Todd “Digger” Fiander and the Godfather of Freeride, Wade Simmons, are two of the most well-known characters on the North Shore - and for good reason. Digger’s spent his life building trails and features that have influenced riding networks around the world and Wade was right there with him to help make them famous with his skills on a bike. The two have worked side-by-side for over 20 years wandering the woods, sharing laughs on the trail, and filming for Digger’s North Shore Extreme movies.
From all the years of trail building, both of Digger’s knees deteriorated to the point of needing replacement. When it came time for the surgeries, the NSMBA put together a GoFundMe to help make his recovery a little easier and many people in the community came forward to support. Both the surgeries went as planned but his ability to pedal a regular mountain bike just wasn’t there. He hadn’t ridden any the trails he helped build in over 10 years and the future of him as a rider was uncertain.
"Mountain biking on Vancouver's North Shore, or the world for that matter, would not be the same if it wasn't for the trail building vision of Digger. I owe him a lot for helping to kickstart my riding career. I've known the guy for more than 25 years and live just 3 blocks away from him. Hell, I probably see him too much! - Wade Simmons
All joking aside, witnessing Digger’s knees deteriorate over decades of demanding trail work was heartbreaking. It was painful to watch him move through the forest and even worse to watch him lose the ability to do what he loves - building trails. Once his knee surgeries were confirmed, it dawned on me that an eMTB could play to his favour and get him riding the trails again. It had been over 10 years since he'd been able to do so that was it. I had to get him a bike." – Wade Simmons, Godfather of Freeride
Wade saw the surgeries as an opportunity to help out a friend who had given him so much over the years. It was his idea to support Digger with an Altitude Powerplay, because he knew the assistance from the bike’s drive system would help get Digger back riding. Digger’s rehab started with laps up and down Mountain Highway on Mount Fromme, but he soon pushed outside his comfort zone onto many of the singletrack trails he’s helped build.
“Thank you very much to Wade and Rocky Mountain for getting me an Altitude Powerplay. It's helped me to get out and ride every single day, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to say that!” - Digger
If you ride the North Shore regularly you’ve probably come across Digger throwing dirt, cracking jokes, and tuning up the trails. We’re stoked to have him working on the local trails, but if anyone deserves to get out and ride them, it’s him.
A film by Union Production Co.
Featuring: Todd “Digger” Fiander and Wade Simmons
Director: Andy Rogers
D.P. and Editor: Dan Barham
Additional cinematography: Chad Jones
Motion Graphics: Simon Edwards
Executive Producer: Stephen Matthews
Dumbing Down the Shore
Wade Simmons finally speaks out on what he calls the "de-gnarification" of Vancouver's North Shore.
With apologies to Keyser Söze.
Featuring the new Rocky Mountain Pipeline
Starring Wade Simmons, Brett Tippie, Geoff Gulevich, Eric Lawrenuk, Andreas Hestler, and Todd "Digger" Fiander
Created by Union Co.
Produced by Brian Park
Thanks to the NSMBA for all their work
Photography by Margus Riga