Common Ground

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A Biker’s Tale: Why Cape Breton Can Be Too Beautiful to Film

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Dive into the recollections of the filmmakers and bikers who made the  'Common Ground' film.

"The week I hosted Vasanth, Cape Breton was as good as she can ever be.  It had rained the week before but the sun shone on our trip and I could almost smell the vegetation growing. I can’t describe the sense. You have to feel it for yourself. It’s a combination of heat from the sun, moisture in the forests, and the sweet smell of flowers here in early summer. The elevation changes on the trail, so the smells and temperature are constantly changing, coinciding with different humongous views of mountains, valleys, and of course, the Atlantic Ocean. At one point, John, the lead camera guy, told the boys to shut the cameras off because it was too beautiful. When I asked him later, he said "This is a story about bikers, not about paradise." In a world of television-making hype and trying to grab our attention, here’s a place that truly is too beautiful to shoot.
 
One of the most amazing things with the production was the amount of media recorded. From the second Vasanth rolled into my driveway our lives were recorded. Every inch from my house to our final stop in Sydney was on tape, video and audio, on at least one camera. One time I looked over to the camera van in the passing lane with John on his stomach with a handheld robotic camera just grazing the pavement as he shot us. On the Cape Smokey Climb, John was being held by two guys with the hatch open and the driver rode as fast as the poor van could go to capture my favourite place to really crank the throttle. The crew was every bit as bad-ass as bikers!
 
A bike trip in Cape Breton has so much to offer. To get all the people, culture, and social experiences into a 15-minute segment, it left a lot of great riding out. Any 15 minutes of footage would have shown a good time!
 
I have invited both Charles-Edouard and Johanna, the other Canadian hosts, to come join me on my Cabot Trail Tour in June 2018, where we will visit the same places. We all know that we will get the chance to meet and ride together. As I promised Vasanth in the show, I will see him again."

- Daniel Ross