The Vic Ayala Interview

(At the end of last summer, myself and Ryan Corrigan were walking out of the 9th St. PATH station when we ran into Vic Ayala. We all shared a laugh, walked for a few blocks and went our separate ways. This interview appeared in issue 38 of Dig, and was conducted in the summer of 2004. Vic went his separate way from BMX not long after, but his incredible riding and modest demeanor remains one of my favorites within the realm of progressive street riding.)


When I first met Vic Ayala, he was your not so typical BMXer that could do whatever he pleased, and more often than not, he had a wise ass remark for whatever was thrown his way. That was only, maybe five to six years ago. In the short time since then, Vic has grown both on and off his bike at a surmountable rate. Of course, we all know the riding aspect, and how Vic has pushed his brand of riding and street in general; but what I find truly remarkable is how quickly Vic grasped the concepts of perception and maturity in the time off his bike. This may sound cheap and condescending at first, but in the process of doing and reading this interview, it’s easy to realize that Vic’s wisdom and hardened experiences speak volumes. Vic’s been there and done that, from eating at homeless soup kitchens to traveling the world to getting a full time job working construction and all the while, still maintaining his riding. He knows the ins and outs of life, isn’t afraid to tell people how he feels, and though it sounds cliche, can definitely see the forest for the trees. While most people riding would kill to live the life, get sponsored and just ride, Vic can and will espouse over the values of avoiding that route, and the worth in that aversion. I guess I’d be lying if I said I didn’t learn a lot from doing this interview with Vic Ayala. He’s gained one of the most valuable qualities a person can attain; that of perspective, the ability to take a step back from anything and find the true meaning behind it. This is Vic Ayala, the same guy who once asked Ryan Corrigan if there was a vegan animal that vegans could find, kill and eat so they’re not left out of the equation……

All right, how do you want to start this?

I guess just probably by talking about how you got into riding? Growing up on Long Island, that kind of thing. What town you’re actually from?
Bellmore, Long Island.

Who was the first person you saw riding?
This dude, my friend ‘Combs.’ I knew this kid since I was in kindergarten. And he’s crazy. His dad had all these hot rods and shit, and he was actually on the cover of Fisherman Magazine once. His dad was a real psycho, real crazy, and uh, his mom had like a billion cats, and Combs was just a weird fu*king kid. But anyway, I used to skateboard and he used to ride. He had a GT Performer, and everyone in the neighborhood knew about this bike, cause he was this bastard bad kid and he had like a $400.00 bike, and we all rode skateboards. Anyway, I was friends with him and one day I asked him if I could ride his bike, so I rode around the school and I was just psyched, and me and him were friends anyway, so I would meet up with him and ride. I didn’t have a bike though, so he took off all of his old stuff and some shit that I scrapped and we just built a bike. That’s how I started riding.

When was that?
I don’t know, like eight or nine years ago. Might’ve been longer than that though.

Where’d you go from there then?
Riding his bike, cause my bike was cool, but it sucked. The axles were bent, I didn’t have pegs, and it got to the point where I would tell him what parts he should get for his bike, so I could ride his bike. So I rode his bike and Combs pedaled around with mine, til mine started to actually get good. And then actually, I got an S&M Dirt Bike frame, and then after that, I put one dent in it, and I just started beating the shit out of it til it was done. Before I put the dent in, it was all nice chrome and I didn’t want to street ride, but once there was one dent in it, that was the end of it.

Did you start riding street then?
Well, actually, street is where I met Combs. It was at a school across the street from my house and there were all curbs and bike racks and shit like that, and uh, I guess that was street riding. And they had this bench there, so we rode that all the time. We didn’t know what we were doing, but you know, I guess it’s “street riding” now, but back then, it was just riding off stuff. And then there’s trails to this day on Long Island, that are still called ‘Vic’s Trails,’ cause me and Combs went there and built them. And then all the kids knew them as our trails. They weren’t actually trails, just bumps.

Did you know of Robbie Morales or Keith Terra or any other Long Island riders?
No, never knew any of them. We didn’t know about anything. Nothing at all, there was no bike riding around us. We thought we invented feeble grinds and double peg grinds, shit like that, but we didn’t know anything about nothing.

