered" that day. Owen Pemberton, Forbidden founder and CEO,  spared some time away from designing new and rad things to ride with the crew. Rider owned, rider operated. 

Lap one consisted of a huge party lap down some of Cumberland’s classic blue trails, with just enough speed and tech to make it fun for all. The route consisted of Sobo no Michi (Cumberland’s gorgeous climb trail), Upper Climax, Field of Dreams, Blue Collar, Scat, Brat, and Bone Storm to finish it off. The First leg was a total of 16km with just under 400m of climbing. Our photographer Jarrett Lindal took point and shot up the trails to snap some rad photos; it was quite the party train. Although the skies were blue, that didn’t mean we were in the clear as deep puddles persisted throughout the ride from the previous night’s deluge. Regardless, no amount of puddles could dampen the spirits and with everyone hooting and hollering - and faces completely covered in mud - and grinning from ear to ear - it was an unforgettable ride, for me at least.

Some stylish folks happen to ride Forbidden's, two unique style, equally as rad. 

The Rumble of 40 rider's motoring down Cumberland's finest, what a feeling!

Our very own Ollie Blight, bike design engineer, out sampling some of his handy work and grinning from ear to ear.

Smiles and styles for miles. 

We returned to the office slightly earlier than planned, beating the pizza and beer delivery we’d been dreaming of on the ride back, but this gave us the ideal opportunity to give away some prize packs… The first being a great swag pack from our very own local trail organization, UROC, without whose hard work, we would not be able to enjoy the endless trails so close to our home. Round one giveaway was a classic game of ‘Dab’, whereby everyone rides in an enclosed area, and cannot “dab” their foot on the ground or they are eliminated. As people are eliminated from the game, the perimeter of the game shrinks, giving riders less room to move. Riders put it all on the line, risking bikes and limbs, and in the end, Nic Van Edgmond came out victorious due to some serious track-standing skills.

Nick Van Edmond, AKA, Nick Van Elbow's out, track standing his way to a victory of a UROC prize pack. 

Forbidden Synthesis factory pilot, Magnus Manson, was one of many casualties of Nick pursuit of Dab Dominance. All in good fun.

This isn't really a jump, but more of a small berm out of the pumptrack next door, but that didn't stop Forbidden athletes Magnus and Dillon from strutting their stuff. 

Next up was an FBC soft goods pack. Here, all you had to do was be victorious in some bike limbo. Clem Loveless, a local ripper, reigned supreme with some extremely dynamic moves to get himself and his bike below a rope lower than handlebar height! Congrats Clem.

Bike Limbo ramped up much faster than expected, and the carnage was top notch. Here ambassador Nick Court is seen laying it all on the line.

Clem Loveless ladies and gentleman, style and grace. I'm convinced bike limbo is a young mans game. 

He earned it! Nice work Clem! 

Finally, the pizza and beer showed up; a mountain biker's classic post-ride feast. This was our opportunity to talk with everyone and discuss our favorite sections of trail. Connecting with everyone, brought together by our shared passion for riding and [high pivot idler equipped] bicycles, was just what we needed to set the tone for the rest of the day. Riders, guides, and staff all picked up their gift bag for coming, consisting of goodies from Clif Bar, as well as some custom “The Gathering” t-shirts and stickers made especially for the event.

Nick Court enjoying the hard earned pizza and beer post first lap.

The riders seemed generally pleased with the day so far... The eating pizza face says it all.

It wouldn't be an owners ride without some rad, limited edition swag. Once riders had their pizza fill they headed over to the main lobby to pick up their goodie bags.

 As lunch came to a close a second optional ride set off with two groups and two different routes planned. One group headed to Bucket of Blood, a slightly shorter ride up, to one of Cumberland’s flowy Black Diamond jump trails, the second, a longer, soupier climb up to Chunder, one of my personal favorites. It’s rough, steep, and fast with some spicy lines and jumps mixed in for good measure. I rarely say no to a ‘Chunder lap’ and despite the heavier duty climb, I was in! After 18 km of riding and another 550m of descending done - and in some pretty dreamy conditions - we headed back to the HQ for, you guessed it, more pizza and beer and all in a day's work!

A mud covered bike, signs of a great day!

And there you have it, that was our first ever Forbidden owner’s meet-up and a day to celebrate the culture surrounding Forbidden Bike Co. with our amazing customers. I want to thank everyone who helped make the event such a success, including Chad and the fine team at Gravity MTB for the guiding services, Carter at Black’s Cycles for lending us the propane heaters, the UROC trail association for building and maintaining our amazing trail network, Jarret Lindal for taking some amazing images of everyone all day, our amazing team at Forbidden for rallying together to make this event a huge success, and of course, our awesomely rad owners, for keeping the lights on and shredding our bikes all over the world. We couldn’t do this without you...time to start planning next year’s Gathering! 

This one's going up in the office photo booklet, what a crew! Can't wait to see everyone for Vol 2.


All Team Members