For some, hap­pi­ness is a bike ride in the coun­try, but pro moun­tain biker Ge­off Gule­vich’s tastes are a bit more ex­treme. Schön! tries to keep up with him as he takes on the world… Two wheels at a time.

Schon! - - Don’t Look Down - Words / Jade Thomp­son Photography / Jan Kasl @ jankaslphoto.com

Mankind’s de­sire to watch other hu­mans un­der­take po­ten­tially fa­tal feats is not a new thing – but it does ap­pear to have evolved. Although we may not be so quick to watch gla­di­a­tors fight to the death, or wit­ness some­one fire them­selves out of a canon any­more (thank­fully), we still live vi­car­i­ously through the dare­devil ac­tiv­i­ties of those who thrive on adren­a­line. One such thrill-seeker is 28-year-old freeride moun­tain biker Ge­off ‘Gully’ Gule­vich. It’s been a decade since he turned pro and now the laid-back Canadian is at the top of his game – and gen­er­ally at the top of a moun­tain some­where too.

It’s mid­day in Van­cou­ver, Canada, when we speak with Gule­vich. He paints a scenic and calm­ing pic­ture of his sur­round­ings: it sounds like spring is in the air, the Fe­bru­ary weather is mild, pro­vid­ing the “per­fect bik­ing con­di­tions”. How­ever, there’s more to bloom­ing blos­soms and baby sheep when it comes to the per­fect bik­ing con­di­tions for Gule­vich, as we’re not ex­actly talk­ing about a jolly ride around the park.

Gule­vich’s day job takes guts. You only have to watch a Youtube video of what he does to ex­pe­ri­ence the roller­coaster ride of com­pe­ti­tion moun­tain bik­ing. A fish-eye lens placed on top of his hel­met dur­ing the Red Bull Ram­page last year takes us through the twists and turns and grav­ity de­fy­ing leaps. First im­pres­sion? Gule­vich is a mad man.

The job is not with­out its in­juries ei­ther. At 18, the biker broke his kneecap. “The doc­tors told me I wouldn’t be able to ride again,” he says. “That was a solid two year re­cov­ery right there.” De­spite the risk, his love for the sport is al­ways ap­par­ent, and it’s been this way for most of his life.

“When I was about 12, I al­ways wanted to hang out with my older brother and his friends,” Gule­vich re­calls. “They were all deeply in­volved in [rid­ing], and they al­ways showed me bik­ing videos and things like that, and right away I knew that was ex­actly what I wanted to do.” Com­ing from a base­ball fam­ily (both his fa­ther and brother were semi-pro play­ers), he was en­cour­aged to take a dif­fer­ent ca­reer path. “They both ru­ined their shoul­ders, so ob­vi­ously they wanted me to play base­ball,” he ex­plains, “but I was just over the team sports thing and I just love the seren­ity of be­ing in the woods by my­self or just a cou­ple friends, be­ing away from the city and not be­ing told what to do.” Gule­vich stuck to his guns and has gone on to forge an en­vi­able ca­reer. He’s al­ways been more of “a trail rider, like a tech­ni­cal rider, more than I was dirt jumper”, which sees him nav­i­gat­ing things like 15 me­tre drops and se­ri­ously danger­ous ter­rain. He’s also known as one of the most pro­gres­sive freerid­ers in the sport, hav­ing placed in the top five in com­pe­ti­tions such as the Red Bull Ram­page and Jump­ship.

This year, Gule­vich plans to ex­plore a dif­fer­ent path, but one that is no less phys­i­cally de­mand­ing. “I’m def­i­nitely do­ing less com­pe­ti­tions,” he di­vulges. “I’m go­ing to cap­i­talise on the adventure story side of moun­tain bik­ing. [I’m] over the con­test scene.” With plans to start a fam­ily at some point in the fu­ture, a less fre­netic pace of life is in­evitably on the cards. “This is def­i­nitely some­thing that I’ll do recre­ation­ally for­ever,” he says, but adds that he’d like to move out of the lime­light, while still be­ing “in­volved in the in­dus­try”.

In the mean­time, Gule­vich turns to other adren­a­line-in­duc­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in his spare time, such as sky­div­ing and more… “I’ve al­ways just been ex­cited to push the bound­aries,” he ex­plains, but when he isn’t jump­ing off cliffs or ca­su­ally rid­ing down steep heart-in-our-mouth trails you’ll find him… read­ing.

“I love old war sto­ries or like sur­vival sto­ries,” he re­veals. “I’m read­ing Un­bro­ken right now, a story about an Amer­i­can prisoner of war. I’m two thirds of the way through and I’m just hooked on it. Ev­ery night, I’m like ‘shall I watch a movie? Go to bed? Nah, I’m gonna read!’” he laughs.

Whether it’s lit­er­ary cliff-hang­ers or lit­er­ally rid­ing off cliffs, Ge­off Gule­vich cer­tainly en­joys living life on the edge.

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