What was one of the first things you learned on your bike?
I don’t know, uh, I’d probably say bunnyhops up curbs. At first, we were catching it, all back wheel on the way up….

Sometime down the line, you obviously realized there were other people out there though. Did you ever see magazines or anything?
Well, this kid Chris used to live around the corner from my house. He was this dirty fu*king kid and he used to ride too cause he knew Combs also, and uh, he bought the Hoffman ‘Mad Matt’ video, and I was at my house, and I was like, “Don’t watch the video til I get over there!” So he started watching it anyway, and by the time I got to his house, Taj’s part was on. And I thought he was a girl with the long hair, so I was like “Shit, that girl’s awesome!” Cause we couldn’t do the kind of shit he was doing, and that was when I first realized that, when I saw Taj ride, that uh, there were other people riding. And that video had been out for a while already….

Did you go to any local contests or anything?
Nope, we didn’t know about anything. And there were no skateparks on Long Island until about two years ago. And then the only ones that were there, we couldn’t afford to go to anyway. And if we could’ve, we didn’t have a car and didn’t know how to use the train.

I guess one of the first times I had seen you ride was at Hackettstown Skatepark, probably right after Crandall gave you a bike. How did you figure out how to ride skateparks then?
I didn’t do ramp tricks. When I went to skateparks, I just rode the grind box, and the pyramids.

But I’ve seen you ride a spine really good as well.
To me, that was just like riding a wedge to deck, and if I rode a sub box, it was the same as riding a bank to ledge. When I rode skateparks, I thought I knew how to ride ramps, but to me, it was just street riding. If you didn’t do airs and you didn’t do box jump tricks, then it wasn’t “ramp” to me.

When did you start coming into the city then to ride?
When we first started riding, it was just an obvious thing. Our neighborhood sucked, and the city was a train ride away, so the older guys that we used to ride with, they had cars and they would invite us to come ride in the city with them. And then eventually, we just started hanging with them more often and going a lot more.

Where you into doing rails by then?
At that time for some reason, it felt like, if you didn’t do a rail, you weren’t any good at street riding, so we would go to the city, and these fu*king kids were just throwing themselves down 20-stair rails that were super steep. I was still stuck on the ledges and small rails though, but I guess I was jumping on rails at the time. I had started doing them on Long Island. I think my first one was on Long Island actually.

I guess some of the first footage I had seen of you was from the Intense Energy demo a long, long time ago. How’d you come to realize that there was a scene outside of your immediate group? And what made you want to travel around and explore more?
I was bored. And I met other people like Bob (Scerbo) and George (Dossantos) and Jeff (Zielinski), and then they showed me more of who and what was around. Eventually, you get bored of riding the same shit in the city, so if I heard about something that I could get to, then I’d go to it. I used to go to Bethlehem all the time too, cause I always used to hear that it was “the spot” and Lehigh was the good college, so just seeing shit that you wanted to go to, and then going there, was what we did.

Were you disappointed?
No, I loved it. When I first went there, I loved it. Back then, we would ride the same almost level rail at Lehigh, and back then, that was cool cause we couldn’t do these big rails. So we’d go play on that thing. That was actually good at the time. Nowadays, I probably wouldn’t go back.

Did you have brakes back then?
I never had brakes on my bike. Combs would always fix my bikes, and my bikes were all scrap, so I’d be waiting for weeks for a back wheel or a pair of bars. And when my bike was rideable enough to actually do a trick, I didn’t care if it had brakes. Brakes were just three extra parts I had to get if they broke. I didn’t give a shit so we never put them on. But then when we started going to skateparks, a lot of the dudes would tell us that we need brakes, but I never put them on.

Did you always have the 4-peg setup then as well?
No, when I first started riding, there was no pegs at all. And then Combs put pegs on, and we just figured out that you could jump and land on those, and then got one peg at first, and then two, then three and now four.

Are you forever sold on that setup then?
No. Sometimes I get bored and I want to do a fufanu without sticking my foot in the back wheel or a nosepick without sticking my foot in the front wheel. Even with pegs, sometimes I just want to pull my pegs off and just bunnyhop over stuff. I don’t want four pegs all the time, but my bike just feels more complete with all four. And just by chance, if I ever want to do something switch, I have them there.

