Red Bull’s Stevie Smith traveled to Japan to bike down an active volcano

red bull mountain biker takes on mount oyama in japan steve smith

For pro mountain biker Stevie Smith, adrenaline-fueled thrills and edge-of-your-seat excitement comes at no more than a dime a dozen. It’s what he lives for. So what else would you expect him to tell Red Bull — other than a resounding yes — when it asked if he’d travel to Japan and fling his mountain bike down an active volcano at breakneck speeds? To no surprise, that’s exactly the answer Stevie gave. So just this past October, Smith and a film crew set out for Japan to conquer the active Mount Oyama volcano for an exclusive movie titled, Ring of Fire.

Related: State Bicycle Company debuts its Four Peaks Brewing bicycle collaboration

“I was told I was going to ride down a volcano, I had no idea what to expect,” says Smith in a short video published to Red Bull’s YouTube channel. “Showing up to Miyake Island and seeing the volcano was just, mindblowing.”

Hiroyuki Nakagawa/Red Bull Content Pool
Hiroyuki Nakagawa/Red Bull Content Pool

Originally from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Smith makes his living dominating downhill mountain bike races but had never faced anything as imposing as Mount Oyama. Sitting roughly 4,108-feet tall, the active Japanese volcano is lined with decrepit old trees and a sea of light lava rock. Smith and the film crew spent much of their time in Japan assessing the area and waiting for clearer weather (they mostly encountered thick fog). After extending his stay a few more days to wait out the fog, Smith finally got a patch of clear weather.

“Starting right off the cliff I could literally just look over and, my guts dropped every time I looked off, it was pretty ridiculous,” Smith says. “There’s no way to describe it, like I didn’t think it would be like that at all. It was [a] straight up volcano and I was standing on the edge of it.”

Hiroyuki Nakagawa/Red Bull Content Pool
Hiroyuki Nakagawa/Red Bull Content Pool

As he began his descent, Smith told Red Bull the lava rock initially felt a bit slippery but as he quickly began learning the terrain, it became easier to handle. The entire way down Mount Oyama, Smith had barely a trail to work with and routinely had to navigate an incredibly tight track. As told by Haruki Nakagawa in a blog post on Red Bull’s website, Stevie felt utterly content by the time his wheels stopped churning.

“In the end I was totally immersed, my only concern was how far I could go,” Smith adds. “There’s no way anything can compare to this, it’s the most unique place I’ve ridden.”

Culture

Why Learning About Quality Cannabis Shouldn’t Strain Your Brain

Like many other craft pursuits, being a weed snob is a good thing. We talked to John Plummer, owner of Bull Run Craft Cannabis in Oregon, to learn more.
Culture

Seth Rogen Proves Life Imitates Art with New Cannabis Company, Houseplant

Along with selling recreational marijuana products (bud, soft-gels, pre-rolls), the company plans to focus on cannabis advocacy and education.
Food & Drink

26.2 Brew is a Beer Developed By Runners, For Runners (and for Everyone Else)

Whether you're a runner or not, chances are you're going to like 26.2 Brew, a craft beer developed by runners for runners.
Fashion & Style

Moleskine’s Limited-Edition Backpack Celebrates the Moon Landing’s 50th Anniversary

The design is an an homage to the huge life support packs of the original lunar astronauts.
Grooming

The Best Reef-Safe Sunscreens to Protect You and the Environment, Too

How toxic is your sunscreen? Don't kill the coral — opt for an oxybenzone-free formula.
Outdoors

Why Camp on Land When You Can Camp on Water with an Inflatable Tent?

“The world is your waterbed,” says SmithFly, the masterminds behind the concept.
Outdoors

Are E-bikes the Future of Transportation?

The humble bicycle had not changed much since it was invented in 1817. Now, technology is creating the fastest, easiest, and highest fun-factor method of transportation: the e-bike.
Travel

This Camper Wants to Be Whatever Type of Travel Trailer You Need It to Be

SylvanSport's Vast is possibly the most versatile and configurable travel trailer ever.
Outdoors

5 Breathtaking Fire Lookouts You’ll Want to Rent Right Now

Fire lookouts were used to spot wildfires. However, in the off-season, these unique off-grid destinations can be booked as rentals.
Outdoors

There’s No Place Like (a Floating) Home on the Raptor Platform

Think inflatable houseboat, portable dock, zombie apocalypse safe haven, and, sure, a floating fishing platform.
Travel

Hitch Hotel Might Be the Most Compact Travel Trailer We’ve Ever Seen

For RV campers and road trippers who value mobility, versatility, and portability, less is more.
Outdoors

The Best GPS Apps for Navigating without Reception

GPS used to require expensive devices but now the power can be found in our pocket.
Travel

The Best Travel and Adventure Documentaries on Netflix Right Now

If you're reading this, you're staring at a screen. Wouldn't you rather be exploring a different part of the world than the Internet?
Fashion & Style

The Gerber Fastball Knife Should Be Your New EDC Knife

There are those who carry a pocket knife and there are those who carry a Gerber.