If you’ve ever mountain biked in Kamloops on a Thursday evening there’s a good chance you’ve run into the Dirt Chix, a group of 160 women who get together for weekly trail rides and are the subject of filmmaker Vesta Giles’ documentary Dirt Chix: Making Time.
“It’s a mountain biking film that’s not about mountain biking,” said Giles. “In the trailer, it says it’s about women, life and mountain biking and that’s really the order it goes in.”
Having ridden with Dirt Chix herself back in 2017, Giles originally planned on creating a five minute film about the group. That idea turned into a 10 minute film then evolved into the documentary idea she proposed to Telus’ Storyhive grant program.
“I sent them the proposal and, this never happens in the film industry, they came back within two hours and said this is great can you make this 45 minutes? I quickly messaged the Dirt Chix and said can we do 45 minutes? They went I guess so, (and) we did it,” she recalled.
The film, which features 124 members of the group, focuses on women making time for themselves and prioritizing riding with friends once a week. Giles and her team of six, filmed with the group over 11 days, interviewing the original members, trail hosts and their newest riders to fully capture the heart of Dirt Chix.
“That’s really what the story is about, why it’s important to find something that you love to do and then why it’s really important to make the time to do it.”
Throughout the filming process the crew visited the Bicycle Cafè and four prominent biking locations in the Kamloops region, capturing the essence of bike culture in the community.
“We wanted to get four perspectives of Kamloops. We shot in Bachelor at the Lac du Bois provincial park, we shot at Harper Mountain, we shot a lot at the Bike Ranch, and we shot at Kenna Cartwright Park,” said Giles.
Filming started April 18 and with a deadline for Telus of August 26, Giles said the whole process was tight. She noted documentaries are made in the editing room and she relied on the creativity of Josef Perszon to bring her vision to life.
“We didn’t have time to sit on things and think about them for a week we had to just go with our gut and move on. I think that was a very powerful way to do it because we didn’t second guess ourselves.”
The film, which premiered Sept. 20 at the Paramount Theatre, raised funds for Kamloops Performance Cycling Centre which maintains the bike trails at the Bike Ranch, Harper Mountain and Pineview Valley.
Giles hopes the documentary, which will be available for viewing on Telus Optik on-demand and YouTube, will inspire others to get out on the trails and live healthier lifestyles and it inspires others like the Dirt Chix inspire her.