Do you ever feel stuck in that whole ‘New York, no brakes, four pegs’ scene then, where people just automatically think “Oh, Vic, Edwin no brakes, four pegs, etc.”
No one knows about a trend til it hits the magazines, and we were never getting coverage back then when all this shit was happening. I think back when people like Troy McMurray and Gonz started riding without brakes, then everyone thought it was cool to ride without brakes. Even to this day, because I never was a part of that and never knew about it, it was just what I did. For me, it wasn’t to get attention or take stand against anything; it was just easier since my wheels were always fu*king bent.
I know what you mean though. It’s guilt by association. Most people just think that if you live here, then you have a specific setup. But there are dudes here that have all kinds of setups. Look at Big James; he has nothing on his bike and can bunnyhop five feet high. You wouldn’t think he was from New York if we all thought that way.

What was your first picture in a magazine?
A backwards, kinked rail. It was called the World Trade Kinked rail and it’s not there anymore. I was psyched cause it was two pages, on a piece of shit bike. I was blown away.

How did sponsorship come about for you then?
I have no idea. I don’t even know how I met Crandall or how any of that shit happened. I used to go to Binghamton to ride ECT a lot, and street ride around there, and somehow got to know Crandall. We used to drive up there for the weekend and we’d stay at the Red Roof Inn with like ten people in one room. I guess one day, Crandall asked me if I needed a bike, and I had never got anything for free from anyone other than Combs, so I didn’t know what he was talking about, so I said no. I figured he was going to charge me, so I just said I didn’t know what he meant by that. He brought me to FBM, and a bunch of deer ran in front of my car on the way. I was blown away cause I had never seen deer before, and then Crandall started giving me all this stuff from FBM, pretty much everything they were making at the time. I guess that was like the beginning of it. It was never official, like “OK, you’re on the team!” It was just like, “Here’s some shit. We want to give you stuff.” Eventually I was on the website and got an ad and that was pretty much it. It was unexpected but it was the coolest thing that had happened at the time, cause I never had money in my life. I was working but it was to pay for my car just so I could travel and ride. So when I started getting shit for free, it was fu*king rad.

And then came the California roadtrip….
Yeah, yeah, yeah, we went to California, and that was like the first roadtrip I had ever went on far away. It was a trip too, cause I had never been to California, and uh, I guess that was when I first realized that I was fully on the team; shooting photos, filming for the video. I didn’t even know all this shit was coming. That was pretty cool. I had never done any of that shit before, so it was cool.

Did you get sick on that trip then as well?
Everyone did. We were living in the back of a Penske rental truck, and everyone was getting sick one by one. We figured that if we traveled in the winter, that the Southwest would be warm. But it turned out that it snows in New Mexico. I never knew that though. So we’d be in one place and it would be cold, and another, it would be hot. The inside of the back of the truck would get condensation, and it would rain on us during the day. So our shit would get wet, and then at night, it would be cold again and we got sick. So anyway, I was in the back of the truck and I was telling a joke or something, and I had to fart, so I farted and boom, I shit myself. Everyone had diarrhea and was fu*king throwing up and everything. We don’t know what it was but everyone got sick by the end of it. It was worth it though, even if I had to sit with shit in my pants for a couple of hours before we pulled over….

Did you move to Binghamton then?
Not right after that trip. I guess I was still living on Long Island, not really living but I was staying at my mom’s house. I was kinda homeless for a while, not really living anywhere, so what I did was, I was at my mom’s house and she was throwing me out, and then Crandall was moving to Binghamton with Big Dave after FBM burned down in Ithaca. I was always going there anyway, so I was like fu*k it, these guys travel, I ride for them, and it’s near a skatepark, so I moved there. I only ended up living there for about three months, but it was cool while it lasted.

Do you want to talk about quitting FBM?
I don’t know. It wasn’t anything crazy, it’s not like we got in a fight. It was just that I wanted certain shit, and people were telling me about other stuff, and it was just getting to be too much. I’d quit anything before shit gets too personal though, cause when I first got sponsored by FBM, I was working 40 hours a week in a warehouse. I didn’t know anything about any of that shit. I’m not going to let money or sponsors ruin anything like that.

