Since the 80s a small cabal of mountain bikers would slip from the glass and steel of Vancouver and into the forested mountains that tower over the city’s North Shore. Inside the green envelope of the forest they would experiment with the boundaries of possibility on their off-road mountain cycles. They carved lines in the forest floor, rode down sheer rock faces, and took to the canopy to catch flight. All previously unimaginable acts to the then current world of cyclists who were transfixed with racing the clock or just spinning there Sunday rides.
In the late nineties, small groups of renegade mountain bikers, with Dave Watson amongst them, were beginning to make their mark in the dank forested slopes of Vancouver’s North Shore mountains. They were interacting with nature in a most extreme way; riding steep, technical, natural lines and wielding chainsaws to carve stunts into the terrain, and pushing what was once capable in height and drops unlike the generations before. They were re-appropriating the natural world much like skateboarders were doing in the urban environment in their early era. Unbeknownst to them, one day the spotlight of history would be shown on these early pioneers as Freeride was born – and the North Shore mountains were to become an iconic location.
Dave Watson, a young up and coming mountain biker who traveled widely and tasted all the flavors of the 2 wheeled culture, became an early pioneer of Vancouver’s North Shore Freeride movement – and has always had grand visions beyond the mist shrouded mountains of his home city as he transcended from tomahawk rider to founder of Sombrio. Dave launched Sombrio to fill a functional and aesthetic void. At the time Spandalero was the status-quo for mountain bikers, but these shrink wrapped layers didn’t suit the rigors of their style of riding and it certainly didn’t fit the aesthetic of it either. When Watson launched Sombrio in 1998 they introduced a range of functional and stylish threads that riders could finally hammer in, and when their ride spat them out of the mountains and back into the urban reality, they could continue to enjoy wearing off the bike
Sombrio weren’t just leaders in co-creating a new genre of cycling, as they and their athletes past and present pioneered freeride; they simultaneously created a whole new fringe culture, and with it timeless looks, and a juxtapose of people – just like the trail builders and riders of the North Shore have done so.
Sombrio takes what it learns in the harsh environment of mountain biking’s toughest testing grounds and has adapted it to the demands of individuals who cycle within the urban territory. With an eye on making both the natural and urban worlds healthier and more vibrant places, Sombrio provides a platform for riders to express their beliefs through something that is more than just clothing.
Fourteen years after Dave introduced Sombrio Freewear it remains the only authentic Freeride mountain bike apparel company on the planet. While firmly planted in his roots Watson, who is famous for jumping the Tour de France peloton on his bike, believes that the basic bicycle is the catalyst to a better world.
Enjoy Sombrio Life!