The Mine Line

Freeride bike lines in an abandoned coal mine

Feature type Video

Published Oct 04, 2022

Photographer Jean-Baptiste Liautard

Base editorial team
BASE editorial team BASE writers and editors who live and breathe adventure every day. We love adventure storytelling as much as we love adventure itself.

Having learned about the history of his ancestors as a child, now at 29-years-old, Belgian freerider Thomas Genon travelled back to the motherland to dig deep into his family history.

On the site of the mines in which his great grandfather had worked, Genon and some close friends built a breathtaking line on the remains on the mining site near Liège, dropping in from the pitch-black tops of the huge slag heaps down into the tunnels of the old mines.

After finding the right locations, and designing the line, the team got to work for 10 days straight, facing some challenging weather conditions including a night of rain that ruined three days of work.

‘We wanted to put as many features as possible into that line,’ says Thomas. ‘We were on a mission!’

‘We wanted to put as many features as possible into that line – we were on a mission!

For Genon, this was an experience to really connect him with his own family history providing insight to the reality of the day-to-day life of his grand grandfather.

‘The working conditions then must have been really brutal, he said. ‘When I told my grandparents where and what I was doing, they could hardly believe I was in the same place, but with my bike. Only when we were digging our lines out of the slag heap and quarry from early morning to late at night did I begin to grasp what my great-grandfather must have gone through underground. I was given the chance to do whatever I wanted on a freeride bike, to do something more in line with my vision of riding. Even though I’m still more known for my slopestyle runs, I was stoked to try something new, something exciting. I wanted to try my best in something I’m maybe not known for.’

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