After that, you moved back to Long Island then?
After that, I was literally homeless. I could stay at my mom’s house every couple of weeks, and then other than that, I would sleep at friend’s houses, just kinda wherever I could get. And I wasn’t sponsored, wasn’t making any money, had a random bike and just did nothing for about eight months. I mean, I rode and traveled but nothing else.

How did the S&M thing come about then?
I think what happened was, I wanted to get a sponsor again, cause I was tired of asking random people for parts, so I got a Fit from Robbie (Morales) while I wasn’t sponsored, and we just kinda talked here and there about getting sponsored, this and that. Somehow, the S&M thing just came about. And I was already riding for Zoo (York) at the time then too, so it all came together. That was all.

It seemed for a while like you were over the whole ride for a sponsor, get coverage kinda thing, right?
I don’t care about being sponsored. I’ve always thought from the beginning, that no one deserves anything for free just for bike riding, because you don’t really. There’s no standard for who should and should not be sponsored and who should get free stuff or not. It’s fu*king stupid. People call bike riding a sport, but you’re not training, you’re doing what you want to do.

Is it a personal battle then for you, since you’re paid and you get free stuff?
No, cause for me, it was just getting shit for free. I’m not going to ride for a company if I don’t use their stuff. You know, Zoo York makes t-shirts, and I get them for free. People make fun of me riding for Snafu, saying shit like “Snafu’s gay,” and that it’s “Made in Taiwan” and this shit and that, but so are a lot of other companies out there. If people are going to give me shit for free and pay me, I may as well take it. I would still buy bike parts and still ride if I wasn’t getting anything. I don’t need my sponsors to ride. A lot of people think they need sponsors, and think they need raises, and they want this and they want that, but when I first started riding, I was working 40 hours a week and doing what I gotta do. Even now, after having a brief period of just riding, I still work. Sponsors are overrated I think. People look at it in a jock sort of way, and that doesn’t mean shit to me. There’s a lot of fu*king kids man. Dudes that I know personally that say “I’m going to go to California for a month, and get sponsored by this guy and that.” You know what I mean? Get a bunch of photos, or make a dope video part. That’s pathetic I think, that’s pathetic. It’s horrible.

Can you still see the value in that type of exposure though?
No, never saw the value.

Is that why you have a job then?
Like I was saying before, I was homeless for while, and I don’t have a mom whose gonna take me in and give me money, so instead of me making a couple of bucks riding my bike that I would have to give to my mom so I could stay there a few nights a week, I’m going to live. What if bike riding ended after a certain age? I’d have nothing; no job and no money, so I got to take care of myself now. Bike riding is something I do for fun. I can always do it after work or when I’m not working. I work cause I gotta live. I got to put a roof over my head and eat.

What’s your job?
I work construction for rich people in the city.

You sorta came up with Edwin. I guess, with the help of Jeff Z, he helped to build your recognition through photo and video coverage. Not that you take that as the bulk of what makes you sponsor worthy, but he seemed to push you guys in a more, I hate to say it, but like a skateboarding pro direction.
I know what you mean. For me, it’s not like that. When Jeff said “Let’s take a photo,” I’m not worried about using that photo in the magazine to grow. Fu*k that. For me, I want to see the photo. Every photo I have a photo, and every interview, you know, I keep it, and down the road one day, that’s for me. I can show it to people. I can look at it and say, “Ok, when I was younger, I did that,” instead of having like a little league postcard with a bat in my hand. I don’t look at it at all that way. Maybe people do look at it that way, when Jeff took photos and we were in this video and that, and maybe people thought we were important, but that’s not me. Every photo I get, no matter what magazine it’s in or how big it is, we joke about it of course, but that’s not what it is. To me, it’s to look at, to have and to see. That’s the value, not what a sponsor will do for me in return.

