Brian Vernor Interview | Endtroducing
Brian Vernor doesn’t just love mountain biking, he loves cycling and all it stands for full stop...
Pretty much everyone that I’ve ever come across in the bike industry has a passion for what they do (the minimal wages help to dictate that), but some people seem to take it to a whole new level. Brian Vernor is one of those people. He doesn’t just love mountain biking, he loves cycling and all it stands for full stop. There may well be others who are just as passionate as him about the sport, but the difference with Brian Vernor is that his other equally loved pastime of photography and filmmaking mean that we all get the chance to see the world though his cycling tinted spectacles.
His latest film ‘We Just Work Here’ follows in the steps of his earlier cyclocross film ‘Pure Sweet Hell’, providing a unique look into the sport that we love. If you haven’t already seen it, make sure you do, just don’t expect it to be like anything that you’ve seen before, an open mind is essential. Apart from creating timeless works with film, Brain also spends much of his day making almost as beautiful bikes at Santa Cruz, I’m sure this man has chain lube running through his veins.
dirt issue 77 - august 2007
Words by Ed Haythornthwaite.
Who is Brian Vernor?
I’m a maker of things. Sometimes they move and sometimes they’re still. Usually this involves cameras.
Where do you live?
Santa Cruz, Ca (fourth generation).
What’s your job title?
Builder, part–time. Scrambling artist, full–time.
What do you do?
Assemble bikes for Santa Cruz, and the rest of the time I photograph, film, dream big, and generally contemplate the beauty of the world and the people I know in it.
How did you land the job with Santa Cruz?
Scrambling artist full–time wasn’t working out.
What’s the best thing about your job?
I’m surrounded by people with passion for everything they grant their time to.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
Dishwasher. I liked the washing, it’s meditative like building stone walls, but I didn’t like the sociopathic chef and the knife he wielded.
Where’s your favourite place to ride?
Wilder Ranch at sunrise. I’m NOT a morning person, but getting out of bed early for this ride is always worth it, you’ll see foxes, bobcats, and wild pigs, and everybody else is still in bed.
When are you happiest?
When I get a film back and a shot actually looks like what I imagined it to be. It’s not as easy as I’d like though.
What makes you angry?
Sense of entitlement, as in: ‘I work hard for this money so I can have a Hummer/Tank-car if I want it’. I’ve never understood that attitude.
What makes you happy?
Being done with a film. Making films is a painful process, and so finishing one is really satisfying.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
‘You get what you settle for’. That was from my sister Kara after I graduated from college.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever given?
‘Leave the guidebook at home.’
What are your extravagances?
I have more than one bike.
Who do you admire?
People who live consciously, intentionally, and with purpose. Half–assing life seems like a complete waste.
What’s the most important thing in your life?
My family (mom, bro, sis), they’ve always challenged me and accepted me at the same time.
What’s your greatest fear?
The Balkinization of North America. It’s inevitable, the empire will fall and there are a scary amount of people here who will gladly revel in the naked aggression which will follow.
What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
What’s the last thing you do at night?
Think about making coffee.
What would be your dream meal?
Does sipping bourbon count as a meal?
What things do you always carry with you?
A bike lock and a red blinky light.
Do you have any regrets?
Sure, but I accept that the road is one–way only.
What’s the most important lesson that you’ve learnt?
Not to waste time with people who aren’t interested.
If you could have dinner with three famous people (dead or alive) who would they be?
Michelangelo Antonioni, Kathleen Hanna, and Cormac McCarthy.
Who is your favourite rider?
Barry Wicks. He’s natural on a bike, graceful, and he get’s just as stoked rolling dirt as he does spinning on the road. Weird, but awesome.
What’s your favourite motto or saying?
‘Afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted’ – Clarence Darrow.
What saying do you use too much?
What bike are you riding at the moment?
A cyclocross bike that Rick Hunter built for me. This is my favourite bike I own, but working at Santa Cruz I get to ride a lot of bikes that very few people will ever see (we call them ‘mules’). It’s cool to see things in development.
What one thing would you change about yourself?
Perfect vision would be nice.
What are your weaknesses?
What does the future hold for you?
I’d like any film I make to have ambition. I want them all to be something more than what people expect from a ‘bike movie’.
What does the future hold for mountain biking?
Wheels will roll, smiles will spread, what else matters?
How would you like to be remembered?
I might care about that in 40 years...but I probably won’t.[series]
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