Team rider Dominik RaabPlayground Earth
My bike took me places school never could. It took me to fascinating locales and brought me together with extraordinary people. When I took up mountain biking more than fifteen years ago, there was no way saying that this sport would make such a huge impact on my life. I have compiled the following ten photographs and their background stories to illustrate this.
First off, a special image from Linz, my Austrian hometown. I had just come back from Los Angeles where I had been shooting video for MERIDA when a friend of mine, who is a photographer, told me about this abandoned bus. So we just went off and checked it out. We quickly improvised a small jump from old boards, tires and other stuff from the bus. Eventually we had a perfect wallride.
Back to the City of Angels for the second pic. 2013 saw me spending an entire winter in sunny California. In downtown LA I ran across this “ballsy” sculpture with a smoke machine in the center. I can’t say exactly why the machine was there, but it gives the image a special touch.
Now a photo from 2014 when I was in Barcelona, Spain. I spent a week there together with the film crew from Fullface Productions to shoot for the video “Signatures”. The spot is well known from one of the old “New World Disorder” videos, and for me, having grown up on these legendary bike films, it was quite special to ride there. By the way, you can watch the whole Barcelona segment on my homepage.
I originally started trials, because as a mountain biker I simply wanted to improve my technique, learning the bunny hop for example. Well, trials started to take center stage, but I still ride my All Mountain or Enduro rig at least two times a week. This photo is the result of a trip with my riding buddies to the famous “Three Peaks” in the Dolomites. Having a great time with your friends while riding bikes still is the best.
My riding is all about overcoming obstacles, and this remarkable specimen presented itself 2013 on the “Donauinsel” in Vienna. I just had to try riding through this iron sculpture, and – who would’ve thought – it turned out rather difficult. Either my helmet or handlebars were obstructive or I hit the bulge. It took me ten attempts until I finally got the angle right to exit the tube unhindered.
Last year I spent two weeks in Shanghai, China, to work on a video for the Californian sports shoe company Five Ten. To explore the 23-million metropolis by bike proved to be an amazing experience. Among first rate street-spots was the world’s largest outdoor skate park in the north of Shanghai. In the background you can see the skyline of the completely artificially created business district Pudong. The contrast to American downtowns wasn’t huge, but it was brutally different from the districts which are inhabited by the major part of the city’s residents.
In the next picture you can see the building where I did my community service. I was lucky to have a boss whom I could enthuse for my riding. Eventually he allowed me to ride on the roof, although he didn’t realize that I would actually put myself so close to the edge. The opportunity for shooting a photo was just too good to pass up, and when I showed the outcome to my boss, it was quickly obvious that there would be no second one.
In the „Wiener Arena“ in Vienna usually concerts are held for up to 3000 people. But just for me, it held this colorful wallride. I needed all the bounce and precision I could muster up to hit the small protrusion with my wheels.
And finally, two photos from Linz. The first one, showing a “Footjamwhip” at the Linz harbor, is one of my all-time favorites. Getting the shot was far from easy, especially reaching the semi-flooded boat by a wire cable in the first place. Unfortunately, my bike didn’t get around taking a little bath in the Danube, but the final result surely made a splash in the media.
The final image was captured in front of the art museum “Lentos” in Linz city centre and with the scenic “Pöstlingsberg” for a backdrop. I had just had a 80 cm jump made for backflips for my show-course when the opportunity came up to use it in a combined training session and photo shoot.
For more photographs, videos and information about shows by Dominik Raab, please visit www.dominikraab.com
Words: Dominik Raab
Team Rider Dominik RaabOne-Forty vs.
His natural habitat is the concrete jungle. Our MERIDA VELO team rider Dominik Raab travels to the megacities of the world and turns them into playgrounds. Over 15 years ago he switched from “classic” mountain biking to trials and especially street trials. When he takes his AM-bike to the mountains, his incredible skills make it a pleasure to watch him ride. But “ride” is an inadequate description for what he actually does. See for yourself what Dominic brought home from his recent trip to the Dolomites, chasing our One-Forty through amazing scenery for our new video. In his own words:
“During the last years, I toured many cities all around the world to do trials shows and work on photo and video projects. Thus indeed a strong contrast to classic mountain biking. Although I focussed mainly on the urban side of projects, I rode my Enduro or All Mountain bikes regularly in these days. Then in early 2014, MERIDA asked me to shoot a product video with the All Mountain ONE-FORTY. Hence, this meant for me: getting out of the city and into the mountains. Already a little later, I was on my way to the Dolomites – accompanied by friends of mine, the photo / video experts Peter Auboeck and Christoph Breiner from Linz (Austria).
We chose the area around the Tre Cime di Lavaredo as our location because I had spent a few days there with friends already two years before. Thus I had one or two trails in mind to try out. The good thing of the area is the incredible 360° view. On the other hand, it is possible to drive up relatively far there – very convenient for us because we carried quite a lot of equipment. However, it actually was a totally different situation compared to video shoots in urban surroundings I’m usually used to. In cities, video shooting is often difficult – it’s not unusual that countless tourists or security personnel thwart your plans. Problems of this kind don’t exist in the Dolomites, no crowds, but gorgeous views instead!
I actually realized that video shootings on alpine terrain can turn out to be very exhausting. The perfect take rarely happens the first time. This meant pushing my bike up the trail again and again. During a twelve-hour day at the mountain, this certainly takes its toll. And it’s after all more exhausting than repeating a stunt again in a city. Despite the efforts, we enjoyed a wonderful time – the trails were simply wonderful. And for me, the experience was a very welcome change to my daily routine.