You and Edwin got invited on that Road Fools about two years ago. And we don’t have to talk about this, but was that part of not taking the coverage thing too seriously?
That’s totally what that is, cause people blow it out of proportion. You hear it in the ends of those videos, when people say that it’s an honor to be put on this trip. For me, what that was, was fu*k it. These dudes are taking me on a free road trip and they’ve giving me money. I’m going to use the money to drink and have a good time and I have something to do for a week. Of course, it’s cool cause it’s a Road Fools trip, but that’s not important to me. I’m not gonna go and film my ass off and do something crazy because it’s Road Fools or try and take every photo I can to help these guys out. I mean, that’s cool and they’re doing their thing, but that’s not how I look at it. Some dudes look at Road Fools as an opportunity to get sponsors or to get a higher paycheck or to become popular or to become the dude, the guy, you know? For me, it ain’t that shit. To me, it was a trip. Me and my friend went on a trip and had a good time. No one else got our jokes, no one else got along with us, but they’re not our friends. You know what I mean? Just because you go on a Road Fools don’t mean you’re all fu*king brothers. You’re from Arkansas (Editor’s note: I’m actually from New York as well. This is just being used as an example. Did I really need to point that out?) and I’m from New York, we’re different people, different guys. We do different things. To me it was a trip and we had a good time. It was still good to go on, but because we didn’t praise it or whatever, we’re the bad guys.

Where can I go from here? Do you want to talk about coming up with Edwin, cause you rarely seem to hear the ‘Vic’ without the ‘Edwin’..?
I didn’t really actually come up with Edwin. The thing was, when people meet, they either totally click or don’t at all, and that’s how you establish who your friends are. When me and Edwin met, we had, not just the same sense of humor, we just thought the same and even felt the same. I remember once, we were on an Animal roadtrip. It was the first roadtrip we were on together, and we both had no money and we were both the young guys, both just confused. We were in a parking lot in Jacksonville, Florida and they had a line to give away food to the homeless people, so we jumped in line with the homeless people and took the food. We needed food, and things like that, little connections like that, is why I think me and him got together and stuck together, cause we thought the same, and when it came time to get by, we both acted upon it the same. We weren’t just good friends that had a good laugh together. When it came time to get something done, we knew how to get it done. And then I mean, because me and him are both from New York, and we’re both getting coverage and being on the same roadtrips at the same time, you know, who else were we going to get along with? You’re not going to see Edwin and some random guy from the X-Games doing stupid shit together. And then it kinda became the ‘Ed and Vic’ thing. We didn’t do that on purpose, it just kinda happened because we got along.

Where are you now, as far as riding goes?
I guess I’m where I’m at before, but with more side responsibilities. Like when I was homeless, I had no responsibilities except riding, cause I had nothing else. That was all I did, but now I’m a little older. I’m not going to be 22 living at my mom’s house, bumming off of her and doing stupid shit. I’m the same. I ride when I want to, do the tricks that I want to, take a photo if I feel like it. It’s just that, I don’t do it as much cause I have to work and I have things to do. But I don’t think the job gets in the way of it, cause even when I wasn’t working, I didn’t ride every single day. I only really put in a good session like once a week, which is what I do now, if not more.

Do you appreciate your free time more now?
Definitely, definitely. I look forward to Saturdays and Sundays very deeply. Back then, it was just like, ok, Fridays and Saturdays, now everyone else will come out and ride. Nowadays, it’s my time to go out and ride, and even after work. As soon as I’m out of work, I can do whatever I want. Back in the day, when I wasn’t working and it was 4PM, it was 4PM so who gives a shit? Now when it’s 4PM, I can go ride. It’s almost like more motivation to get shit done when I don’t have the time to mess around all day.

Do you consider yourself a pro?
Pro, no. I’ve never considered myself a pro. Never.

What would you define a pro as then?
A pro is, I have no idea. I guess a pro is a dick, I don’t know….

Sorry that was a dumb question…. You’re in a real unique position where you’re riding your bike and sponsors pay you, but that’s not the main source of your income. I guess there’s just not a lot of well known paid riders that work full time.
For me, I don’t ask for all that shit. I don’t look forward to that. I don’t think of it as “I have 3 sponsors, I want to get another one so I can be a professional sponsored bike rider.” To me, I look at it as cool, these guys are gonna give me free frames. That’s gonna save me a lot of money and if they’re gonna give me money to do this, I’ll take it and put it in my savings account. It’s gonna help me out down the road. If there’s anything I can do to better my situation for something as simple as that, I’ll do it cause I’m going to ride either way, whether I’m getting money or not.

