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‘Seniors who Shred’ highlights B.C. mountain biking for the over-70 set

‘Just because you get older, it doesn’t mean to stop playing’: filmmaker Judy Richardson
From left: Jane Johnson, Sandi Reed and Diane Sharp. (Photo courtesy Judy Richardson)

A Vancouver Island filmmaker hopes her documentary Seniors who Shred will inspire people to stay active in their later years.

The film features eight mountain bike riders, ranging from 74 years old to 92 years old, and shows them in action at the Laburnum Bike Trails in Qualicum Beach and the HammerFest trail network in nearby Errington.

“I just really wanted to inspire other people, especially seniors, of the importance of staying healthy and active in their senior years,” said Judy Richardson. “Just because you get older, it doesn’t mean to stop playing.”

Richardson knew some of the riders from the Arrowsmith Cycling Club, while others she met out riding the trails from time to time.

“Whenever I was mountain biking, lots of times I’d run into senior riders — and they were so good and they inspired me so much,” Richardson said.

She noticed many of the senior mountain bikers had not slowed down over the years, and asked them what kept them going.

“They choose to do it because it’s a social thing. They have the club, they go riding together and they’ve been riding for a few years now, so they just keep it up,” Richardson said.

Roy Kregosky, 76, loves mountain biking because it forces him to concentrate 100 per cent on what he is doing.

“You’re just so focused when you’re out there,” he said. “You’ve got to stay focused because if you’re not, you’re going to hit that next rock, or hit that next slippery root.”

READ MORE: Qualicum Beach has trails to good health

He’s been a serious mountain biker for approximately 25 years, and enjoys the HammerFest network of trails. Both the cardiovascular challenge of riding up hill and the thrill of returning back down keep him coming back to the trails.

“I’m still enjoying it as much as I ever did,” he said. “If anything, as a senior I’m even more involved than I was when I first started out.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Richardson watched a lot of YouTube videos and thought it would be fun to record her bike rides, which she did once she received a GoPro camera for Christmas.

She took a five-day Empowered Filmmaker Masterclass and made a short film about mountain biking. Afterwards she was approved for an amateur filmmaker grant through Telus Storyhive.

Making the documentary was a challenge, Richardson said, and she learned a lot about the technical aspects of her camera.

She had help from her son and nephew, while her partner assisted with the drone shots.

Richardson wanted to highlight the importance of social connection, spending time outdoors and staying active for seniors.

Kregosky said he feels confident on his bike and does not plan on stopping any time soon.

“I’m planning on riding a mountain bike until I no longer can,” he said.

The documentary, which features riders from Qualicum Beach, Errington and Parksville, was completed earlier this month and will premiere on TELUS Optic TV in late January.

Kevin Forsyth

About the Author: Kevin Forsyth

As a lifelong learner, I enjoy experiencing new cultures and traveled around the world before making Vancouver Island my home.
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