As a teenager Andy McKenna was swept along by the first wave of mountain biking in the 80s. Throughout the decades that followed, Andy’s fat tyre obsession never waned. It took over every element of his life and ultimately became his career as a professional MTB guide. In 2007, a life-changing evolution began – one he could never have predicted in his lifetime.
Going higher, further, always escaping – like for many of us, bikes mean freedom to Andy. A Multiple Sclerosis (MS) diagnosis threatened to change all that. MS is a mountain biker’s worst nightmare: a progressive, incurable neuro-degenerative disease threatening to rob Andy of his sight, balance, grip and mobility. Never one to take life’s setbacks lying down, Andy figured out (and continues to figure out) ways to overcome the challenges that emerge.
Despite the uncertainty of not knowing what tomorrow has in store, Andy’s passion for mountain biking remains strong. In fact – it’s not an exaggeration to say – Andy’s love of exploring and riding the world’s most technical terrain still drives him forward today. Andy recognises that he may never completely outrun the debilitating effects of MS, but as you’ll see in this short film, it’ll have a pretty hard time overtaking him as he continues to evolve and adapt – riding, exploring and bikepacking his way through the remote, rugged terrain of his homeland, Scotland.
Finding new ways to ride, seeking support from friends and family when he needs it, and embracing every available technological opportunity means Andy can still reach the heights in new ways. Andy’s still having so much fun reaching the mountain tops on his electric mountain bike, he hopes everyone will be enticed to experience and share the pure joy of mountain biking.
This film was part of VIMFF 2023 and is no longer available for viewing.
Andy McKenna is a Scotsman with a passion for intimate storytelling which captures the healing power of bicycles. Andy’s fire for mountain biking was lit in the mid 80s, sparking a lifelong journey of two-wheeled adventure. Andy was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2007 and whilst this incurable neurological condition has robbed Andy of some things, it’s lit a new fire – directing stories that connect humans and lead us to look in the mirror and reflect on what’s important in life. Credits include Evolution (2022), After the Storm (2021), The Walking Stick (2021) and This Way Up (2017).
After graduating with an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from Strathclyde University, Andy started working life not engineering, but pursuing his passion for photography. Shooting mountain bikes for national magazines back in the early 90s was the beginning, but it has grown exponentially and he has now been a professional photographer for over 20 years.
Moving into video was a natural progression and he has spent the last 3 years accruing experience in both shooting and editing. This has led him to work with TV productions as diverse as Supermarket Secrets, The Adventure Show, Roads Less Travelled and Landward among many more commercial shoots. A qualified drone operator he brings the complete shooting package to any production. Evolution, a documentary on his great friend Andy McKenna and his struggle with Multiple Sclerosis, was shot, co-directed and edited by Andy.