What is Skavenger?
Skavenger is me, Edwin and Vinnie originally, and it’s really absolutely nothing. That’s a word that we used to use to describe shitty fu*ked up things. Eventually, people started calling us that, cause we were doing the kind of shit that we were making fun of other people for, and it just turned into this thing, so we saw it as an opportunity to make a little money, so we made shirts and it worked. It’s not a clothing company and it’s not a bike company and it’s not a crew or a clique. It’s just us, well not even us; something people started calling us that we took advantage of. That’s all.

We can talk about Vinnie too, just how fu*ked up he is.
Yeah, Vinnie is the best. As good as he is, he knocked his tooth out icepicking a 2-step handrail back in the day on a 2-Hip Pork I think.

I remember the Animal video premiere. You were about to go on vacation with your girlfriend and just go enjoy yourself. How do you manage to turn off the BMX thing and not make it the central focus of your life?
Bike riding isn’t my gig. I’m not a bike rider. I’m not a pro. I do it on the side. People go and play golf every couple of months, that’s like what riding is to me. If my girlfriend and me want to go on vacation, or if I want to go on vacation, or if I want to work straight for a month and do side jobs on the weekend and just not ride my bike, that’s normal to me. I don’t look at it as “I have to ride cause I have to maintain.” That’s not what it is to me. There’s nothing wrong with taking a vacation. Bike riding is what I do for fun. I don’t have to do it everyday. I’m not looking to learn any tricks or to get anywhere or become anything.

How do you learn tricks then?
I don’t learn tricks, I just kinda do stuff. Even a simple trick like a 180 down 2 stairs, I’ll put my foot down every now and again, or I won’t roll out sometimes, or I’ll land shitty. I don’t train to think I need to have everything dialed. I know I can ride. I know I can bunnyhop, and that’s obviously 99% of every street trick, so basically if I see an obstacle and think it would be cool to do something on, I try it. That’s it. 99% of the time I get fu*ked up, but sometimes I pull it and that’s cool.

So the lady friend doesn’t really get mad about you riding?
I’m not one of those dudes that lets bike riding run their lives, posters all over the wall and stocked up on the BMX DVD thing, this and that. Same thing with my girlfriend. She’ll go hang out with friends on the weekend, I’ll go riding.

What do you think about people that are like that?
That’s cool if that’s their thing, but it’s too much for me. I do other things besides bike riding. If you’re into it, that’s cool but it’s kinda nuts for me. It’s the same for people that like the Super Bowl, with helmets and jerseys decorating their house. Relax you know, it’s a fu*king game.

And your views on the drama in bike riding…..
Bike riding; most people start out when they’re kids, teenagers, maybe even younger. And a lot of dudes let that shit carry with them into their 20’s and 30’s. It’s just ridiculous that it’s a soap opera and that people get so fu*ked up over it. With me, with drama and shit talk, I think it’s so pathetic that a dude is worried enough to give a fu*k. Let’s say I’m going to go to someone’s spot, and let’s just say that the ledge isn’t waxed the way I like it, and I say “This ledge sucks” or “This place is horrible.” That’s just my personal feeling cause I’m mad at the moment. It doesn’t actually mean that much. Who gives a fu*k? I mean, who actually cares that much to the point where you’re going to let one comment get you that bummed. And a lot of dudes that ride do that, and will worry about every little thing that’s said. That’s disgusting I think. If a dude’s on TV too much or rides for a dumb sponsor or whatever, and everyone else has to criticize, I mean, come on! It’s like high school. If someone does something stupid, make fun of it, have some fun with it and don’t take it seriously. It’s only bike riding. That’s the only thing that gets me mad about this shit.

All right, more drama. When the new rail got put in at the old World Trade Center park across the street, it seemed like everyone ran to it in some sort of contest to see who could top the next person. What’s your take on that kind of thing?
That’s pathetic. Every time a new obstacle gets put in or a new trick becomes popular, everybody wants to be known as the dude, the first guy to do this or the first guy to do that. It’s disgusting, horrible. It’s a bike; you do a trick cause you want to, not to make a mark. That’s very fu*king stupid.

What happens then if you do make a mark by just riding your bike and being yourself?
Some people might think the way I do, like ok, it’s just a bike. And some people might think they need to make that mark, earn the respect and be like that. You can filter it out by talking to anyone for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, you know what side of the fence they’re coming from. A lot of dudes are like chameleons, they think they need to fit in with whatever they’re doing. If you’re hanging out with dudes that run two brakes and pegs, then you’re on their side, and if you’re trails, you’re on another side, and if you’re 4 pegs, no brakes, you’re on another side. I’m not going to make a difference in that shit, it’ll always be that way. That’s the way BMX is, it’s all trends.

You’re living in Brooklyn now; do you want to talk about that?
It’s better for me, cause when I used to live on Long Island, I always rode the city, but now I can walk to the Brooklyn Banks if I want to. I have spots all over my neighborhood, so it’s real cool like that. Rent’s horrible. Rent in Brooklyn is good if you live in a shitty neighborhood. I live in a nice neighborhood so my rent’s expensive.

How do you feel now that Edwin is living on his own, off of riding while you’re working 9-5?
That’s his thing. If someone can do that, and live off of that, and that’s all they care about, then hey, fu*king do it.

Does he ever bother you to quit the day job?
No, my friends know where I’m coming from and know my situation. I mean, even a dude like Edwin, if he was starving, he could go home and his mom would have a full plate of food waiting for him. If he got thrown out of his apartment, his mom would take him in. But me, if I got thrown out of my apartment, my mom would let me stay with her a couple days. And then that’s it, get the fu*k out or give me half of what you make. My friends are totally cool with that. They don’t ever say, “Why do you work all the time or come on this road trip!” They understand.

So was your home life rough growing up then?
It wasn’t rough in the sense that things are rough, it was just harsh. Riding wise, if I needed parts, no one bought them for me, if I needed money, I didn’t get it. If I had a flat and needed a patch kit, I didn’t get it. It was hard, with regular life shit, but I don’t let that shit bother me. You grow out of, but because this is about BMX and I’m keeping it BMX related, I mean BMX wise it was just hard. It wasn’t supportive at all even when I started getting money, traveling and getting coverage. I was getting nagged all day to get a job. It wasn’t the storybook bike rider life. It never is. Some people think it is, and for some people it is, but for most of us, it’s not.

How’s your perspective on riding changed, from the beginning to now?
Back then; it was just about learning shit that I wanted to do. Nowadays, it’s still at that point, where it’s like learning what I want to do, but at the same time, I can do some of these tricks, but I want to do them down longer obstacles, bigger obstacles. I didn’t get better I don’t think. I think I just learned a few tricks, and now I want to see where I can take them. I don’t think that other than learning a few tricks, that it changed at all. I still think exactly like I did back then. Back then, it was a bench and now it’s a rail, but it’s the same thought. It’s not like I want to become the best street rider and do this landmark trick. It’s the same I think, and I don’t think it will change, cause I’m not looking to get anywhere.

Is there a best in BMX?
No, this isn’t football where you can have a higher performance average. If a dude’s happy bunnyhopping off curbs and that’s what they want to do, then he’s good in his own mind. His coach doesn’t have to tell him that, he tells himself that. If another guy wants to do flip tailwhips over a spine, and he’s good, then he’s good too. There’s no good or bad in riding; no standard. I go out and do manuals across curbs sometimes, and I’m satisfied. Other times, I could icepick a 50-stair rail and also feel satisfied. There’s no difference though in your mind…..

Do you still see yourself riding in 10 years?
I hope I am, and I hope I still have the mentality to want to still feel that feeling I get when I ride. But, if I’m riding in 10 years, that’s cool. If I’m not, then I’m not. I don’t know if I’ll be psyched in 10 years on riding but you never know.

What happens that day when you’re not into it anymore?
Just stop riding. I don’t have to ride; I just like to do it. That’s all……

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